By Bum Tenorio (The Philippine Star ) Updated March 11, 2012 12:00 AM
Charice performs at her Infinity Tour concert at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City Friday night. GEO YUSOGEO YUSOONCHO
MANILA, Philippines - Success does not necessarily change a person – not even if she has cut and dyed her hair and added a tattoo.
After her successful Infinity Tour concert at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City Friday night, Filipino international singing sensation Charice was feeling hungry backstage and craving for paksiw na bangus (milkfish simmered in vinegar).
“That’s still my favorite food. I miss eating paksiw na bangus,” Charice, 20, told The STAR backstage, shortly after she raised the roof of the concert venue with her adrenaline-pumped performance.
At the concert, she sported an animé look, her hair cut short and dyed blonde – a far cry from her former appearance that fans all over the world have known since she unceremoniously barged into the limelight in 2008.
“See this, Carl,” Charice panned to her 17-year-old brother at her dressing room, showing Carl her new hairdo, which she said she patterned after an animé character in a Japanese video game titled Final Fantasy.
“This is how much I have missed you, brother. I colored my hair and styled it like this because of you. Final Fantasy is your favorite game. This is the only way I can be close to you every day, even if we are apart!”
Charice’s hairstyle, though welcomed and appreciated by her fans abroad, became fodder for criticism on the local scene.
“I guess they have to blame my love for my brother for sporting this kind of hair,” she said with a girlish giggle.
She admitted on stage that the Filipino audience, in her experience, was the hardest to please.
That night, at the concert venue, after showing not only her vocal prowess but also her knack for comedic spiels, Charice proved herself wrong. The audience, including celebrities like KC Concepcion and Shamcey Supsup, stood up and danced with her almost non-stop as she performed.
Charice said that even if she is now mostly based in the US, she still keeps her Pinoy sensibilities by checking on her only brother Carl and mother Raquel Pempengco every day on the phone.
Charice grew up in Gulod, a barrio in Cabuyao, Laguna. Her estranged father was stabbed to death last November.
“I love Carl very much. I also love my mom. I want to be successful because of them,” she said without the American twang.
Charice rose to international fame after she guested on American shows Ellen and Oprah in 2007 and 2008. The international audience first discovered her on YouTube.
At the concert, pandemonium broke loose when American rapper Iyaz joined her on stage to sing her famous song Pyramid.
“Charice is beautiful. I love her new look now – edgy, cool, bright. It’s a total expression. But beyond that, I love her soul, I love her voice and her voice is powerful and divine. I’m on my toes when I perform with her,” Iyaz told The STAR backstage at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
A number of Charice’s fans from Israel, Egypt, Singapore, Korea and Indonesia came to witness her much talked-about concert. They will follow her to other concert venues all over Asia.
Charice will perform tonight at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
She is set to do her next Infinity Tour concerts in Tokyo on March 14, Kobe on March 16 and Nagoya on March 17.
Japanese promoters told The STAR recently that tickets to Charice’s concerts in Japan had already been sold out two months ago.
She will wind up her concert series in Hong Kong (March 19) and Korea (March 21).
Before coming to the Philippines for her Infinity shows, Charice had already performed to a jam-packed audience in Dubai, Singapore and Jakarta.