Filipino wins top honors in 2008 ‘Hollywood Olympics’
LOS ANGELES - Thirteen-year-old Filipino Catherine Loria from Tiaong, Quezon shared honors with senior contestant Andrew Clarke from Jamaica when they were proclaimed Grand Champion Performers of the World in the 2008 World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) or the Hollywood Olympics.
The grand finals night, held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel saw Loria duplicating fellow Filipino singer Aria Clemente’s feat last year. Loria sang Yolanda Adam's version of “I Believe I Can Fly” at the finals. She bested Tippy dos Santos and Rachel Razon, junior vocalists also from the Philippines; Courtney Mary Janssen from New Zealand and Oleksandr Chernenko from the Ukraine.
Loria performed five vocal entries in the preliminary round namely Broadway, Country and Western, Gospel, Pop and R&B/Soul/Jazz. She sang the solo version of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's “When you Believe” in the semi-final round.
Loria's victory made her the third Grand Champion Performer of the World from the Philippines after Jed Madela in 2005 and Aria Clemente in 2007. Both Jed and Aria performed in the opening and closing ceremonies of 2008 WCOPA.
Actor and classical singer Clarke beat senior vocalists Marielle Corpuz from the Philippines, Noryn Aziz from Malaysia and Nataly Gordienco from Moldova. Clarke also received $10,000 in scholarship awarded by the School for Film and Television in New York.
Patterned after the Olympics, outstanding amateur and professional performing artists from the United States and over 40 countries have competed in this international event.
The Philippine team’s 2008 participants included vocalists Panky Trinidad, Dex De Rosa, Abegail Dorado, Glee Nette Gaddi and the Sison brothers (Marek, Enzo and Ruiz) who made it to the semi-final round and received semi-final round medals.
The rest of the Philippines' competing vocalists in both junior and senior divisions failed to get ahead of round one. Contestants in the preliminary round have received gold, silver, bronze medals, etc. as special awards based on the scores given by the judges.