The world is at her feet and Charice Pempengco lives in the hearts of her kababayans.
After Sunshine Corazon's Glee debut that brought her accolades even beyond Hollywood, Charice made Filipinos proud once more last Saturday, October 23.
During the concert Hitman, the international singing sensation who calls David Foster her mentor, became the scene stealer among the latter's entourage of big-league performers—American singers Natalie Cole and Peter Cetera, with America Idol Season 2 champion Rubben Studdard, and the up-and-coming vocal quartet Canadian Tenors.
When the lights dimmed 30 minutes past 8 p.m., the 10,000-strong crowd that packed the Araneta Coliseum held its breath in anticipation.
David Foster opened the show with "The Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire (For Just A Moment)" on the grand piano, with a five-piece accompaniment.
Throughout the almost three-hour concert, Foster never hid his amazement at the Filpino's innate musical talent. "I love this country! There's music everywhere you go!" he exclaimed, before expressing hopes of coming back next year for a possible Love Month gig.
SING-ALONG GALLERY. Reminiscent of the operatic pop vocal group Il Divo, the Canadian Tenors set off a string of well-applauded numbers via their soul-stirring, perfectly-blended cover of "The Prayer."
Natalie Cole displayed her versatility by rendering ballad pieces in jazz. Natalie Cole kicked off with "Fever," then shifted to mellow tunes with her '80's hit, "Miss you Like Crazy," before wrapping it up with a duet-thru-video with her most "Unforgettable" dad Nat King Cole.
It was at this point that Foster got his first taste of the Filipino yen to sing-along. He said he had never seen a whole gallery of people singing along with a performer except here in Manila.
"It's amazing," said the prolific songwriter responsible for a wide array of hit songs in the last three decades.
Rubben Studdard serenaded the audience with melodious pop rhythms, like "After the Love has Gone" and "I Swear."
Foster prodded Studdard to reveal his unique gift: compose and sing a new song in an instant.
Two volunteers from opposite sides of the VIP section, who both go by the nickname "George" (to Foster's amusement), tested Studdard's songsmith skills. The first Georgina provided "so many years," while her namesake offered "I'll be there for you, forever."
With Foster's piano setting the tone, the AI alumnus bedazzled the audience with fresh tunes carrying those lines, as if he had been singing them long ago.
PINOYS' MUSICALITY. Foster made good his promise to pick potential singers from the crowd who could keep him impressed for 30 seconds with their singing.