Pinay Wins HK Songfest

This news comes as a pleasant surprise after the unfortunate events of the hostage-taking in Manila. A 16-year-old Pinay bested over 2,400 singing contestants to win the grand prize in “Star Factor,” the Hong Kong equivalent of “American Idol.” Margaret Marie Necio Ortega, in an elimination that ran from May to July, won first place for the English section in the age category 15 to 21 in Star Factor.

Singing “Terrified” by Kara DioGuardi (an American Idol judge), Margaret bested the remaining 23 finalists as she played her acoustic guitar and “sang from the heart.”

“I was terrified, literally, but I thought about the music and how beautiful the lyrics meant to me and everything just flowed from there,” Ortega told The STAR.

In the light of the recent tragic hostage-taking incident, Ortega said she hopes to be a voice to aid in healing the wounds between the Philippines and Hong Kong as she is set to perform for Hong Kong-based charity events for the Chinese and Filipino audiences as part of her commitment for winning the “Star Factor” title.

“With my singing at the charity events, it is my fervent wish that I could somehow help in mending the wounds between Hong Kong and the Philippines as a result of the hostage-taking incident,” said the eloquent Ortega, a Year 13 student at the South Island School, part of the English School Foundation in Hong Kong. She wants to take up Law in college.

“The hostage-taking incident in Manila last Aug. 23 was a sad day for mankind. This should not happen to any race, creed, color, religion or to anyone in particular. It is not about being Filipino or about being Chinese. This incident was against mankind. I want to take part in healing the wounds,” added Ortega who is also fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese.

Ortega said the Star Factor finals saw two age groups — 8-14 years and the 15-21 years. The contestants were of various nationalities — French, Indian, Chinese, American, British, Irish, Sri Lankan, Portuguese, Taiwanese, mainland Chinese and Filipino.

Songs were as varied and performances ranged from solo to duets, trios, quartets and full bands.

To get to the finals, the contestants had to pass the following guidelines: preparation and the execution of a performance level presentation, enthusiasm, singing ability, age, discipline, confidence and entertainment level to captivate the audience.

The final set of criteria included: technical ability, stage presence, audience rapport and overall presentation.

Ortega won HKD 3,000 cash, a recording session at Mad Max and a trophy.

I was very happy to read this article from abs-cbn. I was actually very distraught after reading some of the comments and reaction by Chinese community who wanted to ban Filipinos from China. Ortega proves that she is a great representative for Philippines in the aftermath of the deaths of 8 Hong Kong tourist in the Manila hostage-taking incident. Also, it’s great to show the world that Charice isn’t the only Pinay talent. For more on this story, click here.

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