Here’s a look at five singers who made it big after appearing on reality singing competitions.
Runner-up, American Idol 2012
The 16-year-old vocal powerhouse finished as the runner-up on American Idol in 2012. Filipinos from all over the world — including then President Noynoy Aquino and boxer Manny Pacquaio — rallied behind Sanchez, with many fans even illegally reportedly voting for her using Skype and VPN. Now age 21, Sanchez was recently tapped by Hillary Clinton's camp to sing her presidential campaign anthem, Stronger Together. She's also set to release her "gritty and soulful" second album soon.
Winner, The X Factor Australia 2015
With his pop-star good looks and vocal prowess, Villanueva was the season-long front-runner of The X Factor Australia 2015. He ended up winning the crown, with several of his performances topping the iTunes charts. The 19-year-old student credits his Filipino father — a performer known as Jo Vill — for teaching him how to sing and play the guitar and piano. Villanueva's hit debut album, Cyrus, achieved gold status in Australia.
Winner, The X Factor Australia 2014
A year before Villanueva won The X Factor Australia, another Filipino was crowned the winner of the same singing contest: 15-year-old Marlisa Punzalan, a shy, petite girl who delighted the judges week after week with her soaring vocals. Punzalan's debut album, titled Marlisa, even topped the UAE's iTunes charts in December of 2014. She has since performed internationally, including in the Philippines, and has released a single in Filipino.
Finalist, Romania’s Got Talent 2016
Working as a singer in restaurants in Malaysia for several years, Santiago was on holiday in Romania earlier this year when she walked in to auditions for Romania's Got Talent. Belting the power ballad I Will Always Love You, she received a standing ovation from the judges. She went on to reach the show's final, but lost out to 13-year-old opera wunderkind Laura Bretan. Santiago has now moved to Romania permanently, where she is working on her debut album with the country's biggest recording company, Cat Music.
Winner, The Voice Kids Germany 2016
The winner of this year's edition of The Voice Kids Germany, Janisch said he learnt to sing from his Filipino mother who loved karaoke. A cool and charming crooner with astonishing piano-playing skills, Janisch impressed German audiences with his soulful takes on pop hits like Adele's When We Were Young and Alicia Keys's If I Ain't Got You. His debut album is currently in the works.