Other talk-show hosts can make people famous, but sometimes only Oprah can make them stars. After producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show saw a YouTube clip of the then 16-year old Charice Pempengco singing the Dreamgirls anthem “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” they flew her in from her native Philippines to perform. With Web clips of her concerts already a viral hit in Asia, Pempengco found herself on Oprah a few months later, where her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” brought audience members to tears. That’s when the magic started: Oprah introduced the teenager to record producer David Foster, who helped put together her first U.S. single, “Note to God”; it debuted in May on the Billboard Top 50. Foster also added the starlet to the cast of his PBS special, Hitman: David Foster & Friends, alongside singers like Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion.
Pempengco, whom Oprah has dubbed the most talented girl in the world, will also play herself in next year’s Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel.
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