No. 4: “Pyramid,” Charice

As Sunshine Corazon on “Glee,” Charice (born Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco) shines like a fiery orb — if the sun were a petite Filipina singer emitting flame-throwing powerhouse vocals. With “Pyramid,” the singer takes her homegrown yet polished breed of gospel-tinged pop-R&B out to play, gaining mainstream radio airplay and a big hand from Oprah Winfrey, who dubbed her the “most talented girl in the world.” The lyrics of “Pyramid” don’t venture further than assurances that “We took it from the bottom up / And even in a desert storm / Sturdy as a rock we hold / Wishing every moment froze.” Such potentially forbidding metaphors are dispelled by the 18-year-old’s feisty, soul-stirring performance — and a charisma, on full display in the song’s video, that sweeps away doubts.

The first Asian artist to land in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200, Charice has been steadily building on her YouTube success after getting into the finals of “Little Big Star,” an “American Idol”-esque talent show in the Philippines. Said to have been informally trained by her single mother, Charice might be best known for her rugrat-set cameo in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.” But she’s already realized more than a few dreams, including singing with her idols, Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion.

–Kimberly Chun

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