Charice: Pinoy Gleek
By ANA KRISTINE B. VALENZUELA
Published MOD Magazine December 2010
FROM being a runner-up in a local singing contest to becoming a YouTube sensation to being branded by Oprah Winfrey as the most talented girl in the world, and more recently, to landing a recurring role in the hit U.S. series Glee, Charice Pempengco, or simply Charice, definitely is this year's Top Headliner and thus our Cover Girl for this yearender.
Charice is one of the few Filipinos who have successfully broken through the international music scene. Her-self titled international album made its way to the Billboard Top 100, reaching number 10, while its carrier single, Pyramid, reached number 1 in the U.S. Billboard Dance/Club charts.
But her biggest break this year—possibly her whole career--was when she got the role of a foreign exchange student in season 2 of the Emmy-award winning series, Glee. The whole Philippines eagerly anticipated Glee's season 2 premiere, where their kababayan was set to make her debut. And Charice sure made them proud! As Sunshine Corazon, Charice held her own against the show's lead actress, Broadway star Lea Michele, who plays diva glee club member Rachel Berry, in their Telephone sing-off. And during her second number in the show—Sunshine's audition as a member of McKinley High's New Directions glee club--a cover of Beyonce's Listen, Charice did even better, showing off those powerful vocals. Her Glee appearance so made its mark that Sunshine Corazon even became the second trending topic on the microblogging site, Twitter when the episode aired. Her and Michele's cover of Telephone, a Beyonce and Lady Gaga original, also landed at number 28 on the U.S. Billboard charts, while Listen debuted at no. 38.
And to think that Charice's scoring the Glee gig was rocked by controversy at the beginning. Her Botox and Thermage procedure done by celebrity doctor Vicki Belo to prepare herself for her appearance in Glee caused a stir and even made international news. It even made Glee creator Ryan Murphy rewrite the scenes for Charice with the message, ‘It's important to love and embrace one's naturally round face as it is.'
Prior to guesting in Glee, Charice performing in gay clubs also raised a lot of eyebrows, with some saying it was inappropriate and unexpected for a young singer such as herself. Charice, however, clarified that this was the practice in the U.S. and the best way to promote Pyramid. Apart from that, her talent fee was criticized, as Charice was reportedly worth $100,000 per show. To this ,Charice told ABS-CBN.com: “I’ll be honest. I don’t think that it is that big. I mean I’m just starting. Maybe people are just taking into mind all my achievements, that’s why they’re saying that it is worth that much. As for me, I don’t even know what my talent fee is,” noting that her managers handle all her bookings.
Charice’s mother, Racquel, didn't go unscathed with controversies, with reports saying she was controlling her daughter’s money and career choices. Charice quickly dispelled these rumors, saying she was grateful to her mother. “Thank you for everything that you have done for us. I admire her so much, because I’m only her daughter but all these negative comments are being thrown directly at her. I’m hurt by all these, I can’t imagine what more it is for her. I really admire her courage and strength. Always remember that me and Carl (her brother) are always here for you,” Charice said over a live interview in The Buzz .
Instead of letting these issues get to her, Charice considers them as a source of strength. “It’s my greatest fear. At the same time, it also keeps me going, those people who try to pull me down. That is the hard part, when you are so happy with all that you have achieved and then all of a sudden there are negative issues. It is super-super painful, but for me it is also like a source of strength. If ever you see people who are jealous of you, then you should show them that you are positive, a lot more than they are,” Charice said.
In the meantime, she focuses more on her flourishing career and opening the doors of international music scene to other Asian, especially Filipino, artists. “Sa ngayon po, iniisip ko na lang na talagang nakadepende sa akin na kailangang ipakita ko kung ano ang talent ng Pinoy. Iniisip ko na nagiging strength ko na mas lalo ko pang galingan para maipakita sa ibang mga lahi na meron din dito sa Asia na pwede ring international talaga,” she said.
THESE entertainment powerhouses have nothing but praises for Charice:
* “When that girl opens her mouth, angels fly out.” - Glee creator Ryan Murphy
* “You can smell the star on her.” – Ellen de Generes
* “In my opinion, she will put the whole of Asia on the map as a huge global superstar.” – David Foster
*“You are a force to reckon with. That voice comes from something bigger than yourself.” - Oprah Winfrey
STARS tweet their congrats to Charice (@officialcharice) on her Glee debut:
· @officialcharice Great job on Glee! Very happy that so many people will hear your beautiful voice. - Josh Groban (@joshgroban)
· I finally saw the season premiere of Glee. Oh, the drama, the drama! And @officialcharice ROCKED! Congrats! - Lea Salonga, (@MsLeaSalonga)
· Way to go @officialcharice! You make us all proud! Keep ‘em coming!! Pinoy pride baby! - Sam Concepcion (@sam_concepcion)
· I just saw the scene of Charice in Glee where she sang Listen. Oh my gosh. GOOSEBUMPS EVERYWHERE! I'm so proud of her! - Pauleen Luna (@pauleenJLuna)