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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Mar 6, 2015

Why Is A Non-Singer Like Maxene Magalona Competing With Well Known Singers In 'Your Face Sounds Familiar'

MAXENE MAGALONA is one of the 8 celebrity contestants in “Your Face Sounds Familiar”, a worldwide hit from Endemol that will replace “The Voice” starting March 14 and 15. Her competitors are RnB King and new Kapamilya Jay-R, 6CycleMind vocalist Tutti Caringal, indie actor Edgar Allan Guzman, singer-actress Karla Estrada, acoustic singer Nyoy Volante, comedienne Melai Cantiveros and pop icon and actress Jolina Magdangal. All of them can sing, so what is a non-singer like Max doing in their company?
“I know di ako kilala as a singer, but I sing naman sa mall shows,” she agrees. “And I’m best remembered at nag-trending worldwide sa pagkanta ko sa isang show na pumiyok pa ako. Ha ha ha! But even if I’m not really a singer, I’m honored that they made me a part of this show kasi it’s a lot of fun for all of us performers. It’s not just singing naman but total transformation, so you don’t just have to sound like the celebrity icon you’re copying but you have to look and act like him or her. I’m also thankful na hindi pa man tapos ang ‘Dream Dad’ which I’m doing on primetime, heto’t nabigyan na naman ako ng bagong show. This is a big blessing kaya I’m really happy to be a Kapamilya.”

Karla Estrada is an effortless scene-stealer at the presscon of “Your Face Sounds Familiar”, cracking jokes, reminiscing her past with showbiz writers who are familiar to her and making everybody laugh at her hilarious antics. She said her popular teen son, Daniel Padilla, laughed when she told him she joined the show after she recently also tried getting into “The Voice”. “Ayaw kang tumigil, ha,” Daniel said.

So how were they chosen? “Some took the audition, like Edgar,” says business unit head Louie Andrada. “Some were invited, like Jolens and Karla. Si Jay-R, nag-guest sa GGV and he said bata pa siya, nanggagaya na siya ng ibang singers so he was asked to join. Si Nyoy naman, we used him when we presented the project to management at isinama na siya sa show.”

We ask the 8 contestants who’s the celebrity they want to copy and the one who they want to avoid. Nyoy: “I want to do Gary Valenciano. I’d avoid doing a female performer as it’s out of my comfort zone.” We tell him we hope he won’t be assigned to do Nina, his ex. Jolina: “Gusto ko si Madonna. Ayoko gayahin, si Gloc 9.” Tutti: “Rock stars like Axel Rose and Steven Tyler. Ayoko rin ng babae, like Whitney Houston.” Maxene: “I want to do my late dad (Francis Magalona) kasi sabi kamukha ko raw siya. Ayoko si Bjorn.” Melay: “I can do Rihanna or Cyndi Lauper. Ayoko si Regine Velasquez or Celine Dion.” Edgar: “I want to do Vice Ganda. Ayoko, Aerosmith.” Jay-R: “I want to do Chris Brown, Asher or Justin Timberlake. Ayoko, Lady Gaga.” Karla: “I can do Aretha Franklin or Adele kasi magka-size kami. Sabi ko sa anak ko, I’ll do Miley Cyrus singing ‘Wrecking Ball’, tawa ng tawa. Mare-wreck daw talaga yung ball dahil sa laki ko. Ayokong ipagaya sa’kin si Daniel.”

When asked who’d be their most formidable competitor, most of them pointed to Nyoy Volante. And their fears are founded as Nyoy is a versatile performer who’s been honed by his appearance in various musical plays. He can also do all kinds of songs, from rock (like in “Rock of Ages”), hiphop (“In the Heights”) and he has even played an animal (“Shrek”). But Nyoy himself says he won’t be surprised if Melai would spring a big surprise. “Tiyak, gugulatin niya tayo,” he adds.

“Your Face” has been adapted in 33 territories all over the world, including the USA and UK. Eight celebrity performers will impersonate local or international music icons. The iconizer will reveal which music icon they will be assigned to impersonate each week. They have to copy the exact moves, looks and even the voice of the assigned music icons, regardless of gender or age. They will perform live with a band, to be judged by their co-performers and a jury composed of respected personalities in the industry. There will be no weekly eliminations, but the performer who gets the highest score for each week will get a cash prize, half of which goes to his chosen charity. All their scores will be added at the 12th week and the top four will be competing with each other for the grand finals.

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