This much I can say for sure: Charice -- the mini-singer with the maxi-voice -- does one terrific version of "All By Myself."
That's the song she'll do Tuesday on "Glee." I was at a Television Critics Association session in January, interviewing producer-composer David Foster, when she flew in from the Philippines to do that song; it was sensational.
Anyway, now comes her second "Glee" episode, with the possibility of a third one this season. Here's the quick-turnaround story I sent to papers, after a group interview this afternoon:
By MIKE HUGHES
For 78 per cent of her life, Charice
has sung Celine Dion songs. Only the audience size changes.
On Tuesday (April 18), she'll have an
audience of 15 million or so, as she sings “All By Myself” during
her second “Glee” episode. “I love that song,” she said.
And back when she was 4, her crowd grew
from zero to one.
“I was really shy,” recalled
Charice, 18; then her mother, a former singer, heard her doing “My
Heart Will Go On,” the “Titanic” song. “When she got home
from work, I was standing on the table singing this Celine Dion song
…. She discovered me and she trained me; she's been my vocal
Others have joined in, including David
Foster, the producer who has worked with Dion. In his autobiography
(“Hitman,” Pocket Books, 2008), he mentions “Charice Pempengco,
an astonishing Philippine girl who was discovered on You Tube by one
of Oprah Winfrey's producers.”
With money tight, Charice had competed
in small contests and then on big TV ones, in the Philippines and in
South Korea. She didn't win, but came close; an admirer started
putting her on You Tube; producers – “Oprah” and “Ellen”
and more – were impressed and booked her.
Then came “Glee,” presenting
hurdles that were:
– Physical. Jane Lynch, the show's
Emmy-winning villain, is 6-foot; Charice is 4-foot-11. “I feel like
I'm a 6-year-old kid,” said Charice, who turns 19 next month.
– Emotional; she said she's been a
fan of the show. “When I was on the set the first time, I was just
shaking. It was, 'Oh my God, are they going to like me?'”
That episode introduced her as Sunshine
Corazon, a newcomer to the school. Instantly jealous, the glee club's
star, Rachel Berry, sabotaged her; Sunshine joined the competing
Now the glee club is planning a
fund-raising concert for the academic decathlon team. Determined to
undermine it, Sue Sylvester (Lynch) convenesthe “Legion of Doom,”
with people who should hate glee-club director Will Schuester – his
ex-wife, the director he replaced, the Vocal Adrenaline director.
Sunshine volunteers to sing at the
concert, a notion that some people hate. (“It's still the same
Rachel,” Charice said.) Others can't help but being impressed when
she sings “All By Myself.”
Charice isn't saying if she'll be back
for another episode, but she said she'd like to go beyond cover songs
some day. She'd like to be on TV with originals, including “Before
It Explodes,” which is being released this week. “It was written
by Bruno Mars and it's a heart-breaking song.”
That's been one of her specialties,
ever since her table-top solo about the sinking of the Titanic.
– “Glee,” 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Fox
– Returns to new episodes, beginning