Oprah Winfrey has been teasing about a big family secret that she would reveal on her show yesterday, and she did not disappoint: Oprah introduced her heretofore-unknown half-sister, Patricia.

Oprah and her sister Patricia

Welcoming single mother of two Patricia to an emotional reunion on her daytime talk show, Winfrey said her mother Vernita Lee gave birth to a sister in 1963 when Oprah was 9 and kept the birth a secret, giving the baby up for adoption.

“Imagine my shock just a few months ago, at the end of October, when I found out I have another sister living just 90 minutes away,” Winfrey said.

“For the most part my life has been an open book and on the show I think I’ve seen about everything. And I thought nothing could surprise me anymore, but let me tell you I was wrong,” she told viewers.

Patricia, whose last name was not revealed, said she had been raised in foster homes since age 7.

Patricia said she had tried years ago to learn the identity of the woman who gave her up for adoption, and only started to try again a few years ago at the insistence of her two adult children, who also appeared on Monday’s show.

Patricia said she feared her search would be fruitless after she got a telephone call from the state adoption agency, which reported that her birth mother had been contacted and did not wish to meet her.

But, coincidentally, on the local news that day, she saw a story about Winfrey’s mother, who described how two of her children had died. Those details matched information Patricia had seen in adoption papers, which indicated she had two sisters and a brother, and that only the older sister was alive.

Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, also disclosed that one of the deceased children was named Patricia.

“The hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” Patricia said. “Because I knew one of my siblings and I shared the same name.”

Later, she found more details that matched, including the fact that Winfrey was born in 1954, the same year as the woman Patricia knew was her surviving sibling.

Patricia said she first learned she was Winfrey’s half sister in 2007, but kept it a secret because she knew it would create a media frenzy.

“She never once thought to sell the story,” Winfrey said, describing how she felt betrayed by other relatives who sought publicity.

Winfrey recalled how her other sister revealed to the press years ago that Winfrey had become pregnant at 14 and had had a baby when she was a teenager. The baby, Winfrey has said, died shortly after birth. And she talked about putting her sister in rehab twice for drug addiction, but that her sister ultimately passed away.

The discovery is “the miracle of all miracles,” Winfrey told her audience.

Winfrey, who said DNA tests confirmed that she and Patricia are half-sisters, met with Patricia and their mother Lee in a pre-recorded segment of the show.

Lee, who recently suffered a minor stroke, said she never told Winfrey about her half-sister, “because I thought it was a terrible thing for me to do, that I had done, gave up my daughter when she was born.”

Oprah with her mum Vernita Lee

Winfrey said documents from the girl’s birth reveal that Lee gave up the baby for adoption because she did not think she could get off welfare if she kept the child.

“I made the decision to give her up because I wasn’t able to take care of her. So when I left the hospital, I told the nurse I wasn’t going to keep the baby.”

Patricia said she didn’t consider revealing that she and Winfrey were half-sisters to anyone but Winfrey, explaining that she did not want to hurt Winfrey.

“Family business should be handled by family,” Patricia said. “It couldn’t be handled by anyone else. That’s not fair. It wouldn’t be fair to you.”

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Who do you reckon will make it to the top 50 women on the Web? In this age of Google, the more you are searched, the higher you get on the list.

Lady Gaga (real name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) thus reigns supreme as the most popular woman on the web according to COED magazine.

Lady Gaga in her outrageous meat dress that contributed to a tremendous amount of Google search

This list has been compiled taking data and statistics from Google search-engine results, and COED Magazine has ranked them thanks to this data and statiustics.

At number two is Ke$ha (real name: Kesha Rose Sebert). The iconic Madonna (birth name: Louise Veronica Ciccone), age 52, remains a powerhouse in current pop culture at number three.

Ke$ha

Madonna

Every girl’s-crush Justin Bieber is placed at number seven on the list though he is not a woman. I guess his inclusion is part of COED’s sense of humor.

Justin Bieber

The COED Top 50 list of Most Popular Women on the Web:

1 Lady Gaga

2 Ke$ha

3 Madonna

4 Beyonce

5 Rihanna

6 Britney Spears

7 Justin Bieber

8 Miley Cyrus

9 Paris Hilton

10 Avril Lavigne

11 Shakira

12 Taylor Swift

13 Angelina Jolie

14 Oprah Winfrey

15 Megan Cox

16 Jennifer Lopez

17 Mariah Carey

18 Sarah Palin

19 Jessica Simpson

20 Lindsay Lohan

21 Michelle Obama

22 Katy Perry

23 Kim Kardashian

24 Sandra Bullock

25 Christina Aguilera

26 Jessica Alba

27 Fergie

28 Pamela Anderson

29 Betty White

30 Kristen Stewart

31 Ciara

32 Hillary Clinton

33 Jennifer Aniston

34 Demi Moore

35 Heidi Montag

36 Marilyn Monroe

37 Hilary Duff

38 Ashley Tisdale

39 Katy Price

40 Vanessa Hudgens

41 Amy Winehouse

42 Carrie Underwood

43 Kelly Clarkson

44 Sarah Jessica Parker

45 Lily Allen

46: Adriana Lima

47: Tina Fey

48 Carmen Electra

49: Scarlett Johansson

50: Eva Longoria

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It may be the last year of Oprah Winfrey show, but Oprah Winfrey is definitely going out with a big bang.

In the second part of her annual Oprah Winfrey episode yesterday, the talk show host gave away a brand new Volkswagen (VW) Beetle to every member of her 275 strong audience.

Oprah and Santa Claus announcing the gift

In a video clip of the show, the studio audience turned hysterical after she drove into the studio in a VW Beetle. Some were seen gasping while others were congratulating one another.

Oprah told the audience: “I happened to own one and it is one of my favourite things,”

The initially joyous atmosphere turned a bit sombre after Oprah added: “I wanted to give everyone one of these (VW Beetle) to you but VW said no.”

Then Oprah revealed the twist.

“VW said no, ‘Sorry Oprah, we cannot give everyone this Beetle but maybe we can do one better.”

“They said we cannot give you this Beetle but how about if we give each person in your audience a brand-new, redesigned, 2012 Volkswagen Beetle?” she told her studio audience.

The new Beetle will not be revealed until May 2012 next year but Oprah gave her audience a sneak peek of the car’s silhouette.

Audience got a sneek peek of the car's silhouette

Keys were handed out to the screaming crowd, who will be the first group to get behind the wheel of the new updated model, hitting showrooms next autumn.

Overwhelmed members of the audience with the car keys

‘Oh yeah, oh yeah, I gotcha, I gotcha,’ she yelled to the stunned audience after a massive gift box was opened to reveal the car’s silhouette.

The first half of Oprah’s Favorite Things, which aired last week, saw the talk show host give away thousands of dollars worth of prizes including a Sony television and Caribbean cruise.

The 56-year-old talk show host also gave the audience an Apple iPad, which she proclaimed her ‘No. 1 favourite thing ever.’

‘I know it’s wrong to be in love with a thing, and I don’t normally recommend it,’ she said, before declaring the gadget the ‘best invention of the century so far.’

Apple iPad

Oprah also gave the audience several items of clothing, including a cashmere sweater, Ugg boots covered in sequins and a patent-leather Coach bag that cost nearly $400.

‘It’s not really about all the gifts,’ she said. ‘Although the stuff is really fun, it really for me is about hope.

‘It’s about knowing that something really magical and joyful and wonderful can happen to you when you least expect it.’

According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, Volkswagen is using the show as a launching pad for its redesigned Beetle even though the car’s sale date is a year away.

The introduction was part of the car maker’s plan to raise the profile of the Beetle, along with the rest of its models, said the report.

Volkswagen told WSJ that Winfrey had mentioned the Beetle was among her favourite things.

“And if you follow Oprah, you know she likes to share her favorite things,” Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, told WSJ.

The report further mentioned that the new Beetle was meant to strengthen the company’s image as a maker of sporty cars with enough performance to attract enthusiasts and not just shoppers looking for something cute.

WSJ reported that VW will be donating 275 of the 2012 Beetles plus applicable taxes and fees.

This is not the first time she has given away cars. In 2004, Winfrey gave 276 Pontiac G6 cars to her audience.

Oprah Gave Away 276 Pontiac G6 in 2004.

Oprah has developed a bit of a reputation for generous giveaways of late.

Back in September, she lavished a trip to Australia on her audience members to mark the premiere of the 25th season of her show.

She announced that John Travolta would pilot all 300 of her audience to Sydney.

Oprah explained her decision to leave the show next year to concentrate on her new cable network Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). OWN is a joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc. that is expected to debut in some 74 million homes in 2011.

OWN - Oprah Winfrey Network

‘This show has been my life, and I love it enough to know when it’s time to say goodbye,’ she said.

‘Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number. It’s the exact right time.’

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11 of the 20 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese, with their average fortune of 2.6 billion dollars surpassing US talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s 2.3 billion and author JK Rowling’s 1 billion, the Shanghai-based Hurun Report reveals. And the top 3 richest on the list are all Chinese. Rowling, author of the immensely popular Harry Potter books, actually came bottom on the list.

Oprah Winfrey and J.K.Rowling

Paper-recycling queen Zhang Yin, head of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings, is the wealthiest with a fortune of US$5.6 billion, followed by Wu Yajun of Longfor Property with $4.1 billion and Chen Lihua of Hong Kong’s Fuhua International with $4 billion.

The list includes three billionaires from the United States, three from Britain and one each from Italy, Russia and Spain.

The richest non-Chinese person on the list is Rosalia Mera of Spanish clothing store Zara who is fourth overall with 3.5 billion dollars. U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey came ninth.

The top 10 richest self-made women on the Hurun list is  shown below’

Hurun List of the 10 Richest Self-Made Women 2010

The richest self-made woman in the world.....Zhang Yin aka Yan Cheung (age 53) of China's Nine Dragons Paper Holdings

No. 2 Wu Yajun (age 46) of China's Longfor Property

No.3 Chen Lihua aka Chan Laiwa (age 69) of Hong Kong's Fuhua International

No. 4 Rosalia Mera (age 66) of Spanish clothing store Zara

No. 5 Xiuli Hawken (age 47) of Renhe Commercial Holdings

No. 6 Elena Baturina (age 47) of Russia

No. 7 Zhu Linyao aka Chu Lam Yiu (age 40) of China's Huabao International

No.8 Doris Fisher (age 78) of USA's Gap

No. 9 Oprah Winfrey (age 56)

No. 10 Zhang Xin (age 45) of Soho China

Listed below are the 11th to the 20th richest self-made women:

11. Guiliana Benetton, age 72, of Italy’s Benetton ($2.0 billion)

12. Chen Ningning, age 38, of China’s Pioneer Metals Holdings ($1.7 billion)

13. He Qiaonu, age 44, of China’s Orient Landscape ($1.5 billion)

14. Huang Xi of China’s Zhongsheng Group ($1.4 billion)

15. Ruth Parasol, age 43, of UK Internet gambling ($1.32 billion)

16. Meg Whitman, age 54, former CEO of eBay ($1.3 billion)

17. Mary Perkins, age 66, of UK’s Specsavers ($1.29 billion)

18. Dai Weili, age 48, of China’s Marvell ($1.2 billion)

17. Zhou Yaxian, age 50, of China’s Shenguan Holdings ($1.1 billion)

20. JK Rowling, age 44, UK author of Harry Potter books ($1.0 billion)

A China expert attributed the country’s dominance to the fact that Chinese women are spurred in their ambitions by Mao Zedong’s dictum, “Women hold up half the sky.” In a survey, 76 percent of Chinese women aspired to top jobs, compared to only 52 percent of their U.S. counterparts. “Chinese women are also among the most ambitious on earth,” the Financial Times wrote.

“There is no other country that comes even close to touching the number of self-made women in China. They are now head and shoulders above any other country,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun rich list.

Hoogewerf partly attributed the Chinese women’s business success to the government’s one-child policy and free childcare provided by many grandparents, which has enabled them to spend time building their empires.

China’s long acceptance of women working outside the home has been another significant factor. The booming Chinese economy has also been a big factor, creating more opportunities, giving them access to a huge consumer population and also cheap labour.

Chinese female business owners recently made quite an impression on Kristina Bouweiri, head of $US15 million (estimated sales) Reston Limousine in the Washington DC, area, who recently returned from the Global Summit of Women in Beijing.

“These are the first women in history able to take advantage of the industrial revolution. My first impression is that it’s been easier for them in some ways. The opportunities have been greater. They seem to think a lot bigger,” says Bouweiri.

“They are kicking butt and making money.”

The London-based Financial Times attributed the figures to Chinese women being among the most ambitious on the planet.

The paper cited a study conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy in New York, which found that 76 percent of women in China aspired to top jobs, compared to 52 percent in the United States.

Working mothers in China “are able to aim high, in part because they have more shoulders to lean on than their American and European peers when it comes to childcare”, the center noted.

While the achievements of Chinese women are impressive, they still lag behind their male counterparts. The Hurun Rich List on China’s wealthiest showed that only 11 percent of the richest people in China are women.

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Tomorrow will see former first daughter Chelsea Clinton tying the knots with investment banker Marc Mezvinsky. For the past couple of weeks, US media hype over the nuptials is verging on hysteria. America being America, the internet has been abuzz with questions and rumors about Chelsea’s upcoming nuptials, a ceremony that is shaping up to be a potent combination of D.C. power and Hollywood glitz.

Chelsea Clinton with Marc Mezvinsky

Who’s this lucky groom Marc Mezvinsky? He is a 32-year old Goldman Sachs banker and has known Chelsea since their teens. The two first met as teenagers in Hilton Head, S.C., during a Renaissance Weekend, the annual intellectual and spiritual fest popularized by the Clintons. Both attended Stanford University, though their romance did not bloom until a few years ago. And both know firsthand the price of political loss and scandal.  Chelsea is an only child, but Marc is one of 11, some adopted. Mezvinsky is Jewish and Clinton is Christian. Stolberg said it’s likely both a minister and a rabbi will preside at the nuptials, but it’s unlikely Chelsea will convert to Judaism after the marriage.

Mezvinsky’s mother, former Representative Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky of Pennsylvania, is a one-time television journalist who was elected in 1992 on President Clinton’s coattails. She lost her seat two years later after voting for the president’s budget.  She currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, where her spring 2010 course offerings included “Dealing With the Media.” She is divorced from the bridegroom’s father, former Representative Ed Mezvinsky of Iowa.

Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky

Ed Mezvinsky’s nickname among pool reporters in the 1970s was “Fast Talkin’ Eddie.” The former star athlete turned politician spent four years in the U.S. House of Representatives before going into business for himself, hatching a string of fraudulent activity the FBI later said infiltratated nearly every one of his business deals between 1980 and 2000. After pleading guilty to 31 of 69 charges of bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud in 2001, Mezvinsky went on to serve federal prison time and was released April 11, 2008. He is now living in western New York, and working as a health advocate for low-income people and refugees.

Ed Mezvinsky

Americans are eternally fascinated with presidential children, and perhaps none more so than Chelsea, who arrived at the White House as a gawky 12-year-old with frizzy hair and braces, and grew up before the nation’s eyes, under a cone of silence that she has broken only rarely, to campaign for her mother, for instance, when Mrs. Clinton’s bid for the presidency was in jeopardy. Today, she is a chic strawberry-blonde, with experience working at a hedge fund, a deep interest in public policy and, as of January, a master’s degree from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Yet for Americans of a certain age, the enduring image of Chelsea Clinton is that of the 18-year-old college girl walking on the White House lawn, her back to the camera, holding one hand of each parent — literally the glue binding her family together after her father’s painful confession of marital infidelities. Even then, she seemed to exude a combination of dignity and distance.

Chelsea holding one hand of each parent after her father's confession of marital infidelilities

Always extremely private, Chelsea Clinton was 12 years old when her family moved into the White House. When Bill Clinton was revealed to have been unfaithful, it was Chelsea who seemed to keep the family together. A doting father, Bill Clinton once postponed an overseas presidential trip to help her study for exams.

Asked why there is such fascination with Chelsea’s wedding, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times told Today: “We don’t have royalty in this country. We’re particularly fascinated with Chelsea, because she was such a gawky teenager. She grew up obviously into a lovely young woman.”

Because the Clintons are keeping even the most mundane details of their daughter’s wedding private, the whole affair has been shrouded in secrecy. However, within the tight-knit circle of New York wedding coordinators, some tidbits are beginning to leak.

While the public has demonstrated a voracious appetite for details about the wedding, no factor has gotten more attention than its projected cost. It is rumored that the lavish wedding will cost anywhere between $2 to $5 million. As far as recent presidential weddings go, Chelsea Clinton’s will take the cake.

It is now almost certain that the wedding will take place at Astor Courts, the former 50-acre estate of John Jacob Astor IV in the picturesque town of Rhinebeck, N.Y. The Astor Courts is a 13,000-foot Beaux Arts pavilion built between 1902 and 1904 for John Jacob Astor IV and designed by Stanford White to evoke the Grand Trianon at Versailles.The mansion boasts an indoor tennis court and white marble swimming pool. The property is now owned by Kathleen Hammer, a contributor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential and Senate bids.

Astor Courts

Inside the mansion

The postcard-pretty Rhinebeck, a little town of upscale boutiques and pricey homes 90 miles north of New York City, has witnessed an avalanche of security personnel, reporters and rubber-neckers. Signs congratulating the 30-year-old former first daughter are posted on shop windows in the Hudson Valley town.  Rhinebeck, population less than 8,000, is laying out the welcome mat.

Rhinebeck at dusk

Best wishes from the residents of Rhinebeck

“It’s like having the Olympics in your town,” exclaimed Alex Batkin, manager of the up-market Wing and Clover arts-and-craft boutique. Batkin’s store revealed at least one success: a painting bought as a gift for the betrothed. The picture is emblazoned “Chelsea and Marc” over a naive-style depiction of a wedding cake surrounded by trees, squirrels and a fish-filled river.

Painting by Diana Huff depicting Chelsea Clinton's wedding in Rhinebeck

Painting by Diana Huff depicting Chelsea Clinton's wedding in Rhinebeck

Another entrepreneur seeking wedding joy is Rhinebeck Deli, where the menu features the Hillary Clinton-themed “Secretary of Steak.”

Even the Hudson Valley Renegades, a minor league baseball team, wants to get in on the act. Their mascot, a man dressed as a raccoon, stood at Rhinebeck’s main crossroads Tuesday with a sign reading: “Chelsea Will U Marry Me?” Locals and bemused tourists grinned at the sight.

Mascot of the Hudson Valley Renegades getting in on the act

The wedding planner is Bryan Rafanelli of Boston, who has worked for Hillary Rodham Clinton and produced inaugural balls for Mr. Obama. Rafanelli’s reputation for orchestrating sumptuous parties has won him high-profile admirers from Boston to Washington to Palm Beach.

Bryan Rafanelli

“Bryan is the Chanel of party-planning,’’ says Boston socialite Lisa Pierpont, a friend and occasional client of Rafanelli’s. “He can talk to the prince and the pauper, and he has an impeccable eye. When people hear it’s a Rafanelli event, it’s like, ‘OK, we’re going.’ ’’

The wedding gown, expected to cost about $25,000, will either be a creation by Oscar de la Renta or Vera Wang.  The New York Times is certain it will be de la Renta.  But a lot are now saying it will be a Vera Wang.

Vera Wang

Some of Vera Wang's creations

Oscar de la Renta

Some of Oscar de la Renta's wedding gowns

Both Boston-based Winston Flowers and Four Seasons George V Hotel’s artistic director Jeff Leatham will be handling the flowers. The flowers alone could cost $250,000.

Jeff Leatham

Jeff Leatham's floral arrangement

A stylish floral arrangement by Winston Flowers

The catering job will be shared by Blue Ribbon Restaurants, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, and Olivier Cheng Catering and Events. Chelsea is a vegan. The food will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, but there will also be grass-fed organic beef on the menu. It’ll reportedly be gluten-free complete with a vegan wedding cake.

A creation by Olivier Cheng Catering And Events

Jimmy Vali, whose Web site boasts that his clients include Glenn Close, is coordinating the music.

Jimmy Vali

Unlike everyone else on the planet, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding guests won’t need gas masks to do their business in a porta-potty — because Bill’s daughter is renting the swankiest outhouses in town. The portable latrines have actual porcelain toilets, stereo music and hot running water — oh yeah, and they’re HUGE. Rental for these porta-potties is estimated to be $15,000.

A luxury porta-potty trailer

Interior of Porta-Potties Trailer

Americans are also intrigued about who are included in the ultra-exclusive guest list. With the invite list limited to 500 names, Chelsea has apparently instituted a strict no-strangers policy: She must personally know every invitee. It’s an intimate gathering for a family that knows the most famous people in nearly every walk of life on the planet.

Knowing the former president or the secretary of state isn’t good enough to get in. To make the cut, guests must have had a personal connection to Chelsea, 30, and her groom, 32, and not just to her famous parents.

President Obama — Hillary Clinton’s boss — is on the list, but the White House says he won’t go. It is rumored that the Obamas were invited but declined, in an effort to help keep the press corps from swamping the proceedings. But don’t count them out.  Though the public has been led to believe that the President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama won’t be attending, security plans are still being developed for such a possibility.

The big question: Will the Obamas be attending the wedding?

Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, and Ted Turner are among the 500 guests. Also attending will be various members of the Clinton “inner circle,” including former British Prime Minister John Major, former deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Democratic donor Denise Rich.

As secretary of state, the mother of the bride, or MOTB, as she has taken to referring to herself, is accustomed to keeping secrets, and this one is no different.

In an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell in Pakistan, Hillary Clinton said, “My lips are sealed. I am under very strict orders not to talk about it, and I think for the right reasons, because it is hers, and it is a family wedding. The people coming are her friends and people who have been meaningful in her life, as it should be.”

When CNN’s Crowley asked her which was harder — negotiating Middle East peace or planning this wedding — Hillary replied with a smile, “Well, I’d probably call it a draw.”

Former President Bill Clinton, the father of the bride, had previously told TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager that his role is to pay for the wedding. At Chelsea’s request, he’s taken off 15 pounds so he looks his best walking her down the aisle.

Chelsea Clinton with her parents

Stolberg said the mother of the bride has been minutely involved in Chelsea’s wedding.

“She’s been absolutely hands-on. She’s been viewing flower arrangements by e-mail. She said that she’s been squeezing in tastings and dress selections. She’s obviously very excited about this, as is her husband,” Stolberg said.

Is Bill helping mastermind the nuptials? Yes, to a limited degree. Though he had said that his role was limited to walking Chelsea down the aisle and paying the bills, he told NBC that his daughter had opted to tap his world-leader expertise: “Chelsea has been good enough to include me in the decisions…so I love that.” Still, Bill is making sure to keep the focus on the bride. “I am going to try not to cry because this isn’t about me, it’s about her. And if I am crying then it becomes partly about me and I don’t even want to be mentioned in the story except that I didn’t stumble walking down the aisle. So I am going to try but I may not be able to do it,” he said at June’s Fortune/Time/CNN global forum.

“My daughter is happy. I like and admire my future son-in-law, so I couldn’t be happier about it,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley in a January interview when asked about what he thought of his future son-in-law.

Should any wedding, even a Clinton wedding, really cost that much? Between the $15,000 deluxe portable toilets, several hundred thousand dollars worth of flowers, glass-walled tents, and premium security the bill for the nuptials is being estimated at between $2 and $5 million. Should we expect no less for the daughter of political royalty?

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A young Filipino singing sensation has captured the hearts of millions of fans worldwide. She has been dubbed the most talented girl in the world by none other than Oprah Winfrey. Her self-titled international debut album, released in May 2010, peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, making her the first Asian in history to achieve such a feat. Her real name is Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco but she is known as Charice Pempengco to the world.

Charice Pempengco

From a very young age, she began competing in amateur singing contests. In 2005, she joined Little Big Star, a Philippines talent show loosely patterned after the American Idol. She was eliminated after her first performance but was later called back as a wildcard contender and finished in third place based on text voting.

She continued making minor appearances on local television shows and TV commercials but had essentially fallen out of the limelight. Her break come in 2007 when an avid fan posted a series of her videos on YouTube under the username FalseVoice. These videos garnered millions of views, making Charice an internet phenomenon. She caught the attention of Ten Songs Production, a recording company based in Sweden. In June 2007, she flew to Stockholm and recorded seven songs, including Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Shakespeare Sisters’ “Stay” as well as original songs “Amazing”,  “All The Money In The World”,  “Born To Love You Forever” and “It Can Only Get Better”.

A few months later, Charice’s rendition of Dreamgirls’ “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” was posted on YouTube by FalseVoice. It impressed someone at one of South Korea’s biggest television network and Charice was invited in October 2007 to perform on the network’s  talent show “Star King”.  Her jaw-dropping rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” floored the audience. Many viewers posted her performance on YouTube, paving the way for Charice to gain massive exposure on American television. Her Star King performance was featured on E!’s The Daily Ten TV network. The Ellen DeGeneres show featured her Star King performance on its November 28, 2007 episode. Sit back and enjoy her performance on December 19, 2007 on the Ellen DeGeneres show as she  sings “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “I Will Always Love You”.

Since then, she has made numerous television appearances worldwide including a couple of appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. Josh Groban gushed that Charice’s voice is one of the most beautiful voices he has heard in a long time. Her vocal quality has been compared with those of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. She performed a duet with Celine Dion on September 15 2008. They sang “Because You Loved Me” which was dedicated to Charice’s mother. The performance won rave reviews in The New York Post and The New York Times. And the duet was featured on the September 19 2008 episode of the Oprah Winfrey show.

On June 21, 2010, she landed a role in the hit US television show Glee as a recurring character on its second season. She will reportedly play the role of a foreign exchange student with astounding vocals. The sky is really the limit for this dimunitive girl from Philippines!

The US hit television show "Glee"

Her performance of “Pyramid” featuring Iyaz has received over 12 millions views …it is a lovely song……enjoy!

To cap it all, see her performing the US national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of 57,099 people at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the Dodgers’ 2009 Opening Day pregame ceremony.

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