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YouTube sensation Maria Aragon (left) with singing superstar Lady Gaga during the latter’s concert earlier this year.


Will Filipino-Canadian YouTube sensation and now a recording star of Star Records, Maria Aragon, realize her wish to sing the National Anthem at the upcoming bout between our own Pambansang Kamao, Manny Pacquiao, and Mexico’s pride, Juan Manuel Marquez, in Las Vegas?

As declared by Maria herself during a meeting with some members of the press, there is a possibility that she will sing “Lupang Hinirang” at the event.

But nothing is official, she averred.

By the time this issue comes out, the 11-year-old would have returned from a quick trip back to Canada.

She is set to perform at the SM Mall of Asia on Sept. 4.

Maria is currently recording her first album with Star Records, which will have “Born This Way” for its carrier single.

“Born This Way” is, of course, the song that paved the way for Maria to be a singing sensation.

Her performance of the song was uploaded in YouTube and received millions of hits.

What followed next, especially after no less than international sensation Lady Gaga, who originally sang “Born This Way,” saw Maria’s performance in YouTube, is history.

Lady Gaga invited Maria to sing with her during a performance she had in Canada.

She had also appeared in an episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in Los Angeles, California, and in “Good Morning, America” in New York.

Maria also had the honor to sing before the British Royal Couple, Prince William and Princess Katherine.

Since her arrival, Maria has performed with her favorite singer, Sarah Geronimo, in the ABS-CBN Sunday noontime musical show, “ASAP Rocks.”

She appeared as a special guest singer at the recent concert of Yeng Constantino at the Aliw Theater.

By the way, the other songs in the album are “You’re My Home,” “I’d Like To Teach the World to Sing,” “Follow Your Dreams,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Kung Bubuksan Mo ang Puso” and “One Hope, One Dream.”

***

“This show (referring to the upcoming reality program, GMA-7’s ‘Protégé, The Battle for the Big Break’) could not have come at a better time,” said Imelda Papin, in her time known as the “Sentimental Songstress” and who has resided in the U.S. for years, “It has allowed us, oldtimers, to have a reunion of sorts.

“And without our trying to, ha,” she smiled, as she talked to an old friend, an entertainment writer.

Imelda, together with her contemporaries, Claire de la Fuente, Jaya and Ray Valera, plus younger singers Rachelle Ann Go, Janno Gibbs, Rap Gloc-9, Jay-R and Aiza Seguerra, have been tasked by GMA-7 to scour the contrary for potential singers.

Their choices, it was specified, should have unique voices.

But they need to be raw, as it is, likewise, their assignment to take them in as protégés till the end of the contest.

“In short,” Imelda said, “we will serve as their mentors. Kaya ang success ng aming protégés sa contest not only depend on us but will be ours, too.”

Each of them, likewise, was assigned to look for, at least, three protégés in a part of the country they are assigned.

In her case, according to Imelda, she was assigned to Naga City. Janno was sent to Iloilo; Jaya, Davao; Jay-R, Cabanatuan; Rachelle, Cebu; Aiza, Cagayan de Oro; Claire, Batangas; Joey, Dagupan; Rey, Pampanga; and Gloc-9, Manila.

Over-all judges are composer-musical director and writer Louie Ocampo, respected talent manager and TV director Bert de Leon and entertainment guru, Joey de Leon.

The show premieres on Sept. 4.

***

It’s not true that 15-year-old comedienne Kiray Celis is not attending the Star Magic Ball, a yearly event organized by Star Magic, the discovery and talent arm of ABS-CBN. Kiray is a contract star of Star Magic.

Earlier, at the presscon for her new series, “Growing Up,” she said she was not invited to the ball kaya she isn’t going.

Does she resent not being invited to the event? Kiray was asked.

Hindi ho naman,” she replied.

Kasi, ang alam ko, pang adults na mga talents lang ang usually iniimbitahan sa okasyon.”

When told that Kethlyn Bernardo, who is 16, has been asked to attend and will even be part of the cotillion, Kiray just shrugged her shoulders.

In a recent interview, Kiray revealed she was asked by the powers that be behind Star Magic to grace the affair.

They even assigned her an escort.

And who is the lucky guy?

Si Markki Stroem, ho,” she replied, smiling.

Merkki is a newcomer to the showbiz game.

He emerged as a runner-up in the recently-concluded episode of “Pilipinas Got Talent,” which proclaimed Marcelito Pumoy as grand champ.

Markki is handsome and, definitely much taller than Kiray.

But as Kiray will agree, height does not matter — all the time.

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