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After impressing Gaga, Maria Aragon meets DeGeneres


The local music circuit is full of activity and every concert venue, big and small, is being flocked by music aficionados. But this is not the biggest news on the music scene.

Our apologies to Sam Concepcion who opened the sold out concert of Taylor Swift last Saturday and to Christian Bautista whose Romance Revisited album has just been bestowed with a quadruple platinum award.

Yet, a 10-year-old kid tops all these buzz from the local showbiz circle. Lady Gaga personally invited her to be with her on stage in a concert in March in Toronto.

After her web video singing Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” became a massive viral hit, 10-year-old Maria Aragon, that’s her name, graces the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

During her interview, Maria recalls how she uploaded on YouTube the video of her singing Lady Gaga‘s latest song.

The media attention has been overwhelming for Maria after the pop star had seen her rendition of the single “Born This Way” on YouTube.

“Not only do you have such a beautiful voice and you are so joyful to watch but…every once in a while, whether people believe it or not, I have a very bad day. And I was not having such a good day. And when Perez [Hilton] sent me the video of you singing I was so overjoyed that I began to cry,” Lady Gaga told Maria.

The singer, who is known for her over-the-top outfits, mentioned Maria’s video on her Twitter account. The video, which was posted on Feb. 16 had around 3,000 views prior to Gaga’s endorsement, has gone viral and received more than two million views in less than 24 hours, and almost six million in two days.

“Can’t stop crying watching this. This is why I make music. She is the future,” Gaga said in her tweet that also included the link to Maria’s video.

When Gaga asked the young kid to join her in the Toronto concert on March 3, the kid stammered saying thank you, she then covered her face and sobbed. Amid in tears, she was still able to belt the song “Born This Way” and had a duet with the “Telephone” and “Bad Romance” singer via phone patch.

Based on her YouTube channel, Maria was born and raised by Filipino parents in Canada. She cites Michael Jackson, Beyoncé Knowles, Alicia Keys, Yiruma, Michael Giacchino, and Lady GaGa as her musical influences. Sadly, the kid has never been to the Philippines.

My Valentine Girls a box-office hit

The title should be punctuated with a question mark but before we do that, let’s play a mental game and just answer the following statements true or false: Richard Gutierrez is the biggest and the brightest star of his generation, not to mention being the most effective actor on the big screen; Rhian Ramos, Solenn Heusaff, Lovi Poe, and Eugene Domingo are the most interesting female actors we have today; and My Valentine Girls is an outstanding movie with a phenomenal ticket sales of P135 million in just three days.

A report from the National Cinema Association of the Philippines said that Regal Films Valentine offering has breached the elusive 100-million-peso mark in just three days making it the biggest movie in the history of the Philippine Cinema. That means, it is set to break the record of Spider Man 3 that earned P236 million on its opening week. The third part of the Spider Man series is the biggest film exhibited in local theaters and the only movie to hit 400 million pesos after its closing date.

The reported numbers posted by My Valentine Girls is also set to challenge the John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo starrer You Changed My Life (a Star Cinema and Viva Film co-production) that is currently the highest-grossing local film with P240-million gross revenue.

Now, going back to My Valentine Girls supposedly box-office success, a lot of people doubt the veracity of the figures that first appeared on the scoopbox of Philippine Entertainment Portal. First, if you considered the statements mentioned above were false, then you are among those moviegoers who noticed that in major multiplexes, the Regal Films movie is shown only in one screen. Unlike in 2007 and 2009 when Spider Man and You Changed My Life were were exhibited in two to three screens and long queues were very visible. Thus, their box-office success was very obvious.

Then, if we are to look at the track record of the Kapuso network’s prized possession, his previous films did actually good at the tills but they weren’t any better than the said box-office performance of his current film. In Your Eyes with Claudine Barretto and Anne Curtis earned P160 million, while When I Met U and For the First Time, both with KC Concepcion, raked in P67 million and P134 million, respectively. Another notable movie of Richard is My Best Friend’s Girlfriend that earned P110 million after six weeks in the theaters. It also starred Marian Rivera.

You see, this is how Richard Gutierrez movies perform. Any significant change will definitely give us cob webs.

Lily Monteverde, the monarch of Regal, must be overjoyed because this means that My Valentine Girls can already make up for the investment she lost due to badly made movies that didn’t also earn.

“In these days, for a movie to make over P135 million in three days is a miracle,” Monteverde said adding that it is a divine intervention (indeed).

Going back to the statements above, I am confident on the abilities of these actors to persuade moviegoers to flock to the theaters, what I don’t really trust is the report by a certain Ric Camaligan of the National Cinema Association of the Philippines.

According to third party tabulator Box Office Mojo, a subsidiary of Internet Movie Database, My Valentine Girls raked in P17.51 million from Feb. 9 to 13. So there, what’s the point of having a victory party then, Mother Lily?

Simple adventure

Two weeks ago, I was invited by Enchanted Kingdom to join its first media Kart Racing challenge. Around 15 members of the tri-media participated in. We were initially grouped into three and the eight participants with the best time during the first round made it to the finals. I was lucky enough to be one of the eight to reach the final round, and I must say it was an “accelerating” experience.

It’s good to note that it was a friendly competition and a great time to meet some media friends who are speed devils. The race was held at the kart racing facility of EK in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It has a 600-meter kart track that was built according to international standards for performance and safety by Carmona Racing Circuit.

Before the race commenced, we were mentored by experienced kart racers who gave expert advice on how to finish the race and on how to avoid hitting the barricades.

My verdict, the karts are easy to handle (drive), and by following the instructions of the experienced ones, nothing would go wrong. Even an eight year-old kid can safely drive the miniature cars that are equipped with just the right acceleration and horsepower, according to its officials.

The competition was in line with launch of eight new karts that became readily available to the public right after the media event. After the race, a concert was held right at the center of the theme park (Band Stand). I learned that EK was also staging the second edition of the Hug-a-Palooza Festival on that day. Among the bands that performed were The Bloomfields, Tanya Markova, and Urban Dub.

2 thoughts on “After impressing Gaga, Maria Aragon meets DeGeneres

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