News / Middle East

Filipina Caregiver is Surprise Star of Israel's X-Factor

Rose Fostanes,47, a Filipina caregiver, performs during a rehearsal for Israel's X-Factor talent show in Tel Aviv, Jan. 12, 2014.
Rose Fostanes,47, a Filipina caregiver, performs during a rehearsal for Israel's X-Factor talent show in Tel Aviv, Jan. 12, 2014.
Reuters
Once part of a faceless crowd of foreign workers who clean homes and tend to Israel's sick and elderly, a Filipina caregiver has shot to stardom on a popular TV singing contest.
 
Rose Fostanes, 47, surprised viewers of Israel's X-Factor talent show and swept its judges off their feet with soulful renditions of pop songs by the likes of Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera. And she has rocked her way to Tuesday's live final.
 
Fostanes hopes her popularity on the show will shine a spotlight on Israel's low-paid foreign workers, who include about 20,000 Filipinos.
 
For many Israelis, the word “Filipino” has become synonymous with caregiver, and Fostanes' appearance and success on X-Factor could help break the stereotype.
 
“I think I will be a leader for them because of what I did and I think also they will be proud of me,” she told Reuters on Sunday. “Everybody in the world will know that Filipinos, even working as a cleaner ... can also share their talents.”
 
Fostanes, who came to Israel four years ago, has been working for about 20 years across the Middle East. She had always wanted to be a professional singer and the X-Factor gave her a shot at her dream.
 
At first she thought Israelis would not vote for a foreign worker, and that she would be an underdog in the competition, where viewers and a panel of four Israeli musicians determine at different stages which contender moves up and which gets dropped.
 
“I feel that everybody is looking at me like I was an alien,” she said on one of the early audition episodes of the show. “A Filipina working here, cleaning houses.”
 
Then Fostanes - who cares for an ailing woman in Tel Aviv - got on the stage and sang Lady Gaga's “You and I”, winning a standing ovation from her competitors. To her surprise, the votes, cast via text messages and the show's website, kept on coming and catapulted her to celebrity status.

 
“I get from them a lot of good compliments, especially when I'm on the street, when I'm on the bus. I get from them love, from all the Israeli people who saw my videos and saw me on the television,” Fostanes said.
 
Fostanes has been compared to the Scottish singer Susan Boyle, 52, who shot to fame in 2009 after appearing on the TV show “Britain's Got Talent” and performing a powerful rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables”.
 
Boyle's giddy rise from unknown to multi-million-selling recording artist has been made into a musical.
 
“My dream is to win this competition, but I have to go back to my work as a caregiver,” Fostanes said before getting up on the arena stage to rehearse one of the numbers she was due to sing at the finals, Frank Sinatra's “My Way”.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs