This is the cover of “Isang Katulad Mo”, the CD of AJ Tabaldo and Bernie Ann now being sold at Odyssey. Who are they? They are Fil-Am singers who perform as front acts for Pinoy artists who hold concerts in the US. They have recorded this album, which is released here by Universal Records, the same label who brought us Jasmine Trias years ago.
Now the guy AJ, like Jasmine, is a product of American Idol. We all know how a smashing success Jasmine has turned into when she set foot in the Philippines – a feat which her fellow Fil-Am idols Camile Velasco and Ramiele Malubay failed to duplicate.
AJ joined American Idol’s 6th season. America has just crowned their 8th idol, meaning, it’s already too late for AJ to play the Idol card here. Besides, he was (prematurely) ousted during the second week of the semi-finals, making him the least successful among the idols who tried to go “home” and build a career in the Philippines.
We can’t tell what exactly does Jasmine have that the others doesn’t (aside from, of course, being in the TOP 3). We can say that Jasmine was just lucky enough to have found the goldmine that is Philippines, first. One, two, three more Filipino idols – and it’s no longer a novelty.
It’s not even Jasmine’s “Filipino-ness.” We should not forget that during her run on Idol, she positioned herself, not as a Filipina, but as the ambassadress of Hawaii’s aloha spirit with the hula, the flowers and the surfing. In her interviews though, she declared she’s “Filipino-Spanish-Chinese.” Same with Camile Velasco, who declared she’s “half Filipino, quarter Irish and quarter Spanish.” Ramilele meanwhile unabashedly displayed her 100% Filipina blood (mentioning Regine, Lani and Nina as her influences/favorites, saying inane things like “Oh my vegetable” which of course means “Oh my gulay”, calling BFF Danny Noriega bakla, and tweeting about how she likes the puto a fan gave her.)
Now AJ, obviously, has released a tagalog single. That makes him so Filipino, right? In an interview with Ricky Lo, he said he’s quarter Portuguese, and the rest of his ancestry – Filipino. In his American Idol profile, he said “I’m an ethnic mutt! I’m part Filipino and Portuguese with Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese.”
Now let’s wait for AJ to release albums in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and China.
AJ and Bernie Ann performing their song on SOP:
AJ’s last American Idol performance: