Ramiele, the Pinoy Idol

If you haven’t heard about Ramiele Malubay yet, you will very, very soon. And she’s not going to be sprung on you as a surprise witness in any Senate investigation, thank God.

Ramiele is a 20-year-old Filipino-American singing sensation from Miramar, Florida who has been chosen to the final 24 of the top-rated US television singing competition “American Idol.” And if you don’t follow “AI,” now on its seventh season and the highest-rating show in the US after the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, then perhaps it’s time you hit YouTube and watch Ramiele. (No YouTube? Can’t help you.)

Ramiele’s dream is to become the first singer of Asian ancestry to become Idol, a goal was almost achieved by another Fil-Am, Jasmine Trias of Hawaii, who ended up third in the third season of AI four years ago. (Sorry, the efforts of William Hung, the Chinese-American University of California student who became a dubious AI celebrity after his rollicking, off-key rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” in the same season, don’t count.)

Judging from the preliminary reviews of the first presentation of the final 12 on the girls’ side (there are 12 young men who also made the top 24), Ramiele’s dream isn’t too far off from reality. Of course, given that the winners are chosen through a telephone poll that counts votes made to a toll number in the US, anything’s possible.

It’s no surprise that Ramiele’s own idols are black American diva Aretha Franklin and homegrown Pinay talents Lani Misalucha and Regine Velasquez. Ramiele’s voice surprises by its sheer power, maturity and depth of feeling, coming as it does from such a small, young package—especially since her speaking voice and mannerisms, during the AI interviews, are much more suitable for a young woman just out of her teens.

Watch Ramiele’s first encounter with judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell and you’ll see what I mean. While Cowell was just being Cowell when he voted down Ramiele, Abdul and Jackson were obviously blown away by Ramiele’s abbreviated version of one of Aretha’s signature songs, the anthemic “A Natural Woman.” In another, she breaks into a spine-tingling rendition of Regine’s “Narito Ako.” Awesome, as they say Stateside.

In fact, watching interviews of Ramiele for the show, two things strike the viewer immediately: While she sounds just like a young American girl, she obviously grew up in a tightly-knit Filipino-American family. Thus, her references to balut and how she started singing karaoke at some big Fil-Am gathering in Florida.

In her MySpace Music blog (www.myspace/ramiele), here’s what Ramiele says about herself, complete with the SMS-style punctuation and capitalization: “Dear People, Hi, Im Ramiele. I’m 19 (but I dont act like it). I ‘m single. I have a sister and she’s the acoustic to the songs you hear. We’re the illest pinay rappers of life. Thank you. Enjoy. pOts and pAns BlitChes fcUk wId It!”

The site is important because viewers get treated to stripped-down covers performed by Ramiele, before she was discovered by AI. And, in all likelihood, before she becomes a singing star even bigger than anyone from this country who went before her.

source: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=jojoRobles_feb22_2008


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