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Emmie Joaquin    Proud to be Pinoy and a Canuck, too

Pinoy Pop Star 2010 is now reaching its climax. Yes, on March 23rd we will know who among the 14 finalists will win the title of Pinoy Pop Star Grand Champion and the $2000 cash prize.

In the recently held semi-finals, 52 singers from our community courageously took to the stage and showed their artistry to the sold-out audience at the Jaguars Dance Club. They are amateur singers – with some more amateur than the others. I said “courageously” because for some of the contestants, it was probably their first time ever to sing on stage in front of a board of judges and a live audience. Some took to the stage seriously like pros while a few visibly froze.

Originally, we wanted 12 finalists but the scores were so very, very close that the judges had to deliberate longer than expected during the tabulation. In the end, they decided, there would be 14 instead of 12.


One of our goals when we first launched this project was to discover singing talents among the members of our Filipino community in Winnipeg. With the support of the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation, another of our major goals – to provide an exciting venue where our local singers could hone and showcase their talent – was achieved. We saw the 52 semi-finalists at the Jaguars Dance Club at the Club Regent Casino, and the 14 finalists will enjoy the full production and technical support of the main stage at the McPhillips Station Casino.

In this year’s Pinoy Pop Star, we have the privilege of having as one of our artistic consultants, Ms Anita Lubosch. Anita has had extensive experience singing lead vocals, playing guitar and keyboards in professional rock bands, working in recording studios before moving into film and television production. Anita will be conducting a performance workshop for all 14 finalists prior to the Grand Finals. The Grand Finals will definitely be one great show to watch. So, don’t miss it.

Maraming Salamat po!

Pilipino Express wishes to thank all the singers who shared their talents in the semi-finals phase of the competition and encourage them all to enter next year. So many more deserved to move on to the Grand Finals but only a limited number could be chosen.

We also want to thank Manitoba Lotteries and the staff of Jaguars Dance Club at the Club Regent Casino for their support and help in making the semi-finals a success. Thanks also to our generous sponsors: Horizon Eye Care, Jejomar Bake Shop, Sun Life Financial, U-Mac Express Cargo, Vigcor Music Studio, Weston Bakeries and Young’s Food Stores.

To our judges who spent their precious time auditioning the semi-finalists for three solid days in January; and to our semi-finals’ judges who had the most difficult task of trimming down the number from 52 contestants to 14 finalists, thank you.

One of the highlights of the second night was the special production number rendered by the very pretty Jessica Viray with her back-up dancers Talia Kibsey and Danielle Briol. Gino Yso and Jesse James Baris also provided a great performance while the judges scores where being tabulated. Thanks to these young Filipino-Canadian local talents.

Thanks also go out to the Pinoy Pop Star production team and volunteers for their hard work. And of course, we thank everyone who came out to watch and support Pinoy Pop Star Semi-finals.

See you all at the Grand Finals, March 23, on the main stage of the McPhillips Station Casino.

Proud to be Canadian

In this issue of Pilipino Express, we are very proud to be able to give you a personal glimpse of the Winter Olympics. Our columnist, Alona Mercado, was in Vancouver together with her siblings and she generously shares with us her Olympics story.

In past Olympics, whether summer or winter, I made sure I’d see the Opening and Closing ceremonies on TV, and that was it. This time though, it felt different. This time, the Winter Olympics was in Canada.

I was busy and I thought the next time I’d look at the Vancouver winter games on TV would be at the Closing ceremonies two weeks later. But then, too many dramatic moments unfolded. I had to monitor CTV’s coverage because I felt so sad about the tragic death of the young Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili as he was training on the luge track.

Canada had never won gold on home soil – none in Montreal in 1976 and none in Calgary in 1988. Then, Quebec’s Alexandre Bilodeau won the first gold medal in men’s moguls for Canada. When the TV camera showed Alexandre’s brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy, jumping up and down upon seeing his brother win the gold; and Alexandre dedicating the gold medal to his brother – I was hooked. From seeing Manitoba’s John Montgomery leap on to the podium to receive his gold medal in skeleton to watching the Ice Dance gold pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s perfect ice dance; and crying with Joannie Rochette as she dedicated her bronze figure skating performance to her mom who had a fatal heart attack just days before she was to compete. There was no turning back. I was glued on TSN and CTV every night after work.

Then the women’s hockey team took gold. I was definitely soaking in the winter games. I loved seeing the Canadian athletes on the podium singing O Canada with such great enthusiasm. For me, O Canada, the national anthem, will never be the same. I felt my own Canadian pride every time Team Canada won a medal.

On the final day, like any other Canadian, I was nervous because of the men’s hockey – Canada vs. U.S. – playing for gold. We won!

Fourteen gold medals! No other host country has ever won these many gold on home soil – and the Americans did not take our game!

From February 12 to 28, we were all just Canadians proudly rooting for Team Canada. And they did not disappoint us.

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