Again by Janet Jackson - Cover Song by Tata Villaruel

Friday, February 03, 2006

There are two stars in a million

By Jet Gregori Japos, Sophomore student, The Manila Times School of Journalism

They may not have been the champs, but for Star in a Million 2 runners-up, Tata Villaruel and Jimmy Marquez, the singing competition’s final showdown on January 22 was the best experience they’ve had in their young lives. Simply making it to the last round was already a triumph in itself.

The .01-difference between Tata’s score and that of champion Chris Lawrence’s was a cause of regret for many of her fans, but according to the talented lass, she knew how stiff the competition was; she is still very proud of her performance. Jimmy, on the other hand, who was eliminated in the early part of the showdown, also considers himself triumphant, because his accomplishment is proof of how far he can take his singing prowess.

During their visit to The Manila Times School of Journalism on January 29, Tata and Jimmy modestly announced that after months of sacrifices in the grueling ABS-CBN 2 reality talent search, they do have the key to stardom today—the key in helping their families to improve their lives.

The Visayas’ new stars

Both finalists came to Manila from the Visayas. Tata is from Antique while Jimmy is from Cebu. They knew they would face a tough fight in the contest but their faith in their talent saw them through in the show.

Tata, whose real name is Christi Praise, is a registered nurse. A full-blooded Ilongga, the 24-year-old decided that there was more for her than the confines in the hospital simply because she knew she would excel in singing.

Jimmy, whose hometown is Toledo in Cebu, also knew that someday, somehow, his dreams of being a professional singer would come true. His family, to start with, has always encouraged him to pursue his passion for singing. A Mass Communication graduate of the University of San Jose Recoletos in the city, he stood out from his peers because of his interest in music.

A bright new future

Already, offers are pouring in for the second and third placers of Star in a Million 2. “This is what we mean when we say we still won even if we lost,” smiled Tata. For her, this is the biggest prize of all in having joined the contest, alongside being able to share her God-given gift and enjoying the support of the Visayan people.

For Jimmy, his guide in his newfound career is expressed in his favorite movie theme song: “Climb every mountain; ford every stream; follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.” For him, there’s no other way to reach the top but to work for it.

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