Never did I posted anything about the new X Factor Australia winner, Marlisa Punzalan, while the show was running. It is because I don’t want to cause any sumpa (curse) or negative effect to her fate and universe.
But honestly, I have been watching this young lady ever since the X Factor Australia has started this year. I know for a fact that she is actually the first one featured during the audition segments of the show. I followed this newly concluded talent show, maybe because of the reverberating feelings of joy and my overindulgence in its 2013 version when the superlative Dami Im won.
A week before the grand finale, I already had the impression that this young lady will win. The reason is not because of her tender age, nor her looks and neither her amazing talent. Three coherent reasons rolled up into my mind right after the semi-final round.
Winning the Toughest Battle
This is because during the semi-final bout she defeated Reigan Derry, the most excellent and the most seasoned among all contestants in this series. I cannot imagine how perennial favorite Reigan Derry being beaten by the other 2 finalists, Brothers 3 and Dean Ray. Reigan with her incredible pipes would easily beat these two other finalists to smithereens in case Dean or Brothers3 would be at the bottom two and perform back-to-back with her.
Thus, before the grand finale, Marlisa Punzalan has already successfully hurdled the hardest challenge she would be faced with during the entire run of the series. For me, the semi-final round was actually more exhilarating than the grand finale. The grand finale was just a matter of confirming Marlisa’s crown.
Australia’s Enduring Love for the Underdog
When Marlisa got into the finals, everybody thinks that she would simply end up being a third placer. Even judge/mentor Redfoo after the semi-final round immediately predicted that Dean is the one to beat. Even online betting website SportsBet predicted that Dean would be bestowed the 2014 title. Dean Ray exhales the funky rock of breath trough out the show that is why everybody expects him to win.
Nonetheless, the whole Australia was gearing Brothers 3 to possibly snatch the title from Dean because these “three rays of sunshine” got the ever reliable cutey-boyband formula. Also, they have been identified halfway through the live shows to have received the most number of votes. Moreover, it would have been a very good promotional angle of story in case the first ‘wild card’ contestant wins the show. Thus, Brothers3 and Dean Ray prior to the grand final were considered the un-proclaimed winners. They were simply the Goliaths of the program!
But Australians (like Filipinos) love an underdog. They would not let a simple-looking lady lacking of self confidence be simply in the side light. It is of human nature to feel that those who have less power are deemed virtuous and noble. Human beings in general love the underdogs because each of us knows what it feels like to be a loser, to be brushed aside or to be a David in a world full of Goliaths.
Let me cap this reason with Ronan Keating’s beautiful wisdom when he was commenting on Marlisa’s performance during the semi-final, which illustrates Marlisa being an underdog. That he is still faithful on the thought that not all good girls finish last. That statement I suppose struck a nerve to the whole of Australia.
Shining at the Right Moment
At the initial phase of the show, Marlisa exhibited good performances but nothing spectacular compared to other contestants. I particularly loved her performance during the boot camp portion of the program, Jessica Mauboy’s Never Be The Same. But during her performance in front of John Legend, who would assist Ronan on picking his top 3 contenders for the live shows, she faltered big time.
During the first few weeks of the live shows, she was simply sailing through. Viewers and even other judges/mentors were particularly concerned because Ronan could not seem to tap the right song that would best fit Marlisa’s age, tone and range.
She was lucky enough that other contestants gave inferior performances compared to her. She even performed the worst performance in the whole show when she sang Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi while suffering from severe illness, in which, she was nevertheless praised by the judges for her guts and professionalism. During these times, other contestants were delivering the best performances of their lives. They were peaking at those moments.
Unfortunately for these other contestants (except for the shoo-in Reigan Derry), they failed to sustain the high points in their performances while the show near its end. Fortunately for Marlisa, she seems to simply just starting to oil up. She was gaining confidence in her stage presence, she was starting to feel the mood/s of her song/s and Ronan is commencing to realize and tap the exact songs for her. She was slowly peaking up!
She only sparkled at the last four or five weeks of the entire series. I totally agreed with Danni Minogue who was stuck to her seat and would hardly stand up after every Marlisa’s performance week after week. That Marlisa’s rendition of Sia and David Guetta’s Titanium performed on the 9th week of the live shows was truly Marlisa and Ronan’s game changer. The Titanium performance of Marlisa made Danni stood up to her feet and cheered for the young lady!
All throughout the TV show, Marlisa seem to be the last contestant to shine. And what is so amazing about her shining is that she was able to sustain it and even progressed further every week! Australians then realized that something special was with this young lady.
And that is no doubt the X Factor.
Ay nyu it…