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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Filipino sisters group 4th Power impress X Factor UK judges with first audition

The week in Philippine pop culture: Filipino sisters earn standing ovation on X Factor UK; 11-year-old belter wins The Voice Kids Philippines; Filipino cuisine cited in CNN poll as best in the world; overseas worker exits Pinoy Big Brother.
The band of sisters who call themselves 4th Power on The X Factor UK stage. Syco / Thames / Corbis
The band of sisters who call themselves 4th Power on The X Factor UK stage. Syco / Thames / Corbis

People all over the world will be watching closely for the progress of the four sisters from the Philippines, who wowed the judges of The X Factor UK during the premiere of the programme’s 12th season last weekend.

Calling themselves 4th Power, the sisters Almira, Irene, Mylene and Celina Cercado earned a standing ovation from the judges after their performance of the Jessie J/Nicki Minaj/Ariana Grande hit Bang Bang.

“In terms of first auditions, this is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen,” said Simon Cowell. “It’s like you’re monsters but like minute monsters,” said new judge Rita Ora, praising the sisters’ big voices despite their tiny frames. “This audition has changed your lives.” Nick Grimshaw, who is also new to the judging panel, and predicted that their audition will “blow up all around the world”.

Less than 24 hours after the show’s broadcast on Saturday, 4th Power’s performance was the most-watched video on X Factor’s YouTube channel, gathering close to a million views.

4th Power were unanimously advanced to the next round by the judges, who also included Cheryl ­Fernandez-Versini. Cowell told the girl group: “I always say we welcome talent from all over the world and you are incredibly welcome. You have the biggest four yeses we’ve ever given.”

The eldest of the Cercado sisters, 27-year-old Almira, said: “We are living our dreams. We just can’t believe it’s happening.” This is not the sisters’ first appearance on TV — they were on the Philippine variety show It’s Showtime in 2012 and the South Korean talent show Superstar K6 last year under the name M I C A.

There was controversy when it was later claimed that the band had been invited to ­appear on the show. This was denied by The X Factor producers, who said they entered through the normal channels and there were no rules preventing acts that had previously appeared on TV from competing.

Watch the video of their audition below

Eleven-year-old belter wins The Voice Kids Philippines

The eleven-year-old Elha Mae Nympha won The Voice Kids Philippines after receiving the most audience votes. Coached by ­rocker Bamboo Mañalac, Nympha drew the loudest cheers during the final round on Sunday after her pitch-perfect performance of Mariah Carey’s ­Emotions.

“This show is called The Voice, and I see a voice in front of me who deserves this,” Mañalac told her.

Nympha comes from a humble background — before entering the singing competition, she was selling the Filipino snack banana cue on the street. She plans to use her cash prize to set up a restaurant for her family.

Nympha received 42 per cent of the votes, beating second-placer, and early favourite, Reynan Dal-Anay, who garnered 32 per cent. Esang de Torres placed third, followed by Sassa Dagdag. This season marks Mañalac’s first win after four seasons of coaching on The Voice. Lea Salonga won the first edition in 2013, while Sarah Geronimo won the second ­edition and the first kids edition in 2014.

During the final show, the three celebrity ­coaches performed their first original collaboration, the song Sariling Awit Natin (Our Own Song). The finale also featured the four finalists performing alongside music superstars Sharon Cuneta, Gary Valenciano, Billy Crawford and Jed Madela.

Throughout its entire run, the latest season of The Voice Kids was the most- watched programme on Philippine ­television. Its final episode trended no 1 worldwide on Twitter.

Filipino cuisine cited in CNN poll as one of the best in the world

In an online poll, CNN asked readers to vote for their favourite culinary destination. The ­Philippines placed second, trailing behind Taiwan.

“Blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, there’s more to Filipino food than the mind-­boggling balut,” proclaimed CNN’s website, which also cited the ubiquitous Filipino dish, adobo. “It’s Mexican in origin, but Filipinos found that cooking meat in ­vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices was a practical way to preserve meat without ­refrigeration.”

Italy placed third on the poll, ­followed by five Asian destinations: Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and India.

Overseas worker exits Pinoy Big Brother

James Linao was eliminated from Pinoy Big Brother last ­weekend after receiving fewer audience votes than ­Filipino- British model Margo Midwinter, who was also nominated for ­eviction.

Midwinter earned 70 per cent of the total public votes, while Linao got the remaining 30 per cent.

Before joining the reality programme, the 30-year-old Linao was an overseas worker who had taken on jobs in various countries over the years. He made headlines last week after allegedly making sexist remarks on the show.

This week, four contestants are at risk of getting evicted after receiving the most nominations from their fellow contestants: baker Dawn Chang, Australia-based construction worker Philip Lampart, ­Japan- based factory employee Jyo Yokohama and Midwinter, who has been nominated for eviction by her housemates every week since they entered the Pinoy Big ­Brother house last month.

artslife@thenational.ae