Filipina Caregiver Wins the Hearts of Israel With Her Amazing Voice

Rose Fostanes has made it to reality show X Factor’s five finalists and is the competition favorite

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Ariel Schalit / AP Photo

Rose Fostanes sings during a rehearsal of the X Factor Israel in Tel Aviv on Jan. 1, 2014

A 47-year-old Filipina caregiver, Rose Osang Fostanes, has blown Israel away with her vocal performances on the reality show X Factor, garnering hordes of fans while putting a human face to all the foreign workers who anonymously grind away in the country’s domestic-help sector.

Fostanes has been working as a caregiver abroad since she was 23, and arrived in Israel six years ago. She is taking care of an ailing woman in her 50s while sharing a crowded apartment in south Tel Aviv. Now she has to deal with swarms of fans screaming her name.

“It’s a big change in my life because before nobody recognized me, nobody knew me. But now everybody, I think everybody, in Israel knows my name. And it is very funny,” she told the Associated Press. Israelis are normally more used to contestants like “black-clad ultra-Orthodox Jews” and “Ethiopian immigrants,” AP said.

Fostanes commands a booming, soulful voice, and has made her way to the final five contestants with performances of songs like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Lady Gaga’s “You and I” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” She says it’s a childhood dream coming true — one that she’s been afraid to act on before because she did not have conventional pop-star looks.

“Sometimes I am telling myself, ‘Is it true that it happened to me?’ At least I can express and show the people that I have also talents, and it’s not too late for me to shine.”