Portland’s Michael Odokara-Okigbo is getting closer to his dream of a career in music.

Odokara-Okigbo and his a cappella singing group, the Dartmouth Aires, advanced to the next round of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” during Monday night’s episode.

During the Dartmouth Aires’ first appearance on the voice-only singing competition, two weeks ago, Odokara-Okigbo sang lead on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and won praise from the judges.

But Odokara-Okigbo missed some rehearsals for Monday night’s episode, to visit his mother as she recovers from a stroke. So he handed off the lead vocals on the contemporary hit “Animal” by Neon Trees to his group mate Brendan Lynch-Salamon.

And Lynch-Salamon also impressed the judges.

“It was awesome, I love how cohesive you guys are,” said pop singer Sara Bareilles, a judge. “You guys really rocked it.”

For the group’s rousing 16-voice rendition of “Pinball Wizard” by The Who, Odokara-Okigbo took back lead vocals. And he took the judges by storm again.

“The lead vocal, Michael, was just inspiring,” said judge Ben Folds.

“Mike, you are a rock star, seriously dude,” said judge Shawn Stockman of the R&B group Boyz II Men.

Odokara-Okigbo graduated from Waynflete School in Portland and is now a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

The Dartmouth Aires will continue to compete for $200,000 in cash and a Sony Music recording contract. Ten of the season’s 16 groups are now left.

“Sing-Off” will air on Mondays until Nov. 28.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]

Actress takes up plight of kids

LOS ANGELES – Eva Longoria says she lent her support to “The Harvest,” a documentary about child migrant laborers, not just because of her Latin American roots but also because she wants to know where her food comes from and take responsibility for it.

Much of the harvesting work in the United States is done by migrants from Latin America, especially Mexico. Longoria’s interest in the subject sprang from concern over children growing up in the fields, the “Desperate Housewives” star says.

“I’m ninth-generation Mexican-American. We have ranches in Texas but you don’t have to have that to have compassion,” Longoria said. “I eat food and I’m a responsible human being and if you are responsible, you have to know where your food comes from.”

“The Harvest” tells the story of three children who work as field laborers in Florida, Michigan and Texas to help their parents.

Human Rights Watch reported in 2010 that at least 10 percent of hired farm laborers in the United States were under 18, but said that accurate numbers were hard to come by.

The documentary says that more than 400,000 children work in U.S. farm fields.

As executive producer of “The Harvest,” Longoria raised nearly $1 million for the film, which will be released on DVD Tuesday.

Williams responds to uproar – with a song

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hank Williams Jr. is about to have his say.

Williams’ has cut a new song, “Keep the Change,” calling out “Fox & Friends” and ESPN after an interview last week on the Fox News talk show led to the end of his association with the sports network and “Monday Night Football.”

Williams caused an uproar when he made an analogy that President Barack Obama and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner golfing together was like Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu playing a round.