Tessa Prieto-Valdes beats Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. and Jessica Bunevacz in "Celebrity Duets"


Tessa Prieto-Valdes is the first winner of the reality singing competition Celebrity Duets which ended earlier tonight, October 20.


The Social Butterfly outperforms the Kilabot ng mga Kolehiyala and the Statuesque Beauty. Society figure and newspaper columnist Tessa Prieto-Valdes was always at the "bottom two" list of Celebrity Duets but she bested fellow contestants Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. and Jessica Rodriguez-Bunevacz in the grand finals of the GMA-7 reality singing competition held tonight, October 20.

The three finalists had two rounds of performances. For her first song, Tessa performed with Joey G. of Side A band for the song "True Colors," although she had some difficulty removing her black cape to reveal her bright pink gown underneath. For her final song, a noticeably hoarse Tessa went all out in singing joyfully with Kyla for the song "I'm Walking on Sunshine." Her backdrop consisted of a bright yellow sun bearing exceptionally long eyelashes, just like the Social Butterfly herself.

Dr. Vicki Belo's boyfriend, Hayden, did not disappoint his fans when he gave powerful numbers earlier tonight. He sang "How Far We've Come" with Jay Durias of South Border and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" with Verni Varga. Even though he did not win the competition, Hayden was psyched up to know the surprise gift that Dr. Belo prepared for him: He would have his own concert on December 4 at the Music Museum. "Tuloy na tuloy na ito hanggang sa magkaroon na ko ng sarili kong album," says an overwhelmed Hayden.

The judges were very vocal in saying that Jessica Rodriguez-Bunevacz had improved a lot since starting this musical journey on Celebrity Duets. The model-turned-enterpreneur sang "My Immortal" with Jaya for her first number and then "Like a Prayer" with Cacai Velasquez-Mitra for her final song.

For their grand finale, all the contestants sang "Boogie Wonderland" while wearing their all-white outfits with gold accents. Celebrity Duets hosts Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid announced that the contender who bagged the highest number of votes from the public was Tessa Prieto-Valdes.

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WIN FOR A CAUSE. "Did I win? Did I win? Oh my God, Akala ko natawag na naman ang bottom two," says a surprised Tessa. "From the very start, I pledged my win to all my charities. Sa lahat ng sumuporta...I know from the very start I can't sing but I love entertaining. I'd like to thank my family for coming..."

Spotted in the audience supporting Tessa were her mother Marixi Prieto and her sister Sandy Prieto-Romualdez. Tessa's husband Dennis Valdes and their youngest daughter, Athena, also watched the grand finals, which took place at the Studio 3 of GMA-7.

GMA-7 awarded the cash prize of one million pesos to the very vibrant Tessa, who was wearing a white flamboyant gown by Edwin Tan. The first Celebrity Duets winner announced her plans of giving P100,000 to the following groups: Street Pals Foundation, White Cross, Assumption Mission Schools, Auxiliary Missionaries of the Assumption, Gifts and Graces, Taguig Day Care Center, Angat Pinay, Philippine General Hospital Pediatrics Ward, and other groups that she had pre-selected.

SURPRISE GIFTS. Tessa's husband Dennis even had a special gift for her after winning the competition. "I was going to surprise her. Yung P1 million na ‘yan, may winners' tax na 20 percent. Ang makukuha niya, P800,000 na lang. Para mabuo uli yung P1 million, ako na lang magbabayad ng tax para lahat ng na-promise niya, mabibigyan niya lahat."

After the competition, Jessica was moved to tears by what she saw outside the GMA-7 building—a brand new black BMW X5. Her husband David Bunevacz had bought her the SUV for their seventh year anniversary, which they celebrated two days ago.

CELEBRITY DUETS PART 2? PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) also got the chance to ask Ms. Wilma Galvante, GMA-7's senior vice-president for entertainment, if there would be a second season for Celebrity Duets, her response was, "I hope so. But definitely not this year because of Philippine Idol."

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