Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Focus on the Philippines: Alisah Bonaobra returns to X Factor UK as wildcard

Plus: James Reid nominated for MTV Europe Music Award and beauty queen Maxine Medina launches film career

Alisah Bonaobra. Courtesy ITV
Alisah Bonaobra. Courtesy ITV

Filipino contestant Alisah Bonaobra made a triumphant comeback on The X Factor UK this week.

Bonaobra was eliminated last week during a round called “judges’ houses”, where the remaining 24 contestants fought for a spot on the live shows.

Each of the four judges — Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne — could select only three acts each to advance in the competition. Osbourne, who is mentoring the girls category this season, did not select Bonaobra as one of her finalists.

But Bonaobra, along with three other eliminated contestants, returned to the competition as wildcards after receiving the most votes from the show’s viewers.

“My mom told me, ‘If you believe in yourself, the people around will also believe in you.’ Now, I’m a wildcard,” said a beaming Bonaobra before her performance of Jordan Sparks’s track This Is My Now. The 22-year-old received a standing ovation from the judges and the live audience.

Walsh told Bonaobra, “That song is absolutely perfect for you because this is your now and you deserve to be back on the show. It’s almost like a winner’s song. I love the power ballad with a key change from a great singer. You are a great singer and a great performer. You got great soul.”

Scherzinger, who has been Bonaobra’s biggest advocate in the panel, praised: “You are my little Disney warrior princess. You just karate-chopped all through that song. But you did it with grace, with poise, with strength. I freaking adore you. I look at you and I’m like, that’s my little ninja Filipina sister up there.”

Scherzinger was born and raised in Hawaii by her Filipino father and Hawaiian-Ukrainian mother.

Osbourne added, “With a voice like yours, you are going to be here until the end. I am so happy for you.”

After a day of public voting, presenter Dermot O’Leary revealed that singers Talia Dean and Spencer Sutherland received the lowest votes and were eliminated from the programme. Fourteen acts remain in the competition.

Cowell missed both the Saturday and Sunday live shows of The X Factor UK as he is recovering from falling down a flight of stairs last week. English singer Alesha Dixon filled in as a guest judge.

Bonaobra flew to London last summer to audition for The X Factor UK, which now welcomes contestants from around the world. She previously appeared on The Voice of the Philippines in 2015, finishing as the runner-up of the competition.

James Reid nominated for MTV Europe Music Award

Filipino actor and singer James Reid has been nominated for the Best Southeast Asia Act award at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA), which will be held in London on November 12.

Reid is competing against Indonesia’s Isyana Sarasvati, Malaysia’s Faizal Tahir, Vietnam’s Dam Vinh Hung, Singapore’s The Sam Willows and two Thailand acts: Palitchoke Ayanaputra and Slot Machine.

Fans can vote for their favourite artists on www.mtvema.com. Reid was also nominated for the same award back in 2015.

The 24-year-old recently released his third studio album, titled Palm Dreams. The album features nine songs that Reid wrote and produced, including lead single Cool Down. He is currently shooting for a new film adaptation of Pedro Penduko, a popular Filipino comic book character.

Taylor Swift leads this year’s list of EMA nominees, with six nods. Shawn Mendes has five nominations, while Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheehan have four each. The ceremony will be hosted by singer Rita Ora.

Beauty queen Maxine Medina launches film career

Maxine Medina, who represented the Philippines at the Miss Universe pageant held in Manila last January, has signed a multi-picture deal with the Philippine production company OctoArts Films.

Medina, 27, will make her big-screen debut in director Joey Reyes’s new horror thriller Spirit of the Glass 2: The Haunted, which opens this week in the Philippines. The film also features Cristine Reyes, Benjamin Alves, Daniel Matsunaga and Enrico Cuenca.

Medina finished as one of the top six contestants at this year’s Miss Universe. Prior to joining the pageant, Medina worked as a professional model and interior designer.

In launching a film career, Medina follows the footsteps of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who has also filmed her first feature movie, a yet-to-be-titled superhero flick directed by veteran filmmaker Joyce Bernal. Wurtzbach has also made multiple appearances on local and international television programmes this year. Back in March, she appeared in the music video for the Lebanese-Canadian singer Massari’s R&B single, titled So Long.


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Updated: November 2, 2017 04:42 PM