First, I must admit that I am a secret admirer of Charice Pempengco since her days as a contestant in Little Big Star, a locally produced singing talent show by ABS-CBN. I was one of those who silently disagreed when she only placed second runner-up in that competition when I was rooting for her to win. I think she was only 14 then but she already had a big voice. She could hit her high notes with ease. Clearly, she has the talent.
However, there are many other people around the block who could sing just as good. So what set her apart? In my opinion, what made her stand out was her showmanship which she made apparent even in her amateur days. This alone made her distinct among other contestants of Little big Star. She created her own style, what with her mic-tossing or foot-stomping act. That truly set her apart.
How did Lady Gaga, the late Michael Jackson or Madonna make it so big in the music industry? They all have (had) a way of endearing the crowd. Charice could also do that effortlessly. She exudes confidence whenever she goes up a stage to perform. It was really very evident even in her Little Big Star days. Part of Charice’s charm can also be her diminutive stature. It is a big wonder especially to Caucasians how such a small lady can belt out Celine Dion songs.
Flash forward to 2010 and we now see Charice as the biggest international star of Filipinos in their generation. I have seen her youtube video that became her ticket to the Ellen Degeneres Show. I have seen how she roused the crowd to their feet when she sang for the Ellen Show. I have seen how her performance brought tears to Oprah Winfrey’s eyes. Her debut album is a hit in many countries including the United States, Canada, Japan, Thailand, and of course the Philippines. And now, I witnessed how Filipinos from around the world waited gleefully for her appearance on the second season of the popular American sitcom, Glee. She has definitely gone places, and she’s gone really far.
Charice is on a roll and she draws strength from her humble beginnings. It is probably the best thing about her. She keeps her feet on the ground while she continues to soar high. She could hardly speak spontaneous English when she was first interviewed by Ellen Degeneres. She took speech lessons (and still is taking speech lessons), and look at her now rubbing elbows with big names like Oprah, Justin Bieber, and Lea Michele. I listen to her interviews now and she can converse well in English, with a good sense of humor to boot.
I heard a few belittling Charice’s success but I believe that she has what it takes to make it big someday. To some, being on Glee may not be a big deal. However, as a Filipino, and seeing how local entertainers find it difficult to penetrate the international scene, being a part of Glee is a big feat. It brings recognition not only to Charice’s talent but also to the whole Philippines. I hope Charice takes an acting workshop too to be more versatile.
On the other side of the coin, there is a possibility too that acting opportunities for Charice (like in Glee) could be limited by her conservative ways. When Lea Salonga was her age (18 years old), Lea already did kissing scenes for Miss Saigon.