Rose Fostanes, a caregiver from the Philippines, has won the first season of X Factor Israel. Her emotional journey—from Filipina outsider to the winner of the popular music show—was guided by Eurovision contestant and mentor Shiri Maimon.
“I cannot say anything,” an emotional Rose said on stage after hearing the public’s decision.”Thank you so much for those people who voted for me. Thank you for all the Israeli who like my voice and like my song.”
Rose, who is an open lesbian, came to Israel in 2008 to care for a woman in her early 50s, and to clean her house. She recently told Reuters that she hopes she will shine the spotlight on the low-paid foreign workers in Israel.
“I think I will be a leader for them because of what I did and I think also they will be proud of me,” she said. “Everybody in the world will know that Filipinos, even working as a cleaner … can also share their talents.”
Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald has already described the 47-year-old as “The Next Susan Boyle”.
Shiri was moved by her mentee’s victory.
“I love you Rose,” she said. “I’m proud of you. Can you believe it? You won on the X Factor Israel. You are the first winner and you deserve it. I love you.”
Rose’s full X Factor audition
Singing “My Way”
Shiri Maimon, Rose’s mentor, represented Israel at Eurovision 2005, where she placed fourth with the song “The Silence that Remains”. You can watch her performance below.
Willy Lee Adams contributed this report from London. Follow him on Twitter @willyleeadams. You can also keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following wiwibloggs.com on Twitter and Facebook.