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How to sit as judge in a singing contest

By Tessa Prieto-Valdes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:59:00 09/27/2009

Filed Under: Music, Television, Entertainment (general)

MANILA, Philippines??Celebrity Duets? is back for its third season! Like last year, I play the flamboyant judge, trying to comment on everything but the singing. I?m delighted to be weekending with co-judges Danny Tan and Freddie Santos, hosts Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid, and a whole new set of contenders.

Airing every Saturday at 6:40 p.m. on GMA, ?Celebrity Duets? has proven to be a multiyear hit. I am just happy to be seated in my rhinestone-covered judge?s chair watching the latest batch perform with more and more elaborate costumes.

Hunky model Akihiro Sato, a Japanese-Brazilian hybrid, is fast becoming a favorite, not really for his singing prowess but for his oozing sexiness. At last week?s finale, Akihiro?s shirt was ripped off by his duet partner, Allan K, who then also ripped off his own shirt. It was hilarious.

Two very creative contestants with matching distinctive voices are fashion designer Maxi Cinco and photographer Nicolo Cosme. These artistic performers bring out numbers that are both musically and visually delightful.

It seems there is a curse on beauty queens on the show. Each year, the first to be eliminated has been a pageant winner. Janina San Miguel of Bb. Pilipinas World 2008 followed the first-round blues of previous seasons? Theresa Licaros and Melanie Marquez.

To my surprise, WBA super flyweight interim world champion Nonito ?The Filipino Flash? Donaire Jr. has a soulful, R&B-sounding voice. Coming straight home from his Las Vegas victory, Nonito was still bruised from his fight whilst taping of the first two episodes. A week later, he got dengue but has now fully recovered. He did an entertaining rap number with Moymoy Palaboy of ?Bubble Gang.?

Other contenders include actor-producer Jomari Yllana, entrepreneur Joel Cruz, salon owner Mikaela Bilbao and actress-director Gina Alajar. To vote for your favorite ?Celebrity Duets? contender, text DUETSNAME to 367 for Smart or 2344 for Globe and Sun.

Katy Perry in Manila

For those angling for real singing prowess, Katy Perry performs live in Manila on Oct. 3. MTV Philippines? Live Concert Series brings in Katy Perry at the SM Mall of Asia, where she will knock out the crowd with her captivating performance, awesome wit and engaging charisma. The California-born Perry has been writing songs and playing guitar for several years, and possesses the flair and confidence of a veteran storyteller.

Watch Katy Perry Live in Manila with her special guest, Boys Like Girls! For tickets, check www.ticketworld.com.ph or call 8919999. For more information, log on to www.mtvphil.com. This event is presented by Smart Buddy and co-presented by McDonald?s, SM Mall of Asia and U92.

Cancer awareness

Concerts like this make me realize the generation gap between me and my 11-year-old Annika. She has introduced me to the newest slew of singers, including Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Now I even know that Hannah Montana is Miley Cyrus.

I was thinking of all these young girls as I attended a gala dinner and fashion presentation for the Cervical Cancer Prevention (Cecap) Network, a program of the Cancer Institute Foundation. Dubbed ?Brilyante: The Empowered Woman,? the gala brought together fashion designers to support awareness for cervical cancer, which can now be prevented by inoculating young girls.

Gracing the runway were sorority sisters of UP College of Medicine?s Mu Sigma Phi, celebrating their diamond anniversary, as well as cancer patients, famous doctors like Dr. Pastorfide, Dr. Verallo of VMV and my own OB, Dr. Nabbie Aherera, lawyers like Adel Tamano, and various fashion models. They all looked so distinguished in Silk Cocoon wear. I was in the finale wearing a beautiful bridal-looking gown by Jun Escario.

Cecap will continue its cervical cancer awareness programs with a photo exhibit at Edsa Shangri-La Mall on Nov. 15, together with the Camera Club of the Philippines.

Lustico fashion show

Speaking of fashion, it is just four days until ?Lustico: A Fashion Presentation? is held at the NBC Tent. Taguig first lady Kaye Tinga and I have teamed up to raise funds for our charities, the Philippine National Red Cross Taguig and Makati branches.

Oct. 1 will indeed be a big day for us, especially fashion wunderkind Dennis Lustico, supported by show director Ariel Lozada and stylist Noel Manapat. As part of the fundraising, we will have a silent auction during the five-course dinner prepared by Gaita Fores. Among the items up for bids are a Thai Airways ticket to Europe, B&B Italia furniture, vacation packages at El Nido and Discovery Shores/Misibis Bay Raintree, and more.

Rustan?s the Beauty Source, in cooperation with Santa Maria Novella, Murad and Manuel Canovas Parfums, is the presenter of Lustico. It is also co-sponsored by Audi, HSBC, DMCI Homes, Megaworld, Plot, Ethan Allen, Sony Ericsson, Cibo, Fiori di M, Janylin shoes, Jul Dizon, NBC Tent and Smart Infinity.

I owe special thanks to Rustan?s hardworking lady, Rhoda Campos-Aldanese, and fashion maven Inno Sotto, who worked together to convince Rustan?s to support Dennis Lustico. Rustan?s is a great supporter of fashion, ranging from relatively young designers to more mature ladies, like design diva Criselda Lontok, who recently showcased her latest holiday collection at The Gallerie of Rustan?s Makati.

Topping off our sponsor list is HSBC, through their excellent Red Card. The bank has always been supportive of charity projects. They recently raised $5,000 for Unicef, bringing in renowned PGA golfer Thongchai Jaidee, the first Thai player to win a European Tour event, to conduct a golf clinic at Manila Polo Club.

?Lustico: A Fashion Presentation? is almost sold out, but we can always squeeze in another table or two. If you wish to support fashion and charity, call Marge Custorio at 8977030 or Maggie Gineta at 09178325570. And I?ll promise to sing a ?Celebrity Duets? number at your table!

E-mail seaprincess@inquirer.com.ph

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