Pinoy ‘Random Girl’ comes home after Ellen stint

Edwin G. Espejo

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Another success story thanks to the power of social media. After Zendee, who will be the next great Pinoy talent that will be discovered?

THEY NEVER GAVE UP. Zendee Tenerife (right) with her mom, Jinky. Photo courtesy of Edwin Espejo

MANILA, Philippines – A teaser from the producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show said Zendee Rose Tenefire will be “the next big thing.”

The show’s website said: “Don’t miss this jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime performance from a young singer.”

And based on the video clip of Zendee’s Ellen performance in the October 26 episode uploaded on YouTube, the Filipino “Random Girl” definitely did not disappoint.

Watch it here:

Zendee first blew people off their feet when her video singing “And I Am Telling You” in a mall in Manila went viral. As of press time, the video tagged “Random Girl” (because it was taken without her knowledge by a spectator she did not personally know) has more than 2 million hits.

“And I Am Telling You” was originally performed by Jennifer Holiday in 1982. It was re-popularized by Jennifer Hudson in the movie “Dream Girls” and was rendered by Filipino-Mexican Jessica Sanchez when she was still competing in American Idol season 11.

The other Filipina celebrity to perform in The Ellen DeGeneres Show is Charice Pempengco, now a superstar in her own right, managed by “the queen of talk” Oprah Winfrey.

Zendee and her mom Jinky were flown over to the US on October 22 for her Ellen Show taping on October 25.

The episode aired on October 26, and Zendee’s clip is also going viral at 100,00-plus shares and counting.

Rising from rejection

Zendee is no stranger to rejection.

She was raised by her grandmother while Jinky toiled overseas, singing in bars and lounges. Jinky had separated rom Zendee’s father when her daughter was just a young child.

In 2008, Zendee auditioned for a now-defunct reality show in ABS-CBN where she bagged one of the two slots that would have advanced her into the nationwide elimination round. By then, Zendee was already doing work as a performer in weddings, parties and other gatherings.

The call from ABS-CBN sent Zendee and her mother into an excited frenzy, with Jinky seeing singing as their way out of subsistence.

But luck and destiny were not on their side.

The reality show was cancelled and Zendee felt dejected after a long and uncertain wait for the show’s promised notice that never came. The two however refused to accept failure and defeat.

Zendee continues to audition at every opportunity to showcase her talent. Jinky has also quit singing professionally to fully focus on shaping her daughter’s career.

Aside from singing, Zendee is known in her native General Santos for her dancing and hosting skills.

She showed off her dancing skills when she opened her segment with Ellen by dancing Psy’s viral hit, “Gangnam Style,” with ease.

Back-to-back with Halle

Bubbly Zendee appeared in Ellen on the same episode where Oscar-nominated actress Halle Berry was also a guest.

Never in her wildest dreams did Zendee ever think she would appear in a stage as big as the Ellen show.

Mao jud ni pangarap ni (This is really the dream of) Zendee,” Jinky said.

Zendee has signed a recording contract with Warner Philippines, who will also be managing her singing career.

Jinky and Zendee are arriving back in Manila on October 29.

If you are one of the few who missed the video that made Ellen notice Zendee, watch it here:


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