Biliran's pride Gretchen Espina was hailed as the first-ever Pinoy Idol earlier tonight as she got the highest text votes over fellow finalists Jayann Bautista and Ram Chaves.

Photo: Kevin Sandiego

Makabuluhan ang tatlong natira para sa Final Showdown of the first Pinoy Idol staged sa SMX sa SM Mall of Asia earlier tonight, August 17. Each one represents the three regions of the Philippines. Jayann Bautista is from Pampanga, so siya ang naging pride of Central Luzon. Si Gretchen is from Biliran, so she is the girl from the Visayas. Ram Chaves is from Cagayan de Oro, so he represented Mindanao.


Almost 5 p.m. na nagsimula ang taped as live telecast ng Results Night sa Hall 2 ng SMX with the crowd in their seats as early as 1:30 p.m. dahil ito ang naging call time even for the press invited.


Maganda naman ang naging opening where the Top 24 finalists were grouped in four and sang with Hajji Alejandro, Jett Pangan, Vernie Varga, and Duncan Ramos.


Sa first gaps of the show, all three finalists were in silver. Bago mag-second gap, na-announce na ang pagkakaalis ni Ram to give way to the final showdown between the two ladies.


Before the final showdown, nagbigay muna ng solo spots ang tatlo sa top bands in the Philippines: Pupil, Callalily, and Rivermaya.


The original format used in the first Pinoy Pop Superstar na ginawa rin noon sa mga unang American Idol ang ginamit para sa face-off nina Jayann at Gretchen, now both wearing white gowns with silver trimmings. Pareho nilang kinanta ang tinatawag na "coronation song" composed specially by Pinoy Idol judge Ogie Alcasid and arranged by Danny Tan entitled "To You."


Unang kumanta si Jayann who cried in the end of the song making it indeed a personal journey for her. Sumunod si Gretchen who gave a very confident rendition of the same song.


With P5.7 million in total prizes, the biggest in any singing competition in Philippine television, everyone was in bated breath kung sino ang tatanghaling kauna-unahang Pinoy Idol. Gretchen went home with P1 million in cash, a recording contract with SonyBMG Records, management contract with GMA Artist Center, a brand new car, and a house-and-lot from Avida.


In the end, talagang umiral ang power of text votes as Gretchen was hailed as the first Pinoy Idol. Gretchen is the only finalist who never joined the bottom list during the elimination.


Naging kontrobersiyal din ang pagkakapasok ni Gretchen sa Final 3. Marami kasi ang tumutuligsa na dahil sa power at influence ng kanyang ama na governor ng Biliran kaya hindi siya napasama sa bottom list kahit kailan, and eventually sa Top 3.


Pero sa Final Showdown kagabi, August 16, ay pinatunayan naman ni Gretchen na karapat-dapat siyang mapabilang sa Final 3 as she gave probably the best performance of the night. The three judges—Ogie, Jolina Magdangal, and Wyngard Tracy—even thought so, saying that Gretchen was a "revelation" and a "champion."