"Forget Prince Charming. I'll take the wolf." - Emily the Strange

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Philippine Idol

Week three of Philippine Idol and I am completely hooked. When that show first aired, it was merely out of curiosity that I watched it because I was wondering how it’d turn out. It’s a heavily publicized event over the last couple of weeks and I bet it has something to do with what I imagine to be a hefty franchise/licensing fee. The big question is if Philippine Idol would be on a par with its American counterpart which, if I might add, has launched the careers of both contest winners (Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood) and finalists (Clay Aiken, Tamyra Gray, Bo Bice). Another question that lurked at the back of my mind is if it’ll be anything like the local ones that we have on now.

On the other hand, maybe that was not worth asking. I mean, it is a definite possibility that they will strictly follow to the letter the format of the original show. After all, there’s that concept of quality control. Based on what I have witnessed, they surely got it right down to the very last detail – including the delusional loonies with the unbelievably Teflon tough confidence in themselves and their talent/s… or lack thereof. I seriously thought that nobody would be able to top the American version but I believe they would find the homegrown ‘palengkeras (girls and queens alike)’ as entities who would be able to give them a serious run for their money. My favorites would have to be the girl in the mint green top with the braces (the one who seriously thought that she was good enough for the American version… newsflash Dearie – you wouldn’t even get past the initial screeners) and the repetitious gay from the first episode.

On a more positive note, they were right on the money for choosing Ryan Agoncillo as the program’s host. I like Ryan. Who doesn’t? He’s got a squeaky clean image, a transparent personality, intelligent, very articulate in both English and Tagalog and gregarious. I had the chance to meet him a couple of years ago when he was filming in our school his ‘Trip ni Ryan’ segment for GMA 7’s early morning show. I found him to be easy to talk to and a very gracious person so he’s okay in my book.

As for the judges, I have mixed reactions about it. Pilita ‘Mamita’ Corales and Ryan ‘Mr. C’ Cayabyab are perfectly legal choices but I’m not so sure about Francis Magalona. Sure he’s a veteran of the Philippine music industry but I don’t like the way he’s doing his job. Almost always, he would ask either Mr. C or Mamita on what they think of the person who’s auditioning before he would render his verdict. I feel like he’s hiding behind Pilita and Ryan so as to avoid looking like the bad guy when he turns someone down. Come to think of it, I've rarely heard him say 'no' to a contestant because he would most often say "majority rules - Mamita and Mr. C's already said 'no.'"

If there’s one thing I’m thankful for about the judges, it is that they didn’t cast a judge who’s trying hard to be Simon Cowellesque. Sure, Philippine Idol might be a franchise of Pop Star but that doesn’t mean the local version has to compromise the Filipino psyche and sensibility in order to ensure uniformity with the franchisor’s format of having a highly acerbic, tough love judge. If we want the first and succeeding Philippine idols to be internationally viable, it would make sense to let him or her pass on a uniquely Filipino vibe rather than to be a complete copycat of the foreign formats.

I certainly hope that there’ll be changes for the better in the next couple of episodes. I’d certainly hate to prematurely terminate my budding romance with such a wonderful tv show.