Filipina sings for survival on ‘X Factor UK ,’ moves up
LONDON – Electrifying tension erupted in Wembley Arena during the final auditions of The X Factor UK singing competition when Manila-born singer Alisah Bonaobra was dramatically eliminated and brought back for the second time since auditions began.
The crowd, made up of 4,000 people, revolted furiously when Alisah, 22, was axed from the competition. The audience unanimously chanted “bring her back” until she was given another chance to perform.
Alisah, who reached the final of The Voice of the Philippines singing competition in 2014, is now one of the UK’s favorite X Factor contestants.
A brutal rollercoaster
WATCH: Alisah Bonaobra’s performance
Described during the show as “the most [brutal] game of musical chairs ever,” the Six Chair Challenge is the final knockout round of auditions that aspiring talents must endure before progressing to the Judge’s Houses.
For her Six Chair Challenge, Alisah delivered a jaw-dropping rendition of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” to over 4,000 people in the arena in order to score one of six seats in her category that would ensure her progression to Judge’s Houses, the next round of the competition.
The primary judges in this year’s X Factor UK series include Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne.
As Alisah took to the stage in a glittering red gown, Sharon, mentor to the girls category, told her: “Alisah, you look beautiful tonight. You really do. Good luck.”
Alisah then blew away the audience and judges with her vocals, prompting a stunned Nicole Scherzinger to remark “listen to her voice,” and Simon Cowell to raise his hand in appreciation.
After holding the final note, Alisah received a roaring standing ovation. Alisah’s mother also stood applauding in the audience, calling out, “Proud mom here, proud mom.”
Before giving her a coveted spot among the six chairs, Sharon told Alisah that her voice was “a gift,” although she found her performance “too cabaret and dated” for her tastes.
One audition later, tension exploded across the arena as Sharon immediately axed Alisah, placing another singer in her seat. Her fellow judges sat horrified at the shock decision, as furious mob chants of “Bring [Alisah] back, bring her back” erupted across the arena.
A shocked and tearful Alisah was escorted backstage amidst the chaos, her victory shortlived.
Britain has spoken
WATCH: Alisah’s second performance
The drama amped up when crowd’s love for Alisah was so strong that Sharon had no choice other than to acquiesce to their chants of “bring her back,” calling Alisah onstage to JOIN in an a capella sing-off with two other contestants.
As the three girls gathered onstage, the audience chanted, “Alisah, Alisah, Alisah,” with the show’s presenter Dermot O’Leary telling her, “The crowd loves you.”
Sharon apologized to the girls and said: “What do I do? I have to listen to the audience.”
As Alisah steeled herself, the last to perform after her rivals, Sharon coaxed her forward, saying: “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. Come on, stand your ground.”
Alisah then took a deep breath and, in defiance of Sharon’s earlier comment, suddenly floored the entire arena by singing the modern hit “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, and turning the crowd even wilder by rapping the Nicki Minaj verse.
As the arena exploded into wild cheers, a hyped-up Nicole danced in glee and climbed onto the judge’s table in ode to Alisah’s performance, while Simon watched amusedly.
Recovering from her shock, Sharon said, “Well, Alisah, you showed me, didn’t you?”
The judge then went on to axe another of the girls, making Alisah the sixth and final singer in her category.
Later, Sharon hugged the girls, saying, “[You sang] for your lives.”
A case of déjà vu
The judges fell in love with Alisah during her first audition, moving both Nicole and Sharon to tears.
An emotional Nicole Scherzinger said, “You’re just a tiny little thing with a voice given from God. I connect with you and everybody. It’s a yes for you and all of the Filipinos out there.”
However, later in the boot camp audition stage, after failing to impress the judges during a lackluster group performance of Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” Alisah was cut from the competition by Simon Cowell.
The distraught Alisah refused to take no for an answer, and begged Nicole for a second chance, before boldly belting out an acapella rendition of “We Belong Together” onstage.
In response, Cowell told her: “Based on what you’ve just done there, we’re going to give you a pass on this [round].”
The dramatic events of the Six Chair Challenge marked the second time that Alisah nearly left the competition.
Here’s hoping that she makes it through the Judge’s Houses, all the way to the live shows.
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