I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.


You know how everyone’s been talking about Charice Pempengco‘s duet with Celine Dion? Yeah, that one – the one that’s got stage moms all in a tizzy, rushing to enroll their squeaky daughters at the center for Pop and trying to learn how to upload vids on YouTube. 

Charice really pulled off a pretty good performance there. My friend says she sang a bit fast, but then again, that’s what nerves can do to you. After all, the girl was in Madison Square Garden, right? Anyway, so it was a wonderful performance and she deserved every second of applause she got. 

But that’s not what this post is about. I’m sure there’ll be tons of blogposts on this girl’s performance, anyhoo. So I’ll talk about a couple of things I noticed instead. 

First off, this vid shows Celine Dion’s intro for Charice. She talked up a storm about the girl, most of it glowing praise. But what got my goat, and pretty much turned me off, was the emphasis Dion was placing on how terrible Charice’s life was – abusive father and all that – presumably before music made it all bearable, la dee-da. 

Well, alright. Maybe there is some truth to that. Hell, maybe even a lot of truth. But do we really have to bring this girl’s tattered past to the fore just to make her more amazing? It’s ridiculous. The girl’s got pipes the likes of which we haven’t seen since, I don’t know, Lea Salonga? What good does framing her as a survivor of domestic tragedy really do? What value does it add to her astounding talent? Nothing. It adds nothing of value whatsoever. All it does is prostitute her past for the sake of adding a little more burnish to her shine. She doesn’t need it.

You know what? It’s us who needs it. We – and I am speaking in broadly general terms here – need for her to be a survivor because that’s what makes her such an aspirational figure for us. We turn her into some role model that we can use and abuse for own purposes. But in doing so – in forcing her to be our psychological comfort – we risk locking her into that iconography until she becomes famous, not for her talent, but for what she represents. Right now, that might be fine, but she’s only sixteen. 

She likely won’t be the same chirpy sunny person a year from now, and then what does she do? She can’t be herself anymore because if she turns out to be anything other than perfect, it’ll clash with our image of her and it’ll endanger her career. Instead, she’ll have to pretend to stay the perfect little survivor we have tattooed in our hearts and minds; and pretending that way lacerates the soul. 

Next thing you know, she’ll be as dysfunctional as Britney Spears.

People should really learn to appreciate talent for its own sake, not because it survived against all odds. 

The second thing I noticed about Dion’s verbose intro was how she cleverly made it appear that it was Oprah Winfrey that discovered Charice. That it was Oprah the whole world has to thank for the gift of the little girl’s killer voice. 


All that crap Dion spouted was just Oprah pWning Ellen de Generes. And i can’t help but think that it was deliberate too. 

Oprah has been steadily losing viewership to Ellen, who – for the record – was the one who introduced America to Charice. So, I’m guessing, when Oprah saw the opportunity to shaft Ellen, she did, by snapping up the girl, digging up her tragic past, and subtly trying to re-write history by making it appear that she discovered Charice. 

Haha. Just sixteen and already a marketing tool. I can almost imagine the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air, and Oprah standing in the doorway and telling Charice to spend the night at Hotel California. I can only hope that she can get out with her soul intact.


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31 Responses

  1. cool_eddy says:

    Thank god someone else has notice the prostitution of Charice Pempengco by the Oprah machine. It’s been almost a year since Ellen first brought Charice to daytime tv viewers attention with a hair-raising performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. How dare they steal the credit where it is due! Shame on Oprah, I expected more from that witch!

  2. jo says:

    of course celine is not allowed to say something about ellen coz it’s oprah moment, or celine say anything in her concert coz part of it will be shown on oprah. that’s how amer media works. it’s ok to talk about one’s life. just take the bright side of it. i believe dion emphasized that to encourage a lot of people usually those with great talents to prevail upon any hurdle in life. a lot of people can relate to it and was glad to hear it. they didn’t talk about talent coz it’s ostensible, as she said, charice has it! peace

  3. rom says:

    cool_eddy: welcome to the smoking room! Yeah, I remember it was around Christmas, wasn’t it? And Charice sang better there than she did in Celine Dion’s concert.

    jo: welcome to the smoking room! I hear what you’re saying about inspiring other people.

  4. Bencard says:

    eddy @ 10:11am, are you sure your last word doesn’t spell with a “b”? i think she’s too ugly for a witch.

  5. brickfields says:

    she is one lucky gurl to get the attention of oprah and no one has help this gurl more than oprah. one guesting gig on ellen wouldn’t make this gurl a superstar. she would need more than that to be a houshold name here in the u.s. and oprah is using every influence she to got to get the gurl ‘there’. guest come and go from those talk show everyday and charice is no different in ellen. but in oprah shes here to stay to become our first asian pop superstar!

  6. brickfields says:

    ‘what good does framing her as a survivor of a doemstic violence really do?’

    well, those spin doctors on oprah’s camp are really doing their job. they are going to record this gurl pretty soon and not wait the way david foster did on josh groban which he discovered at around age 17 but waited until he turned 20 before recording him. they know that one easy criticism that this gurl will face when she get recorded at her age right now is that she still doesn’t have the experience in life to really feel her songs unless they are going to let her sing disney type lollipop music. as david foster said about her on oprah last sept 15…….’she digs deep!’

    with this we know a record for this gurl is not that far behind!

  7. BrianB says:

    Take that Regine, Jaya! I don’t care about Ellen or Oprah. Dapat pamukha ni Charlene sa mga pa-birit-birit na primadonna dito sa local music scene.

  8. Angeli says:

    i don’t see anything wrong about oprah talking about domestice violence issues. i think it’s actually a great thing. there’s a lot of domestic violence in the philippines but filipinos don’t talk about it because they think that it is shameful. what happened to charice was traumatic for her and her mother. i applaud that they have opened the discussion about this issue. I have worked with survivors of domestic violence in the past and it is important for them to talk about it – it is part of their healing. christina aguillera has a similar past. that’s where their strength comes from. they are survivors. it will inspire others who are involved in this issue to come out and speak up.

  9. rom says:

    brickfields and angeli: welcome to the smoking room! Let’s clarify. There’s nothing wrong in talking about domestic violence. My complaint is that Charice was introduced as a survivor instead of as just the awesome talent that she is. To my mind, this places emphasis wrongly. Instead of underscoring that she’s a girl who sings awesomely and who also happened to survive; she was introduced as a survivor who sings. To everything, its proper place, y’know? For her first appearance at Madison Square Garden, it would have been better if she had come out as an artist, rather than as a poster child for domestic violence.

  10. kjneil says:

    Give credit where credit is due, I absolutely agree that Ellen De Generes introduced this amazing kid in the American viewership however anyone may take it – One time a couple times performance, you cannot take away the fact that IT IS Charice’s first U.S. Television performance. If Ms. De Generes pulled some strings to get this girl signed up as what Ms. Winfrey did ( hooking her up with THE MAN – David Foster) Ms. De Generes could’ve had a much better props for what this kid accompished but nevertheless Ellen should be given props for what she did.

    ANYHOW Whether we like it or not this kid will go places and again give credit where it is due – Ms. Winfrey dedicated a whole show for this kid and then a follow up about the Dream Duet with Ms. Dion without Ms. Winfrey’s David Foster introduction Charice might probably just a Youtube sensation, We should be happy for the wonderful things going on with this kid because based on what I have been reading online, The Philippine Entertainment/Music Industry seems to be a bit superficial and recognizes looks before talent which in my opinion is quite sad – it pays to have the look in the music industry but then again without the voice to back it up, you might as well wash a car wearing those bikini bottoms.

    I wish this girl all the best- she deserves all the recognition she’s been getting now, she worked for it and SHE DESERVES it.


  11. tsd says:

    hey rom! surprised? you’ve been complaining so much about me not posting so here….

    yup, ellen deserves to be credited. obviously, she charice can’t thank ellen on oprah’s show but she sure can do it somewhere else…

    i guess what’s important, and i’ve said this to you a number of times during our late night to the wee hour phone calls, is that she has a voice that ought to be heard by the world.

    btw, you owe me one for this posting. you know how “unattached” i am to my computer, much less blogging. call me as soon as you read this.

    bye, bitch!

  12. rom says:

    tsd: why call? why not just stay online so you can read this response. LOL!

    haven’t been to this blog a long time, have you? well, hell. I’ll take you to a steak dinner just for dropping by and commenting. 😀 but i get to eat all the fat, and you get to scarf down the vegetables.

    just like dolores the brontosaurus! you herbivore! HAHAHA.

  13. tsd says:

    rom!!! you owe me another for this. i had to go online again after getting your text.

    i forgot to mention that i’m glad a number of people feel the same way we do.

    to all you smoke readers: i know for a fact that rom appreciates you reading her blog and loves it when you leave a comment, agreeable or otherwise. she soooo lives for this blog!

    rom, you know i don’t eat veggies.

  14. rom says:

    tsd: *blush* and yes, you do too eat vegetables!!! And fruit too! you stole my mango balls, remember! HMP!

  15. mamamia says:

    I understand your perspective but do not share your point of view. I think people do appreciate Charice’s talent first in addition to her survival story. It’s all connected and with her growing success, people will naturally want to know more about her. The fact is Charice did survive domestic violence and as a result made her even more determined to succeed. Charice’s talent speaks for itself.

    Also, I don’t question Oprah’s sincerity in wanting to help Charice succeed. It is a win-win situation here and I do not fault Oprah for it. I do believe that Ellen should be given more credit for being the FIRST to introduce Charice to America. However, Oprah was the one who acted in taking the steps to connect Charice to the right people who can make her dreams become a reality. I don’t see this as an Oprah vs. Ellen thing unless people will continue to keep talking about it.

  16. UP n grad says:

    Oprah herself IS a domestic-violence victim.

  17. GirlFromOz says:

    I agree with you mamamia. I would prefer to focus on the blessings that Charice is enjoying now. The important thing is she is now being recognized globally as an incredible talent.

    I appreciate that Ellen Degeneres gave Charice her first BIG break, and that was one great avenue! It is also wonderful that Oprah then followed it up with one incredible move by giving Charice the best opportunity and providing her with the best marketing any artist could only wish for!

    I would pose the question back to rom, what value does it add to Charice, bringing attention to what you perceive to be a “personal agenda” of Oprah?

    Charice is enjoying the benefits of being in the wings of Oprah (and her marketing machine). Oprah earned her right to Oprah! She paid her dues and even if she is doing what is perceived she is doing only for her own personal gain, what has transpired so far has added enormous value not only to Charice and her family, but evidently to the whole nation of the Philippines, and I dare say, to millions of people around the world as well who continue to be touched, feel inspired and feel uplifted by her story!

    Charice is so blessed! I do believe she will remain pure of heart! But she will be who she will be! Like any of us, she will continue to evolve! And we will continue to love her no matter what!

  18. justice says:

    Hey guys, what is all the fighting about. All of us here are for Charice, and her future career.

    Charice has a history of being a big star as we know now, from 80 local contest, to starking, and give credit to false voice in posting Charice to youtube, and Ellen, and O. and of COurse the vegas, feywood, etc. Ogrady, dfoster, abs-cbn etc. These people have at least a piece of a pie, and all you bloggers also contribute to her stardom.

    What I would like Charice to see for her next appearance would be in the NFL superbowl. Would you think that would be awesome if Charice will perform in Nfl Superbowl. Million of people will be up on their feet during half time.

    If I’m her manager, that would be my next gig for her, before any recording will follow.

    give me some feed back on this idea.

  19. rom says:

    GirlFromOz: Welcome to the smoking room! Bringing attention to Oprah’s agenda adds no value at all to Charice – but it brings value by airing the warning and hopefully making her aware of the risk she’s running by letting herself be owned by the queen of materialism. 😀

    justice: welcome to the smoking room! the superbowl sounds nice!

  20. robert says:

    jealousy is just so sad !!!People like to write negative things about people who are blessed because it makes them feel good about themselves. I’m happy for Charice for what she has accomplished and whoever wrote this blog is an idiot and a very sad person

  21. Rom says:

    robert: i’d say welcome to the smoking room, except that you’re obviously a moron. Read the post again, you ‘tard.

  22. marie says:

    I think her story is very inspirational and gives hope to all who are in the same situation. Charice is different from Britney or any other wayward stars. She is in good company and her mother is her strength. I think emotionally she is very strong and has the right attitude. It’s all in god’s plan for her. She is on Good hands. It is called Amazing Grace!!!

  23. zzyggy says:

    Ellen invited Charice first. Just as Ellen also invited a mob of other youtube sensations (not just Arnel) for “Ellen” the show.

    But David met Charice first and coached her how to sing at Ellen (the show). He even brought her to Las Vegas where Charice did NOT meet Celine but just watched her show from the fifth row. DF introduced her, there and then, to the press as his newest singer.

    David Foster was pushing Charice to everybody.

    Asian talents are no-no to American producers they are hard to sell in the American market. Ellen had her chance. Paul O’Grady had his chance. Clive Davis had his chance. P.Diddy had his chance.
    FORTUNATELY, it was smitten Oprah who was willing to bankroll an Asian talent. The others were impressed but are NOT willing to put their wallet where their mouth is.

    Oprah who does not mind losing money on Charice took her in. But if Charice wants to be promoted to full international stardom, she has to have Oprah’s tremendous power to back her up. Even Ellen, Clive Davis, Puff Daddy and David Foster’s powers combined can not match Oprah’s power to make things happen.

    Charice being Asian can not break that bamboo ceiling. Only Oprah can break it for her. Not, Ellen. Charice will forever be grateful to Ellen but she must “ignore” Ellen publicly first. “Ellen” the show is more often than not always running against Oprah in most time slots in the states and even in Australia.

    To those who are pushing Charice to acknowledge Ellen, FalseVoice and others– just wait until Charice has broken the bamboo ceiling and you will see that Charice has that kind of heart that truly recognizes debts of gratitude.

    Let us all pray that when Charice emerges with her first David Foster Album she already has a grammy/oscar winning movie theme song. It is unlikely as movies take years to finish but, hey if we all pray together— maybe this can also be dream come true.

  24. Estong_Pusakal says:

    You’re right zzyggy, I agree with you.

  25. Moredechai says:

    Has anyone noticed that both times Celine talked about getting a call from Oprah (on the Oprah show and then during the concert, she started getting fidgity and couldn’t find words? Her eyes started blinking at an accelerated rate as she was inviting Charice to sing with her on the show, and her facial expressions on both occasions were masking something: my bet is that Oprah used her daunting power to pressure Celine (and her management) into inviting Charice to the MSG performance, in somewhat the same manner that Oprah got Charice an invite to David Foster’s Vegas “Friends” concert. Not to say that Celine wasn’t willing to help this incredible young lady, but if you watch carefully, she (Celine) appears to be masking some sour feelings about all this, putting it off as an emotional response to Charice’s painful past. It’s as if the “Queen” of TV overstepped the bounds of propriety and the “Queen” of the recording industry had to grudgingly bow and submit to the greater power. Nonetheless, Celine was gracious and compassionate, asking only an invitation to Charice’s first MSG concert in return. But I bet this whole thing has strained Celine’s personal relationship with Oprah.

  26. aaalo says:

    stop the nonsense of show,s rating war. FalseVoice,StarKing, Ellen,Oprah,David foster,Andrea,Celine – all are Charice’s Guarding Angels. They do their God assigned job for her.

  27. […] to wrapping up stories like this with tales of heartbreaking sobbery – I talked about Charice Pempengco in a similar vein before – as if the achievement itself was not enough and that we had to […]

  28. ADZ says:

    I just came across this forum and could not believe the amount of quality, depth and insight that people provide

    Thank you and God Bless you all

    Email me if you’d like to discuss Charice more, she is amazing

  29. lumbad2010 says:

    She’s now living in her dream life, how I wish to be like her.

  30. michelle ann says:

    hi,ate charice im your one of your fans.and your voice is really amazing and beautiful you know i can sing too and i wish someday ill see you ilove you careful everyday.remember my name pk my name is michelle ann p remoto.and im a filipina

  31. michelle ann says:

    ilove you

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