The world is at her feet and Charice Pempengco lives in the hearts of her kababayans.
After Sunshine Corazon's Glee debut that brought her accolades beyond Hollywood, Charice made Filipinos proud once more last Saturday, October 23.
During the concert Hitman, the international singing sensation who calls David Foster her mentor, became the scene stealer at the latter's entourage of big-league performers—American singers Natalie Cole and Peter Cetera, with America Idol Season 2 champion Rubben Studdard and an up-and-coming vocal quartet called Canadian Tenors.
When the lights dimmed 30 minutes past 8:00 p.m., the 10,000-strong crowd that packed the Araneta Coliseum held their breath in anticipation.
David Foster opened the show with "The Love Theme from St. Elmo's Fire (For Just A Moment)" on the grand piano with a five-piece accompaniment.
Throughout the almost three-hour concert, Foster never hid his amazement at Filpino's innate musical talent "I love this country! There's music everywhere you go," he exclaimed before expressing hope to be back next year for a possible Love Month gig.
SING-ALONG GALLERY. Reminiscent of the operatic pop vocal group Il Divo, Canadian Tenors set off a string of well-applauded numbers via their soul-stirring, perfectly-blended cover of the "The Prayer."
Natalie Cole displayed her versatility by rendering ballad pieces in jazz. Cole kicked off with "Fever," then shifted to mellow with her '80's hit "Miss you Like Crazy," then wrapped it up with a duet-thru-video with her equally "Unforgettable" dad Nat King Cole.
It was at this point that Foster got his first taste of the Filipino yen to sing-along. He'd never seen a whole gallery of people singing along with a performer except here in Manila. "It's amazing," said the prolific songwriter responsible for a wide array of hit songs in the last three decades.
Rubben Studdard serenaded the audience with melodious pop rhythms, like "After the Love has Gone" and "I Swear."
Foster prodded Studdard to reveal his unique gift: compose and sing a new song in an instant.
Two volunteers from opposite sides of the VIP section, who both go by the nickname "George" (to Foster's amusement), tested Studdard's songsmith skills. The first Georgina provided "so many years," while her namesake offered "I'll be there for you, forever."
With Foster's piano setting the tone, the AI alumnus bedazzled the audience with fresh tunes carrying those lines, as if he had been singing them long ago.
PINOYS' MUSICALITY. Foster made good his promise to pick potential singers from the crowd who could impress him with a song for 30 seconds.
A lady named Maria and a trio, who rendered Charice's "Pyramid" in Destiny's Child's fashion, gave him a resounding preview of Pinoy musicality.
Foster then ran into Randy Santiago, who claimed he was just on his way to the restroom. With the crowd cheering him on, Randy gave in and sang "Wild Flower," betraying how he adores the music of this "Hitman."
When Foster went down again, people pointed to Pilita Corrales, whose "Dahil Sa Iyo" cover showcased why she became Asia's Queen of Song.
For the last showcase, Foster recognized another Philippine pride, Arnel Pineda, who was enjoying the show from the sidelines in his white T-shirt and jeans get-up until Foster literally dragged him onstage.
Arnel obliged with Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break," to the delight of his Filipino fans. As he prepared to hum the last few notes of the song, no less than Peter Cetera appeared out of nowhere to tease Arnel for stealing some spotlight from him.
Cetera brought the crowd down memory line with his yesteryears' hits, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," "You're the Inspiration," "Glory of Love," all of which were products of collaboration with Foster.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST. All sections, from VIP to the lower and upper boxes, up to the general admissions area, reserved their loudest cheers for the Philippine's "small but terrible" contribution to the world's musical stage.
Donned in shimmering hot pink dress, Oprah's girl rendered her all-time Celine Dion and Whitney Houston favorites with ease and finesse.
Her voice soared to hit jaw-dropping high pitches when needed, then effortlessly turned soft when the tune called for it .
When Charice belted the high notes of "All by Myself," the audience got completely lured into her zone and gave her a standing ovation, a no mean feat especially for the Pinoy audience.
Foster reminded Charice how she could be in the league of Celine Dion, Madonna, Toni Braxton, and the other ladies the award-winning producer worked with.
"Now I want you to remember something, please. You know that I've worked with Celine, Whitney, and Madonna, and Toni Braxton, Barbra Streisand...But you know, this girl, right here...This girl is right there in every one of them," he said.
The night was capped with an encore featuring Michael Jackson's "Earth Song," with the rest of the hitmakers joining Charice and Foster onstage.
David Foster's Hitman will surely go down music history as one of Manila's most memorable concerts in recent years.
Reposted From PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal)