Rose Fostanes is a 47 year old care giver from the Philippines. Last night she became a new singing star, when she sensationally won first prize in the Israeli reality television show, the X-Factor, hosted by Israeli Top Model Bar Rafaeli.
Rose’s story is the story of the power of daring to dream, and her dream came true with a powerful rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” – which simply blew the audience and judges equally away. She had impressed in earlier rounds but no one really expected this, perhaps not even she.
Even so, and perhaps hoping for miracles, the television audience for Israel’s Channel 2 achieved a record rating of 47.8% of the Israeli national viewing audience during the show, which was broadcast live, for the Reshet Television Ltd. franchisee.
“I’m speechless, I cannot say anything now. I can’t believe this happened to me” Rose said after winning, in perfect English.
In the run-up to the final, Rose earlier also said she hoped her popularity on the show, which has been building all the way through previous rounds, would shine a spotlight on Israel’s low-paid foreign workers, who include about 20, 000 Philippine nationals.
Rose Fostanes is the “Susan Boyle” of the Philippines. She came to Israel just four years ago after already working for about 20 years across the Middle East as a foreign worker. She has cleaned homes and tended to the sick and the elderly.
Initially she worked in Egypt, then moved on to Lebanon, and is currently employed as a caregiver in Israel. She had always wanted to be a professional singer and the X-Factor gave her a shot at her dream.
After her powerful and emotional performance last night, she received a standing ovation from the judges and from the audience.
Rose Fostanes’ younger sister, Nancy and girlfriend, Mel Adel were brought to Israel by the producers from the Philippines as a surprise, and they were present during the finals.
The last word should go to Shiri Maimon, a famous Israeli singer who was one of the judges. “I wanted Rose to win. She’s amazing, I really want her life to change, she’s a great singer.”
We should all now perhaps give Rose a new name, “Shoshana” – which is Hebrew for Rose; she certainly deserves it.