Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco (born May 10, 1992), popularly known by the mononym Charice, is a Filipina singer who rose to instant fame and who was once dubbed by Oprah Winfrey as the Most Talented Girl in the World. Truly indeed she is, voice-wise, except that she has lately changed her looks into something that was simply ‘weird’ for her, at least in the eyes of her simple and lowly compatriots. “Packaging” is not at all bad if it brings in value-added benefits, which in Charise’s case, to her singing career.
She released her first international studio album Charice in 2010. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number-eight, making Charice the first Asian solo singer in history to land in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart (Wikipedia). This was proof that she was a songstress material until her packaging lately seems to have turned out a miscarriage in her singing career.
I will just have to be frank about it. This was no longer the Charice I admired and idolized. The once-upon-a-time dainty, demure and fairly innocuous-looking Filipina girl who can pull surprises when her golden voice starts to roll is no longer around. She was not only liked by Filipinos then but loved as well for that unassuming personality that spews awe and admiration the moment she flaunts her voice in a song.
Now, everything just seems to be different for Charice Pempengco. And the not-so-good-timing was she was sort of being compared to a rising star – 2012 American Idol first runner-up Jessica Sanchez, a Filipino-Mexican-American who traces her maternal roots from Bataan, Philippines.
This comparison seems to have been induced with green eyes expressed in sort of sarcastic tone as can be gleaned from a recent tweet by Charice’s manager Courtney Blooding:
“Why do the Philippines claim Jessica Sanchez? Jessica was born and raised in the US. I don’t THINK she speaks tagalog – which, to me, makes her true American. How many people in the US come from mixed cultural backgrounds? We are a melting pot. AND I just read that this concert is her first ever trip to the Philippines….isn’t a Filipino passport kind of a big indication of citizenship and a lack of one a big indication of no citizenship?”
“If only the people of the Philippines would stop looking elsewhere and focus on local things, maybe they could see the value of many of the great people and resources there. Many great things and people there. It’s just a group mentality that it’s not good enough. It’s kind of a turn off to a foreigner such as myself coz it can come across as ungrateful for the talent and resources God gave.”
Courtney Blooding might just be expressing something like “hey, you also have to look at my Charice.. she’s an equally good singer if not better than Jessica..” Unfortunately, it was not flaunted in beautiful admonition and so it came to most Filipinos like she’s just brandishing arrogance and envy.
My Facebook friend with the monicker “Reyna Elena” had this fitting reaction to this tweet by the Honorable Courtney Blooding:
“Holding a Filipino passport does not mean anything at all at being a Filipino. Being Filipino is in the heart, in the mind and in the actions combined that together brings value to Filipinos as a whole. Passport is just a piece of soft cardboard paper. It’s a legal piece of document that allows ones movement between countries. That’s all that it does. The magical power to translate the passport holder into a “Filipino” is non-existent.”
“And to repeat what you (Blooding) said: If only the people of the Philippines would stop looking elsewhere and focus on local things, maybe they could see the value of many of the great people and resources there”.
“In fact, we did. We saw your Charice. Filipinos in the Philippines and all over the world showered her with adulation when she was young and struggling, sweet and innocent. You are now witnessing the very same adulation that is being given to Jessica Sanchez. Back then, we were all (the 99 million Pinoys) Charice’s rah-rah and pom-pom boys and girls. She started rising beautifully and brightly. Finally, we say to ourselves, we’re proud that we will finally see an international singing star in our lifetime who is of Filipino ethnicity.”
“That said, you (Blooding) cannot shove your product and lecture us why we should buy your product. I don’t have to teach you how to make your product marketable and sellable. You are the manager. Work it baby. Make your product pleasing, lovable and likeable.”
“In fact, Charice is an epic failure in America. A big has-been that did not get there. The only song of her I heard on the radio was Pyramid. After which, she was history.”
“If I were you, I’ll check why Americans are so turned off at her.”
“Did you check your packaging of her lately? She annoys the hell out of us now. In fact, she now turned into a trying hard blond. An ugly blond to be precise.”
“An even if you ask her to carry 100 passports. That would not make her Filipino.
She’s not the Charice we know. She’s fake!”
This reaction from a Facebook friend of mine aptly portrayed what Charice’s manager might be charting for her: her own imminent demise. And a talented manager should have a good feel of that at the very first symptom.