Thursday, May 21, 2009

Too good and a full circle tribute

Posted to twitter earlier:
Though totally expected, sad that voters' trending came true. Adam Lambert, who is his own music, is too good for the general pop market
I wrote yesterday about Adam Lambert possibly being out-voted in the finals because voting trends read that for every contestant that leaves, votes of those who are left increase dramatically save for Adam's which seemed to stay consistently high enough to keep him through each week comfortably.

Voters for All-American pop molds Matt Giraud and Danny Gokey definitely went to Kris Allen.

This is the only American Idol season I watched quite regularly and I am glad I followed it somewhat.

The best part for me about the finale is the collection of iconic guests who were obviously inspired by the presence of Adam Lambert: Carlos Santana, Kiss, Rod Stewart and Queen.

It is tribute enough to Adam's artistry that the last segment was with Queen, whose song Bohemian Rhapsody Adam sang for his audition. How overwhelming it is to witness how Adam Lambert came full circle, musically, in four months.

I wonder what the next seasons will be like without him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Note To God : Charice Pempengco [updated]

If there ever was anything even more refreshing, optimistic and inspiring amidst the ever moody Manila weather and grime, the book blockade frenzy, and the slowly-rising murky Philippine political waters, than the recent performance of Charice Pempengco on Oprah of her American album debut single Note to God, I would please like to know.

Charice and her performance are a breath of fresh air.

A concert at the SMX Mall of Asia is scheduled on June 27, 2009 at 8 pm. More info here and here

Charice is the embodiment of true trans-atlantic success without it getting into her head, it seems. So far, the people who made it possible for her success — besides her tower of strength, her mother, and her most avid video poster and follower "FalseVoice" — have been the powerhouse of Western pop music and entertainment. So far, it's most unlike the local sleazy, camera-hogging characters who seem forever stuck with and stuck on Manny Pacquiao, especially post-Hatton, and the distasteful sweathogs associated with the sport and with legitimized betting.

So far, the honest-to-goodness earnings and praises heaped upon her have been from her overflowing talent, charisma and focus, and that she has kept her young head firmly in place.

After almost a month's worth of work and deadline beating, I just remembered again how good it feels to just free my mind. I consciously dedicated a well-deserved overnight of youtube-watching and tuned in to many of Charice Pempengco videos I previously indulged in more than 12 months ago after she first appeared on Ellen.

By the way, after a night's marathon, I realized that the common line thrown about since Charice's American debut on Ellen is that [a] Oprah discovered Charice on YouTube and [b] David Foster almost simultaneously with his family, after Charice appeared on Oprah, discovered her, too. It's sad that after Charice's string of successful mainstream apperances on American media, Ellen -- who flew Charice in to the US for her show for the first time in December 2007 -- is left unmentioned in the recent publicity rounds by David Foster.

Anyway, Charice looks like the best person to inspire our youth these days. She has, like Journey's Arnel Pineda, strove hard, stayed true to her craft and both maintained their dedication to performing their best. I hope Charice the best and if there was any one I'd be placing a bloody bet on with regards giving something back, and working hard with dignity and pride, it'll be on her.

Posting the Oprah performance for archive purposes.

Credits Note To God (143/Reprise Records) Digital download | 3:59 | Diane Warren, David Foster | Originally recorded 2006 by JoJo | Release Date: 18 May 2009 | Official video page | Video above from youtube user 'winnerschoice123' | Watch on Oprah | (Currently #3 on Itunes UK, #2 on Amazon Downloads) | [Crossposted blog]

Added 3:04pm

I had to zip in and out of this blog to squeeze in a presentation today. I'd like to add that in one of the videos I saw of Charice and David Foster (the Carousel of Hope 2008), he said Charice had only learned English three months prior to the event when "she really couldn't speak English".

I think this statement is unfair to Charice. She may not be articulate (or even talkative in front of big-name celebrities whom she comes face to face with), but almost everyone in the Philippines from all strata speaks English enough to be understood.

We are, after all, a former American colony with almost nary a trace of Spain's 400-year domination in our language. If Charice's packaging is something like an exotic tropical find, then it is no different from how the Filipinos were exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.

How can Charice "sing from the heart" as Celine Dion remarked, if she could not understand the lyrics to her songs? She is not an Antonio Banderas who was able to learn the script for the film Philadelphia (1993) phonetically. It's too much exoticism put on Charice who certainly spoke English good enough to express her thoughts when she appeared on Ellen in 2007.

David Foster must be so overwhelmed by Charice; otherwise, he must have cracked a joke I didn't quite get. However, his every mention of "from the Philippines...Charice!" at each introduction is commendable. Because of this, Charice has become our, uhm, unsung (and unofficial) entertainment ambassador.


A confession I should have posted during the Holy Week yet: Lambert/Iraheta. Allison Iraheta has been voted out and avid American Idol followers think her votes were split up between Danny Gokey and Kris Allen.

I love Adam Lambert from his Bohemian Rhapsody audition, and especially after he sang Believe. And then the other off-beat song selections in the weeks that followed showed his versatility.

I am not an American Idol show follower and so I can't say if Bohemian Rhapsody was ever sung as an audition by a finalist in the past seasons, but to choose it as an audition piece and be sung well is always a risk.

On the eve of the season's finale with only two finalists in the running  —  Adam Lambert and Kris Allen — the fans say that Danny Gokey's votes will most likely push Kris Allen's votes towards victory.

The idea is not remotely impossible. Adam Lambert is far too good, too independent, too risqué for the American pop music followers.

What I also like about Adam Lambert is how he so far has shown his adherence to the tenets of theatre without, as Randy Jackson always says, bordering on theatrical, meaning, perhaps, being wild and dramatic but shallow.

Although I hope he wins the competition, he surely could be out-voted.

And if Adam Lambert is out-voted, he certainly has left his mark, though not skid marks, but trails that have blazed the road and upped the ante on future auditionees, whether with theatrical background or not. I'm sure I'll see his album on the shelves as soon as the show is over.
-430 pm


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