Focus on the Philippines: Filipino mum Irene Alano-Rhodes wows on The Voice UK

Plus: Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach gets Super Bowl gig; Arnel Pineda joins Chicago on stage; Filipino drama to screen in Dublin festival.

Irene Alano-Rhodes on The Voice UK. Guy Levy / BBC
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A 42-year-old former West End performer impressed the judges of The Voice UK during her blind audition last weekend. Irene Alano-Rhodes, who moved from Manila to London in 1995 to join the West End production of the musical Miss Saigon, closed the January 23 episode by performing an emotional rendition of Bette Midler's classic Wind Beneath My Wings.

Celebrity coaches Ricky Wilson and turned their chairs around for Alano-Rhodes, who had the difficult task of choosing between the two mentors.

“That was simply wonderful,” Wilson, the lead singer of Kaiser Chiefs, told her. “You really got the sentiment of the song across. I loved it.”

He added: “I guarantee you that happened not just for us, but it went down the lens, out of everyone’s TVs to their sofas, and I think there would have been a national standing ovation.”

Making his case, told Alano-Rhodes: “I turned around because you have an amazing voice, you took it there, you peaked.

“You didn’t just give up – and I like a fighter. It’s like you controlled my hand and pushed my button.”

Attempting to convince her to join his team, added that his best friend and co-member on the Black Eyed Peas – – also hails from the Philippines.

Alano-Rhodes eventually picked as her coach.

In an interview, she said that in 2009, both her father and her British husband Lee passed away two weeks apart.

“It was the most painful year of my life. The first thing I said to myself was ‘I’m never going to sing again’, because singing would mean you would have emotions, you would feel. But I guess it also taught me a lot of things in life – strength, faith, courage, hope. There is always hope.”

Alana-Rhodes gave up her singing career to raise her 14-year-old son, Luis, who accompanied her during her audition. Her son apparently persuaded her to audition for The Voice.

Aside from Wilson and, the fifth edition of the BBC singing competition features new coaches Paloma Faith and Boy George.

Pia Wurtzbach gets Super Bowl gig

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach has landed a gig at the American news programme Inside Edition. Wurtzbach will report as the show's special correspondent during the Super Bowl 50 football match between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. The game will be held in Santa Clara, California, on February 7.

“This will be my first time experiencing the biggest night in American sports, and I’m excited to take viewers behind the scenes in the lead-up to the big event,” the 26-year-old Wurtzbach said in a statement.

Wurtzbach, who was a minor TV actress and model in the Philippines before winning the Miss Universe crown in December, will cover the game alongside Inside Edition's Megan Alexander.

“Pia is a natural fit as our correspondent,” said executive producer Charles Lachman. “She has the on-air poise that we look for in our talent, and as reigning Miss Universe, she’s no stranger to a thrilling competition.”

The Super Bowl halftime show will feature performances from Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

Wurtzbach is in the Philippines this week for her homecoming tour. She is scheduled to fly back to New York on Friday, January 29, to resume her duties in the Miss Universe organisation.

Arnel Pineda joins Chicago on stage

During their Manila concert last week, the American rockers Chicago surprised their fans by calling on stage Arnel Pineda, the Filipino lead singer of Journey, to join them for a performance. Together they sang the band's 1984 chart-topper You're the Inspiration.

In an interview with the Philippine news programme TV Patrol prior to their show, Chicago's vocalist and bassist Jason Scheff said he and Pineda have been good friends for a while.

“Arnel’s a good buddy of mine,” Scheff said. “I would love to see him.”

Pineda joined Journey as lead singer in 2007, after the band’s members saw videos of his performances on YouTube.

Filipino drama to screen in Dublin festival

The latest film from Filipino filmmaker Mel Chionglo will hold its European premiere at the 4th Silk Road International Film Festival, scheduled to be held from March 10 to 14 in Dublin, Ireland.

Titled Iadya Mo Kami (Deliver Us), the independent drama features A-list actors Eddie Garcia, Aiko Melendez, Ricky Davao, Allen Dizon, Diana Zubiri and Allan Paule.

The film, written by acclaimed veteran Ricky Lee, tells the story of a priest accused of murder. It had its world premiere at the 14th Pune International Film Festival in India.