Judges and the audience were shocked as soon as Marcelito Pomoy started singing the first notes of “The Prayer” in “America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2” in January 2020. Disclosing his talent, he proceeded to sing the female sections, originally by Celine Dion, in a female soprano voice, then execute the section Andrea Bocelli performs in a tenor voice. Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Alesha Dixon were particularly stunned by his ability, while Simon Cowell had a poker face.
However, things quickly changed for the Filipino singer, when he received a standing ovation and overwhelmingly positive comments from both judges and audience. Superfans voted for him throughout the competition, and he finished in fourth place, however, not winning didn’t stop him; Marcelito used his newfound global recognition and admiration to continue his music career, showcasing his unique ability, and doing charity work to help Filipino people in the same poverty-stricken situation he was in. We studied what Marcelito Pomoy is doing now.
- 1 Humble beginnings
- 2 How did Marcelito discover his singing talent?
- 3 Winning season two of “Pilipinas Got Talent”
- 4 Gaining recognition in the US
- 5 Auditioning for “America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2”
- 6 Finishing fourth in the competition
- 7 Fans’ uproar about his finale finish, and suspicions of sabotage
- 8 Family life
- 9 Business ventures and philanthropy
- 10 YouTube channel activity
- 11 Co-hosting a karaoke eating show in 2021
- 12 Touring in 2022 and award wins
- 13 Grief and love for Jovit Baldivino in December 2022
- 14 Lack of education
- 15 Love for travel, fast cars, and carpentry
Marcelito Castro “Lito” Pomoy was born on 22 September 1984, in Imus, Cavite, Philippines, and grew up in Bistig, Surigao del Sur. He had a difficult upbringing – at age seven, his father was jailed, and his mom Anecita Pomoy left him with a younger sibling, and went to Metro Manila. Since his parents were absent for most of his young life and had separate families, Marcelito was an orphan and homeless before a police officer adopted him. His passion for music came from stressful moments, because he sang whenever he was scared.
How did Marcelito discover his singing talent?
Marcelito had to do many odd jobs to survive as a teenager, and one was poultry work. While his hands were busy, he would sing out loud to the chickens, and convincingly imitate the tone of a female and male voice. After he realized his talent and received support from others, he tried out for “Talentadong Pinoy,” a local talent show, but unfortunately he failed to reach the televised competition.
Winning season two of “Pilipinas Got Talent”
Marcelito got his first moment under the spotlight on the stage of “Pilipinas Got Talent”, a licensed version of the “Got Talent” franchise for the Philippines. When he saw it on TV, he thought it would be a perfect chance to find his family, as they would hear him sing.
He auditioned in 2011, and something extraordinary happened—the judges asked for two encores because of his impressive vocals and unique singing twist. Moreover, during and after his performance, those in the theater were screaming to the point of muffling his voice. After hearing his tear-jerking story, a successful nationwide search for his family started.
He then had a smooth run throughout the competition – he was one of 36 candidates to survive the Judges’ Cut from 174, to appear the stage, then among 26 contestants in the semi-finals. Golden Buzzer was introduced in the fifth season, and the judges could only press it in the sixth, making it impossible for him to receive that well-known form of approval.
Marcelito performed “The Prayer” in the grand finals on 25 and 26 June 2011 and received standing ovations and the crown, among 14 competitors in the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Metro Manila. He took home the first-place reward of PHP 2 million, worth US$36,500 in 2023.
Releasing two studio albums, holding concerts, and TV show appearances
Marcelito leveraged his reality TV competition victory, and ALSO appeared in three well-known TV shows in the country, “ASAP,” “Gandang Gabi, Vice!” and “Kris TV,” all on the ABS-CBN network. Kris Aquino, the creator of “Kris TV” and a socialite, actress, and media mogul, praised his immense talent and helped him appear as a guest in “ASAP” regularly. He also signed with ABS-CBN’s talent management company, Star Magic, in 2011.
Moreover, in the same year, Marcelito released a studio album entitled “Duet Yourself” with five songs under the Star Records label, which was a successful venture. Consequently, he released a second album with eight songs in 2013, entitled “Split”.
Gaining recognition in the US
Marcelito admitted to feeling depressed in 2015, thinking his career might be over because of how many new artists appear on the scene yearly. He briefly focused on expanding his private business as a store owner.
Luckily, he got a big break when, in September 2018, he performed “The Prayer” on air for a Filipino radio station Wish 107.5. Ellen DeGeneres, a well-known American TV show host, heard this, and invited him and his wife to appear in her show in late October of that year. After two song performances, she booked him to appear at one of her Las Vegas comedy concerts.
A year later, Marcelito was a performer and interpreter in the seventh iteration of the well-known ASOP (A Song of Praise) festival in the Philippines.
Auditioning for “America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2”
His newfound prominence in the US got Marcelito invited to audition for “America’s Got Talent,” but he declined the offer. He felt he had nothing to prove, and presumed it would only damage his champion status in his home country by becoming ‘more ordinary’ if he failed to win.
However, as a winner of a previous talent show, Marcelito was qualified to compete in “America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2”. He accepted the offer in January 2020, and sang “The Prayer”. His performance won him the audience’s approval, and renown among millions across the globe, thanks to YouTube and licensed streams.
Finishing fourth in the competition
Marcelito gave a soulful rendition of “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman in the semi-final episode, receiving enough superfans votes and standing ovations from all four judges again. After the same happened in the finals, he proceeded to the finale.
After singing “We Are the Champions” by Queen as part of a mash-up act alongside Sandou Trio Russian Bar, Duo Transcend, Hans, and Boogie Storm, he reached the top five thanks to enough votes from the superfans. Ultimately, he placed fourth, after he beat Angelina Jordan in the number of votes, behind V.Unbeatable, Duo Transcend, and Tyler Butler-Figueroa.
Although he didn’t finish first, his position was a massive feat; Marcelito became the highest-placing foreign participant in his season, sharing second place with Cristina Ramos as the best-placing foreign act in the history of the competition. The current highest finisher is Ukrainian sand performer Kseniya Simonova, who won third place in “The Champions”.
Fans’ uproar about his finale finish, and suspicions of sabotage
Marcelito’s undeniable talent, charisma and love from the audience made his placement controversial. Although unofficial, an online poll by the website GoldDerby.com had 52% of participants pick him as the rightful winner. Social media posts during that time shared the sentiment, and viewers started arguing whether superfans and judges disliked singers, and sometimes unjustly pushed dancers, acrobats, and entertainers – some vowed never to watch the show again in protest, arguing that violin performances and dancing routines result from repeated practice, while Marcelito’s ability is a gift from birth.
Even guest judge Alesha Dixon was shocked, and asked her Twitter followers if they felt the same. Additionally, some fans noticed signs of sabotage, because Simon Cowell allegedly chose the “Beauty and the Beast” finals song by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. In a deleted video, Marcelito allegedly claimed there was nothing he could do to alter the song choice – the problem was that Simon’s negative criticism focused on the fact that Marcelito chose a predictable, safe, and popular track. Instead, Simon suggested he should have left his comfort zone to shock the audience. Even worse, Marcelito had a chest pain scare right after the finale and was hospitalized, which fans felt might be stress-related.
However, Marcelito was grateful for reaching fourth place in an international competition, and in front of a global audience. He told his fans on Facebook, ‘I love you all… I really don’t need to win this contest because for me I’m already a winner. For in your hearts I can feel how you all feel, I can feel that I win your hearts…’
Marcelito accomplished something he always dreamed of, reuniting with his biological family on both sides, during the 2011 “Pilipinas Got Talent” competition. His mom asked for forgiveness for abandoning him and his younger sibling as a child, and he accepted. The whole family was in the audience during the grand finals, and remained in contact.
Marcelito married Joan Paraiso, a Filipina from Calauag, Quezon, on 21 September 2014, and settled in her hometown. Manny Pacquiao, a renowned boxer, and Kris Aquino, who helped him get his foot in the door as a singer, sponsored the wedding.
Marcelito and his wife have two biological daughters, Marcella Janiah born in 2015, and Marchesa Janoah P. Pomoy, in June 2022. Both are devout Christians, and Marcelito is very religious and practices the religion’s traditions. Hence, he Christened his recently born daughter in November 2022 and prays regularly.
His daughter Marcella also sings and has an Instagram account – he posted a video of a ‘father and daughter bonding experience’, a duet of the song “Heal the World” on his social media profiles in April 2020.
Business ventures and philanthropy
Marcelito also has a business, a string of hardware stores in his current hometown of Calauag. He is also a prolific philanthropist in different ways – after experiencing a tough childhood and struggling to live a decent life as a teenager, he committed to helping others never experience such misfortune. Marcelito builds small houses for residents of Calauag, and documents the experience on YouTube to inspire others to do the same. Moreover, he facilitates donation events to help people with education and food.
Marcelito also does his best to support communities outside his native country. For instance, he performed at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center in Tampa, Florida, in March 2022, because the benefit concert donated proceeds to Hospital on Wheels and Friends Who Care LLC. Both organizations help provide healthcare and surgical operations to medically indigent patients from the Philippines. He has promoted brands such as SEC Motosupply, SECOSANA luggage, JW Marriott Medan Indonesia, and Megasoft.
YouTube channel activity
Marcelito is particularly active on YouTube on his account under the handle @sominot – he uploaded his first video entitled “Philippines is Beutiful [sic]” in 2013. Throughout the decade in showbusiness, he’s posted updates about his professional and private life via vlogs.
Although Marcelito did a lot for many people in his community, people around the globe praised one particular effort during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. He spotted an elderly grandmother during his food runs, and wanted to rebuild her home after seeing its poor state. He documented the entire building, painting and furnishing experience on his YouTube account, and helped her neighbors financially and with food. Marcelito visited her again in January 2022, after typhoons devastated the area.
Marcelito Pomoy just performed in the latest season of America's Got Talent (AGT) – The Champions. Pomoy sang 'The Prayer' & showcased his dual voice. He received a standing ovation from the judges including Simon Cowell & Heidi Klum. Marcelito was also joined by his wife, Joan. pic.twitter.com/Z9VVngd2hG
— MJ Felipe (@mjfelipe) January 14, 2020
He has also hosted annual charity vlogs and birthday charity events since at least 2020, and posted Christmas gift-giving vlogs to encourage others to do the same. Sadly, some people took advantage, and hacked the account in July 2021 to live-stream cryptocurrency ads, and post cryptic videos. After Marcelito asked his fans for help, YouTube support stepped in and helped him restore access.
Co-hosting a karaoke eating show in 2021
In January 2021, Marcelito became a co-host of “Eat’s Singing Time”, a NET25 TV show and YouTube web show. It has a unique concept that combines “videoke”, one of the favorite pastime activities on TV in the Philippines, and eating. In it, he and his co-host Jaycee Parker and guest host Boobsie Wonderland must sing karaoke while eating, which gets progressively harder with challenges such as oversized foods.
Touring in 2022 and award wins
In early 2022, Marcelito announced that he’d finally listened to the ‘insistent public demand’ of his fans and associates, whom he calls the MARCELINEX family, revealing that he plans to work with Joel Sebag, a Filipino producer, to embark on a tour across the US in the second half of 2022. However, before that happened, he made history as the first Filipino singer to perform at the Niagara Falls Convention Centre, on 31 July 2022.
On 26 August, Marcelito held his first tour concert in Honolulu, Hawaii, and visited Houston, Denver, and Philadelphia. He also expanded his tour, and had a sold-out show in Montreal, Canada, and a concert in Abu Dhabi with Peter Rosalita, who had auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in 2021 at age 10. After briefly performing in Australia, Marcelito returned to end the US leg of the tour in San Diego, California.
He’s also won many awards for his accomplishments and services to the country. For example, Marcelito was one of the World Class Philippines of 2022 and received a Saludo Excellence Award as Most Exemplary International Male Artist of the Year, and the Philippine’s Outstanding Achiever of the Year, both in December 2022.
Grief and love for Jovit Baldivino in December 2022
Marcelito never hid the fact that Jovit Baldivino, the winner of the first season of “Pilipinas Got Talent”, inspired him. The two became friends over the years, and he knew Jovit’s partner Camille Ann Miguel well. Sadly, Jovit passed away on 9 December 2022, after being in a coma for five days following problems with hypertension.
Marcelito showed up at his wake, and emotionally stood near his coffin for a long time. He then shared love and admiration on his Facebook page, writing, ‘Sobrang sakit Parekoy!’ or ‘It hurts so much, my friend!’ He also posted a tribute on his YouTube channel, a video of them singing the song entitled “BUWAN” together
Lack of education
Marcelito Pomoy never completed his education due to his difficult circumstances growing up. His haters frequently bring this up on social media, and even forced him to take a break from posting in early 2022. What many people don’t know is that Marcelito hired a tutor, and enrolled into the Alternative Learning System (ALS) in the Philippines once he began to make money from music. He also brings awareness to the importance of education, via his YouTube channel.
Love for travel, fast cars, and carpentry
Marcelito enjoys traveling outside of his professional obligations. Two notable locations he’s visited are Boracay in the Philippines in early 2022, and Singapore in November 2022, when he had a picture taken with the Merlion city mascot. He has also been in Alexandria, Egypt in early January 2023 as a history enthusiast.
Whenever he gets a chance, he rents one of his favorite cars. For instance, he showed a red Ferrari F430 he rented during his Canada tour in mid-2022 to his social media followers.
Marcelito also had to work as a carpenter during his teenage years to make ends meet. Because his passion never waned, he volunteered time and knowledge during the COVID-19 pandemic, and worked on projects at home.
Also, he occasionally visits a firing range, to literally blow-off some steam.