Dingdong Dantes and Jolina Magdangal reunite with Raymond Gutierrez as hosts of 'StarStruck The Next Level' Photo: Noel Orsal

Over the years, StarStruck has served as a venue for that rare shot to fame.



Billed as StarStruck The Next Level on its fourth season, the show continues its search for the next big thing in Philippine show business.

This season will have four equal winners—Ultimate Hunk, Ultimate Sweetheart and Ultimate Loveteam—each of whom will win P1 million cash prize and P2 million worth of exclusive GMA-7 management contract.

This is why there will now be 20 finalists, instead of the usual 14. The first reality-based artista search also expanded the age range for contestants to 16-21 from last season's 15-18.

Before we jump into this season, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) makes a rundown on the history of StarStruck and what have become of its graduates.

THE FIRST BATCH. The show premiered in 2003 with the tagline "Dream, Believe, Survive." Hosts for the very first season were Dingdong Dantes and Nancy Castiglione. With the phenomenal success of the show, it had its spin offs like StarStruck Playhouse and StarStruck Kids—hosted by Jolina Magdangal, who will later on replace Nancy as host in the second season of StarStruck.

In terms of creating household names, the first season was definitely a smashing success as most of its members continue to receive projects.

Ultimate Male Survivor Mark Herras established himself as one of the most sought-after actors in both television and film. Dubbed as "Bad Boy of the Dance Floor," Mark did two dance albums that became a dance craze among the young generation.

Jennylyn, on the other hand, is one of the top young actresses in the country today. Her performance in Blue Moon earned her several acting nominations in this year's awards season. Aside from being a competent actress, she also excels in singing, having released two albums already under GMA Records.

Mark and Jennylyn's love team is one of the most popular tandems in showbiz in recent years.

Their loveteam was launched via Regal Entertainment's Say That You Love Me. The two also appeared in other films including Happy Together, Let the Love Begin, Blue Moon, Eternity, and the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival entry Super Noypi. Their popularity is coupled with controversies such as their love-hate relationship, their respective love stories and, recently, their alleged sex video.

Meanwhile, the runners-up for Batch 1, Rainier Castillo and Yasmien Kurdi, also continue to receive projects including primetime soaps. Rainier caught the attention of the crowd for his killer smile and for his strong resemblance to F4 member, Ken Zhu.

Yasmien made her distinction as a singer-actress. Her first album under GMA Records, In The Name of Love, reached platinum status. Her song "I Know" became a big hit and was even made the theme song of a Koreanovela. Right now, Yasmien is getting good reviews for her performance as Charming in the primetime drama series Bakekang.

Rainier and Yasmien now work together in Bakekang and Hokus Pokus.

THE AVENGERS. If there is one StarStruck Avenger (those who did not make it in the Final Four) that made an impact in the industry, it has to be Katrina Halili. Her growing popularity is coupled with a launching movie from Regal Entertainment entitled Gigil. After her stint as villain for Angel Locsin in Darna and Majika, Katrina is back on television via Atlantika. Top that with another film coming up this December, Super Noypi.

She was also hailed as FHM's sexiest woman in 2006. Her current success is also matched with controversies such as lesbian issue, being a retokada beauty, and being criticized for sloppy acting. Despite that, Katrina remains to be one of the most sought-after young actresses these days.