Plus: Filipino contestant Sarah Bona wins Miss Nature Intercontinental pageant, while three Filipino-American teenagers part of revived Disney Mousketeers group
Focus on the Philippines: X Factor boy band JBK the next 4th Impact?
A Filipino boy band impressed the judges of The X Factor UK on this week’s episode of the reality singing programme. Joshua Bulot, Bryan del Rosario and Kim Lawrenz Ordonio — collectively known as JBK — flew from Manila to London to audition for the show, covering Sam Smith’s track Lay Me Down.
Their performance received praises from the entire judging panel, comprised of Sharon Osborne, Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh.
“It was good. I love your dedication — flying from the Philippines,” Walsh said.
Scherzinger, whose father is Filipino, told JBK: “You are making the Filipinos so proud right now.”
Cowell sealed the deal, informing the boy band that they will be advancing to the next round of competition. “Four yes-es,” he said, prompting Bulot, del Rosario and Ordonio to run out of the room screaming in joy.
On social media, JBK received support from their Filipino fans, who compared the group with 4th Impact, the Filipino sisters who joined The X Factor UK in 2015 and eventually finished in fifth place.
On their official Facebook page, JBK wrote: “We waited a long time for this and now we got a shot at our dreams. Honoured to be compared to 4th Impact and we hope to bring the Philippines as much pride as they did two years ago. We are humbly asking for everyone’s support.”
Another Filipino contestant flew to the UK to audition for the programme: Elysa Villareal, aka Elysa V, who is based in Sydney, Australia with her Filipino parents. Accompanied by her mother to her audition, Villareal covered Sax, the hit song of X Factor UK alumnae Fleur East.
The judges also sent Villareal to the next round of competition, known as the bootcamp, where the roster of successful contestants will be whittled down to about 60 contenders.
Villareal posted on social media: “Bootcamp here we come! Couldn’t believe I received a “yes!’ from all of the judges. God is so good! Proud to be Pinoy.”
Villareal is no stranger to reality talent shows, having appeared on The Voice Australia in 2015, The X Factor Australia in 2016 and Filipino singing contest Tawag ng Tanghalan (Call of the Stage) in 2017.
During last week’s premiere episode of The X Factor UK, a 40-year-old contestant named Gaga Lord — who is originally from the Philippines and now works as a cafeteria lady in the UK — earned raves from the judges with her cover of Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Forever.
Read more: Cafeteria lady impresses on X Factor UK
Filipino contestant wins Miss Nature Intercontinental pageant
Sarah Christine Bona, a 26-year-old contestant from the Philippines, won the first ever Miss Nature Intercontinental beauty pageant, held in Szczecin, Poland on September 9. The new pageant aims to “promote healthy living, ecology and ecological awareness”, according to a statement from Miss Nature Intercontinental.
“We may be the biggest threat, but we can also be its saviour,” Bona said during the competition’s question-and-answer round, when asked about caring for the world’s rainforests.
Slovakia’s Júlia Kokoruďová finished as the pageant’s first runner-up, while Bulgaria’s Miglena Nikolova was second runner-up. The competition’s top six candidates also included contestants from Belarus, Poland and the United States.
Bona is a nurse and caregiver from the central Philippine province of Camarines Sur. She competed in the Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) pageant in 2016.
Filipino-American teens part of new Disney Mousekeeters
More than 20 years after The Mickey Mouse Club — the song-and-dance programme that started the careers of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling — the Walt Disney Company is introducing a new class of Mouseketeers.
Disney’s new series, rebranded as Club Mickey Mouse, features eight rising musical stars, including three Filipino-American teenagers: 15-year-old Jenna Alvarez, 16-year-old Gabe de Guzman and 17-year-old Tessa Langston.
The rest of the group includes dancer Will Simmons, actress Brianna Mazzola, country singer Sean Oliu, Australian YouTube star Ky Baldwin and rapper Regan Aliyah.
Instead of broadcasting on television, Club Mickey Mouse will appear exclusively on Facebook and Instagram (@ClubMickeyMouse), where fans can follow the eight young stars as they record new music and learn choreography in the next seven weeks. They will be mentored by musician/choreographer Todrick Hall and social media star Alisha Marie.
The group’s theme song and music video was released on Tuesday, with more songs and performances expected to be uploaded weekly.