Categorized | Editorial, Philippines

Charice Taking Musical Queen’s Crown?

Charice Taking Musical Queen’s Crown?

Charice’s mesmeric rise in the international music world threatens to see the teenager surpass the Philippine’s musical queen, Lea Salonga, as the nation’s most significant international female artist.

The success that the Laguna-born 18-year-old has enjoyed over the past two years is the source of an immense sense of pride for Filpinos, so much so that Salonga’s 22-year reign as the Philippine’s biggest international music icon seems to be coming to an end.

Journal Online, the online version of the Manila-based People’s Journal newspapers, reported on January 8 that the respective successes of both songstresses are “being used as (a) gauge to compare the two musical artists in an effort to evaluate individual merits.”

“But some say it is like comparing an apple to an orange,” it continued. “So, is it really fair to compare Lea with Charice?”

For those of you not familiar with who Lea Salonga is, she is an actress and singer of notable achievement in her own right who broke onto the scene in 1989, at the age of 18. If you are a fan of Disney animation, then you’ll probably have heard her voice. She was the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin” (1992), and performed at that year’s Oscars ceremony, and sang for Ku Mulan in the movie animation “Mulan” (1998) and its sequel “Mulan II” (2004).

She is also an actress of true stature. In 1989, she set the standard for the role of ‘Kim’ in the international musical hit “Miss Saigon” when she was included in the original cast of the show in London’s West End. Salonga only won the role after a global search for an actress that could fit the character: out of thousands, she got it.

Salonga went on to win the two biggest theatre awards there are for her role in “Miss Saigon”: an Olivier Award for her performances in that original West End production, and a Tony Award for her performances in the show’s subsequent Broadway production in New York. She released her self-titled debut international album in 1993, and sold 3 million copies worldwide.

On the surface it may indeed look like comparing apples and oranges, but there is some weight to the idea that Charice is becoming a by-word for Philippine success. No other Filipino has had the international charts at her mercy, with Charice the first Asian artist to have a solo album in the top 10 of the Billboard charts, and no other Filipino has won over such established global stars. In short, her impact has been one of ‘shock and awe.’

Charice’s achievements have prompted a similar reaction to those that surrounded Salonga’s break-throughs, and in her time the now 39-year-old performer was a major national icon to Filipinos worldwide. Her significance to ‘Pinoy Pride’ was underlined three years ago when the then Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, awarded her the Order of Lakandula in recognition of her achievements.

Of course, the stage is different for these two stars. Charice is rolling in the media-frenzied pop and RnB worlds at a Aleve over the counter time when the internet has her face and voice a click away from everyone. In contrast, Salonga’s world is that of the more refined theatre actor, where the popular media drop in from time to time as need arises, and broke through in a time when cellphones still resembled a small car battery.

Salonga is a supporter of Charice, praising the youth for her talent on several occasions. The two have also worked together for charity records and ceremonies. It’s unlikely that she would be overly upset thatAi??another 18-year-old is being considered for the mantle she has held for so long.

By Robert Sheen,

58 Responses to “Charice Taking Musical Queen’s Crown?”

  1. Athena says:

    To comment that Lea is “insecure” of Charice is utterly ludicrous. She would NOT have praised Charice in the first place as “insanely talented” if she was, would she? And how can an INTERNATIONAL MULTI-AWARDED BROADWAY SUPERSTAR like Lea be envious of a young singer who’s just been starting her career? Lea doesn’t mince words and she means exactly what she says for she’s INSANELY OUTSPOKEN. And Lea is not only ONE OF THE BEST VOICES in the world but also ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT ARTISTS in the world WHO KNOWS MORE ABOUT MUSIC than any other non-music critic. And I agree that for every Charice “there’s like 10 more who are probably as good as she is”. Having said that, it doesn’t mean Lea underestimates Charice’s talent. Lea only stresses out that there are OTHER TALENTED SINGERS IN THE PHILIPPINES who can sing like Charice (with big voice, range and the whole shebang) which is a FACT that recording companies in America and other countries in the world should TAKE NOTE of. Lastly, Lea believes in the Filipino talent. However, it would take another Disney-voiced and Tony-Olivier award-winning artist to grab her title. And when that happens, Lea would gladly relinquish her crown.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. tita says:
    This article has triggered a lot of comments. And I am not surprised.

    The title of the article has a question mark–Charice Taking Musical Queen’s Crown?

    I have only this for a reply.

    Charice does not need to take Lea’s crown. Charice has her own crown.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. hermiemel says:
    Performance in Manila, Philippines (side by side)
    If you put Lea on stage no. 1 and Charice on stage no. 2
    Q: Who will have the longest line to see them performed?
    A: I’ll probably line up to see Charice first and then see Lea in that order. I don’t doubt that some folks will see Lea first and then see Charice.

    If you love music and the stage, who on earth will not want to see them both? They are equally in the same league. Both are super talented, lovable and charismatic in their own way. Both has blood that runs with pinoy pride. Never mind that they do well on different genre but they are both “insanely” talented. Lea has navigated these deep waters before so I am sure that if Charice seek Lea’s help that she will be there to hold her hand.

    To me they are both “artist” who paints equally beautiful pictures, although one is traditional and the other more contemporary. Just the same, they are both a joy forever. Just my worthless two cents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. Ben says:
    MA Fan…
    Re your comment: “Charice IS the tip of the iceberg…and to say that no one can beat Charice at this stage is too much a fanatical comment (not that it’s wrong) but it borders towards ignorance. Lea simply said that for every 1 of Charice, there are 10 others who are just as good. That’s probably true…after all the Philippines has almost 92,000,000 people so that 10 Charice-comparable individuals ARE a rarity.”

    You missed the whole idea. My comments are based on facts and not fanaticism. So let’s put this to the test as I am a very objective person and always takes evidence to heart before making any any comment and conclusion. If you can send me a video of (a) Filipino singer (s) that can “beat Charice at the moment” then I would cede with my opinion. No one has done this yet since 2008. Because there is really none. So if you have one please upload and we will debate on the matter. If not, then all your comments to me applies to you… Please don’t be fanatical about Lea. She is talented and a treasure but she should learn to be discriminating with her analogies as expected of an intelligent person like her.
    I hope, as Dave has explained she is not feeling insecure. If I were Lea at the status she holds, I would be more proactive – be more active with music industry organizations or establish a foundation to help singers I think are worthy of investments – rather than whine on radio about it and using Charice in the wrong context.
    Btw, being rare is not 1 out of 10 with 92M as a denominator. First of all your denominator is wrong coz you have to only limit your base to the teen population. Then estimate the number of people who have talent, story and charisma (it factor) like Charice. But I won’t go down to that because even if you arrive at the final number it doesn’t prove anything… it even worsens Lea’s argument. Because that’s how many videos you need to upload to prove your point. Let me then just enlighten you with the basic idea of why we are making this discussion. Charice is not a statistic. She is a phenomenon. The most convenient example is Nora Aunor. That’s why she is called the “Phenomenal Nora Aunor”. My mother and aunt have a long-playing album with that cover title. Phenomenal..why? Because she broke the norm…. A poor, not mestiza or-so-pretty (in Phil. Standard) petite, brown-skinned girl selling water along the rails in Bicol (the poorest region in the Phils.), winning a singing contest (after the second try) with a voice that is comparable to Karen Carpenter…. no musical training… Because of her golden voice she was not ignored. Nobody yet in my lifetime came close to her story and success. (Forget about her latter story as it personal and doesn’t relate to our present argument). It’s like a treasure that you find rarely (once or twice in your lifetime). I’m happy to see two in my lifetime and hopefully another one before i gasp my last breath. Look, Lea was a treasure find 20 years ago.. extraordinary talent coming from a privileged household… She also broke the norm coz she’s the first to break into international broadway and starring in the role that is too sexy for her age defying criticisms from a very conservative Filipino culture. She broke records in winning Tony and Lawrence Olivier.. the first Asian to achieve those. Then 20 years later we have Charice… moving story, humble beginnings and extraordinary talent rolled into one… broke the Billboard record and making it in the Hollywood mainstream. These talents are rare and cannot be reduced to statistical calculation. Again, the word to describe what we are experiencing is a phenomenon. These artists are phenomenal. Aside from DF, two legendary artists – Lionel Richie and Patti Labelle- used the same term as it sums up Charice. You call these artists fanatics? Nope.. they are just stating what they are seeing in Charice. That’s my point, if you didn’t understand why Lea’s analogy is being contested.
    No one is being fanatical here. We are intelligent people seeing clearly and not being blinded by any irrationality with how we regard Charice as a phenomenal singer that in the words of Lea herself is insanely talented that the world can never ignore. I admire her for having said that. I just hope she regards Charice no less than what she is and has become. That’s not too much to ask

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    • M A Fan says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

      • Ben says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

        • M A Fan says:


          I give you my opinion and agree to some of your points, and you tell me hopefully not to find myself at the edge of a cliff. I thought you were going the rational route??

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Dave says:
      Hello Ben, thanks for mentioning me. I support you totally in your analogy.

      I totally disagree with Lea’s line: “for every one of her (charice) there is like ten more who are probably good as she is!” because it contradict Tommy Page’s opinion (VP of Reprise-Warner Bros. Records): “Charice, her voice is… It’s not even in 1 in a million voice…it’s 1 in a multi-million voice!”

      I have a hard time accepting Lea’s analogy. Lea is like insinuating that Charice’s voice is not very rare because “for every one of her (charice) there is like ten more who are probably good as she is!”

      What I like more, is the description of Tommy Page about Charice’s voice because it definitely says that Charice’s voice is a RARITY: “Charice, her voice is… It’s not even in 1 in a million voice…it’s 1 in a multi-million voice!”

      Now, I would like to reiterate Ben’s point that instead of Lea saying these “flowery words”: Maybe it’s about time for Lea to discover the “1 of 10 that is as good as Charice” rather than ranting on radio “How Good Filipino Singers Are” and doing NOTHING about it!

      Lea’s Interview:
      Tommy Page Interview:

      Lea Salonga: What they don’t realize, for that, for every one of her (charice) there is like ten more who are probably good as she is. And you know, they’re just only catching the tip of the iceberg with how talented people are in this country.

      Tommy Page, VP of Reprise-Warner Bros. Records: Charice, her voice is a above the highest caliber singer that most of America used to hearing….It’s not even in 1 in a million voice…it’s 1 in a multi-million voice!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

      • Ben says:

        Thanks Dave. Those are perfect videos to bring out the contrasting views. At least I know somebody who understands beyond Lea’s statement that needs qualification. Hope Lea or her management reads all these so they will tread lightly whenever they mention Charice. Cheers man!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • Dave says:

          Yeah Ben, for days I was really thinking about it, Why I’m not comfortable of Lea’s comments about Charice?

          Just days ago, I realized that Lea’s comments indeed conflicted with Tommy Page’s view about Charice. Because Charice’s voice is “not even 1 in a million voice…it’s 1 in a multi-million voice!”

          For me to believe Lea’s opinion, she needs first to find the “1 out of 10 that is as good as Charice” and let’s see if they are indeed as good as Charice as Lea claims.

          And yeah, Fred, I also believe that we should not compare Filipino artists….but Lea should be very careful in giving comments like that. Because Lea’s comments is like a double edge sword, you know. It also could be interpreted as if she doesn’t believe that Charice’s voice is really great “because you can find plenty of it in the Philippines.”

          Yeah, I also believe that Filipinos are one of the best signers in the world, but we should not downplay Charice’s Talent in order to lift up other Filipino artists.

          Charice’s voice is definitely “1 in a multi-million” and not “1 in 10″. For this case, I believe Tommy Page not Lea.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. fred says:

    Filipinos don’t compare them because we both love them. And I think some didnt get the context what Lea was trying to say in her interview. Lea is not stupid to even sound threatened because she has proven her talent. Both ladies are respected music personalities in the PHL. I’m pretty sure Charice will be upset if fans will compare her and Lea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. M A Fan says:

    It is utterly true that to compare Charice and Lea, or vise versa, is like comparing apples to oranges. They sing totally different genres…and to say that one would be able to crossover for one genre to another in a handshake is very difficult. I am not exactly a Lea admirer, but this I can say….she has great pipes for theatrical/broadway music. There are a lot of talented performers that can sing better than her in pop/RnB, but you would be hardpressed to find someone that can match her when it comes to Broadway music. As much as I enjoy watching endless hours of Charice you tube videos (because she’s that good), she would probably find relatively little success in Broadway…just as much as Lea had little success crossing over to pop/RnB. And that is where the orange and apples come in. It would be very nice though for Charice to surprise me again by SUCCESSFULLY crossover to Broadway. That would be a treat.

    @Ben – take a chill pill. As much as Lea sometimes irritates me when she gives interviews, she was supporting Filipino talents that most producers tend to miss out on in exchange for album sales (i.e. a very beautiful girl that can’t sing to save her life, but seems to win the hearts of people because of her looks). Charice IS the tip of the iceberg…and to say that no one can beat Charice at this stage is too much a fanatical comment (not that it’s wrong) but it borders towards ignorance. Lea simply said that for every 1 of Charice, there are 10 others who are just as good. That’s probably true…after all the Philippines has almost 92,000,000 people so that 10 Charice-comparable individuals ARE a rarity.

    Just my two sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  7. Ben says:
    I watched Lea’s interview on you tube wherein she was criticizing the music industry for not supporting (investing on) raw talents.

    She mentioned Charice as an example but it became irritating at the end….Lea has to realize that Charice’s talent is exceptional just like hers and not “one out of ten talented singers”.. or “just the tip of the iceberg”… i think it is not being soft-skinned to interpret what she said as downplaying the rarity of the quality of Charice’s talent. In as much as Lea’s talent is a treasure it is the same as Charice’s. Please… there is none at the moment that compares with Charice .. if there is, he or she has come out of You tube… so i think Lea should be more careful with her opinion lest she would look or sound foolish in the eyes (or ears) of the more informed (intelligent) Filipinos, at the very least. Her views also runs counter to DF’s take on Charice. I love Lea but she herself should admit and realize that Charice is equal if not better than her considering their difference in socio-economic background and the fact that Charice can swing to broadway in the future while she (Lea) cannot be marketable to produce an RnB album. But of course, no comparison.. but i think you get my point… To find another Charice, maybe not in the next 5 years.. it’s not often that we see a shooting star landing on planet earth… So please stop this argument that there are more Charices in the Philippines. I don’t buy that argument. The failure of the Phil. music industry is its superficiality in investing on singers… meaning looks as priority than talent..rather than the opposite.. Lea is another exception coz if not for being on Broadway since she was a kid she wouldn’t be on That’s entertainment as a platform to be popular with the masses… she just became more popular when she landed the Miss Saigon role and the rest is history… if not for broadway she would also be a nobody in the Philippines coz there are taller and prettier faces that the music industry will invest on before her… just like the soap opera actress she is talking about in the interview…whoever she is. So please dont use Charice as an example… Lea and Charice are the best examples of super singers that no matter what, will be recognized globally for their insane extraordinary pipes that the Phil music industry and the world can never ignore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 13

    • Dave says:
      I totally agree Ben. There is something weird reasons why would Lea say that there is one Charice “out of ten talented singers” in the Philippines or Charice is “just the tip of the iceberg”.

      I don’t want to believe that she is somewhat threatened by Charice skyrocketing international popularity that Charice may replace her as the New Philippine International Music icon.

      I don’t want to believe that…but…I really have a bad impression on her motives why should she say that that there is one Charice “out of ten talented singers” in the Philippines or Charice is “just the tip of the iceberg”.

      I hope that Leah would refrain from giving comments that will indirectly suggest that she is insecure of Charice.

      Leah should never feel insecure because she an idol of Charice.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  8. chris says:

    sorry i mean as january 13, 2011 not 2010

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. chris says:

    please vote charice @gleewiki

    as of january 13, 2010 the results are:

    Who was your favorite Glee Guest Star?
    Thank you for your vote!

    Kristin Chenoweth (April Rhodes)
    Josh Groban
    Eve (Grace Hitchens)
    Jonathan Groff (Jesse St. James)
    Idina Menzel (Shelby Cochoran)
    Olivia Newton John
    Neil Patrick Harris (Bryan Ryan)
    Charice (Sunshine Corazone)
    Britney Spears
    Gwyenth Paltrow (Holly Holiday)
    Carole Brunett (Doris Sylvester)
    John Stamos (Carl Howell)

    please share this info to all chasters worldwide, let’s support charice


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. chris says:

    please vote charice on yahoo/facebook:

    Which song was stuck in your head this year?
    ‘Baby,’ Justin Bieber
    ‘Love the Way You Lie,’ Eminem
    ‘Bad Romance,’ Lady Gaga
    ‘Pyramid,’ Charice
    ‘Tik Tok,’ Ke$ha


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. edcos says:

    Agree 200% kb117 !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. kb117 says:
    My opinion is you don’t compare Heroes…….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

    • lola-elrem says:
      right, well said pal! both lea and charice give honour to the country, and they are both loved.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0


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