I feel as though I should be writing more about Tripoli and life in Libya, and I promise to do so in the next posts; for now just bear with me a little.
Now in case you are reading my blog and know nothing about the Philippines or do not care to know, I give you permission to move along. Also if you are a fan of Charice Pempengco for whatever reason, I also urge you to stop reading, as I forewarn you that you are not going to like what you will see should you choose to read on. If you do like her and promise to be a little open-minded about other’s opinion and not curse me to oblivion, okay, read on.
For some strange reason, my very logical and supposedly serious, no non-sense husband often updates me on the latest Chikas, or gossip from showbiz back home. Today he tells me that internationally acclaimed singer, Charice Pempenco, had botox treatment. Somehow I know that he knows I don’t like her, and only told me this to spite me, but in the interest of being nice, I could only say, “Huh? She did what?”
But that news was beside the point, my problem with her is that I don’t get her, and do not see what everybody else sees. Okay, yes, she does sing well, but so does Kyla and my cousin’s girlfriend who sings, in my opinion, like an angel. I always say that in every Filipino clan there is one member that can sing, and in Philippine showbiznez everybody has an album or two, and all of them are platinum record holders, e.g. Sam Milby, Judy Ann Santos, and Nancy Castillione.
So that leaves the fact that she is extra special because she was discovered by International Moguls like Oprah and Ellen. For now forget the fact that she can sing, but only as good as every other talented singer. Now correct my history if I’m wrong, I believe Ms, Degeneres came across a YouTube video of Charice when she sang in a Korean show. I saw that video and the way I saw it the Koreans were so impressed with her because they thought she was an eight year-old who sang like Whitney Houston. I say this because she came wearing an outfit only a fourth grader would. And she was what then, 14?
And here’s the funny part, I also saw her in the infamous Oprah episode where she first got a standing ovation. The theme of that was episode was whiz kids,“World’s Smartest Kids” (operative word is KIDS) which included two seven year olds who danced ballroom like pros, a six year old pianist, a twelve year old Chinese-American girl (who a couple of years earlier did not speak English) and eventually became a best-selling author, and my favorite the almost two year old girl who can pin-point any country asked of her on the world map (she was so adorable, whenever the audience applauded at every correct country, she too clapped and laughed very much aware of how amazing she is). And then there was Charice who was by then I think 15 years old (emphasis on the TEEN). If this were a contest, you would think she’d be disqualified for being over-aged right? (Oprah then did a follow-up on her “challenging” life in the Philippines, banking on the appeal to sympathy strategy.)
What I’m trying to say is that I think we have been miss guided with Charice’s packaging, which is “little-girl with great voice”, but in reality she isn’t that young, or at least not anymore. And once again she isn’t that good a singer anyway. Okay, you say that is a matter of opinion, pero aminin nyo (but admit it), you only thought she is good because Oprah and Ellen said so di’ba? I mean who would want to contest International show hosts? True to form, Boy and Kris were not to be left behind and were over the moon at how she can belt a tune even while sitting down. “Grabe boy, she’s nakaupo pa nyan a.” “OO, nga Krissy, amazing, ahihihi”. So she can sing while on a chair? If she sang while running on a treadmill at 10mph, I would probably be a bit impressed, but while sitting down? Yes, yes, for a singer that’s difficult, but many has done that before. I go back, that because she came highly recommended we no longer bother to really listen, considering in a country full of singers we should be experts by now. Like in the story of the Emperor and his new cloak, no one dares say that he is naked, afraid of being looked upon differently.
So now we go to the true test, a singer’s song. That one song that was his or hers that makes us immediately think of that one singer when we hear the tune. The song that becomes a lover’s theme song; that go to song when we’re down, heartbroken, or even drunk; the song that immortalizes a singer. In Charice’s case because of all the hype around her, I was hoping for something great, hey she has access to Hollywood’s best producers and song writers, and with her so-called talent, we are bound to hear a legend in the making. And after the long wait, she comes up with, tantarantan….. “Pyramid” .
“Pyramid, we built this on a solid rock
It feels just like it’s heaven’s touch
Together at the top, like a pyramid
And even when the wind is blowing
We’ll never fall just keep on going
Forever we will stay, like a pyramid”
What does that mean? If I were living in Egypt or is an archeologist I would’ve related to this song, but “feels like its heaven’s touch, together at the top, like a pyramid?” Again, what the….? Before you react, yes, this type of song isn’t probably in my age bracket and all, I’m just saying. All that hype? David Foster and friends a phone call away and this is what you come up with?
Once again, afraid of being left behind by the masses, and probably only because we heard that it’s on ITunes most downloaded songs, we gobble it up, without bothering to listen intently. Aegis’ songs aren’t my kind of genre either but they have songs that made better sense than this. “Ang halik mo, namimiss ko…”
Still I gave her one more chance. We Filipinos, we not only look at a celebrity’s talent; we also look at character; if whether or not they made sense when spoken to, or if they are at least a person of some substance. Like what we when we are asked if some is pretty, we say to compensate, “Mabait sya.” (She is kind) I watched Ms. Pempengco as a guest in Karen Davila’s show, it was a short interview, so every answered mattered. Unfortunately she neither had Christian Bautista’s modest charms, nor Sarah Geronimo’s down to earth nature; both good singers, both can sing while sitting down.
The interview was so shallow, all I can remember was that she drinks this medicine for her voice, and that she kept plugging shows she’ll be doing abroad that are either not yet booked or is a private/by invitation only show that none of us can watch, even if we tried. And if her all time favorite song, can sum up who is she, of all the songs she can pick (judging from the greats she has worked with) she says Beyonce’s “Halo”.
And yes, she did bring attention to our country and opened the doors of the world to Filipino singers, I give her that okay. But wait, didn’t Lea Salonga and Regine Velasquez do that already?
All I’m saying Oprah or not, whatever her age is, what’s the fuss about? Is she really all that?