MANILA -- While most Filipinos counted down to midnight by attending mass or preparing media noche, some, particularly fans of local female idol group MNL48, were glued to Japan's biggest TV music show, the annual "Kohaku Uta Gassen."
The perennial New Year's Eve show featured yet again AKB48, though this year the popular Japanese idol act, perhaps in a bid to win over new audiences, deemed it fit to invite members of its official overseas sister groups, MNL48 included, for a performance of their hit song, "Koisuru Fortune Cookie."
Abby Trinidad represented MNL48, and she sang a line of the song in Tagalog.
"Proud to be MNL48 member" was what she wrote right after on Instagram as the caption to a photo of the uniform she wore that had a ribbon with the word "Manila" written on it.
She becomes only the third performer from the Philippines to grace the prestigious "Kohaku Uta Gassen" stage, following Gary Valenciano and the band Smokey Mountain.
She joined for the performance the rest of AKB48, as well as several members from its local and international sister groups from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India, among others.
The "Kohaku Uta Gassen," or the "Red and White Song Festival," is an annual show that has been held annually for close to 70 years by Japanese broadcaster NHK.
It is widely considered as Japan's biggest TV music event, which, on its heyday, attracted more than 80 percent of their country's TV-watching population. It is a competition, shown during New Year's Eve, which pits female artists in the "red" group against male artists in the "white" group.
The acts invited to perform are usually based on their popularity, as monitored by NHK.
Some of those included in this year's lineup were iconic rockers Kiss, Japan's pop legends Arashi, and K-pop stars Twice.
The "white" team won this year.