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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Focus on the Philippines: Cafeteria lady impresses on X Factor UK

Plus: Filipino singer Juris Fernandez returning to Dubai; Angelica Hale prepares for America’s Got Talent semifinal; trailer out for Filipino film about Duterte’s drug war

Gaga Lord on The X Factor UK. Courtesy ITV
Gaga Lord on The X Factor UK. Courtesy ITV

The audition of a 40-year-old cafeteria lady, who performs with the stage name Gaga Lord, was one of the highlights of the premiere episode of The X Factor UK, which returned on television this week for its 14th season.

Originally from the Philippines, Gaga Lord performed a cover of Diamonds Are Forever, sung by Shirley Bassey for the seventh James Bond film in 1971. She earned rave reviews from the entire judging panel, comprised of Nicole Scherzinger, Alesha Dixon, Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell.

“That was amazing. You are fantastic. I love you, I absolutely love you,” said Cowell.

Walsh added: “You got a powerful voice — and you’re fun.”

Midway through her audition, Gaga Lord was interrupted by Cowell, who requested

Scherzinger and Dixon to join the performance as back-up Bond girls.

Later, Dixon told Gaga Lord, “You’re a force of nature. You’ve got an amazing energy.”

Scherzinger praised: “You have a really big voice. It’s really robust.”

Gaga Lord works as a cafeteria lady in a primary school. She was accompanied to her audition by her English husband.

“I married my husband, Chris Lord, so now I’m called Gaga Lord,” she explained, without revealing her real name.

Gaga Lord has now advanced to the reality singing programme’s next round of competition, known as the bootcamp, where the roster of successful contestants will be whittled down to about 60 contenders.

During last year’s edition of The X Factor UK, Dubai-based Filipino singer Ivy Grace Paredes made it to the show’s top 24 round. In 2015, Filipino sisters 4th Impact auditioned for season 12 and finished in fifth place.

Singer Juris Fernandez returning to Dubai

Filipino singer-songwriter Juris Fernandez is coming to Dubai for a show on September 29 at Club 7, Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel. She will be accompanied on stage by musical director and instrumentalist Francis Concio.

“To my countrymen in Dubai, I hope to see you on September 29, 2017,” she posted on social media.

Fernandez, 29, rose to fame as the former lead singer of the acoustic group MYMP from 2003 to 2009. She has since released three chart-topping solo albums.

Her show, titled Juris: A Love to Last, will be Fernandez’s fourth visit to Dubai, following concerts in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Tickets, priced at Dh100, can be purchased by calling 054 760 6857 or 056 692 9781.

Angelica Hale prepares for America’s Got Talent semifinal

Nine-year-old Filipino-American singer Angelica Hale will be competing for a spot in the final of America’s Got Talent. On Tuesday, she posted on Facebook a video message for her fans, saying: “I have some great news. I’m gonna be performing next week on AGT. Yes! Yes, I am! I’m just so excited and I can’t wait for you to see what I’m gonna perform next.”

During her quarterfinal round performance, which aired on August 15, Hale covered Clarity, the hit track by Russian-German electronic dance music producer Zedd and British singer Foxes. Her rendition received a standing ovation from the show’s judges, comprised of Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell, who called Hale a “very, very special girl”.

She was then voted in by the show’s viewers to the semifinal, which will feature the 22 remaining acts, including frontrunners Darci Lynne Farmer, a 12-year-old singing ventriloquist and Chase Goehring, a 21-year-old singer. Hale is the youngest contestant remaining in the competition.

America’s Got Talent, presented by Tyra Banks, is now on its 12th season.

Trailer out for Filipino film about Duterte’s drug war

Filipino director Adolfo Alix Jr has released the official trailer of his much-awaited new feature film titled Madilim ang Gabi (Dark is the Night), which tells the story of a couple caught in the crossfire of President Rodrigo Duterte’s extra-judicial war on drugs when their son goes missing.

The trailer opens with an audio excerpt from one of Duterte’s early speeches about his campaign against drugs: “I’ll be frank with you. During my term, I’ll eradicate our drug problem. I plead to you — do not involve yourself there, because I’ll kill you.”

The government’s drug war, which Duterte initiated upon his election to the presidency in last year, has resulted to over 5,600 deaths that occurred during police operations.

Dark is the Night is set to premiere at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival, which runs until September 17. Selected for the festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section, it stars an ensemble of veteran Filipino actors led by Gina Alajar, Phillip Salvador, Anita Linda, Elizabeth Oropesa, Cherry Pie Picache and Angel Aquino.

“One of the Philippines' most adventurous independent filmmakers returns to the Festival with an immediate, relevant work,” wrote Steve Gravestock on the festival’s programme.

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Read more:

Focus on the Philippines: Filipino singers compete for Simon Fuller’s global pop group

Focus on the Philippines: Kris Aquino confirmed to join Crazy Rich Asians film

Philippine mayor accused of drugs trafficking shot dead by police

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