Sunday, December 03, 2006

Philippine Idol to compete in Asian Idol

According to a tabloid interview with Philippine Idol host Ryan Agoncillo, the winner of the first Philippine Idol will represent the country in an upcoming Asian Idol, which will be a showdown between Idol winners from Philippines, India, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even the Pan-Arab region.

Where are the Finale Tickets?

A lot of viewers of Philippine Idol are so excited to watch the Finale live at the Araneta Coliseum. Problem is, ABC does not explain fully how to get tickets. Both I Love Philippine Idol and its official website have nothing to say on where and how to get tickets. Although you could get tickets when buying the Philippine Idol CD during the mall tours, only one ticket per person is being given. Come on, ABC, we don't wanna go to Araneta alone.

According to a post at the official forums, there was a problem with the distribution of the tickets. We hope that this will be remedied right away, as more and more viewers are losing their patience.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Miguel is Out! It's the Final 3 at the Big Dome!

The support for Heartthrob Idol Miguel Mendoza was not enough to put him in the Final 3.

Gian Magdangal, Jan Nieto, and Mau Marcelo are our final contestants who would slug it out vocally on December 9 in Araneta Coliseum. The results of which will be shown the day after also in the Big Dome.

Several viewers commented online that Ryan Cayabyab's "bribe" of offering Miguel a song written by him if he doesn't make it to the Top 3 worked, while others said that criticisms on Miguel was unfair to begin with.

Either way, expect a highly-charged, encore-worthy performances two weeks from now.

Live Chat with Top 6 Idol finalists

On Thursday, November 30, 2006, Pow Chavez, Ken Dingle, Mau Marcelo, Gian Magdangal, Miguel Mendoza, and Jan Nieto will join Heart Evangelista on I Love Philippine Idol at 9PM on ABC-5 for a live chat online!

Our bubwit tells us tickets will be given away to chatters who participate, so log onto before 9PM this Thursday for an opportunity to chat with your favorite Idols and possibly get tickets to the hottest Sunday night showdown in Araneta this year!

Get Your Idol Finale Tickets Now!

Good news from Philippine Idol!

Get in early in SM Megamall Cinema 3 to watch tonight's Results Show and get a chance to receive 3 tickets to watch the Grand Finals in Araneta Coliseum on December 9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday).

See you there!

Will Cayabyab's "Bribe" to Miguel Work?

Idol Judge Ryan Cayabyab admitted in a newspaper interview that he tried everything to sway the voters on his side: being polite, being frank, even reverse psychology (remember when he called Jan as "my Philippine Idol"?). However, all of which did not seem to work as more and more talented candidates get eliminated while the so-called mediocre but vote-rich contestants remain.

One of these contestants who have been receiving a lot of flak from the viewers is Miguel Mendoza, the youngest among the Idol finalists. He has been criticized by both the judges and the viewers for having that lack of vocal excellence, and yet he manages to escape elimination, even a place at the Bottom 3 (except last week).

After his performance last Sunday, both Francis Magalona and Pilita Corrales gave fair remarks on his Big Band renditions of True and I've Got You Under My Skin. However, Miguel's performance failed to impress the Maestro Musician.

And in a strange twist, Ryan Cayabyab told Miguel that if he doesn't make it to the Final 3, he would write a song especially for him.

Would this "bribe" work to Cayabyab's favor? Would Miguel's shedding of tears after his performance (whether because of Cayabyab's unimpressed comments or for his fan's show of support) seal his slot in the Final 3? Let's find out tonight.

Big Band Night: It's anybody's ball game

With only four finalists remaining in Philippine Idol, it remained to be seen who would give in to a show of nerves on Big Band Night. With nary a guest judge in sight, and a somewhat steamy November air hanging around the Megamall Cinema 3 soundstage, all four finalists delivered performances that we at Philippine Idol Updates think genuinely raised the bar.

The night kicked off with "Hunky Idol" Jan Nieto (this is the last time we're using their nicknames; yes, with one more performance night to go, we'd like to say that these nicknames cheapen our idols). Dressed in a simple tuxedo that allowed people to focus on his singing, this season's arguably most improved Idol finalist sassed out a passable version of Beyond the Sea and a more-than-passable version of The Way You Look Tonight. With more fluid movements than previous episodes and general facial expressions that are light years ahead of constipated (but a few eons short of actual genuine emotion), we'd be hard-pressed not to root for Jan's inclusion in the Final Three. Stellar job.

"Idol Heartthrob" Miguel Mendoza followed Nieto. The youngest contestant in the first season actually delivered performances that belied his age and maturity. His versions of True and I've Got You Under My Skin were spot-on and virtually flawless vocally; we'd disagree with the general consensus of the judges that he looked stiff onstage and lacked a connection, and would venture out on a limb and actually say we liked his performances in an off-red jacket, black pants, and white tie. The song choices suited his range, and allowed him to be a little more limber with his performance-style. On a side-note, Ryan Cayabyab promised Mendoza that he would write a song for him if he did not make it to the Final Three, in our opinion a relatively thinly veiled plea to his voters to not vote him through. Let's see if the voters bite the carrot.

"Soul Idol" Mau Marcelo was a vision in a red gown, red gloves, red flower in her hair, and red shoes. Her lipstick was blue. [That's a joke.] Once again, the sole remaining female in the Top Four delivered a world-class performance, cooing out a breathy and soulful version of Dianne Reeves' My Funny Valentine and a sassy stomp-out of Waray Waray, accredited to Eartha Kitt that we find difficult to believe actually exists. One thing we've really noticed about Marcelo is that she manages to hold the attention of both audience and viewers; last night, she neither belted nor sassed, and her version of Waray Waray was actually off-key at several parts during the number, but she received an off-the-cuff reaction atypical of Mau (i.e., standing ovation). For her not to make Final Three would be supreme injustice personified.

Gian Magdangal (yes, we're not even going to mention his nickname) closed out the show with a risky choice - the mid-tempo They Can’t Take That Away From Me and the languid The Very Thought Of You. With a red vest over a simple white shirt, black pants, and a light spring in his step, Magdangal reminded the judges of a young Frank Sinatra. We, on the other hand, felt the key of the first song was too low for the feisty Magdangal, who really came across with touches of Fred Astaire that hit the bar just right to balance the song.

At this point, we're pretty sure most people following the show are rooting for a Magdangal-Marcelo-Nieto Final Three, but we daresay the unpredictable continues to shine supreme on Philippine Idol. With the tradition of American Idol's voting off strong favorites during the Final Four (read: Tamyra Gray, Latoya London, Anthony Federov, Chris Daughtry), we're not even going to try a fearless forecast. As we said earlier, at this point, it's anyone's game.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

All remaining Idol finalists don't deserve critical backlash

Today, Philippine Idol Updates wishes to play devil's advocate. A lot of discussion on online and offline media have played up allegations that finalists Miguel Mendoza and Jan Nieto are running well-oiled voting machines powered by their respective camps that they are virtual shoo-ins for the final two slots.

Regardless of whether or not these allegations are true, here's a thought for all of us: at the end of the day, Philippine Idol is a televised talent show, and these four remaining finalists were selected because the judges felt they had talent. In the eyes of Ryan Cayabyab, Pilita Corrales, and Francis Magalona, Mendoza, Nieto, Gian Magdangal, and Mau Marcelo have talent. Just because other people's bets were booted out earlier does not nullify the fact that the remaining four are there because they received enough votes - whether it's from twenty people voting a thousand times or a twenty thousand persons voting once each - to make it to the top four.

We appeal to the humanity in you - as Philippine Idol correspondent Ganns Deen does in his latest Idol-themed entry about Miguel Mendoza - to remember that Mendoza and Nieto are human beings, too. They do not deserve to be slandered, maligned, disrespected, and slammed just because their performances did not, for whatever reason, meet your own personal standards. If you are angry with their having made it this far, speak with your mobile phones and vote for either Marcelo or Magdangal. But we urge you to remember that both gentlemen - in the eyes of the judges, at least - have talent, and have done nothing to you to deserve the kind of raging hatred some of you have been posting on our blog.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pow falters, 4 Idols remain!

In another shocking Results Show, Power Idol Pow Chavez was eliminated last Monday, leaving four finalists in contention to become the first Philippine Idol.

Although she had a passable performance of So Far So Good, and taking the risk of singing guest judge Lea Salonga's Miss Saigon piece "I'd Give My Life For You" (as well as the risk of wearing a Vietnamese dress), her votes were not enough to topple those of fellow Bottom 3 Miguel and Jan.

However, it's not the end of the road of Pow. News has been circulating that a major TV network has taken interest to include Pow in their stable of musical talents. Also, being a part of Top 5 raises her chances of landing an album post-Idol.

Meanwhile, update on Idol Radio will be within Tuesday (Philippine calendar), so keep posted.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Movies & Musicals: Gian, Mau's stars shine bright

The night with the movie and musical theme starts with the five finalists – Jan Nieto, Miguel Mendoza, Pow Chavez, Mau Marcelo, and Gian Magdangal – singing Seasons of Love from Rent. All the vocalists are in topnotch form – yes, even Miguel – and it is genuinely hair-raising. This particular song finds the spotlight shining on Pow – she gets the high notes and the ad libs, and it’s quite delightful to hear Pow stepping out of her comfort.

Tonight’s special judge is Francis M. Haha, that’s a joke. Magalona, of course, makes a return to the judges’ table, as the show welcomes Tony Award-winning actress Lea Salonga. Salonga promises to “pull no punches.” Each artist gets two songs each – one from movies and one from musicals – and starts the intro with a cheap mini-movie.

Pow Chavez sings So Far, So Good from About Last Night and finally wears a dress, but only in her movie. She selects a Sheena Easton song, and sings it decently, with a good energy and little bum notes. I like her hat.
Pilita: Idol material ka – very good, definitely, but – she looked so beautiful in that dress. I am still waiting to see you in a nicer – medyo gumanda ka – in the second song.
Francis: Pow, alam ko magaling ang boses mo, you deserve to be part of the five, but when you wear clothes, wear them live! I left and you’re still Pow.
Lea: I don’t want to ever see you in a dress. Kung hindi ka comportable, de hindi ka comportable when you sing. Number one, I was telling Kiko, very clear and clean, medyo when you got to the falsetto, it’s windy. On the whole, it’s a great way to open the show.
Ryan: You last steam near the end, nauubusan na. The truth is, I liked the movie better.

Miguel Mendoza promises to deliver youthful exuberance, singing Growing Up from Bagets. The video showcases a BAgets return. One thing that Miguel definitely has going for him is that he has exquisite pronunciation – he sings each word clearly. His notes are okay, but I question the Idols’ scriptwriter’s choice of description, because he doesn’t show ‘youthful exuberance.’ And the MTV shows he can’t dance.
Francis: Malinis ang pagkanta, different from the original.
Lea: I grew up on this song. On a whole, you’re right about the shirt. For someone who’s 17, you did well.
Pilita: I heard very nasal and some not right there notes, but since you’re doing two songs tonight. I was not very impressed with this one.
Ryan: You know what I feel about you. They know what I feel about Miguel. Tonight, I like your smile. That’s it.

Gian Magdangal selects Sana Ay Ikaw na Nga from Eto Na Naman. It’s a terribly cheesy video that accompanies the song, and well, yech – standard love fare, with a busted heart for Gian as Apple Chiu introduces her ‘husband’ Justin. He croons this one out with a lot more emotion than we’re used to, and he doesn’t generally belt it out, which is good because lately, his pitch hasn’t been the same. Hopefully, it’ll work, because some may find it boring.
Lea: First of all, happy birthday. You know how difficult this is for me because I actually know you. You’re gonna get it the worst. All of our musical friends are threatening to kill me. I love that you wore your heart on your sleeve on how you sang; I knew what you were feeling. You acted it as well as you sang. You were actually feeling. Besides the odd flat – and always watch the last note – I found no fault and I really enjoyed you.
Francis: Ako, I always praise Gian. Some people think he’s good with fast songs, this one, a slow song, magaling pa rin. Good.
Pilita: Gian can sing anything. He has proven that from the beginning. Happy birthday. You are one of my favorites.
Ryan: * sigh * Okay, Gian, I was waiting for something tonight. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t feel it. I’ll tell you something, among the boys, you’re the best singer, but I need you to touch my heart because I didn’t feel it. I feel cold. I wish you work on that.

Jan Nieto opts to sing Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang, which comes with a controversial movie: him cheating on “wifey” Suey Medina, using Jeli Mateo. Hmp! It’s a brave choice of song; personally, one of my favorite Filipino songs. He starts it out off-key, eeeh, and his facial expressions are just too much this time around, I suppose to better communicate the angst of the song. His voice is strong, but there’s no buildup, so let’s see what the judges have to say.
Francis: Jan, well, I caught you acting. Haha. I felt you were just going through the motions. You weren’t really feeling it. Technicalities, you were hitting the right notes, so that’s all.
Lea: First the good news. Note-perfect, okay. I cannot fault the singing, but parang you were told where to go, and you tried to hit those spots as you were going about the song. The facial expressions, I don’t know about this right now. I can close my eyes, and it’s fine. Visually, it’s something that you can work on.
Pilita: I was crying because he cheated on me! Visually, I liked what I saw, the way you sang, and what I really like about you, Jan, you really try very hard, and you did it tonight.
Ryan: I think what Lea and Mamita were saying, you looked awkward doing all these facial expressions. The singing was okay, very good for me. But I’ll give you one award: for best performance as an actor on-screen.

Mau Marcelo does a spoof of Diamonds are Forever, with her as the kidnapped celebrity rescued by Brad Turvey. The Shirley Bassey original is a piece of cake for Mau, who is all decked out in a purple gown and a spectacular hairdo. She breathes out that “forever!” Divang-diva! I absolutely loved it!
Pilita: Yes! Yes! My God! Mau, you look beautiful! Honestly, you do! The song suits you. There were just a few times na hindi ka nakaabot but maybe because you’re so engrossed with your beauty and your movement a la Pilita Corrales…! Very good!
Francis: I grew up listening to Bassey. I think you are stunningly beautiful, and, of course, Mau, tonight, vocally, you’re the diamond.
Lea: I think the audience reaction was more telling than anything we could say. There’s one sustained note that got me, but on the whole, that is an incredible performance, vocally. It’s in your body, and your movement looked organic. Everything seemed to come from you, and the fact that that performance just made everybody in the back go crazy, I’d put my money on you. That’s the best performance of the night so far.
Ryan: Great singing, Mau, you know that. One additional award: best supporting extra.

With the return of the musicals, Pow launches into I’ll Give My Life for You from Miss Saigon. Is she crazy, with Lea in the judges’ table?? Oh, look, she’s in a dress! My heart is stopping! Actually, note-wise, almost flawless, save for a few kinks.
Pilita: I think I’d like to see Pow in her pants! Pow, congratulations, as far as I am concerned, I think you did it fantastically well.
Francis: Pow, I think you’re a good actress, and I think that you proved your versatility. Good job.
Lea: This was my song, I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. You did it well. It’s like a train emotionally, and you’ve got to keep going. That last note is important because that’s the note that people will remember, and a lot of it was great, but careful you don’t lose steam in certain parts that will be memorable.
Ryan: Pow, I had my eyes closed, so most of the time, it was very good.

Miguel awkwardly croons out Can You Feel the Love Tonight, a ridiculously safe choice, and sings it by numbers. I am not pleased by Miguel’s ad libs, and the nail in my coffin for this painful three minutes is the dancing lion couple in the background. Yech – polite applause.
Francis: I think of the five, I think Miguel is the least vocally. This one I can say, one can teach technique, but you can’t teach looks. And that, you’ve got. I’m looking at you as a record producer, and you can sell albums.
Lea: You seem like a sweet guy, so I’ll be kind. You sing it, and a lot of it has to do with the fact you’re 17, and I think that’s the one thing that’s kulang. It’s coming across like something you’re taught in kindergarten. There’s potential, I’m wanting something more than I’m not getting.
Pilita: It’s something lacking in his singing, his expressions, maybe it is the youth, but for me, I don’t know, your voice seemed tired tonight. Are you feeling well? Are you in love with Jeli?
Ryan: I have nothing to say, Miguel. That’s it.

Gian selects Greased Lightning from Grease, and well, what have we to say about this camp classic? Do you really want to select a song by, of all people, John Travolta? Ick. To his credit, he kept that last note going.
Pilita: Wala akong masabi. Ang galing! Gian Carlo, you are still there to be an Idol!
Lea: Now you understand, getting the back of the house crazy? The first song didn’t carry as effectively as this, regardless of what everyone had to say. Obviously, you were comfortable because you’ve done so many musicals. I think the first one, we came into discussion even after the judging was over, with this, you just rolled and rolled, and the audience was with you. If you can get the audience with you from start to finish, you’re in heaven, and the rest is gravy.
Francis: The stage is your playground, you’re a natural, every time you perform, it’s 100%.
Ryan: As we musicians say, mismo na mismo yun.

Jan sings Corner of the Sky from Pippin, and I can’t understand most of what he’s singing. With the women dancing around him, his shirt all down to there, he’s milking the Hunky Idol tag for all its worth. What’s with the
Francis: I liked this performance better than the last.
Lea: You’re a good looking guy and a good singer. However, there’s a lot in your performance I found uncomfortable. I don’t want to see ‘uncomfortable’ in a singer, and I don’t want to see a poor singer on the stage. I couldn’t get the poses, I didn’t know what was going on. It isn’t a rhythm thing. I think there’s just something that’s just not connecting, I’m not sure what it is.
Pilita: His movements are awkward, you’re still very good looking, I don’t care.
Ryan: Of all contestants, you’re the most improved, vocally and it looks that you’ve gotten the right way of singing. You looked awkward in the poses. Other than that, I think the singing was very good.

In a masterful move, Mau selects And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going from Dreamgirls, and channels every ounce of melanin into the Jennifer Holliday classic. While not as close as Holliday’s (or even Jennifer Hudson’s) performance, it was the highlight of the evening.
Francis: Iba yung palakpak ng tala’t paghanga, for both performances we hear the applause of paghanga.
Lea: I liked the first song better, it’s like you felt the diamonds better. The second song, I didn’t feel it as much. The emotional investment didn’t seem as much, the notes were there, but the emotions were kinulang. I’m pretty happy with the performance.
Pilita: As a performer, we’ve seen Mau – and her fashion sense so much better, may slit pa! – but I’ve heard this song done much better than the way you did it tonight. But still it was very good.
Ryan: Sa akin, Mau, panalo ka pa rin.

Who were the judges’ choices?
Francis said the five there have the right to be there. They all have their characteristics.
Lea chose Gian and Mau as the best of the lot. Mau for movies, Gian for musicals. Jan needs to get rid of the poses, relax and enjoy. This is the most fun job, it’s a thrill every time we get to sing.
Pilita says Pow was notable because she was so different and she knows how nervous she was to sing Lea’s song. That, and Gian.
Ryan said Mark Reyes, the director, is the winner of the show.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Broadway and Movie Theme Week: Lea Salonga to sit as fourth judge

It's only three week away from determining the very first Philippine Idol, and now the competition begins to really heat up.

Each of the five remaining Idol hopefuls would sing two songs each from the Broadway and Movie Theme Week. Both of their songs were selected by the producer and director of the show.

And what further excites the viewers is--no, not the return of Francis Magalona as judge--the inclusion of Lea Salonga as guest judge this Sunday.

No stranger to the Broadway genre, Tony Award winner Salonga is one of the country's pride in the international music scene, having featured in several movie theme songs most notably "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and the movie version of "Reflection" from Mulan.

The mere mention of Lea Salonga would definitely shake the knees of our Idol hopefuls. However, would she be just as frank as former guest judge Mo Twister or become laidback like her colleagues at the judge's table?

Also to wach out for are the special music videos that featured our finalists, which will be shown before their performances. Sources say that Pow would, giving in to Mamita's wish, wear a dress in her video.

Here are the following song choices of our Top 5:
MAU - And I'm Telling You (from Dreamgirls)/ Diamonds Are Forever
MIGUEL - Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from Lion King)/ Growing Up (theme song from Bagets)
GIAN - Greased Lightning (from Grease)/ Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga
JAN - Corner of the Sky (from Pippin)/ Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang
POW - I Still Believe (from Miss Saigon)/ So Far So Good

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Twister doesn't skirt the issue; Dingle bites the dust

In a tense and markedly biting Philippine Idol results night, "R&B Idol" Ken Dingle received the least amounts of votes and was eliminated. With Dingle in the bottom two was "Soul Idol" Mau Marcelo, and in the bottom three was "Hunky Idol" Jan Nieto.

Dingle was undoubtedly the most criticized of all 12 Philippine Idol finalists, having received less then stellar marks most of the six weeks he was on the show. Last night, guest judge Mo Twister - who threatened to wear a dress if Dingle survived elimination - reiterated his comment that Dingle was the worst performer of the night and should be eliminated.

Regular Philippine Idol judges Ryan Cayabyab and Pilita Corrales expressed their surprise at seeing Nieto in the bottom three, considering he had never been there before.