Tag Archives: Charice Pempengco

Charice’s answered prayer

by Carmie O. Carpio/AJPress
IT’S not all the time that someone gets to sing on stage with a celebrated operatic pop tenor and classical crossover singer as Andrea Bocelli, especially on his birthday concert. But on the night of July 20, Sunday, a young Filipina with a big voice and a big heart stepped into the stagelights with Bocelli himself. Charice, the first from her homeland to perform a duet with the world-famous Bocelli, who is turning 50 on September 22, effortlessly dazzled the European crowd that filled the Teatro del Silenzio (Theater of Silence) in Tuscany, Italy, Bocelli’s hometown.
Dubbed The Cinema Tribute, Chariced joined international performers Nicolla Piovani, Roberto Bolle and Noa in the line-up.

Spellbinding is not enough to describe the moment Charice and Bocelli sang The Prayer together. Bocelli’s countrymen were so impressed with the harmonious blend of two powerful voices that a round of applause wasn’t enough. They felt they had to do a standing ovation as well.

Apart from The Prayer, she rendered a solo performance in front of Bocelli’s friends and countrymen‹a medley of The Bodyguard soundtracks which she also sang at the star-studded ³ David Foster and Friends² in Mandalay in Las Vegas only last May. Bocelli was also part of that lustrous affair.

From the outside, it seemed that Charice’s renditions were confident and collected. But unknown to many, the young girl was brimming with excitement and delight deep down. The duet was one unforgettable moment for Charice, something that she will never forget in her lifetime.

“Very special po sa akin itong concert kasi si Mr. Andrea Bocelli ang first big star na nakaduet ko. Pinangarap ko po talaga ito so dream come true talaga. Tsaka favorite ko rin yung song na kinanta namin. Matagal ko po itong hinintay, and proud po ako bilang the first Filipino na nakaduet siya,” she told the Asian Journal in a long-distance interview.

Charice reportedly drew pictures of herself performing with Bocelli when she was younger. Thus, after her dream-come-true concert, the young diva could barely contain her joy in sharing how it went.

“Sa lahat ng nagperform, ako lang po ang may standing ovation.” There was a hint of giddiness in her voice.

And even though she faced yet another type of audience, she was very pleased with their profuse praises over her performance.

“They (Italians) gave me a warm welcome, tsaka nakita kong inaappreciate nila ang talent ng mga Pinoy,” Charice added.

How Charice landed in another performance with a big international star was not a stroke of luck. It was something that was bound to happen.

During the Mandalay Bay Las Vegas event, Bocelli had just finished his performance at the Mandalay Bay Las Vegas event, and was in his dressing room, when he heard Charice sing.  Bocelli asked his assistants to bring him backstage, so he could be among the first ones to congratulate Charice.  After he told Charice  how moved he was by her performance, Atty. Gurfinkel (who secured Charice’s working visa for the US show) said to Bocelli, “It would be nice if you could  do a duet of The Prayer together.” Bocelli welcomed the idea. Bocelli’s manager handed over his business card to Gurfinkel, asking that he be contacted to discuss details. and voila! Charice was invited to Tuscany , to be the first Filipino to ever sing with Bocelli.

And the rest is history

With Charice, it is easy to expect more world-class performances and more“pinch-me” moments. for herself. The Filipina wunderkind sure knows how to make her prayers and dreams come true, and there’s no stopping her. The best thing, through all her experiences, is that she’s always proud to say that she’s Filipino.  Her kababayans are equally proud of her as well. (www.asianjournal.com)

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How Charice Made It to David Foster’s Elite List of Friends

And her cup runneth over, because at this point, there is really no stopping Charice.

The young singing sensation continues to count her blessings, among them making it to the elite list of people prolific songwriter, producer and musician David Foster call friends as they will perform at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Friday, May 23, alongside Foster’s other friends such as Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Brian McKnight, Babyface and Katharine McPhee, among others.

Charice met with the famous composer/producer in Los Angeles last year before she taped her Ellen guesting. They flew together to Las Vegas on a private jet to watch the farewell show of Celine Dion at the Caesar’s Palace Colosseum.

All these seem to be happening so fast for the diminutive diva, after her ground-breaking guestings on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Paul O’Grady Show in London, and just recently, Oprah.

Charice Pempengco with Josh Groban Last Saturday, Charice shared the spotlight with Josh Groban, John Mayer and Alicia Keys in a show organized by Foster at the grand opening of the MGM Grand Casino-Hotel at Foxwoods in Connecticut.

Noted immigration lawyer Michael Gurfinkel and his wife Millie were with Charice and her mom Raquel in Connecticut and they shared their story with the Asian Journal. Atty. Gurfinkel helped expedite the issuance of US visas to Charice and her mom.

“David Foster put together and produced the very first show, featuring Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, John Mayer and, of course, the International Singing Sensation and pride of the Philippines, Charice. She appeared just before Josh and sang a medley of Whitney Houston hits (I Have Nothing and I Will Always Love You, from the movie The Bodyguard which starred Houston herself and Kevin Costner),” Millie shared.

Charice received a standing ovation, the only performer to receive one that night, and ovation, the only performer to receive one that night, and Foster asked the crowd after Charice finished her rousing rendition, “Would you like one more song?”

The audience cheered and shouted an enthusiastic “Yes!” The crowd’s request for an encore led David and Charice to do an unrehearsed performance of And I’m Telling You.

After they performed, the audience once again gave Charice yet another standing ovation.

Among those in the audience were Quincy Jones, and Michael Douglas with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Backstage, David, Alicia and Josh congratulated Charice for her “phenomenal performance.” For her part, the young diva was just so happy to be a representative of the Philippines on such an important world stage, with some of the biggest names in entertainment. “I hope I make my kababayans proud,” Charice said.

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Charice Brings Down the House on Oprah

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – She may have sang Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, but Filipino singing sensation Charice Pempengco seems to have everything going her way.

Charice brought down the house as she performed on the Oprah Winfrey Show last Monday. The episode featured the world’s smartest and most gifted kids with Charice joining nine other wunderkinds on the stage.

Once Charice came up to perform, her rendition of I Have Nothing made the audience rise from their seats giving her a standing ovation mid-way through the performance. The crowd also gave her another standing O after the performance

As Charice hit the song’s crescendo, the camera panned to Oprah, who stood mouthing, “wow, wow, wow” to a stagehand and shook her head in disbelief at the power of Pempengco’s voice.

“What a blow-away moment!” said Oprah after the performance.

Oprah said she first heard about Charice from producer/songwriter David Foster, who is famous for working with singers like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Barbara Streisand.

“He says you’re a force to be reckoned with,” said Oprah to Charice. “Your voice is something deeper in itself.”

With tears in her eyes, Charice said appearing on Oprah is a dream come true.

“I can’t believe I’m here standing with you,” said Charice. “I can’t believe I’m hugging you!”

Backstage on Oprah

This year has been a whirlwind ride around the world for the Filipino diva. Since her Youtube appearance last year generated millions of hits, slowly but surely the world has taken notice.

So far, she has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in December. She went to Korea to perform on Star King then came back home for more performances in the Philippines to spend Christmas and New Year. Charice also appeared in one of London’s most popular show Paul O’Grady before gracing the Oprah Winfrey Show.

It was her first trip to the windy city, and Charice made the most of it when she appeared on Oprah.

Charice said she did not meet Oprah prior to her performance but wanted to impress the famous daytime host.

Again just like on Ellen, she felt overwhelmed by the reaction from the crowd after her performance.

“First of all I’m shocked,” said Charice in a phone call to the Asian Journal after she saw the show for the first time. She did the taping more than a month ago but had to keep mum about it until it aired nationally. “I saw some people cry [during the performance].”

She spoke briefly to Oprah backstage.

“She’s very pretty and kind,” said Charice. “She’s a true person like Ellen. I love them both.”

Charice said she enjoyed meeting some of the other kids backstage especially 8-year-old Quincy Eaton, the dancing actor in one of McDonald’s most popular commercials.

“We were dancing together after the show but it was edited out,” said Charice.

What’s next.

So far, more shows are already in Charice’s schedule. At the moment, she’s just grateful of the support from everyone.

“I don’t know what’s next,” she added. “I want to be surprised.”

Charice also mentioned that her album is available on the iTunes store.


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DREAM COME TRUE: Charice Set to Conquer Oprah on May 12

by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com

MAKATI CITY – Mark your calendars.

On May 12, young diva Charice Pempengco’s quest for international stardom gets a much-needed boost as her dream of being a guest at The Oprah Winfrey Show becomes a reality.

After traveling thousands of miles from Manila, Charice joined some of the world’s most talented, amazing kids take the Oprah stage. The Oprah Winfrey Show is the longest-running and highest-rated daytime television talk show in America today.

The young diva blew the audience away with her performance of Whitney Houston’s song I Have Nothing. After her fantastic performance, an emotional Charice told Oprah, “I’m always dreaming that someday I can be a part of your show. I can’t believe I’m here standing with you. This is my dream come true.”

Asian Journal sat down with Charice and her mom Raquel in Manila a day before they flew to Honolulu to ask her about her Oprah experience, how they have been trailblazing and jetsetting.

“Nung una po, parang hindi ako makapaniwala. Kasi Oprah yan eh, napapanood ko lang sa TV. Tita Millie (Gurfinkel) called my mom and sabi niya na mag ge-guest ako sa Oprah Winfrey Show. Si mommy, parang walang reaction, parang okay lang. Tapos after nilang mag-usap, sinabi ni mommy sa akin na gusto akong mai-guest sa Oprah so napasigaw ako sa tuwa,”

Charice said as she recalled the day when she found out about the guesting.

Indeed, it was a dream come true, considering that only weeks earlier, she and her mom have been talking about the good breaks she has been getting.

“Nagulat lang kami kasi napagkuwentuhan lang namin ni Mommy. Nasabi ko na after Ellen, tapos yung sa London, parang nag-wish lang ako na sana next time Oprah na. Kaya nagulat ako nung tumawag na si Tita Millie,” Charice shared.

It was a whirlwind from there. Mother and daughter flew to Chicago to come face to face with one of the most powerful women in media, Oprah Winfrey herself.

“Parang ang bilis ng mga nangyari. Pagdating namin dun, nag rest kami kasi kinabukasan rehearsal na. Dinala kami ng staff sa studio. Hindi ako makapaniwalang nakatayo na ako dun sa stage ng Oprah. Napapanood ko lang ito sa TV. Sabi nila, iyan yung stage mo bukas.

“Ito yung show na talagang pinakakinabahan ako, kasi siyempre Oprah ito. Tapos kinabukasan nakita ko yung mga kasama ko sa show, ang gagaling din nila,” Charice recalled.

“Iba ang talent ng Pinoy, kailangan kong ipakita yun. Matindi yung kaba ko nun talaga. Nung ako na, sabi ko, “This is it”. Kinanta ko yung “I Have Nothing” ni Whitney. Nag start siya chorus na kaya mabigat. Idinedicate ko yung performance kay Oprah,” she added.

After her performance, Charice recalled Oprah joining her on centerstage, asking her so many things.

“Saan daw galing yung boses ko, sino daw ako. Na-shock daw siya sa talent ko. Tapos niyakap na niya ako at napaiyak na siya. Napaiyak na din ako nun, tapos si mommy nakita ko umiiyak na din. Sinabi nila ako yung first Filipina sa show. I felt very, very proud,” Charice said.

It was a memorable scene that she kept on playing in her mind days, even weeks after the performance.

She felt happy after her song. She felt proud. She was ecstatic. A lot of things were going through her mind. “Na impress ko kaya siya? Nagustuhan kaya ng audience? Tama ba yung pagkakanta ko? Ang daming tumatakbo sa utak ko pagkatapos nun,” she related.

She didn’t have to worry. Oprah Winfrey loved her performance.

“Na-feel ko na special ako sa kanila. Ipinaramdam nila sa akin na special ako. Dun sa closing ng show, kasama na lahat, hindi napansin ni Oprah na ksama na ako sa group. Hinanap pa niya talaga ako. “Where’s Charice?” sabi niya.

“Nung umpisa, after ng Little Big Star, naisip ko lang na okay siguro kung magkaroon ako ng exposure sa Philippine TV. Tapos nag-start na yung sa Korea, then napanood ni Ellen. Nag tuloy-tuloy na,” she said.

Charice admitted that all these would not have been possible without the help of her fan known as the False Voice. Most of all, Charice thanks her US immigration lawyer, Atty. Michael Gurfinkel, who facilitated the issuance of Charice’s proper work visa that allowed her to appear on TV, to meet the show’s deadlines.

Also, Charice and mother’s passports were stolen recently and Atty. Gurfinkel helped with the re-issuance of their US visas that normally takes months – Gurfinkel did it 3 days.

“Kung wala si Atty. Gurfinkel, kahit may invitation ang Oprah show, di pwedeng mag perform si Charice dahil sa konting panahon na ibinigay para sa visa applications. Di siya makikita sa US television at all, kung di nakuha ni Atty. Gurfinkel ang kanilang mga visas,”

Charice’s mom revealed.

Ellen de Generes saw her videos and invited Charice to be a guest on her show. Last December, Charice performed And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going) on The Ellen de Generes Show and got a standing ovation from the audience. Then came London’s Paul O’Grady.

And now, it’s Oprah.

“Nangarap po ako ng malaki. Pero hindi maiiwasan yung mga challenges, mga problema. Kailangan lang ng tiyaga. Pagsisikap lang talaga. Ito yung gusto kong marating. Kahit anong challenge, go lang ng go. Di ba nga may kasabihan tayong mga Pilipino na kapag may tiyaga, may nilaga?”

Charice said.

Other kids featured in the program include; seven-year-old ballroom dancers, an eight-year-old guitarist, a three-year-old drummer, a seven-year-old pianist, a ten-year-old who plays the accordion, the youngest film director in history, a two-and-a-half-year-old pint-size prodigy who can identify more than 100 countries on a map and a fourteen-year-old international best-selling author. Also, a nine-year-old dancing phenomenon nicknamed “happy feet” teaches Oprah how to do the Cha-Cha slide.

Abigail Breslin and Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, will join the show via satellite to discuss their upcoming film project An American Girl. (www.asianjournal.com)

(Catch Charice on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, May 12, 2008 – check your local listing)

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Britain’s Got Filipino Talents: Filipino hopefuls in UK talent show become YouTube celebs.

By Sunantha Mendoza-Quibilan/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Filipino musical talent has once again wowed Western audiences and continues to capture the attention of online audiences on YouTube. Madonna Decena, a 32-year-old UK-based club singer, and Charlie Green, a 10-year old schoolboy of Filipino and British descent, who both received standing ovations during their live auditions on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) a popular television talent search in the UK, are the newest YouTube Filipino singing sensations.

Currently one of the favorites in the show’s second season, Madonna Decena moved both audience and panel of judges (composed of American Idol’s Simon Cowell, actress Amanda Holdren and journalist Piers Morgan) with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.

It was a tear-jerking performance by Decena, a single parent who had to leave her two young daughters in the care of their grandparents when she left the Philippines 18 months ago to find work in the UK. She said she joined the contest for her girls, that it was “a chance for me to get more work, more opportunity for me to sing, for my kids.”

Decena said, “If I do well in this competition it would be life-changing not only for me but for my kids. It’s a chance for us to be together.”

Her performance received the approval of all three judges, including that of Cowell’s, who is known for his brutal frankness. He said he at first “didn’t expect anything like that” from the Filipina but that “if you’ve got talent, you’ve got talent [and] I absolutely loved it.”

Charlie Green, another front-runner in BGT, who is half-Filipino, was enthusiastically cheered by the audience and praised by the judges for his version of Frank Sinatra’s Summer Wind. Morgan called the boy’s singing “brilliant,” Holdren predicted that he would win the competition, and even Cowell was impressed, saying, “Charlie, you are fantastic…. I think you are a little star.”

The boy is from Droitwich, Worcestershire, his father, Roger, is British and his mother, Cecilia Surmargo, is a Filipina who hails from Cebu. Green said he has been honing his talent since he was three years old and that he joined the competition in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a great singer.

“I always dream of singing in front of big audiences and massive band behind me…this means the world to me if I could get on, touch the stage I would love it.” Green said before his live performance.

The videos of Decena’s and Green’s performances on YouTube have each registered more than 300,000 views. The hundreds of visitor comments on their pages, most of which are from fellow Filipinos, include compliments and messages of encouragement, as well as a few disparaging remarks, to which admirers have responded with words of indignation.

The newfound fame of BGThopefuls Madonna Decena and Charlie Green is testament to the huge popularity of the video-sharing site and its celebrity-making power. Only recently, it has placed in the international limelight Filipino singing sensation Charice Pempengco.



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Charice to Appear on Oprah

by April Tiamzon/Asianjournal.com

NEW YORK – Mark your calendar because on May 12, 2008, Filipina singing sensation Charice  Pempengco will share her talent to US audience anew in the Oprah Winfrey Show.

There is no stopping the 15-yearold diva. A video on YouTube has been showing teasers of her upcoming appearance on Oprah. The exact date, however, was revealed only on Thursday.

The upcoming episode where Charice is set to appear showcases children with amazing talents. The special performances will feature gifted children ballroom dancing, playing the drums, guitar, and even pointing cities on a World Map.

The upcoming episode where Charice is set to appear showcases children with amazing talents. The special performances will feature gifted children ballroom dancing, playing the drums, guitar, and even pointing cities on a World Map.


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Charice to Appear on Oprah

By Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – First, it was Ellen DeGeneres. Now, Oprah Winfrey has invited the 15-year-old Filipino singing wunderkind as a guest on her No. 1 daytime US TV show.

ABS-CBN reported that Charice Pempengco has taped an episode on the Oprah Winfrey show to air sometime in May.

Tapos na po akong kumanta para sa isa pong episode ng Oprah (I’ve just recorded a performance for Oprah),” she said in a phone interview with an ABS-CBN reporter.

Pempengco did not delve into further details as to what she will be doing on the show.

However, a 43-second teaser for the upcoming episode on Oprah is already posted on Youtube and other video sharing websites.

From the teaser, it appears that Pempengco will perform and share the stage with other music and dance child prodigies.

“They may look like ordinary kids but what they’re getting ready to do on our stage will blow you away. This you have to believe,” according to the Oprah episode clip.

Originally from Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines, Pempengco’s musical journey has been a whirlwind ride since appearing on

The Ellen De-Generes Show last December. She just finished an appearance in the Paul O’Grady Show in London. She’s also been traveling frequently to New York and Los Angeles.

Besides The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Pempengco has been featured twice in the US on the Daily Ten, a regular show on E! entertainment channel. She was first noticed when she placed third as a 12-year-old contestant on the first season of Little Big Star, a singing contest aired on ABS-CBN in the Philippines and internationally on The Filipino Channel.

Charice will have her first ever appearance before her kababayans at the 36th anniversary awards of Los Angeles Filipino American organization Search to Involve Pilipino Americans on April 26.


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