Rose Fostanes may not know it yet, but her fame in Israel has crossed oceans and mountains. Thanks mostly to social media and netizens who keep on posting her performances on the reality show X-Factor Israel.
Rose’s story has become too big that even global media companies like the Associated Press and TIME Magazine have featured her.
“The diminutive woman with a booming voice has taken X-Factor Israel by storm and emerged as a national phenomenon,” says the AP story that has since been picked up by newspapers and magazines (including this one) around the world.
TIME describes it more succintly.
“A 47-year-old Filipina caregiver, Rose Osang Fostanes, has blown Israel away with her vocal performances on the reality show X Factor, garnering hordes of fans while putting a human face to all the foreign workers who anonymously grind away in the country’s domestic-help sector,” its lede goes.
Rose breezed through the competition right after she mesmerized the judges of the show with her audition piece Shirley Bassey’s This is My Life. The judges gave her a standing ovation after her audition while the audience went wild cheering Rose on.
“Take it in, you deserve it, so much. The song you chose is so right for you,” Ivri Lider told Rose. “It sounded like it’s a CD playing. It was perfect, so perfect. I just can’t believe that this is your first time performing onstage. It’s crazy,” said pop and R&B singer Shiri Maimon. “It was wonderful. No words. You have the X factor,”rock singer Rami Fortis said.
On the show’s first live show for the Top 12 finalists, Rose came prepared with guns ablaze.
She performed Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful and was rewarded with yet another standing ovation from the judges and the audience.
Judge Moshe Peretz thought her performance was “perfect,” which was echoed by her mentor Maimon. “You are beautiful. I love you,” said Fortis. “You are probably the best singer in the competition. But Shiri, there’s a problem; you just wasted your final song for the finals. It’s a perfect, perfect song,” said pop star Lider.
As of press time, she has made her way to the final four contestants with performances of songs like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Lady Gaga’s You and I, and Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You. She told AP it’s a childhood dream coming true — one that she’s been afraid to act on before because she did not have conventional pop-star looks.
“Sometimes I am telling myself, ‘Is it true that it happened to me?’ At least I can express and show the people that I have also talents, and it’s not too late for me to shine,” she said.
In a video clip during the show’s boot camp – where all the auditionees who passed will go through another round of auditions before the finalists are selected – Rose was seen as a loner. When a fellow contestant approached her and talked to her, she opened up.
“I have very low confidence. Even if people say I have a good voice, sometimes I don’t believe them,” Rose said. “But this is not a game. I am competing not just for myself but for my family. They’re very poor in the Philippines.”
In her voice over, she talked about not fitting in, about how the other contestants may be looking at her and judging her from the way she looks.
Armed with a booming yet souldful voice, Rose went to do her thing, much to the amazement of the other contestants.
“You have to move, you have to fight, you have to make your best. Maybe it’s not too late for me to have a good life,” Rose said, moments after receiving a standing ovation from her fellow contestants after she sang Lady Gaga’s You and I.
With three other remarkable talents competing, it is too early to tell if Rose Fostanes can win X Factor Israel’s first season but with her global popularity rising in every episode they show, it is not a far-fetched possibility.
(NYNJ January 10, 2014 LifeEASTyle Magazine pg.2)