After Megastar Sharon Cuneta left so suddenly for a trip to the US early this month for an undisclosed reason, the public was left guessing and second guessing whether or not she would return in time for her guesting stint in the repeat of Basil Valdez’s concert at The Theatre at Solaire.
Sharon was the stellar guest in the first concert staged last April 29. Naturally, she was also expected to join the repeat. But when Sharon showed up last Friday night (May 26), the crowd didn’t stop speculating. Did she go to the US to scout for a new house, since she already sold her mansion there last year? Did she undergo liposuction to shed extra pounds (although she already lost 65 pounds to date)? Or did she leave simply for a much-needed respite?
Whatever the reasons were, Sharon left more questions than answers. She kept mum and like the true professional, when she joined Basil onstage she was in high spirits. “I’m cold, excited and happy, but very hungry,” she amused the audience, according to the Funfare source who was there.
Sharon gave not the slightest sign whether or not she was hurting inside. She regaled the audience with her long spiels and solo numbers. She shared anecdotes about how she quietly sang in one corner of the studio when she was a young girl, while Basil was recording.
In the concert, Sharon rendered Magbalik Ka Lang, a Kuh Ledesma original which she dedicated to the pop diva, one of her female singing idols. “Our generation of singers is still the best,” Sharon beamed.
From the balcony, her fans screamed loudly, prompting Sharon to exclaim, “My Sharonians have been here longer than both my marriages combined.” Again, that left the audience speculating anew about the real status of her marriage (to Sen Kiko Pangilinan). However, a source close to the couple insisted there was nothing wrong with Sharon and Kiko’s marriage and that the two are still very much together.
Sharon sang a few strains of Basil’s Kahit Ika’y Panaginip Lang, written by the show’s musical director, Ryan Cayabyab, and she was giddy that she reached the high notes. She later rendered Kahit Maputi Na ang Buhok Ko, the single that came after Mr. DJ. Both hits were composed by Rey Valera. But it was Basil who ruled the stage with his well-loved and memorable ballads.
The audience was as star-studded. Kuh, Music Museum owner Precy Florentino and Pops Fernandez shared a row with Roderick Paulate. Gretchen Barretto came with her partner, Tony Boy Cojuangco, who was Basil’s batchmate at the Ateneo since prep school. Also in the crowd were Mitch Valdes, Erik Santos, director Rowell Santiago, Jaya, Jinky Vidal, Noel Cabangon, Mel Tiangco, Panjee Gonzales, Roselle Nava, Gerard Salonga and wife DJ, and Ryan’s wife Emy and their daughter Krina. Mr. C (Ryan Cayabyab), together with Audie Gemora (entertainment director of The Theatre at Solaire), and producers Susan Lim and Nancy Yang.
2017 Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental Katarina Rodriguez with Gerry Diaz (BDO executive, Aces & Queens member and one of Funfare’s ‘beauty experts’) during their first meeting at Paul restaurant at SM Aura. They met again at the same restaurant recently.
Katarina a reluctant beauty queen
When she had dinner with Gerry Diaz (BDO executive, Aces & Queens member and one of Funfare’s “beauty experts”) recently, Katarina Rodriguez reiterated that, contrary to rumors, she’s happy with her Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental title.
“Katarina is a reluctant beauty queen,” said Gerry who first met with Katarina in October last year to convince her to join the A&Q family. “Although the Bb. Pilipinas was the first beauty contest that she joined, Katarina placed second runner-up in Asia’s Next Top Model search. She was exploring modeling opportunities in Europe when she agreed to join the Binibini. She had no idea about beauty pageants and so we talked for about three hours during which I explained to her how local pageants worked, and explained to her the difference between Bb. Pilipinas and Miss World Philippines.”
The Miss Intercontinental pageant is 47 years old and is very popular in Europe, according to Gerry.
“I told her that if and when she won Miss Intercontinental, it would open doors to a modeling career in Europe,” added Gerry.
Incidentally, did you know that showbiz runs in Katarina’s blood?
Shared Gerry, “Her grandmother performed in Broadway musicals in her younger years and was even part of a Hollywood movie. Her mother was a beautiful commercial model. Katarina’s dad Antonio comes from the family of restaurateurs. Antonio’s dad is Jackie Rodriguez Sr. who owns Italianni’s and TGI Fridays. And his brother Archie Rodriguez brought IHOP, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s, Gyu-Kaku, Mad for Garlic and Morelle’s Gelato.”
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