Although there is no lack of talent shows on local television, it is still a fact that the field of singing champions has remained pretty stagnant for nearly 10 years. Despite massive efforts on the part of the organizers, no contest winner of recent times has risen to the level of success attained by Sarah Geronimo or Rachelle Ann Go or even non-winners like Christian Bautista and Mark Bautista. What usually happens is somebody wins a contest, gets some hoopla, a TV show or two and then little by little fades from view until they are forgotten.
A lot of finger-pointing happens in these cases. Who is to blame when a talent fails? Whoever did not put in the hard work he was supposed to do. As for me though, I only have one thing to blame when that somebody fails to make it to the top. He was not born to be a star. Ipinapanganak yan. That is why there are actors who can’t act and singers who cannot sing. But they are stars and bigger even, than many who can act and who can sing. So now, I ask, where do you think does KZ Tandingan belongs? Will she make it to stardom or fade quietly away when a new champion comes along?
Khristine Zhenie Tandingan, known as KZ, is the grand prize winner of the first season of X-Factor, the Philippine version of the popular British reality show. She is 21 years old, has a BS Biology degree from the University of Southeastern Philippines and has been singing since she was a kid. Her last gigs before going solo was with an acoustic band. She was discovered during the Mindanao auditions for X-Factor, was brought to Manila for the show and soon after won the contest. Now comes the hard part. She has released her first album and it is from this that all those big and little things that go into the making of a star will emanate.
KZ’s first single release, a cover of the old favorite Killing Me Softly With His Song, got her off to a very good start. I know there was a lot of Lauryn Hill in it but it made me pause and listen and wonder who was singing. I was even more surprised to find out that it was KZ and that she had just won the X-Factor show. Local singing champions do not sing like KZ, whose husky tones purr more than soar. It is quite unique and very sexy. Maybe, this girl is just whom we need to break 10-year singing champion jinx.
Now available in the stores is KZ Tandingan, the album. Producer Jonathan Manalo did a good job with it. Particularly impressive is the choice of songs which are all new, all by Filipino songwriters and all suited to KZ’s style. One of them the bouncy, jazz-influenced CD opener, Love, Love, Love was composed by KZ herself. She does a great job, too, as a recording artist. Her singing is very expressive and it feels amazing to discover that her limited range can actually do so much.
The contents of the CD blend well together and it feels so good to find our songwriters and arrangers on equal footing with something like Killing Me Softly, while retaining a strong Filipino identity. The first single out is a daring choice that criss crosses rock and R&B, Puro Laro, which was composed and arranged by Kiko Salazar.
Also a stand out is the Latin-jazz influenced Umiibig that was written and arranged by Toto Sorioso and features a live band. Those who still believe that singing champions should also sing with high drama will be happy to find out that KZ can also do this in her own way in Wag Ka Nang Umiyak which was composed by Vincent Ferdinand Dancel and arranged by Teddy Katigbak.
Also included are Darating Din, Bakit Lumuluha, Un-Love You, Scared To Death, Killing Me Softly With His Song, a stripped down version of Bakit Lumuluha and the backing tracks all the songs.
Meanwhile over there at MYX, here are the Top 20 titles in this week’s Pinoy MYX Countdown. Chinito by Yeng Constantino; Carousel by Bamboo; Lipat Bahay by Rico Blanco; Ikaw At Ako by TJ Monterde; Haplos by Alden Richards; Salamin by Slap Shock; Pangako by 6cyclemind; Haunted by Ely Buendia; Hello I Love You by Chicsers; Discolamon by Banda Ni Kleggy.
Balewalang Pag-ibig by Join The Club; Sama-sama by Rocksteddy, Sa Isang Sulyap Mo by Bryan Termulo; Pick Your Poison by Sponge Cola; Right Next To Me by Kimpoy Feliciano; Karakaraka by Vice Ganda featuring Smugglaz; Bubble by Yelle; Tsismosa by Kley; Salamin by Kilos; and By Your Side by Aspen Way.