Foster and friends’ advise

by Nickie Wang

Before American composer David Foster and friends that include Natalie Cole, Peter Cetera, Ruben Studdard, the Canadian Tenors, and Charice staged a sold-out concert at the Araneta Coliseum last Saturday, they met the local media in a press conference held at the Resorts World in Pasay City.

The press conference went smoothly although an hour later than the scheduled time. Members of the local press were early at the venue thinking that American performers would arrive on time and require the event to start as scheduled, but it was otherwise.

As soon as big muscled men wearing black shirt appeared and surrounded the area, Foster and friends started walking towards the panel table to signal that they are all set to answer questions. And seeing Charice on the panel table sitting beside foreign artists and guarded by intimidating bunch of security, anyone would finally believe that the Little Big Star third placer is indeed in the league of huge international star now.

Amid the successes and international stardom, all of the people seated alongside Charice in the presidential panel table only had one thing to say about the 18-year-old singer: she is a sweet person.

“Charice is one of the sweetest persons I’ve ever met so just don’t change,” initiated Studdard, the American Idol winner, “Continue being yourself and I think you’ll be around for years to come.”

We have read a lot praising the diminutive diva about her down to earth attitude but we have no real encounter of Charice except when she was just starting to be recognized as a teenager with a big voice and a YouTube sensation, thanks to Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey. Now, coming up to “Pyramid” singer means being surrounded as well by bulky men (estimating your every move) you only see when Hollywood stars arrive in the country.

At the event, Charice was sporting her signature eyeglasses; the same kind that she wore in the first episode of the Fox hit musical TV series Glee. But before the event commenced, the program host reminded everyone that we cannot ask Charice anything pertinent to Glee. Obediently enough, everybody focused on the concert and to the good things they could say about each other and to the Filipina singer, of course.

“Show up, be on time, and be in tune,” was the short message of Cetera, who is known for countless music hits and for being a former member of the rock band, Chicago.

Jazz singer Natalie, who grew up in the shadow of her father, music icon Nat King Cole, gave Charice a different message:

“As a woman, and an artist as well, the best advice I could give you is to save your voice and leave some to yourself (because you will be surrounded by a lot of male folks in the business).”

One of the Canadian Tenors who said that the quartet has been around with Charice for almost a year now, beamed, “You have this phenomenal instrument and talent, you can take care of your voice by taking some rest but what people like about you is your being so sweet and it is so real. We just love that.”

Meanwhile, hitman Foster has nothing but praises for the young singer. The composer reiterated that he is only attracted to great singers [period], and Charice is in that level.

“Young women need some kind of a male role model. Charice has a great mother, Raquel, and a great brother, Carl. But in the male department, she’s coming up a bit short,” said Foster, “So I act a bit of a godfather to her when I give her advices.”

A Grammy for Charice

Fifteen-time Grammy Award winner Foster sees Charice taking home a Grammy plum. He said that if she can’t get it this year, she will get it next year.

“She’s getting a first-class Harvard education right in front of your eyes. I will continue working until she becomes the first true Asian world superstar,” the American composer assured.

Foster was also glad to announce that Charice received a gold record award in their recent stopover in Japan.  After the Manila tour, Foster and friends headed to Thailand, then to Indonesia and Singapore.

The new Mara Clara

Watching Mara Clara is a bit of nostalgia most especially to those who grew hating the ill-mannered brat played by Gladys Reyes and feeling for the deprived daughter played by Judy Ann Santos. The original version had 1209 episodes and ran from 1992 to 1996. As we know, it was highly successful that it was even adapted into a film on the same year it ended.

In the original version, the real identity of the lead characters is recorded in a diary kept by a hospital staff named Kardo (Dan Fernandez). In the new version, however, Kardo (Ping Medina) now plays brother to the main male antagonist Gary (Jhong Hilario).

Kardo, who is still a hospital staff, follows the order of Gary to kidnap the daughter of his former lover Almira (Dimples Romana). Apparently, Gary’s wife Susan (Mylene Dizon) is also at the hospital because she gives birth to their first child Mara. While Gary and Kardo are planning the kidnapping, the first is spotted by the police officers who have been searching for him due to a drug related case. So instead of taking Clara out of the nursery, Kardo decides to have Mara and Clara switched. So there, that’s the new version.

In its pilot episode, if one was keen enough to notice, there was a flashback in 1993 that narrated Gary and Almira’s first encounters. But in the hospital where the baby witching occurred, Bobby Andrews who plays the good-natured Amante was seen holding a mobile phone while walking on the corridor. If Mara and Clara were born, let us say five or six years after Gary and Almira first met, we could assume that the switching at the nursery took place at around 1998 or 1999 perhaps. So why Amante holds a mobile phone that resembles the one we are using right now when in fact the only popular cellular phone during that time was a Nokia 5110 (talk about time frame)? Could this mean that we are expecting more inconsistencies in the series?

Happy ending

The new Mara Clara reflects the quality of scriptwriters televisions have today. First, they lack attention to details. Second, they only have one way to end their scripts: there will be a kidnapping incident, someone will die, there will be forgiveness, and then the series will bid its viewers goodbye with a wedding scene. This holds true both in Kapamilya and Kapuso stations, and as TV 5 launches its first television series, we doubt if it would be any different.

Local viewers have gone immune with the kind of series and soap operas shown on television. Before, they were bombarded with localized versions of Korean drama, and with the serialized versions of classic films. Now, they are still offered with recycled stories. Television is not only there to entertain, it should also educate and empower viewers. But with the kind of programs leading station provide, it is the same to say that their viewers are not sophisticated enough to be treated with well-crafted show and programs.

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