CANADA – Filipinos in Ottawa were jubilant as a young “kababayan” – who moved to Canada only two years ago – bagged this year’s Ottawa Idol competition.
Fifteen-year-old Bernice Reyes wowed the people of Ottawa, besting youth from across the nation’s capital, from the auditions to the finals of the talent search.
The competition saw a total of 120 young people audition for a spot in the Top 25. This was further narrowed down to 13 coveted slots during the show’s finals.
Reyes and her brother Marc both got into the Top 25, and subsequently into the Top 13.
Judges were rendered speechless – with one moved to tears – over the young Filipina’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s love ballad “I Will Always Love You” as she entered the finals.
Her performance of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” floored them yet again as entered the Top 6.
But it was her rendition of “Let it Go” form Disney’s “Frozen” movie that catapulted her to the top of the final three.
Eldon Fox, contest founder had this to say of Reyes: “She’s probably the best voice that we’ve ever had. And especially at 15, imagine what she’s going to be like at 25. Celine Dion started there, too. She’s fantastic, that’s all I can say. I’m not a music person per se, but I know talent when I see it.”
Fox added that kids like Reyes are the reason he founded the competition eleven years ago; to give young people the opportunity to showcase their talents and be discovered.
The Filipina teener admits to always having big dreams of making it on the music scene.
“I think that I will continue singing and use that as an advantage and probably, hopefully, be known internationally someday,” Reyes said.
Reyes has no formal training in music, and her talent comes naturally. She started singing at the age of five, with her dad acting as her voice coach.
As top winner of Ottawa Idol, Reyes will be given a chance to meet with Universal Music Canada, an original song for her to sing and record, $2,000 worth of recording time, an audition for a chance to sing the national anthem at an NHL Ottawa Senators game, and numerous appearances on television and radio shows.