PH group in ‘X Factor UK’: Poverty is no hindrance
The girl group from Manila, 4th Power, recently stunned all four judges of “The X Factor UK” with a rousing rendition of Jessie J and Ariana Grande’s “Bang Bang” in the audition stage of the show’s latest season.
They flew to London, said sisters Mylene, Celina, Irene and Almera Cercado, because they wanted to meet “Simon Cowell…and Queen Elizabeth.”
“We loved music and it was our way of bonding,” Mylene told the Inquirer of their childhood years in an e-mail interview.
In the episode, judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini giddily described 4th Power as “bad girls” who transformed from being “so demure” before the sisters’ number at Wembley Stadium.
Fellow judge Rita Ora declared, “This audition just changed your life!”
Likewise, judge Nick Grimshaw was impressed: “This [performance] is gonna blow up all around the world…you’re my favorite girl band.”
The last judge, the often-stern Cowell, also praised 4th Power for the cohesive number. “We welcome talent from all over the world—and you’re incredibly welcome,” he told the group, which has been singing since 2001 and appeared in local shows including “It’s Showtime” and “Pinoy Idol.”
Cowell added, “In terms of first auditions, this is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen…[these are] the biggest four ‘yeses’ we’ve ever given.”
The sisters went to England on their own and without sponsors, according to a representative of cable channel RTL CBS Entertainment, which airs the talent tilt (Sunday and Monday at 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.).
On the controversy regarding why they were allowed to join the show, its producers had stated that there was no rule barring former contestants of other TV competitions from joining the British “X Factor.” The siblings joined the South Korean contest “Superstar K6” in 2014, and reached the semifinal round. The group was then called Mica, after the siblings’ initials.
Where did you grow up and how did you start as a group?
Irene: We were born and grew up in the Philippines. Since we were little, we’ve been singing on different occasions, like birthdays, weddings and reunions.
Mylene: We grew up in the countryside until we were 9 years old, and moved to the city. It was a simple life—we went to school and lived in a house with one another. We watched [pop] stars [perform] and imitated them.
Our dad had difficulty in finding a job but he did his best to give us a wonderful life. The only thing he could do for work was push a cart—he picked up old bottles and newspapers, and sold them. We realized that we [had] to do our best and…help our parents. Our mom tried to sell a lot of things, like vitamins, clothes and Tupperware.
What’s been the toughest part of the competition, so far?
Mylene: Having the mindset of trying out for the arena audition…and traveling from the Philippines to the United Kingdom. It’s our first time to be here. The weather’s also been a big change from what we’re used to. This is really the hardest competition that we’ve ever joined but we were so excited to meet Simon.
How would you describe your personalities?
Almera: Celina is the model of the group as she’s pretty and the tallest. Irene is the “swag” girl and she’s the dancer. Mylene arranges all our songs and she’s also the comedian of the family. I’m the oldest and I taught them to sing. I tell them to keep going when they get nervous.
Who are your singing influences?
All: Beyoncé! Michael Jackson and Destiny’s Child.
What’s your ultimate goal?
Irene: We joined “X Factor” because we wanted to meet Simon Cowell. He’s the man behind the success of One Direction. We want to be like them…
Meeting him is like a step [closer to] our dreams. And now we’re here. We want to share our talent with the world and show that poverty is not a hindrance to success.
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