Charice Pempengco on Oprah – Good? Or a Good Imitation?

by Leonard

By now, you’ve already heard of the pint-sized powerhouse singer who guested on Oprah Winfrey. Charice Pempengco travelled all the way from the ‘Pines to perform on the world’s powerful woman’s TV show. She was already getting buzz in different countries and most recently on Ellen when she got the call from “Stedman’s boss” to come on the show.

Undoubtedly, she’s a powerful performer. She’s got the pipes of a Whitney or a Mariah for sure and at times sounds exactly like them. She’s got the diction, no trace of a Filipino accent and even the vocal acrobatics that call to mind church on Sunday — well, an African-American church on Sunday.

If you watch Pinoy Idol, you might see that the majority of the singers belt out their tunes in styles reminiscient of black singers like Whitney, Alicia Keys or Beyonce. These contestants have the rolls, the dips the growls and the diction that shouldn’t ever give away the fact that they are from places like Cebu City, Tarlac or Zamboanga — unfortunately its the accent that gives them away. And why shouldn’t it? Isn’t it OK for Filipinos to HAVE Filipino accents? Even when they are singing?


(by the way, they LOVED her.)


Charice Pempengco is so good because “you can’t tell she’s Filipino” if you hear her voice. You would think she’s a 40 year old black woman. Is this talent, or a circus attraction?

So is she good? Or is it just another case of Filipinos being really good at imitation?

What’s the meter stick by which we evaluate Filipino talent? What’s it based on? Are there aspects of certain cultures that we gravitate to more than others? Are we imitators? What is real Filipino talent?

What do you think?


Anyway, no one beats this guy.


~ by Leonard on May 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “Charice Pempengco on Oprah – Good? Or a Good Imitation?”

  1. I hope this girl goes far… she’s got this awe-inducing voice that inspires.. and I hope she matures into an original performer in her own right, as opposed to doing amazing impressions of already talented singers.

    I look forward to seeing this girl’s star rise. And kudos for making both Ellen Degeneres and Oprah cry. If you can authentically move star-weary talk show hosts…. that’s an amazing feat.

  2. Charice, is not only good. She is unbelievable! The fact that she can emulate her idols to such perfection and in her own style is talent at its finest. This shows that she has the ability to change her voice to a particular tone if the song demands it. This is what one calls versatility and not many singers are capable of doing this. In fact, I really do not know of any other singer that can accomplish such vocal acrobatics – lol. This versatility allows her to sing songs of all genres, be it jazz, rock, pop or even rap.

    From my perspective however, what defines Charice is not only her singing, but her ability to bring a particular personality, passion and feeling to each and every song that she sings. In essence, unlike the common imitator (who just sings by mimicking the voice of the original singer) Charice seems to adapt herself to her songs, both on an emotional and physical level. In essence, she becomes one with the song. This is undeniable talent and cannot be compared with those who just imitate.

    The other factor you already mentioned. She does not sing with an accent. If one wants to make it in the North American market, they must be able to lose the accent. Singers like Celine Dione are the few exceptions to the rule.

    Charice, is the total package and then some. To qualify her abilities on the same level as that of the common imitator is not only wrong, but, down right ridiculous. The latter would be like comparing apples and oranges.

    Charice, is talent personified. Imitators are just copycats.

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