Pinay caregiver Rose Fostanes wins 'X Factor Israel'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – She came to Israel several years ago to work as a caregiver. Now, Rose Fostanes is a bona fide reality TV star in her host country Israel, after she was declared the winner of the "X Factor Israel" Tuesday, January 14 (Wednesday, January 15 in Manila).
"Thank you for giving me the chance to be in the 'X Factor Israel,'" the 47-year-old overseas Filipino worker turned singing sensation said. She was part of the show's "Over 25s" category.
Placing second was Eden Ben Zaken (Girls category), and third was Ori Shakiv (Boys category).
She has been one of the favorites to win the reality show's first season, with performances regularly lauded by the show's judges. (Watch her top performances here, on her journey to "X Factor Israel" victory)
For the final showdown, she sang "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, and Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" in a duet with her mentor Shiri Maimon.
Her rendition of "My Way," with an orchestra as her backup, got a standing ovation from the judges: rock singer Rami Fortis, singer and composer Moshe Peretz, pop singer Ivri Lider, and Maimon.
"I really [can't] believe I'm really here now," she said after. "To all the Filipinos and Israelis who supported me, thank you so much." Her mentor Maimon was teary-eyed after her performance, while the other judges again praised her.
Present at the final was her sister Nancy and partner Mel Adel, along with members of the Filipino community.
Fostanes started working in Israel as a caregiver 6 years ago, but she has been working in the region for around 20 years now.
She told Reuters in an interview that at first she thought Israelis won't vote for her on the show, fearing the stereotype of Filipinas working as maids and caregivers would turn them off.
Her breakthrough performance came when she got onstage and sang "You and I" by Lady Gaga. After that, her performances of songs such as Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Shirley Bassey's "I Who Have Nothing" has wowed the show's judging panel, host Bar Refaeli, and the entire nation.
She also hopes her stardom would help raise awareness about the country's foreign workers and their problems, she also told Reuters.
Fostanes is now among a number of Filipinos who have shown exceptional musical talent in reality singing competitions abroad, which include Jessica Sanchez, Ellona Santiago, and Jasmine Trias. – KD Suarez/Rappler.com
(Editor's Note: One of the songs Fostanes sang in the competition was "I Who Have Nothing," not "I Have Nothing" as earlier stated.)