Mau gets a standing ovation

MANILA, Philippines - Mau Marcelo, the country’s representative in the first “Asian Idol” singing competition, got a standing ovation after her initial performance of “Ako ang Nagwagi” and “Reach.”

This was according to Lizza Nakpil, manager of the Filipino rock band Rivermaya, who’s guesting in the regional tilt ongoing in Jakarta, Indonesia, and which winds up tonight.

“She blew everyone away. They think she’s amazing,” Nakpil, who’s in Jakarta, told Inquirer Entertainment via SMS on Friday.

Leading the ovation was Indian judge, Anu Malik, a popular Bollywood musical director, said Sandra Chavez, Marcelo’s manager.

On the “Asian Idol” web site, Indonesian bet Mike Mohede said of Mau: “She’s extraordinary. She sings as if she’s … one of God’s masterpieces in heaven.”

The “Asian Idol” advertisements on Indonesian TV network RCTI dubbed Marcelo as the “Queen of Competitions,” alluding to the fact that she had previously topped countless amateur singing contests, “from Lucena to Batangas” when she was a teener.


Prior to her trip to Jakarta, Marcelo attended workshops under stage director Freddie Santos and voice teacher Zebedee Zuñiga for almost a month.

Santos recalled that Marcelo had been “studious.”

“She was totally committed to the [workshop program],” which combines the “best techniques for pop and stage singing,” Santos explained.

And although the program wasn’t meant as a weight-loss regimen, “Mau lost seven pounds in two weeks,” Santos quipped.

Zuñiga, who worked with Marcelo during the “Philippine Idol” run on ABC 5 last year, told the Inquirer that he had given the RP bet “basic skills” in classical and pop music.

“One is placement,” he said. “That would help her reach high notes effortlessly.”

Zuñiga described Marcelo “as painfully shy.”

‘A true mezzo-soprano’

Marcelo’s voice is her biggest asset, Santos and Zuñiga agreed.

Santos described Marcelo as “a true mezzo-soprano, with a wide range and powerful resonance. Very few singers have warm head tones—Mau doesn’t screech or wail.”

Santos said he gave Marcelo one tip: “Just sing for and not sing to the audience.”

The Rivermaya band, with its new vocalist Jayson Fernandez, is another Pinoy talent that’s raring to rock Jakarta on the “Asian Idol” finals tonight, to be aired via satellite on ABC 5, from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight.

Other guest performers include “American Idol” Taylor Hicks and “Australian Idol” Guy Sebastian.



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