GMA rocks the Ketkai crowd

Monday, September 1, 2008

As one of the major sponsors in the recent civic fiesta celebration of Cagayan de Oro, GMA rocked the house down for four straight days culminating in the mall show of Pinoy Idol first season second runner-up, Ram Chaves.

The GMA string of shows started with talent Angelika dela Cruz who was celebrity judge of Miss Kagay-an 2008 coronation night last August 26.

Another GMA talent, Mark Herras, likewise entertained the beauties with his rendition of Ako'y Sa Iyo at Ika'y Akin Lamang, although a few people in the crowd were disappointed and commented that he should have sung a livelier track.

But that was compensated two days later when the now-winning Miss Kagay-an 2008 Ma. Jennifer Precious Gaston and her court were serenaded by yet another GMA talent, Marc Anthony Fernandez.

Marc would later narrate in an interview with Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that he enjoyed being with the Kagay-anons.

"Grabe talaga ang reception ng mga tao rito, so lively, so hospitable, I was so overwhelmed," GMA corporate communications staff Barbette Atienza shared a similar sentiment.

It was also Mark Herras who escorted Gaston and her court - first runner-up Joanne Galenzoga, second runner-up Hazel Mari Go, third runner-up Al Grace Mortola and fourth runner-up Sybil Sarte - at the Kapuso Float during the Golden Float Parade last August 27.

In the early morning of August 28, a segment in the early morning news/variety show Unang Hirit was broadcast from Cagayan de Oro City featuring outgoing Miss Kagay-an Tourism 2007 Diana Bagonoc and her court - first runner-up Dianne Galenzoga and fourth runner-up Natasha Mills - donning locally-crafted Puyo accessories.

Also on hand during the Kapuso night later in the evening were Jolina Magdangal and Ram Chaves.

Jolina said in a separate interview that she is grateful that at the age of 29, she looks younger.

"Maybe it comes with the blood. My mom also doesn't look her age at 50," she said.

Despite that, Jolina amazingly maintains a disciplined routine of waking up at 3:30 a.m. for three days in a week so she can prepare herself in a live segment of Unang Hirit.

Aside from Unang Hirit, Jolina can also be seen in the weekly shows SOP and Dear Heart.

She has a separate weekly program with the in-house television production of Malacañang, RTVM, which is aired in a state-run network.

Jolina's next movie is I.T.A.L.Y. where she shares billing with Dennis Trillo, Ruffa Mae Quinto, Mark Herras, Eugene Domingo and Rhian Ramos and directed by Mark Reyes.

I.T.A.L.Y. is the story about a group of Filipinos aboard a cruise ship plying the Italian waters.

Opening this September 17, I.T.A.L.Y. (I Trust and Love You) was shot in three continents, five countries and 13 cities, with cast and crew spending three days in Genoa.

The cruise ship segments were shot on a real cruise so real passengers often mistook Jolina as a real cabin attendant.

RP’s ‘Idol’

Sunday, August 31, 2008

“Pinoy Idol” winner Gretchen Espina is still in a euphoric state. “Bagging the title is a humbling experience,” she said. “I hope I live up to the expectations of the people who voted for me.”

Her grand prize worth P5.7 million includes a management contract with GMA Artist Center, a recording contract with Sony BMG, a condo unit at Avida Tower New Manila, 1 million cash from SM Supermalls and a Mitsubishi Lancer.

American Idol David Cook is coming for a concert. PI to do a duet with AI? Let’s hear it for some Fil-Am jam!

‘Pinoy Idol’ finals underwhelming

Friday, August 22, 2008

When “Pinoy Idol” presented its 12 finalists months ago, we noted that the girls were more promising than the boys. Thus, we fully expected that the tilt’s eventual winner would be female.

So, when the final three competed for the title last Saturday and Sunday, we weren’t surprised to see that two of them—Gretchen Espina and Jayann Bautista—were women, and only one male finalist, Ram Chaves, had managed to end up in the final troika.


Expectedly, Ram was the first to be eliminated, leaving Gretchen and Jayann to await the viewing public’s “final-final” verdict. As everybody and his pet turtle know by now, Gretchen won and our expectations of a female winner were affirmed. Congratulations!

Strangely, however, the entire final phase of the GMA-7 competition didn’t excite us as much as “Philippine Idol” did last year. We watched “Pinoy Idol” regularly from week to week, but after a while, we found ourselves zoning out.

We tried to figure out why we were reacting that way, and decided that one of the major snooze-inducers was the fact that a number of the 12 finalists, especially the boys, weren’t really star material. So, what was there to idolize?

We wondered why, after auditioning thousands of talents—and non-talents—the production’s staffers hadn’t managed to come up with better finalists with greater star potential. Was it the audition process’ fault? If so, improvements definitely have to be made in time for next year’s tilt.

Support systems

Another turn-off was the fact that some of the better finalists were voted out early in the competition. Did their “vote-generating” support systems fail them? Were the survivors’ support systems simply bigger and better-oiled?

Did the majority of the viewing-voting public really believe that the survivors were better than the more promising finalists they didn’t vote for? If so, that’s truly unfortunate. If the viewing public doesn't vote the best talents in, what’s the entire process all about?

Some people say: It’s all about popularity, stupid—and popularity is what makes singing stars. Oh, really? We thought it all started with exceptional singing talent, looks and charisma, and then popularity was the result.

In any case, due to these and other factors, the “Pinoy Idol” tilt didn’t involve and excite us as much as we’d expected, so we simply sat back and watched it wind its desultory way to last Sunday’s “final-finals.”


What’s up next for Gretchen, Jayann and Ram? The good news is that, unlike ABC-5, which produced “Philippine Idol,” GMA-7 has enough entertainment shows and sister companies to give its three “final-finalists” strong support and exposure as they now try to transform their success in the tilt into actual show biz stardom.

Conversely, however, we wonder if they are really talented and versatile enough to take full advantage of that strong support and make it all the way to the top.

As “Philippine Idol’s” Mau Marcelo and her co-final-finalists have shown, winning is only the first and by no means the toughest step in a talent’s long and arduous journey to genuine stardom.

Jayann: "I'm a better singer kumpara sa kanya!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nagpapasalamat na lang si Jayann Bautista dahil kahit pumangalawa lang siya kay Gretchen Espina sa nakaraang Pinoy Idol competition.

"Simula pa lang ito. Hindi ko sila bibiguin. I won't stop," sunud-sunod na katagang namutawi sa bibig ni Jayann nang makapanayam siya ng PEP . "Kakanta pa rin ako. Hindi ako titigil hangga't hindi ko maabot ang mga pangarap ko. Four years ago, nag-struggle na ako as a singer. Mahabang panahon na ang ginugol ko. Ngayon pa ba ako aatras?

"Hindi dahilan ang pagkatalo ko para mag-stop ako. Ito pa nga ang magiging simula. Hindi naman sa disappointed ako talaga, kasi nirerespeto ko ang verdict ng mga tao through text votes. I feel bad, I really wanted the title," prangkang sabi ng pambato ng Pampanga.

Malinaw na ang kakulangan ni Jayann ay sa punto ng text votes.

"Wala akong malakas na impluwensiya, at hindi ko alam kung mayroong bang buma-backup talaga sa akin. But I always believe, I am a better singer kung iku-compare sa kanya [Gretchen].

"Pero makikita pa rin ninyo ako sa TV, for sure. Sasayaw pa rin ako sa production numbers ng mga Broadway hits!" at natawa na lang si Jayann.

Automatically, may management contract na si Jayann sa GMA-7. Pero hindi raw niya alam kung GMA Records ang mag-a-absorb sa kanya para sa recording deal.

May usapan pala sila nina Gretchen at Ram Chaves na ang magiging winner, bibigyan ang matatalo ng tigwa-P100,000.

"That's true, kaya may P100,000 pa rin ako," kumpirma ni Jayann.

Patuloy niya, "Tensiyonada talaga ako, kasi parang it was so close, yet so far. Ang lapit-lapit na, pero hindi ko pa rin nahawakan."

Nagpunta ang best friend ni Jayann na si Rachel Anne Go sa gabi ng competition to think na Kapamilya ito, obviously, para suportahan ang sinasabing look-alike niyang si Jayann.        

"Nasorpresa ako. Kasi galing pa siya sa isang commitment at akala ko hindi siya aabot," sambit ni Jayann.  

Hindi napigilan ni Jayann ang mapaluha nang makita niya ang ina niya sa audience na umiiyak na. Medyo disrupted ang pagkanta ni Jayann ng sinasabing final song na likha ni Ogie Alcasid, ang "To You." Ang mensahe pa naman nito ay mula sa inspirasyong bigay ng ina ng nabanggit na songwriter. 

"Naiyak ako kasi siya naman ang sumusuporta sa akin sa umpisa pa lang," sabi ni Jayann, at tumulo na ang luha ng Pinoy Idol runner-up. "Pumasok din sa utak ko yung mga kaibigan ko na lahat sila, naniniwala at sumusuporta. Mami-miss ko ang staff ng Pinoy Idol, pati yung pagkanta-kanta namin every week. Yung kaba every week, kakaisip sa kung sino ang mae-eliminate. Pati mga judges," napangit uli siya.      

Pero naniniwala si Jayann na she can still be a winner.
"Sana, totoo yung sinasabi nila na mas umaangat ang karaniwang runner-up. Maraming salamat na lang sa tiwala," at muling napaluha si Jayann.

A win worth P5.7M for the first Pinoy Idol winner

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Her experience with “Pinoy Idol,” in the words of grand champion Gretchen Espina, was “an eight-month battle with myself.”

It was a battle that paid off well then. Gretchen brought home a total of P5.7 million in prizes P1 million from SM Malls, a condominium unit, a brand new car, a P1-million recording contract with Sony BMG Music Philippines and a television contract with GMA 7 worth P500,000. The talent search was co-produced by GMA 7 and Fremantle.

The 20-year-old former member of the UP Singing Ambassadors bested two other hopefuls Jayann Bautista, 21, and Ram Chaves, 25.

“Pinoy Idol” debuted on April 5 on the Kapuso network after a series of nationwide auditions for singers. Contenders performed in live programs and faced weekly eliminations via public SMS voting.

“We all fought hard,” said Gretchen. “I will show my supporters that I deserve their confidence. I will strive to become the Idol that they want me to be.”

Happy runner-up

After the tilt finals on Sunday at the SMX Convention Center of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, runner-up Jayann told Inquirer Entertainment that she was happy for her roommate. Jayann said they became close to Gretchen after “Hell Week,” which ushered in the competition’s most difficult phase.

Cameras at the 8,000-seat hall started rolling at 5 p.m. The opening number featured “Idol” finalists Daryl Celis, Kid Camaya, Warren Antig, Penelope, Toffer Rei, Sue Ellen, Robby Navarro, Mae Flores, and Jeni Rawolle, with guests Hajii Alejandro, Luke Mejares, Jett Pangan, Duncan Ramos and Vernie Varga.

"Pinoy Idol" winner Gretchen Espina accepts criticisms about her victory

Sa loob ng SMX Exhibition Hall kung saan ginanap noong Linggo, August 17, ang Final Results Night ng Pinoy Idol, karamihan was cheering for Jayann Bautista. But is was Gretchen Espina's name who was announced as the very first Pinoy Idol. Obviously, rumatsada si Gretchen over Jayann dahil sa text votes.

"Before I joined Pinoy Idol, I'm very much aware about the criticisms," sabi ni Gretchen sa PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal). "Alam ko namang may mga taong ayaw rin sa akin para manalo, pero wala naman akong magagawa kung ako yung nanalo, at may procedure namang sinusunod talaga para sa contest.

"Hindi pa nga ako nananalo, nag-uumpisa pa lang nga, grabeng criticisms na ang napala ko. Pero talagang ganoon sa ganitong klaseng competition. Kailangang harapin kong lahat yun. Handa ako sa pamimintas, sa kung ano ang sasabihin ng mga tao, kasi given na 'yan. Kasi ang unang-unang pupunahin sa akin, yung pagkakaroon ko ng amang politician."         

Ang ama ni Gretchen na si Mr. Rogelio Espina ay ang gobernador ng Biliran, at nariyang akusahan ang ama niyang pati ang pera ng gobyerno ay nilustay na diumano para lang bumili ng text votes. Pero natural lang na ang ganitong mga akusasyon ay deadmahin na lang ni Gretchen.

GRETCHEN'S BODYGUARD. Ang isa pang isyu, maski sa auditions pa lang, accompanied na siya ng grupo ng bodyguards provided by her dad.

"Aminado po akong may ipinasamang bodyguards sa akin ang father ko noon, pero nasa labas lang sila naghintay. Hindi ako puwedeng bantayan sa loob mismo ng venue kung saan ginawa ang auditions.

"But I don't usually go out naman with bodyguards. In some occasions kasi, for security na lang talaga because my dad nga is a politician. Pinasasamahan ako kasi baka sakaling magkagulo lang. My bodyguards naman don't get in the way, I suppose," paliwanag ni Gretchen.

THE POWER OF TEXT VOTES. Ano ang reaction ni Gretchen na sa loob mismo ng SMX, pangalan ni Jayann ang todong ipinagsisigawan ng maraming naroroon?

"Kanya-kanya naman kasi tayong supporters, di ba?" sabi niya. "Nagpapasalamat lang ako sa marami, sa televiewers at yung mga taga-Biliran na talagang sumusuporta sa akin sa umpisa pa lang. Hindi nila ako pinabayaan.

"They may not show up sa SMX o sa Centerstage, pero noong bumalik ako sa Biliran, alam kong naroroon yung mainit na welcome nila, at alam kong through text votes, hindi talaga nila ako pinababayaan. Sobrang overwhelmed talaga ako."          

Nasabi nga ng Pinoy Idol judge na si Ogie Alcasid, from the very beginning, ang contest ay malinaw na paramihan ng text votes. Ang publiko ang maghuhusga rito at kung magpapabaya mismo ang contestants, kung talent lang nila ang pagbabasehan nila, mukhang uuwi talaga silang talunan.

"Nagkampanya talaga ako, at wala namang masama doon," pag-amin ni Gretchen. "Lahat kami, kailangang gawin yun. Constant 'yan. Text brigade. Sa mga kaibigan ko, maski ako mismo, nagte-text ako sa kanila para tulungan nila ako. Walang sawa yun. Kung gusto ninyo ang isang bagay at isa yun sa paraan para makuha yun, bakit hindi mo na gawin ang lahat ng magagawa mo?

"Lagi ko na rin namang sinasabi, bola or kidding aside, kung talagang nararapat ako, iboto nila ako. Kasi ayoko ring magtagal sa kumpetisyon na wala namang naniniwala sa akin. Hindi rin tamang manatili ako sa contest at manalo ako dahil lang sa may pera ako. Yung masabi ko naman, lumaban ako, may karapatan din ako pagdating sa kantahan," pagtatapos ng first Pinoy Idol.

Gretchen Espina is first 'Pinoy Idol'

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 20-year-old pride of Biliran, Gretchen Espina, was named last Sunday as the first-ever "Pinoy Idol," garnering the highest text votes.

Gretchen bested Jayann Bautista from Pampanga in the final two while the Rocker from Cagayan de Oro Ram Chaves ended up third.

Since the beginning of the singing competition, Gretchen was supported by the power of text votes as she managed to maintain her spot until the end. She was also the only Idol who was not included in the bottom list during the elimination.

But Gretchen's spot in the final three was tainted with controversy as many had contested that she only got the place not because she deserves it but due to her father's influence, who is the governor of Biliran Province.

Reports also said Gretchen is one of the top finalists in the local version of "Vote for the Worst," which is a campaign for the worst contestant to win the "Pinoy Idol" show.

Ignoring all criticisms, Gretchen tried to prove last Sunday that she deserves the title as she gave her best performance during her Final Showdown with Jayann.

The three judges of the show - Ogie Alcasid, Jolina Magdangal, and Wyngard Tracy - who were earlier not convinced with Gretchen's singing talent, even said she was a "revelation" and a "champion" that night.

Gretchen went home with the biggest prize package in the history of local singing competitions including: P1 million in cash from SM Supermall, a recording contract from Sony BMG, a management contract from GMA Artist Center, a brand new car courtesy of Mitsubishi, and a house and lot courtesy of Avida Towers.

The final results night were held at SMX of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

For their final performance, the top 24 finalists were grouped in fours and performed with Hajji Alejandro, Jett Pangan, Vernie Varga, and Duncan Ramos.

Other rock bands like Pupil, Callalily, and Rivermaya also rendered special performances for the devoted followers of "Pinoy Idol".