“It was really overwhelming at first.”
That was Krissha Viaje’s initial reaction after she bested 11 other contestants in the search for Asian singing talents conducted by Asian entertainment channel GEM.
“Of course,” she added, “I was hoping I would win but I certainly didn’t have much expectations because my co-contestants were really very good.”
Krissha (full name: Maria Krisshajene Frances Z. Viaje) will compete in the finals of Nippon TV’s I Can Sing in Japanese! which will be held in Tokyo.
Asked what made her stand out in the tightly-contested search, Krissha said, “I think my strength lies in my passion for performing, and the fact that I always sing from my heart.”
Before she became a Star Magic artist, Krissha was with TV5 (2011-2012), and has starred with Sam Concepcion and Cheska Ortega in High School Musical Onstage. Currently, Krissha is a member of the Girltrend dance group that performs in It’s Showtime!. She was also part of Oh My Girls with Ylona Garcia and Alexa Ilacad, mentored by Yeng Constantino, in We Love OPM The Celebrity Sing-Offs. She has recorded two albums and made music videos under Universal Music Japan (2014-2016) and appeared as lead actress in the Flippish video that went viral.
Among the commercials she appears in are those for Blend 45 (lead), Android One (lead), Modess (as support for Julia Barretto), Globe (with Xian Lim) and Rejoice (as support to Kathryn Bernardo), and print ads for the Toppo billboard (with Kathryn), Jollibee mural and Globe (train cover). She has attended the following: Acting Lessons Intro Artist Training; basic jazz, walk-in hiphop; and singing and acting lessons.
Since the start of the online call for entries in December last year, the channel has seen overwhelming response from participants all over Asia, which indicates the widespread popularity of Japanese content in the region. From the entries, 12 finalists were handpicked and invited to attend an audition in Singapore. They were from Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
“Singing in Japanese is not easy so we were surprised by the high quality of entries across Southeast Asia,” said Virginia Lim, senior vice president and head of Content, Production & Marketing of Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia. “The overwhelming response from aspiring singers reflects the popularity of Japanese pop culture in this region. On behalf of GEM, I congratulate Krissha on being crowned the Asia finalist and wish her every success for the final round of I Can Sing in Japanese! GEM, together with our partner and leading content producer, Nippon TV, will continue to deliver the latest entertainment from Japan and bring our viewers more on-ground, interactive experiences that will deepen their connection to Japan.”
Yuji Gobuichi, the Japanese director and creator of the program, remarked, “We are very impressed by the immense talent we have seen in the entries from Asia. I believe that Krissha is the next big thing and that the rest of the contestants are also ready to take on other global singing competitions.”
A long-time fan of Japanese shows, Krissha impressed the judges at the audition with her soulful rendition of Precious by Yuna Ito, the theme song from the movie Limit of Love Umizaru. Although the high calibre of the other finalists made it a tough competition, Krissha stood out with her precise diction and expressive singing which moved the judges.
“I am so excited for this chance and I cannot thank the judges enough for selecting me as the winner,” commented Krissha. “I am looking forward to doing my country proud at the I Can Sing in Japanese! competition.”
Thanking her supporters back home, Krissha added, “To my Filipino supporters, I will be bringing my best self to the competition in Tokyo so I hope that you continue supporting me. Stay tuned to GEM on SKYCable to catch me on the show.”
6 entries in the 2nd ToFarm Filmfest
Krissha being awarded by Virginia Lim, Sony Pictures Television Networks (Asia) SVP and head of Content, Production & Marketing
Cheers to Maryo J. delos Reyes and the organizers of the first ToFarm Filmfest last year which was so successful that a second one is being held middle of this year.
Some 118 scripts were submitted for consideration and the board of judges (Raquel Villavicencio, Michiko Yamamoto and director Jun Robles Lana) came up with the Magic 6, namely:
• Baklad by Topel Lee, drama and dark comedy genre;
• High Tide by Tara Illenberger, drama and adventure genre;
• Instalado by Jason Paul Laxamana, social/science/fiction genre;
• Kamunggay (Malunggay) by Victor Acedillo Jr., comedy and light drama genre;
• Sinandomeng by Byron Bryant, comedy genre; and
• What Home Feels Like by Joseph Abello, domestic and family drama genre.
Dr. Milagros How, one of the filmfest organizers, also announced the 10 finalists (winnowed down from 172 entries) in ToFarm’s songwriting contest, namely:
• Langit ng Tagumpay by Elmar Jan Bonano
• Magtatanim Ako by Edwin Marollano
• Ika’y Mahalaga by Henry Alburro
• Binhi ng Pagbabago by John Christian Jose
• T’yaga Lang at Sipag by Robert David
• Bayani ng Lupa by Agila Malaya
• Binhi ng Pagbabago by Gino Torres
• Balik na Salinlahi by En Gallardo
• Tayo by Daryl Cielo
• Magtanim ng Bago by LJ Manzano.
The awards night will be held on April 7.