[PHOTO -Filipino amateur singer Jason Farol in a duet with Kelly Clarkson, first winner of American Idol, on the newest nationwide US talent show Duets. Eight duets are competing for the Final 3 from which the winner will be decided via text voting.]

MANILA, JUNE 5, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - Close on the heels of Jessica Sanchez’s second-place finish at the recent 11th season of American Idol, another Filipino talent is creating waves in the new nationwide US TV talent search Duets on ABC. He’s none other than Jason Farol, nephew of Claire dela Fuente who alerted Funfare to the boy’s impressive performance now circulating in YouTube.

“That boy is actually very shy,” said Claire. “His mother, Rowena, told me that Jason, 23, is the personal choice of Kelly Clarkson for their duet. Clarkson is the first American Idol winner. Jason is not really a professional singer; he’s still a student who records his own songs at the garage of their home in Torrance, California.”

Eight duets are competing in the finals. After three more eliminations, America will vote until the grand finals when the winner will be known.

Anyway, here are some comments about Jason and Clarkson’s duet, culled from the Internet:

• This is by far one of my favorite songs at this moment. I love The Civil Wars… I thought Kelly doing this song with Jason Farol was a genius choice. At the beginning you could tell he was nervous but who wouldn’t be. He did great. I thought that he brought it when his moment came to shine. At the end when he cried I totally felt that. His dreams coming true in front of a Kelly Clarkson audience, which are some of the best audiences out there. I can’t wait for this show. Congrats!

• Way to go Jason Farol! You have a great voice and you’ll shine like a huge star!! We’ll watch and be with you all the way on Duets! Such a handsome and talented man you are!

• Being that I was at the show as well. 1) There was “theater seating” so not all the seats were assigned. The place is shaped like an oval. 2) Jason was scared out of his mind. He did really well being thrust out there like that. I think once he calms down on the show, he’ll do really well. KC picked a great song to sing with him that night.

Annabelle Rama: Will she run or will she not?

[PHOTO- Annabelle Rama with brother George Rama when she registered as voter at the Cebu COMELEC. She announced that she would run for congresswoman in North Cebu in the 2013 elections.]

Did you know that Annabelle Rama, a Sto. Niño devotee, often goes to Cebu just to pay homage to the Little Child at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño? She goes there straight from the airport, meets up with relatives and then flies right back to Manila.

The last time Annabelle was there to register as new Cebu voter at the COMELEC, she prayed at the Basilica asking for three signs whether she should really run for congresswoman in North Cebu in the 2013 elections. You see, her children and some relatives were not happy with her decision to enter politics. Her daughter Ruffa and sons Richard and Elvis were worried about Annabelle’s health, warning her that the campaign would be rigorous and would take her to more than 50 barangays in North Cebu. Besides, she might not have enough time to close deals for her wards, Ruffa and Richard included.

Annabelle’s brother George Rama, whom Annabelle described as the “political strategist” of the Ramas in Cebu (the latest having been Mike Rama, now Mayor of Cebu City), discouraged Annabelle from running for reasons only he knew.

“So I asked for three signs from the Sto. Niño,” Annabelle told Funfare. “And all of them were positive.”

First, when she registered at the Cebu COMELEC, it was George who accompanied her and gave her the thumbs-up.

Second, son Richard eventually understood his mom’s desire to help her fellow Cebuanos and, although reluctantly, gave Annabelle the go-signal as long as she would look after her health.

Third, son Elvis also relented and told his mom, “Go!” and promised to campaign for her.

But Annabelle said she’s in a dilemma.

“With all the three signs given,” she said, “I have to think hard whether to really run or not.”

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama was quoted by the local newspaper Freeman (The STAR’s sister publication) as saying, “If she’s available, why not? Knowing Annabelle, she can fight.”

Annabelle has until October, the deadline for the filing of candidacy, to make up her mind.

Meanwhile, could it be true that if Annabelle did run, she would be pitted not with incumbent Cutie del Mar but with Cutie’s father, Raul del Mar (who served the province as congressman for several terms)?

Give Anna Melissa an ear

[PHOTO -Anna Melissa wrote three of the songs on her eponymous debut album released by Odyssey Records. ‘I write best about heartaches,’ says Melissa who once worked in the band Arko with Rico Blanco. ‘Not my own heartaches but those of my friends.’ ]

When she met with a handful of movie writers the other night over dinner at the Bayview Hotel, Anna Melissa gave a sample of her singing prowess by singing Makakaasa Ba Ako? a cappella. Very impressive! The writers gave her an extended applause of approval.

Makakaasa Ka Ba? is one of the selections in Melissa’s eponymous album released by Odyssey Records. She herself composed it with two other songs, also in the album with some covers (one of them Adele’s Rolling In The Deep).

Pretty enough to be an actress or a beauty queen, the Daet, Camarines Norte native (like Ricky Lee and Atoy Co), confessed that heartbreaks inspire her to write songs.

“Not my own,” clarified Melissa, “but the experiences of my friends. Luckily, I haven’t been heartbroken.”

Melissa was discovered when she was acting as alalay (factotum) of her singer-friend (now married and living in Sweden). “Tagadala ako ng songbook niya,” recalled Melissa. “Then one night, while I was waiting for my friend to finish her set at Sky Lounge (of Diamond Hotel), somebody connected with the show asked me to sing. He liked what he heard and so…”

Melissa has been singing professionally for a few years, doing stints in several venues (Bluewave, Hard Rock, 19 East, etc.). She once worked with Rico Blanco in the rock band Arko.

Currently, she’s hosting (with Jimmy Bondoc) Otso Panalo, a game segment for Talk ‘N’ Text aired on the Kapamilya Mas Winner Ka program on ABS-CBN Mindanao.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved