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.
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.