After Maria Aragon and Thia Megia made waves on the international music scene, another Filipino kid is inching her way to be a global phenomenon. Her name is Arisxandra Libantino.
Nine-year-old Arisxandra, whose parents Elma and Aristotle are originally from Llanera, Nueva Ecija, awed the judges of Britain’s Got Talent in an episode taped at the Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre on April 13. The young kid performed “And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going,” a torch song from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, as her audition piece.
At first, Arisxandra seemed very timid. Her voice was barely audible when the BGT judges David Hasselhoff, Michael McIntyre, and Amanda Holden were asking for her name and the talent that she would showcase. She was even persuaded to go onstage by her parents when the little kid felt reluctant to face the judges and the audience. But as soon as she belted out the famous song the judges were blown away and gave the Filipino kid a standing ovation.
“Are you really nine years old? You are so sweet. You came out…You owned that song…You channelled the diva,” the former Baywatch star raved and added, “You are the best singer we have had on the show.”
“It is like you channelled some [other] voice from somewhere. You have the biggest set of lungs ever for someone so small. I can’t believe it. I thought you were going to sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ You are a little diva in the making, “the female judge commented.
As precocious kid, Arisxandra started singing at age four. According to her parents she practices in front of the mirror.
Arisxandra’s got talent
Here in the Philippines, we often see or hear young kids belting incredibly difficult songs during fiestas, special gatherings or even on a lazy Sunday afternoon when relatives meet in one house and opt for a kind of entertainment only family members can provide. Thanks to the advent of karaoke and the magic mic.
Arisxandra’s talent is not really new to us. We have hundreds of young girls who look up to the likes of Regine Velasquez, Sarah Geronimo, and Charice who have exhibited a kind of singing using sheer lung power. Some people no longer call it singing because these singers seem to just belt out a tune to impress their audience. Okay they can hit those very high notes. But how do we really measure a good singer?
Being a great singer doesn’t always mean having a powerful voice. Although most local singers believe otherwise, one can sing calmly and still be a great singer. It’s a matter of singing coherent notes. And only intelligent singers can do that, which we rarely have here in the Philippines.
Going back to Arisxandra’s talent, we are not sure if that will take her through the finals of the popular talent search in the United Kingdom. At this early stage, amid all the media hype, her newfound fame is being criticized.
When the young singer’s story was published in the major news sites in Britain, negative comments flooded the story saying that the kid is just another young wannabe the show is building up to get all the media attention. She is even compared to 2007 BGT finalist Connie Talbot who is now a recording artist (she became famous for singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”).
The negative comments range from her inability to control her voice to her going out of tune most of the time. It was something that Hasselhoff, McIntyre, and Holden missed out, due to an obvious fact—they are not great singers at all.
Most viewers were not impressed by Arisxandra’s kind of singing, so to speak. We all know that her fate in the BGT is going to be decided by the voting public. Her chances are bleak, in fact. In the history of BGT, apart from opera singer Paul Potts, no other singer was able to take home the grand prize. Nonetheless, Arisxandra is still and definitely a Filipino pride. She has the aptitude for singing. She can still train and sound ultimately great.
Jericho’s Hollywood dream
Finally, Echo’s first Hollywood film will see its premiere. It was in 2008 when the Kapamilya actor was ecstatic to announce that he got the lead part in an independently produced movie that also has in the cast Fil-Am actors Dean Cain (Lois and Clark), Dante Basco (Hook), and Briana Evigan (Step Up 2) and Kristin Bauer (True Blood).
Echo will be in California to attend the Newport Beach International Film Festival on April 30. The Kapamilya actor is invited to the film event because Subject: I Love You is one of the films that will be screened.
The event will also be the first international screening of the movie inspired by the I-Love-You virus that crippled the security system of top government agencies, firms, banks, and web companies in the United States in 2000.
In the movie, Jericho plays a Filipino computer hacker suspected of authoring the destructive virus.
“It was just amazing. The editing is different compared to what we do here. It’s my dream… seeing myself in that quality of film,” shares Rosales.
According to the 30-year-old actor, he had an incredible experience while shooting the film. He got surprised when during their shoot he had his own trailer van and everybody worked professionally.
“I work(ed) for 12 hours. We work(ed) on time. They were super professional. I really felt like an actor, they call(ed) me Mr. Rosales,” he adds.
Because of that experience, Echo revealed that he is now aiming to be a filmmaker. He said that he plans to study abroad before the end of the year.
“I realized I have skills in directing. I directed a couple of music videos, very simple ones. I want to explore more so I want to go to New York and to study there,” he says.