(Clockwise from top left) Deedee Magno, Joyo Velarde, Jocelyn Enriquez, Pinay and Lea Salonga
It’s just a couple of days before the season premiere of Glee (on April 13th to be exact) and I, like millions of others, am more than ready for the TV-meets-musical phenomenon.
A couple of weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly TV writer Michael Ausiello said that Glee is casting a character named Amelda, a “fiftysomething Filipina or Hispanic actress” to play Sue Sylvester’s maid.
Let’s just forget the fact that there is an element of stereotyping with this casting call. For one, Sue (the arch nemesis of the show) is already the most politically incorrect cheerleading coach on the face of the planet. The audience already hates her – so it’s expected. Secondly, Jane Lynch does a brilliant job slipping into the tracksuit of the acerbic Sue. Thirdly, if we spent all of our time dissecting all the culturally sensitive items in this show, we would be here for a long, long, long time – so let’s just enjoy the fun musical numbers on the show!
Nonetheless, if the producers of Glee still haven’t found someone to fill the role of Amelda, I took the liberty to compile a list of Filipina singers/actresses who would be perfect. However, I have taken the detail of “fiftysomething” out of the equation. Asian people don’t age, so that detail is irrelevant.
- Lea Salonga: You can’t mention musicals without throwing in Lea’s name. She was the original Kim in Miss Saigon and she was Jasmine’s singing voice in Disney’s Aladdin. Any time the topic of music-oriented Filipinos comes up, you have to mention Lea Salonga. I think it’s a law.
- Jocelyn Enriquez: I could see it now: a high-voltage choreographed number whilst the Fil-Am queen of dance-pop belts out her hit, “Do You Miss Me” – with a feather duster.
- Deedee Magno: She’s also taken center stage as the lead in Miss Saigon and was in the Mickey Mouse Club-produced pop group, The Party (I have their first album on cassette). I can totally see her in a love triangle with Artie (Kevin McHale) and Tina (Asian American actress Jenna Ushkowitz) to Brandy and Monica’s classic R&B man battle tune “The Boy is Mine”.
- Pinay: The all-girl R&B group originally consisting of Angelica Abiog, Irma De Los Santos-Lazamana, Loredie Lugos and Maylene Briones were cut from the same cloth as En Vogue. Rather than a single maid, their rich harmonies would represent a housekeeping quartet of Filipina soul. They could so get down with Glee club resident vocal powerhouse Mercedes (Amber Riley).
- Joyo Velarde: Ever since I saw this hip-hop soulstress perform at SXSW, I was hooked. I think I have a crush on her. Besides that, I could definitely see her as a sassy maid that would spike Sue’s protein shake with a laxative. I also envision another high-production number that will specifically hone in on the pop-locking skills of the Glee member known as “Other Asian” (a.k.a. LXD member Harry Shum Jr.).