The pride of Caloocan City, Maricris Garcia, bested eight other finalists in the Grand Showdown of Pinoy Pop Superstar Year 3, the singing talent search hosted by Regine Velasquez on GMA-7. Photo: Paul Mata

 

Maricris Garcia of Caloocan City took home the grand prize of GMA-7's talent search Pinoy Pop Superstar, hosted by Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez, held Saturday night, June 2, at the Araneta Coliseum.

 

Maricris won almost P4 million worth of prizes, which includes a house and lot from Avide Corp, an Informatics scholarship, PhP100,000 worth of services from the Belo Medical Group, and one million pesos in cash. She is also assured of a management contract from the GMA-7 Network and a recording contract from GMA Records.

 

Maricris now joins the league of Jonnalyn Viray and Gerald Santos, past winners of the popular singing contest of the Kapuso Network.

 

"Sobrang-sobrang happy, sobrang grateful... sobrang, hindi ko na alam ‘yong nararamdaman ko. Sobrang masayang-masaya!" Maricris gushed after the show.

 

Maricris, 18, credits her dad for her singing talent.

 

"My Dad used to be a singer noong binata pa siya. Siya talaga. Tapos na-train na lang ako sa mga lounge kasi I was a lounge singer before Pinoy Pop Superstar."

 

As the winner of the contest, Maricris said, "Expect more of me. Ayan, regular na sa SOP. And then, gagalingan ko pa and prove to everybody that I really deserve the title."

 

The Grand Showdown started with the nine finalists singing their choice of song that they recorded for the Pinoy Pop Superstar Album Year 3.

 

The first batch had Miguel Naranjilla performing Spandau Ballet's "Gold"; April delos Santos, her own version of Beyonce's "Listen"; and Maricris belting out "Beautiful Disaster."

 

The second group was composed of Louie Abaigar rocking to Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name"; Jennie Escalada who performed a touching rendition of Whitney Houston's "All at Once"; and Bryan Termulo with his own version of "Kung Kailangan Mo Ako."

 

The last set of finalists were Joyce Tañaña singing "Alone", popularized by ‘80s all-female band, Heart; Marvin Gagarin who gave a soulful rendition of Stevie Wonder's "All Is Fair In Love"; and Fil-Am Jae Buensuceso who rounded up the eliminations with Lani Misalucha's "Bukas na Lang Kita Mamahalin".

 

The nine were further whittled down to the Top 4, with Maricris, Miguel, Bryan, and Joyce entering the semi-finals stage.

 

The scores were back to zero. Each semi-finalist had a pre-selected and prepared song: Maricris sang "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from the musical Phantom of the Opera; Miguel energized the crowd with "Vehicle"; Bryan crooned "Flying Without Wings"; and Joyce sang "Help."

 

They were judged based on star quality and musicality.

 

Aside from resident judges Danny Tan, Jaya, and Floy Quintos, also sitting in the panel of judges were talent manager Ronnie Henares and GMA-7's SVP for Entertainment, Wilma Galvante.

 

And then it came down to the Final Two.

 

The voice of Pinoy Pop Superstar host Regine Velazquez got drowned by the crowd as she announced Maricris and Bryan entering the Final Round.

 

The last showdown had the two singing their rendition of Barry Manilow's "One Voice." They were backed up by a band, a string ensemble, and the UP Concert Chorus.

 

Maricris emerged as the Grand Champion.