LOS ANGELES??Charice will get applause,? Ryan Murphy told us as he took his seat in the Paramount Theatre before Tuesday evening?s premiere screening of ?Glee? Season 2 at the Paramount Studios lot.
Ryan, the show?s creator, recently won the Emmy Best Director for Comedy Series.
Sitting on the other end of the row was Charice, cute in a short black dress and high heels. ?Kinakabahan po ako,? she said, demonstrating with her hands how her heart was pounding. It would be her first time to watch the season opener, too. Seated beside her was her brother Carl. The diminutive girl wonder from the Philippines told us that she was especially nervous about how her duet with the show?s star, Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), would turn out.
Holding a ?Glee? bag of popcorn, Charice revealed that she had been filming the series for two months, with a few more weeks to go. She described her character, Sunshine Corazon, a Filipino exchange student: ?She?s very neat, calm, nerdy and shy. She?s going to be frenemies with Rachel Berry.?
Asked who Sunshine?s friends will be, Charice answered: ?Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), I think. Tina becomes a close friend, and in a weird way, Rachel, but not like you?d think.?
The rest of the cast started filing in. ?Hi, Ryan Murphy!? Jane Lynch teasingly greeted the director. When Ryan asked how her red carpet walk went, Jane quipped: ?I dropped bon mots and moved on. It went fast.?
Brad Falchuk, who directed the season opener that was about to screen, gave a quick talk, thanking his ?talented and amazing cast.?
Then the theater went dark and the audience cheered in eager anticipation. Spoiler alert: Stop reading now if you don?t want to learn specific details about the season opener. We got our first glimpse of Charice as the New Directions sings Alicia Keys? ?Empire State of Mind? on campus to attract new members (The national finals will be held in New York, hence the song). Lea smiles and glances at Charice, who is watching the choir.
There?s a funny bit by Lea as she presumes that Charice?s Sunshine does not understand English well (it?s humorously done, not offensive at all). She tries to entice Charice to audition for the New Directions.
But then she hears Charice sing in the bathroom and her competition alert instincts take over. She couldn?t help but join Charice in singing Lady Gaga and Beyonce?s ?Telephone.?
The audience applauded the scene, and Charice must have heaved a big sigh of relief in her seat.
Of course, Jane?s Sue Sylvester gets the laugh as she enters the bathroom and yells at the two singing divas: ?Shut up!?
Charice gets her spotlight when she auditions and sings Beyonce?s ?Listen.? Three Filipino fans of hers in the audience, Monika Corpus, Mika Viado and my niece Elgeen Nepales, later told us they cried and had goose bumps. So proud they were of Charice getting this break on US mainstream TV.
The audience applauded again ? Ryan was right.
Charice is not the only new kid on the block who will steal viewers? hearts. Chord Overstreet (playing Sam Evans), with his Mick Jagger lips, croons Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars? ?Billionaire.? He sure had the girls in the audience swooning.
Another newcomer, Dot Jones, puts the fear in Sue?s heart as the new football coach. Combining toughness and emotional vulnerability, Dot provides fans with one more reason to watch ?Glee.?
Lea ends the episode with a compelling version of ?What I Did For Love? from ?A Chorus Line.?
At the after-party held outside the theater, Charice said she felt relieved after the screening. Guests asked to have photos with her.
Matthew Morrison stayed by the yogurt stand, away from the main food stations?maybe that?s how he stays fit. He has a nice turn in this first episode as he connives with Sue. He?s conflicted about that, of course.
Cory Monteith said his stunned reaction to Charice singing ?Listen? was for real. Cast mates Lea, Mark Salling, Diana Agron (beautiful as ever) and Harry Shum Jr. echoed Cory?s admiration of Charice?s singing talent.
Harry, whose dancing?and abs?win over Jenna?s Tina (to the heartbreak of Kevin McHale?s character), revealed that he visited the Philippines with his Filipina girlfriend last year. What do you know?Harry even went to my home province, Pangasinan, because that?s where her girlfriend?s family?s roots are. He knows about tricycles, adobo and all that!
E-mail the columnist at email@example.com