Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray joined her fellow Filipino musical stars at a Christmas-themed concert at Festival Arena by InterContinental, Dubai Festival City, on Friday.
Gray, who launched her music career this year, regaled the audience with her song, Raise Your Flag, as well as a mix of covers, including Angel of Mine, Pagdating Ng Panahon and Price Tag. She shared the stage with a powerhouse of performers including KZ Tandingan, Yeng Constantino, Erik Santos and K Brosas at the Paskong Handog Sa Pinoy show.
Filipino singer TJ Monterde and rising Emirati singer Alira, who stunned the audience by singing Filipino songs, were guest performers of the night.
“Thank you for being an amazing audience. Thank you so much for the energy, considering this is our first show in two years and what a memorable show it has been,” Gray told the crowd.
Tandingan, dubbed "Asia's soul supreme", got the audience on their feet as she launched into a medley of beloved hits by Filipino rock band Eraserheads hits, before singing duets with husband and songwriter Monterde, who also performed his hit song Prinsesa.
Tandingan ended her set with a rendition of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, outdoing her winning performance that garnered her global fame in the Singer 2018 competition where she beat Price Tag singer Jessie J.
Pop-rock princess Constantino filled the audience with a lot of love and nostalgia with her earliest hits Jeepney Love Story and Pag-Ibig, as well as her popular song Chinito and a mix of covers.
She also sang duets with hitmaker Santos, who later had his solo time on stage and performed his beloved love songs. Santos ended his performance with “the song that changed my life”, leaving the crowd with This Is The Moment, his winning song in the reality show Star in a Million that launched his singing career.
Emirati pop singer Alira also stole the night by shocking audiences with his knowledge of Filipino music. The male countertenor, who also sings in the whistle register, performed Tuwing Umuulan, which received cheers and applause from the Filipino crowd.
“You will probably be wondering how I could pronounce or even sing in Tagalog. I was coming back from a trip and I came across the song. I didn’t know what language it was. But then it was actually by a female artist from the Philippines by the name of Angeline Quinto called Patuloy ang Pangarap. So right then and there I took it upon myself, I went home that day and I searched for all the Filipino songs,” Alira said.
He also sang Kailangan Kita, which he said was the first Filipino song that he learnt, and his debut song Take Flight.
Comedienne Brosas, who said she frequently visits Dubai, also gave the crowd a jolly time, interspersing her powerful vocal performances with bursts of comedy that left the audience in a very good mood.
“I know this pandemic a lot of us went through isolation and sadness. I was left counting the tiles in my kitchen,” Brosas joked.
"I think it's great that new countries are always participating at the Miss Universe pageant. I think the more representation we have as women go and pursue their dreams, I think it's very welcomed and encouraged," she said, adding her support for Miss Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez.
A new Miss Universe will be crowned on Sunday night in Eilat, Israel.