UK, France crown TFCKAT champions

by Patrick Camara Ropeta with Danny Cabellon, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jul 12 2012 08:48 AM | Updated as of Jul 13 2012 04:48 PM

UK winner Al Angelo Bernal belted an emotional OPM classic at the TFCKAT finals in London
LONDON - A balladeer and a hip hop dancer were hailed as champions at the national finals of TFCKAT in Britain and France, respectively, setting the stage for a European showdown in autumn.

Eleven contestants battled it out in the UK finals in Lampton Park in Hounslow, the lucky few who made it through after a nationwide selection process at the auditions and semi-finals in Plymouth, Newcastle and Bristol.

Finalists included divas-in-the-making who belted classic songs from Beyonce to Jennifer Hudson, as well as dancers in the form of a young crew and a solo interpretive artist.

Among the judging panel is ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau Chief Danny Buenafe, alongside recording artist Anton Alvarez, who is currently based in Paris.

“The quality of the talent from the Philippines is showing. The turn out in the Barrio Fiesta, and the impact of the Barrio Fiesta, is showing that the Philippines is having an impact in culture, art, music. And I’m really happy to see that,” said Alvarez, who also performed at the event.

ABS-CBN News Bureau Chief Danny Buenafe was among the special judges at the TFCKAT national finals in UK and France

In the end, balladeer Al Angelo Bernal took the top spot after his emotive and pitch-perfect performance of Filipino classic “Hanggan”, while wearing a modern and colorful Philippine national costume.

“It’s one of my favorite songs, and I wanted to sing a Tagalog song. I know Filipinos here in the UK really want to hear Tagalog songs,” said the 31-year-old from Norwich.

He added: “I’m really happy because I wanted to win this competition. I’ve been practicing everyday, and I’m really happy to be the representative of London for the upcoming European competition. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”

Bernal, a care coordinator in a nursing home, dedicated his triumph to his sister, who also lives in the UK, as a sign of gratitude for raising him when they lost their parents as children.

“I’ve lost my parents and my elder sister has been looking after me since I was 11 years old. I want her to be proud of me. This is for her and her family,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Beausoleil, 8 singers and dancers coming from different parts of the country including Paris, Marseille, and Lyon, also competed for the finals of TFCKAT in the south of France.

Hip-hop dancer Bad Lee, also known as John Gilmer Malaca, took the top spot with his charming performance that captivated the audience and judges.

“Masasabi ko lang po na masaya at nanalo ako. I have confidence in myself so thank you po sa lahat. I will represent France, huwag po kayong mag-alala,” he told ABS-CBN News.

Katrina Santos-Baron, Territory Sales & Distribution Head in France, added: “Congratulations Bad Lee, and I’ll see you on TFCKAT Euro finals. At marami din pong salamat sa mga Kapamilya natin sa Beausoleil who supported us.”

Special guests at the event included actress Angelica Panganiban, Beausoleil Mayor Gerard Spinelli, and Philippine Honorary Consul Patricia Zobel de Ayala.

Bernal and Malaca will join winners from Italy and Spain for the TFCKAT European championships in September.