SHE had been working as a caregiver in Israel for the last six years, but what Rose Fostanes really wanted to do was make it big as a singer.
On Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), the 47-year-old Filipina got her wish. She won the first X-Factor Israel, that country’s version of the hugely popular talent show in Britain and the United States.
The Times of Israel described Fostanes’ victory as “something of a national phenomenon.”
In the show’s final, Osang, Fostanes’ nickname, upstaged three other finalists with her renditions of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” and the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”
She had the judges on their feet, and got the biggest number of votes in the finale.
Israeli Eden Ben Zaken was runner-up.
The Filipina, who shares a small apartment in Tel Aviv with seven other countrymen, had become a sensation in Israel, with fans following her journey to the top of the show.
“Thank you so much to those who believed and voted for me. Thank you so much for those Israeli who like my voice,” Fostanes told them.
“Thank you for giving me the chance to be in the X Factor Israel even though I am a Filipina,” she added.
For the final, the show producers flew in Fostanes’ sister Nancy, and long-time partner Mel Adel, from the Philippines.
Fostanes said she dedicated her win to them and the Filipino migrant workers in Israel who supported her with their votes.
In Manila, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda thanked Fostanes for making the Filipino people proud.
”We are certainly very, very proud of Rose, that she was able to prove herself. We know the situation she was in and we are very, very proud that she has again given the Philippines pride in the showcase of her talents,” Lacierda said.
Fostanes’ family in Barangay Calzada, Tipas in Taguig City, watched the live telecast together, and celebrated her triumph.
“Proud kami sayo Ate [We are proud of you sister]!” they said in an interview on ANC.
Fostanes had won a local talent search show, A Star is Born more than 10 years ago.
The Times of Israel said Fostanes “spends her days caring and cleaning for an ailing woman in her 50s.”
Congratulatory messages came through the social media.
Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) posted, “Congratulations to Osang Fostanes, Pinay hailed grand winner of X Factor Israel!! :).”
Youtube personality Mikey Bustos said, “Congratulations to X-factor Israel Rose Fontanes for winning, reppin us Filipinos with pride! So proud of her, also brings back CI memories.”
With report from Catherine S. Valente