Blind singer makes Capiz town proud
ILOILO CITY—She may not have bagged the top prize of the French singing competition but blind Filipino singing sensation Katchry Jewel Golbin still feels every bit a winner.
“That’s more than enough for a mere Francophile who dreamed of nothing but a short vacation in France,” Golbin, who drew tears for her rendition of Les Miserables’ “I Dreamed a Dream,” posted on her Facebook page.
Golbin landed third among 12 finalists in the finale of the 11th season of the television program “La France a un Incroyable Talent (France Got Talent)” aired Tuesday evening (early Wednesday morning in the Philippines).
Her third-place finish capped a fairy tale run that exceeded expectations of her family and townmates.
“We are very proud of her,” said Mayor Roberto Palomar of Tapaz town in Capiz, the hometown of Golbin. “She is a jewel not only of Tapaz but of our country. No matter what, she’s a winner.”
“She won third place among many contestants and she’s not even French. That alone is an accomplishment,” Palomar told the Inquirer.
“Making it to a French talent show’s grand finale is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Golbin, 26, as she thanked those who helped and supported her. “That very first incroyable (incredible) talent performance I gave already made me feel like a winner,” she wrote.
Golbin, “Jel” to her family and friends but known internationally as “Alienette Coldfire,” awed the show’s judges and audience for her singing talent and voice, proficiency in speaking French and not giving up on her dreams despite her physical disability.
The third of three siblings, the English graduate of Central Philippine University in Iloilo City was born premature and blind.
But with the support of her parents Edgardo and Estrella, she finished her education despite her physical disability.
Edgardo is a former overseas Filipino worker who drives a taxi while Estrella works as a clerk of the municipal government of Tapaz.
She loved singing since she was a small girl and attempted to sing “Happy Birthday” when she was 2 years old, according to Estrella.
In college, she enrolled in a French class as a course elective. But aside from her subject, she practiced speaking French with Facebook friends using a special software.
“Her teacher was surprised,” Estrella said, “She was advanced in speaking French because almost every night she spoke with her friends online.”
Golbin told the show’s judges she wanted to learn French because the popular French singer Edith Piaf, who sang the international hit “La Vie en Rose,” was one of her idols.
Golbin first became an online sensation two years ago after a video of her singing Mariah Carey’s “I’ll Be There” at SM City in Iloilo City became viral.
Her friends encouraged her to try out for the French “Got Talent” show.
She first submitted videos of her performing 10 French songs. She was later asked to send three more after she was shortlisted for the show.
She earned a spot in the finals after she sang “Les Moulins de Mon Coeur,” the French version of “The Windmills of Your Mind,” during the semifinals on Dec. 6.
Her younger sister Kathryne Faith has been accompanying her in the competition in France.
Her mother Estrella said that what her daughter has achieved was beyond what they could have imagined.
“We are not rich,” said Estrella, “When she was telling us what she was hoping to achieve, like joining and winning the competition in France, I would kid her to wake up from dreaming. But she did it,” she said.
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