Going native

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Vietnamese singers abroad are becoming increasingly popular in their adoptive countries.

Overseas Vietnamese singers are not only popular in Vietnamese communities but also with native Europeans.

Hungary's megastar

Nguyen Thanh Hien caused a stir in the Hungarian-Vietnamese community when she became the first singer of Vietnamese origin to enter the final round of the nation's Megasztar contest.

Hien was one of five singers of Vietnamese origin to compete in the show that attracted some 10,000 initial contestants.

Megasztar, which began in 2003, is an annual singing contest that searches for the country's best singers following the American Idol model.

Though Hien didn't pass the Top 6 Round, she strongly impressed the jury with her mellifluous voice and vivacious, youthful performing style.

Friderikusz Sándor, known as the TV King of Hungary and the contest's most hard-to-please juror, called Hien's rendition of "Crazy in Love" in the Top 8 Round a world-class performance.

Fenyó Miklós, known locally as the King of Rock and Roll, said Hien's sweet voice and performance were mature and that she expressed strong feelings in difficult songs.

Swedish Idol

Vietnamese Swedish singer Alice Svensson has also caught the attention of local audiences when she made it to the final round of the 2008 Swedish Idol contest, one of the country's most popular TV programs.

She was chosen as one of the top-five viewer's choice contestants.

Her charm and her strong, resonant voice, like that of a 70's soul singer, won over the judges.

The final results of this contest are expected to be announced next month.

Svensson, born in 1991 in Hanoi, Vietnam was adopted by a Swedish family when she was only 10 months old, and has since lived in Gavle.

The 17-year-old also won the 2007 Music Popcorn contest and played piano for a rock band.

Svensson, who says music is her life, began studying music at the Jazz School in Vasaskolan last year.

One of her hit songs, "Heaven's On Fire," was listed for one week on the Sweden Singles Top 60.

Nostalgia from Belgium

Vietnamese-Belgian singer Pham Quynh Anh, who just visited Vietnam for the first time earlier this month, is another phenomenon.

She is most well-known for Bonjour Vietnam, written by French singer-songwriter, and heartthrob Marc Lavoine in 2005.

The song, written especially for Anh, is about an overseas Vietnamese woman's deep feelings for her home country.

When a version of the song was posted on the Internet in early 2006, it spread through overseas Vietnamese communities like wildfire and became a smash hit among young listeners before the song was officially released.

Anh released the English version "Hello Vietnam" earlier this year.

She and Lavoine toured together through Belgium, France, Switzerland and the US in 2005.

The young singer born in 1987 in Belgium, is looking to release an album next year.

Reported by Chau Yen

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