A reality show for Lani

Lani Misalucha interviewed in her Summerlin home. Photo by Ivan Roque

By Elton Lugay

Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha is excited about two forthcoming projects – a concert in New York in the summer and a reality show in Las Vegas.

“It’s Vegas with Lani” will showcase the singer with her husband Noli and two daughters Lian and Louven in their lovely Summerlin, Nevada home, promoting the sights and sounds of her favorite city.

“There’s more to Vegas than gambling and casinos,” she said in an interview with The FilAm. “One time, we went to shoot at this place called ‘Peppermill.’ It surprised me to learn that a restaurant like this existed. Imagine it has been around for 40 years now. When you’re local, you don’t really go out that much. It’s only when I started filming for my show that I get to roam around town and appreciate Las Vegas more.”

The weekly show, produced by V-Asian TV, will have Lani and five other Asian personalities in the same reality show format. Lani and her crew just completed 13 episodes when I met her for an interview. The pilot is slated to air next month via Cox Cable and ABC. It will run for 30 minutes with the Asian communities abroad as its target audience. It will also be available on Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and Live Stream., according to Noli.

The East Coast concert is still a work in progress, but the organizers are saying Lani’s fans are looking forward to her performance. The last time she did a back-to-back show with Regine Velasquez in 2008 at the Newark Symphony Hall in New Jersey, Lani matched Regine ballad for ballad.

She was a hit with the crowd who loved her Whitney Houston tribute, according to a fan who watched the show. Lani and Regine, by the fan’s account, were wildly applauded.

But it’s Vegas that will always be near and dear to Lani’s heart. December 4 was declared Lani Misalucha Day in 2009 by Mayor Oscar Goodman.

In the Philippines, Lani was a regular mainstay on GMA’s noontime show, “SOP Rules” with Regine and Ogie Alcasid. When she got married and left for the States in 2004, quitting show business was her plan. But she just couldn’t turn her back on performing, this time before a welcoming FilAm community. She landed a two-year run with the Hawaii group Society of Seven and veteran showman Earl Turner on the Strip. Before long, Lani was back in business.

Sultry songbird

“I didn’t plan on performing again, but somehow my path led me to doing it. I thought I was going to be doing something else. I didn’t realize that I’m going to be singing again. So I might as well embrace it and continue doing it,” she said.

Lani has been called the “New Siren of the Strip” and was voted “Best Singer” in the 27th Annual Best of Las Vegas poll by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

But the road to Vegas had been not without its bumps and potholes. There were two cancelled shows in 2008 that she recalled with sadness.

“It was a combination of many things,” she began, without going into details. “There was red tape involved, we were outmaneuvered, given false promises, faced race discrimination, the list goes on.”

“We were already told that we’re gonna go on for the next season. This was our third contract 15 months running, but towards the end of the year (2008), all of a sudden we were told ‘Sorry we cannot accommodate you anymore.” Instead of dismissing it as failure, she said it was actually a blessing in disguise.

“This opened up better opportunities for us. We got to travel around the country and do live concerts that we always wanted to do. We brought our staple show to our ‘kababayans’ who could not visit us in Las Vegas,” she said. One of those destinations was the East Coast.

Ever optimistic, Lani said she was willing to start all over again.

“I consider every single step of what I do or what I have achieved a success. I consider myself successful in so many ways. Having so many friends or two wonderful daughters is success for me. You should consider every event in your life a success. Just cherish and treasure it.”

Queens resident Elton Lugay is a journalist, a publicist and a community events organizer.

One Comment

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