Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco are copycats. Charice is a copycat of Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, and Celine Dion. Arnel is a copycat of former Journey frontman Steve Perry. Being a copycat is not a problem except acoustical recording has existed for a very long time. Songs performed by original performers are easily accessible and affordable in physical and digital formats.
The issue that is overlooked when analyzing Arnel and Charice is one of originality and identity. Since they just sing the material made popular by others, they come off as having no distinct identities. They come off as Asians who just desperately try to be EXACTLY LIKE Whitney Houston, Celine Dion,Steve Perry, and etc. Compare and contrast the two to non Americans who have made it/ attempted to enter the US market:
Puerto Rico: Ricky Martin,Marc Anthony (American of PR descent), Daddy Yankee, the women of Nina Sky (American of PR descent)
Mexico: Paulina Rubio, Carlos Santana
Spain/Philippines: Enrique Iglesias
Brazil: Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim
Americans of part or full Asian descent: Norah Jones, Don Ho, Jocelyn Enriquez
Philippines: Apl de Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, Freddie Aguilar
The most important thing to highlight is that all those mentioned above were not press ganged into adopting identities that were not theirs. All those mentioned were able to demonstrate their cultural identities into their works in more ways than one. For instance, Ricky Martin , Enrique Iglesias, and Marc Anthony were able to showcase Latin music and perform partly in Spanish. On the other hand, Arnel and Charice HAVE TO be like other people who have different (cultural) identities.
In addition, through anime and video games, Jpop and rock are becoming popular among certain demographics in the US. Ayumi Hamasaki, Hikaru Utada, and Puffy are followed by that demographic(s) due to gaming and anime trends. The Jpop/rock acts sing in Japanese, and they give little to no hint of attempting to be more mainstream to attract more American fans.
The Wonder Girls of South Korea toured with the Jonas Brothers. Unlike Charice, the Wonder Girl’s song was able to get radio airtime in the US. In addition, the Wonder Girls was able to grow a big fan base in South Korea (& create a dance craze throughout Asia and beyond) before heading off to the United States. In comparison, Arnel and Charice had very little to no fan base in the Philippines before getting noticed by Americans.
A musician having no identity and originality is quite unacceptable.
EDIT—I have to give credit to this blog entry named “Filipinos Spit On Themselves By Supporting Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco”. That blog entry is quite persuasive in arguing that Arnel and Charice are copycats. In addition, it makes a point about the Filipino fans of Charice and Arnel.
It made me think that blind bandwagon jumping Filipinos are only supporting Arnel and Charice due to shared origins. Those easily fooled bandwagon Filipinos won’t be fans of Arnel and Charice if those two are Malaysian or Indonesian.
end of edit
2ND EDIT 01-16-10
Comments that disagree with what I presented are welcomed and encouraged. Just keep your comments civil and clean “enough”. Comments below like FAKE FREDDIE will no longer be tolerated. It’s possible to disagree in a civil way.
END OF 2ND EDIT