Body of a woman, soul of a child, heart of a lion — she is Bella Santiago. And she’s ready to unleash her “Army of Love” on the good people of Romania during tonight’s Selectia Nationala semi-final.

The Filipina beauty originally missed the submission deadline for Romania’s Eurovision selection, but got a reprieve from officials.

“I didn’t get the time to give my song in the moment they asked for all the songs,” she tells me on Skype. “But then after X-Factor they said do not be sad because there is a wildcard.”

Following the addition of two wildcards, M I H A I withdrew from the contest and suggested that TVR was playing dirty. But Bella says ten songs applied and two made it, so there’s really no drama.

She says: “I think it’s fair because it’s in the regulations.”

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And what can we expect from her on stage tonight? Plenty of good vibes.

“It’s a song to which you can dance, you can put in the car, you can sing on it because it has simple words and is easy to remember.”

“Yesterday we made the choreography with the boys and it came out very nice. I cannot wait to show it to the people.”

She’s wild and crazy on stage. Is Bella like that in real life?

“This is what my friends every time telling me because on stage I’m a different person. Off stage I’m a very shy person and very simple.”

On stage she’s not only a pop diva who breathes fire — she’s also a rapper.

“I put the Philippine rap on it because I wanted it to sound different. And I want to put a little touch of Filipina blood on the song.”

“It means, ‘I’m here. I get crazy. I don’t know what to do. There is a very cold night and I fell asleep. But I am still here, all of me, and I will be the army of your love.'”

Bella says the people of Romania have accepted her as one of their own — and that’s not only because she won X-Factor.

“I came here in Romania for vacation, and then I caught the audition for another contest. Luckily one of the famous music labels signed me up to be their artist. And I came back here as an artist and tried to continue my career here.”

“I am very lucky the Romanian people accepted me. And also because I am Romanian inside of me. My birthday is the birthday of Romania — December 1, 1989, which is exactly the birthday of Romania.”

Are you cheering for Bella tonight? Do you think she has a chance to win the contest? Let us know down below.

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jessica
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jessica

Filipinos are pretty much a voracious bunch online when it comes to competitions (e.g. Miss Universe, American Idol etc). I can only imagine the hype and buzz they’re going to create once they hear a Filipino is competing on Eurovision.

James
Guest
James

And they’ll be like “Singing contest ba ‘yan?”. 😀

yom124
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yom124

Oh god I thought it was just sports, every nba or football post is plastered with filipino fans who suddenly think they are experts going on about something they have no idea about. Not trying to start a war with filipinos, they are great people to talk to, but sometimes they go wayyy over the top

James
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James

I can concur with that.

AurelianTamisan
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AurelianTamisan

Semi Final 1, aftershow qualifiers prediction: Trooper, Ommieh and Anakrisez, Teodora Dinu, Vaida, Claudiu Mirea, Bella Santiago.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Her song is a whack rehash of Fuego, I wish she’d come up with something more like Auzi cum bate.

Veta
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Veta

Same. Auzi cum bate with Filipino touch would have been much better than Fuego with Filipino touch.

Lady Gagarina
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Lady Gagarina

Totally agree. To add, poor man’s version of Fuego, or bargain bin version of Fuego. Specially on that breakdown part, I can imagine Eleni doing her dance LOL. I hope she wins this national selection so she can experience not being qualified for the finals in Eurovision. I truly loathe copycats

AurelianTamisan
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AurelianTamisan

Semi Final 1, preshow qualifiers prediction: Trooper, Teodora Dinu, Dia & Lucian Colareza, Nicola, The Four, Bella Santiago.

Mei
Guest
Mei

I really like Army of Love, but can’t stop thinking that it sounds sooo much like Fuego

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

Exactly, it doesn’t work 2 years in a row. It might be a certain finalist, it might get a decent both jury and televote score, but it will fall somewhere into the middle.

Fun or ban?
Guest
Fun or ban?

There is the same style, but a complete different song

Lady Gagarina
Guest
Lady Gagarina

I thought she was from the Philippines? Why is her English so…bad? Filipinos are known to speak good English, but her? Very basic song, and even her performance in X Factor are like copycats from other Filipino artists (who are far more superior than her). She is a good mimic, I’ll give her that

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Even Sarah Geronimo is more talented than her, and this says a lot.

James
Guest
James

Sarah G has been singing professionally since 2002 after winning a televised singing contest, where sicne then she has been performing variety shows and concerts as well as act in movies and television.

But her English is still not exactly proficient either.

Hindi mo sila mahahambing sa isa’t isa dahil magkaiba sila bilang mga mangaawit.

Lady Gagarina
Guest
Lady Gagarina

This Bella girl seems to copy that girl group 4th Power or something from the UK X-Factor and that singer at that Chinese singing show. This girl has no musical identity sadly, and that will be her downfall. Pretty sure in the live performance she will copy Eleni. She’s the new Lady Xerox, how…reductive LOL

James
Guest
James

Subjective.

And the group is Fourth Power but they were also formerly known as the Cercada Sisters. And KZ Kandingan and Bella are in the same league. It’s when they sing originals is where they stand out the most.

James
Guest
James

Fluency in English varies on the individual. In Bella’s case, she has a good hold of the language but she, like most Filipinos, don’t use it as much as their native language. Take note, besides Tagalog, we have a bunch of languages being spoken here such as Ilocano, Waray, and Chavacano. It doesn’t particularly help that on top of Tagalog and English, she also had to gain fluency in Romanian which she is starting to use more often the longer she stays in the country. That alone doesn’t exactly provide an environment for her to practice her English frequently but… Read more »

Lady Gagarina
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Lady Gagarina

That’s not an excuse. Many Filipinos I’ve met abroad, even if they are also fluent in other European languages don’t sound as bad as her. Actually, what’s worse is she’s not even coherent. Diction & coherence are 2 different things. Anyhow, worst Filipino singer I’ve seen, considering how many they are (from Youtube, showing them join international contests, etc). She couldn’t even win a singing competition in the Philippines. Romania was fooled so easily

Victorielle
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Victorielle

You are so freaking rude. lol

James
Guest
James

Romania is not the best place for her to practice her English if everyone around her aren’t native English speakers. She’s married to a Romanian so it would make sense that she needs to learn the vernacular to communicate better with him and everyone. And so far, she seems like she’s getting the hang of speaking the language even it’s not yet a hundred percent fluent.

Inisfan
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Inisfan

She’s very charismatic and talented. As for comparing the song to Fuego, the only thing in common is that they are two uptempo songs sang by a female singer. There are differences :
-Bella is the better singer, Eleni is kinda mediocre and needed backing vocals in her song. When Eleni tried to sing Mariah Carey’s song she destroyed it.
-Both are great dancers and can perform while dancing although Eleni has better experience at this
-Army of love has a different beat, a tribal one.
-Army of love has better lyrics, there’s no pelican flyin flyin here

AurelianTamisan
Guest
AurelianTamisan

You’re right with those aspects, however the style is the same, there are certain elements that can be compared between the 2 songs. They are 2 songs created on the same scheme with certain differences between them. In my opinion, as it usually works, 2 songs from the same scheme will not have the same success 2 years in a row. But there are exceptions.

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

Any person who has ears can understand that they have the same arrangement.

Esc1234
Guest
Esc1234

What about the song which is a shameless copy of fuego? Needs a revamp asap

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

downvote me as much as you want, just cause she is a diva doesnt mean that the arrangement of the song isnt identical with fuego.

James
Guest
James

Fuego doesn’t have rap though.

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

thats their only difference

James
Guest
James

And Tagalog. 😀

Fun or ban?
Guest
Fun or ban?

Thank you William, u are such a sweetheart!

John
Guest

What language is the rap part in? Is it Tagalog?

Katherine Miguel
Guest
Katherine Miguel

Yes it is.

James
Guest
James

Wildcards were set in place last year when TVR published the rules for this year’s selection. Mihai clearly didn’t get the message.

romanian
Guest
romanian

MIHAI just wants something he can win. Why Belarus does not want internal selection? If you want MIHAI, don’t make the other artists hope.

romanian
Guest
romanian

She came to Romania with her romanian boyfriend, to meet his parents, and she was lucky that it was the time for submissions for Romanians Got Talent. Romanians love her, haters are only other artists fans.

romanian
Guest
romanian

This year she won X Factor Romania. If she complaints about discrimination I will collapse