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Renaldo Lapuz - A millions hits of fame

I am a bit of an American Idol fan, especially for those first episodes where you have completely deluded people turning up. I guess you could call it taking pleasure from people’s misery, but I prefer to call it ‘observing the elasticity of aesthetic perception’…

Whatever. I find this time round Simon seems to have softened a bit, which isn’t all bad as he is sometimes pretty harsh on contenders. But he has his fans too, and if you’ve been watching you couldn’t have missed Renaldo Lapuz with his own composition “We're Brothers Forever”. It’s stuck in my head ever since I saw the annoyingly catchy thing.

He’s been something of an instant hit, a là William Hung, but as the internet has moved on a bit since then, there has been a slew of blog posts and YouTube remixes already.
“I’m going to make a prediction here, I have a horrible feeling that’s going to be a hit record.” (Simon Cowell)

I wonder what the ingredients are for this kind of celebrity? It’s certainly not based on his singing skills, though he’s not completely awful. Let’s look at what he has: flamboyant costume coupled with humble manner, sincerity and a catchy song. One wonders whether the fact he’s Asian/Chinese has anything to do with it: put bluntly, Asian/Chinese/Japanese can often be seen as non-threatening amusing foreigners… Also probably important is the implicit endorsement of the Idol judges: Paula and Randy sung and danced with him, and Simon made the back-handed compliment quoted above. Notice that William Hung got a “You’re the best” from Paula (a video of his audition here).

There are issues of copyright, with some YouTube recasts of the American Idol clip being taken down (here and here). Importantly for Renaldo, his song is an original, so he can use it any way he wants – though apparently he’s “under American Idol Contract until May” ( So he has made a ringtone available for free; a game “Where’s Renaldo” has been announced, and he is renting out his services – you can have him call your valentine, or have him attend events –
“Get his autograph! Yes songs! He has many original songs and he wants to sing them for all of you! One of them is dedicated to our Mothers!” (

Let me guess…

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