Saturday, October 21, 2006

Philippine Idol Round of 9: Band/Rock Night

Philippine Idol kicks off with a rock song that I am completely unfamiliar with. ABC-5 and Ryan Agoncillo are making a big deal about how the judges are going to be meaner tonight. To that, I say, whatever. We want to be pro-active, not reactive, and I just think it’s a little unfair to Drae, Reymond, and Stef that the judges are now going to be more open and honest, “Tirahan kung tirahan.” Y’all should’ve done that Week 1, in the interest of fairness. Anyway, tonight’s judge is Wency Cornejo, he of early 90s band AfterImage. He’s never seen the show, or so he says. Meanwhile, Pilita and Ryan are both rather defensive about how they’re to comment. Ah, well, let’s launch into the competition, shall we?

Gian Magdangal opens the night’s show with the Eraserheads’ Pare Ko. Gian needs to nail this performance after a bottom two finish last week and a bottom four finish two weeks ago. After the VTR shows us a brief conversation with Raymond Marasigan, he launches into a spirited version that is generally strong, but not particularly memorable. Once again he uses the stage to his advantage, and comes across more honest and open than usual; in my opinion, there’s a little less theatricality tonight than in previous nights. Oops, one bum note – can’t blame him, the way he’s rocketing all over the stage – and oops, there’s another one, but overall, a decent performance that hopefully will keep people remembering him.
Pilita: Since all the newspapers said we would be mean tonight, I will still be nice. No matter what the song, it fits him. I’m not too well-versed in band songs, except the songs of Wency Cornejo. I like you, though.
Wency: You look comfortable onstage, you really did. What I don’t understand is, why did you choose that song? [Gian explains – it was a popular song with his barkada when he was younger. It is, in his opinion, the essence of a Filipino band song.] It didn’t work with his voice; it sounded generic.
Ryan: I’ve always rooted for you from the start. I’ll tell you how you can become a Philippine Idol. One, you should lessen the bigness. This is pop, so soften up a bit. Second, this is a stage, but you have to lessen the theatricality, because people are looking for a pop idol, but I’m still rooting for you.

Apple Chiu had a conversation with Kitchie Nadal over the telephone in preparation for her song, Huwag Na Huwag Mong Sasabihin, which is one of my favorite Filipino songs of all time, by the way. Hopefully, her alto will do it justice, but I’m not too hopeful because Apple’s voice is thick, unlike Kitchie’s. As she sings the song, she carries it well, and her outfit is so biker chic. Save for one extended note that didn’t fall into the chord at all, her almost frantic performance is certainly different from Kitchie’s. I don’t know what to feel.
Pilita: For me, I know that now, we’re singing band songs, so the outfit has to match. [Bling bling, Apple says.] Everything, from look to song, it fits you, but next time, I like you looking sexy. Very good.
Wency: I love the way she made the song her own. When she came in – for rock stars, there is such a thing as detached coolness – it’s not necessarily about knowing the audience, but bringing herself to the audience, and it was so cool. However, she had sharps and flats, so you have to be very careful.
Ryan: Strong performance. You’ve done three songs in overdrive. I want to hear you in something more intimate and personal. You’ve been pushing too hard.

Miguel Mendoza met up with Parokya ni Edgar for their track, Harana, and the band says, “Bring it from the diaphragm. When you sing, don’t forget to smile, shave…” How’s that for advice? Hahaha. Miguel sings it straightforward – eeh, he’s really smiling! The flats are still present, but it’s allowable because “nasisintunado sa kaba.” The vibrato works well, though, IMHO, and I think this is one of his better performances.
Pilita: For me, it did not work. Not for Miguel, because many people say he’s too young. There are some 16- and 17-year-old singers for whom it works. For me, although you sang it very well, there was something missing. Sorry.
Wency: Who arranged the song? [Ria Osorio, daughter of Mel Villena.] I don’t think it would’ve worked, but it really worked! Why did it work with Miguel and not with Gian?
Ryan: That was quite enjoyable. I was ready to diss you tonight, but it went pretty well, though. You know your flats and sharps. Your vocal chords are quite young, and being exposed to the stress of everyday rehearsals, so your vocal chords can’t handle it. But for someone your age, I think you’ve done it well enough. I think you’ve built up experience. My suggestion would be for you to finish high school, and you parents will love you anyway.

Jan Nieto is advised by Ito Rapadas to sing Tuloy Pa Rin with feeling. He’s pitchy all over the place, and he certainly doesn’t look as comfortable as he did in previous weeks. He admitted during the interview that he wasn’t sure what kind of feelings to communicate, and that’s kinda what shows, from the facial expressions to the stance he’s showing. Not his best performance.
Pilita: No falling earrings tonight. John (she never pronounces his name right), I’m not a fan of rock bands like that. I enjoy their music, and I respect a person like you (to Wency) composing songs like this, close to your life. Tonight, I will tell you that I did not like you tonight. He sang it well, but when I see him, I feel finesse, but with rock, you’ve gotta have pants with holes…
Wency: I don’t know what to say about his performance. It’s like it he didn’t smile much, but the song and beat was happy… I couldn’t feel you were enjoying yourself. You sounded good, but you didn’t connect.
Ryan: The performance was not solid, your notes were hello… it was not solid, so you didn’t come across as nice. You have to always prove yourself and show you have what it takes to be Philippine Idol.

Jeli Mateo sat down with Cooky Chua of Color It Red to talk about Paglisan. Cooky reminded Jeli to sing a song like she owns it. The first few bars feel like she’s chasing after the tempo. With Mel Villena adding some much-needed emotion to the song, Jeli takes it home trying to belt it out but with little success. She’s pitchy all throughout the song, which is a real shame because the song could’ve been really good in her hands.
Pilita: I think the song is a nice song. The way she interprets it is like a ballad, which is probably not right for tonight’s theme, but I’d like to congratulate her on her looks this evening.
Wency: I have to say this song is close to my heart, because I’d like to believe that I predicted this song would be a hit even if it wasn’t recorded yet. Jeli, I cannot help but compare, and sometimes, it’s not a bad thing to keep the arrangement as is. The start felt like you weren’t really prepared because the timing was really off.
Ryan: A lot of us know your vocal ability is lightweight. You suffer in comparison to the rest of the girls. I don’t know where you’re going from here. Every week, we see how weak you are compared to the other girls. You really have to work hard.

Mau Marcelo has selected Freestyle’s So Slow - a strange choice, given the thickness of her voice, but whatever. Jinky Vidal tells her about the message of the song, and recommends to Mau to sing it her own way and style so she can make it her own. She takes it easy with this song, keeping her notes simple for the most part of the song. Bad diction notwithstanding, it was once again a great performance for Mau, especially coming from last week’s Dulce debacle. She opts not to belt it out instead, instead injecting the song with a lot of soul that really works.
Pilita: I just realized everyone in yellow in the audience is for Mau. I don’t like your overcoat. [Para bang sofa? Natakot ako na baka maupuan ako kanina – Mau] The way you sang this song was done very well. Congratulations!
Wency: Yung outfit nakaka-off. The strongest performance tonight so far.
Ryan: Yun ang performance. I agree. Ikaw lang ang pinapalakpakan ng halos lahat ng tao dito. It’s so sad if we lose you. All that’s missing is – not the curtain – Mau, we want a winner. So, enough whining and crying. It doesn’t help, win or lose.

Ken Dingle selected Ligaya, and Raymond Marasigan of the Eraserheads admits the song was a little bit on the disco-funk side when everything else was R&B; he recommends that he plays around with the R&B side. Ken certainly does have a lot going for him, but not tonight. He’s very flat, despite the funky arrangement that was very good, including a section where he launches into a reggae portion. He’s winded by the three-quarter section of the song. Eep, he forgets the words! On the positive side, his stage presence seems very good. Unfortunately, the worst of the evening.
Pilita: They had one week to learn one song, you should’ve memorized the song. I think you’ve had enough time to prepare, and maybe you should’ve prepared for the song. Thank you.
Wency: What happened? [He forgot the lyrics.] It was such a big mistake. You should’ve come more prepared to memorize the song, it’s a big no-no. I’m very disappointed.
Ryan: You were very promising, but these past how many weeks, you’ve gone from bad to worse. Tonight was so bad. For me, your journey with Philippine Idol should’ve ended sooner. You have caused the ouster of Drae and Reymond, so I’m appealing to the voters to choose wisely, but all of you have very promising careers. That’s all I ask you to do. Work hard.

Just a note of fairness on Ken’s behalf: the Top 12 is voted, regardless of gender. We totally disagree with Mr. C on that comment. Ken had nothing to do with Drae and Reymond’s ouster. The bottom four the first week were Drae, Stef, Gian, and Pow. Last week, it was Gian and Mau. Ken had nothing to do with their ouster; he was safe. The bottom line is, Drae, Stef, and Rey’s voters didn’t come through for them enough. Don’t blame another Idol – especially one who hasn’t hit the bottom three yet – for another Idol’s ouster. It’s just in poor taste.

Arms Cruz gets the penultimate spot, and she chooses Makita Ka Muli by Sugar Free. An usual choice, and it’s sad we can’t hear their comments because the audio goes on and off. She starts off with a lower-range register that makes it difficult to hear her words, but when she launches into the chorus, the strength of voice comes strong. Shades of Filipina rocker chicks come into full play, and a few flats here and there aren’t too obvious. Some may like it, some may not. I liked it.
Pilita: Si Armarie, iyakin iyan, but she doesn’t know that from the moment we heard her in Davao, we knew she was going to go a long way. Congratulations.
Wency: All night, I’ve been waiting for someone to make my hair stand up. Pinatayo mo.
Ryan: Big girl, big heart, big voice. Kitang kita ang experience. Now we have to ask people to vote. Tonight, you and Mau are my Philippine Idols.

Pow Chavez gets this week’s pimp spot, and she takes the modern kundiman route with Forevermore. Joey Benin, Forevermore’s writer, suggests to do it her way. Pow’s version is pitchy, which is strange, because she normally delivers a standup rendition of anything she’s got. With a tentative introduction, shifting chords, and a more-nasal-than-usual delivery, I think tonight we see the chinks in Chavez’s armor.
Pilita: For me, for the first time since we’ve been here, listening to you, this is the first time you’ve had a lot of flats and sharps in your singing, which I am not used to hearing. Tonight, still, it depends with our people watching.
Wency: Pow, among all the nine, I think you came out as the most confident. The aura was effortless, it’s like “the night is mine.” For me, that was a fantastic performance.
Ryan: We’ve heard you sing this type of song for the past three weeks. It’s time for you to start raising the bar. It’s starting to plateau, and get boring. I predicted you would become Philippine Idol, so tulungan mo naman ako, kasi mapapahiya ako.

Based on tonight’s performances, in a perfect world, our bottom three predictions would fall on the following: Jeli, Ken, and Jan, with Ken getting the boot. Will we get it correct? Hahaha. We can never predict Philippine Idol accurately, can we? Hahaha.

Note! Starting next week, performance nights fall on Sunday, with results nights on Monday. Take note!

Note 2! We're not people to promote other people's blogs, but you've got to visit this one. It's such a funny post!