MANILA - El Gamma Penumbra, the shadow play group that placed third in "Pilipinas Got Talent" in 2011, advanced to the grand finals of the Asia-wide version of the talent search after earning the coveted "golden buzzer" Thursday.
In the live semifinals episode of "Asia's Got Talent," the all-Filipino group once again moved judges, this time with a story of a family torn by war but reunited eventually.
The performance was hailed as a "golden act" by the judges, securing them a spot in the final leg of the competition where the group will join fellow Philippine acts Gerphil Flores and Gwyneth Dorado, who are both singers, and dance group Junior New System.
Anggun, who made El Gamma Penumbra an automatic semifinalist when she pressed her golden buzzer, was once again moved to tears by the unique act.
"I'm sorry," the Indonesian music icon said, "I'm just extremely moved by what I just saw. It was really emotional. You made me really proud tonight. I'm sure you made Filipinos proud tonight. Thank you. That was flawless."
Turning to Anggun, Grammy-winning composer David Foster said she was right to have picked the group as her "golden act" in the audition process.
"I just want to say that I live in a box, where I make music in a studio," Foster added, addressing El Gamma Penumbra. "And tonight, I got to come outside of my box and see something that was so, so moving and magical. It's just amazing."
Former Spice Girls member Melanie C said she wondered if the group could offer something new in semifinals, "but you know what, you topped it tonight, you moved everybody beyond the last time."
Vanness Wu, popularly known in the Philippines as one-fourth of the Taiwanese boy band F4, was on his feet after El Gamma Penumbra's performance, along with Anggun.
Explaining why he gave the group a standing ovation, Wu said: "When I see something I like, I respect it, I applaud it. Tonight, you guys stepped up your game from the auditions. What every judge has said, I agree with 100%. Amazing, amazing job tonight, guys."
Along with other top Asian acts, El Gamma Penumbra will take the stage at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for on May 7 and 14 for the grand finals of "Asia's Got Talent."