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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs