Focus on the Philippines: Angelica Hale finishes second on America’s Got Talent

Plus: Filipino contestant Camille Cabaltera croons and raps on The X Factor Italia, while seven Filipino films selected to screen at Busan International Film Festival.

Angelica Hale on the grand final of America's Got Talent. Trae Patton NBC
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Filipino-American contestant Angelica Hale finished in second place on the twelfth season of America's Got Talent. In a two-hour final that was broadcast on Wednesday night (Thursday morning in the UAE) and featured the competition's 10 remaining acts, the American public voted for the nine-year-old singer as the runner-up to winner Darci Lynne Farmer, a 12-year-old singing ventriloquist.

Dance group Light Balance finished in third, while deaf singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey placed fourth. Sara and Hero, a dog act, completed the competition’s top five. Farmer, who has been the frontrunner since the audition stage, will receive a US$1 million (Dh3.67m) cash prize.

The final episode also featured performances by guest musicians Shania Twain, James Arthur and Kelly Clarkson. Hale and fellow contestant Kechi Okwuchi performed with Clarkson on stage to sing the pop star’s hit Stronger.

“This was so much fun and a dream come true,” Hale said. “Kelly Clarkson is an incredible person and awesome performer — so happy to have shared this special moment.”

On Tuesday's episode, which featured the final solo performance of each finalist, Hale delivered a powerful cover of Clean Bandit's track Symphony. She received praises from the judging panel, comprised of Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell.

“Oh my gosh, I mean you’re only four-feet tall — but you are a giant, you really are,” Klum said. “You are unbelievable. For me, I think you are the best singer we have in this entire competition.”

Cowell told Hale: “You are a star in the future.”

On her official Facebook page, Hale wrote: "Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me on my America's Got Talent journey. One thing is clear — this is only the beginning. I am literally the happiest girl in the world and nothing can take that away!"

Filipino contestant croons and raps on The X Factor Italia

On to another reality talent programme: Camille Cabaltera, a 17-year-old Filipino contestant, received a standing ovation from the live audience during her audition in this week's episode of The X Factor Italia.

Playing the piano, Cabaltera sung her original composition titled Worth It. The song opened with a soft, gentle melody then later transitioned to a rap verse.

Impressed with her singing and songwriting skills, the four judges unanimously sent Cabaltera to the next round of the competition.

"You do not have the X Factor — you have all the letters of the alphabet. All of them, from A to Z," said judge Levante, a pop singer.

Mara Maionchi, a record producer, was all praises: “You are very good — really very good.”

Rapper Federico “Fedez” Lucia added, “I really hope to work with you. Your performance is the only one that has given me goosebumps so far.”

Manuel Agnelli, the vocalist of the Italian rock band Afterhours, told his fellow judges: “I’m impressed by how young she is — by how far she can go from here on.”

Cabaltera was accompanied to her audition by her mother and sister. Born in Manila, the high school student moved to Italy with her family in 2010. She previously appeared in Ti Lascio Una Canzone, an Italian musical variety programme, back in 2012.

Another Filipino contestant auditioned on The X Factor Italia, which is now on its eleventh season. Nizzil Jimenez, who lives and works in Turin, performed the Italian song Se Stasera Song Qui. Although she received "yes" votes from Fedez and Agnelli, she did not qualify for the next round.

“It’s okay, it was a great experience and I will treasure it for the rest of my life,” Jimenez wrote on her Facebook page. “Thank you so much for this opportunity.”

La spasimante di Fedez

Una dichiarazione d’amore così Fedez non l’aveva mai ricevuta! #XF11

Posted by X Factor Italia on Thursday, September 14, 2017

Seven Filipino films to screen at Busan film festival

Seven Filipino movies have been selected to screen at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival, which will be held in South Korea from October 12 to 21.

Featured in the festival's section A Window on Asian Cinema are Sonny Calvento's Nabubulok (The Decaying), Raya Martin's Smaller and Smaller Circles, Joseph Israel Laban's Baconaua and Gerardo Calagui's Mga Gabing Kasinghaba ng Hair Ko (Nights As Long As My Hair).

Martin’s and Calagui’s films, both crime thrillers, are in the running for the Kim Jiseok Award, named after the festival’s co-founder, who died while attending the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The new prize will be awarded to two films appearing in the Asian section.

Also screening at the festival are Jewel Maranan's documentary feature In the Claws of a Century Wanting, Carlo Fajarda's short film Suerte and Carlo Francisco Manatad's film Jodilerks dela Cruz, Employee of the Month, which premiered at Cannes.


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