Celine Dion’s two-night concert in the Mall Of Asia Arena, Pasay City was a huge success last July 19 and 20.
Spectators and fans raved upon seeing the popular Canadian singer flawlessly belt out her signature songs, such as “Power Of Love,” “My Heart Will Go On,” “Because You Loved Me,” “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” and “All By Myself.”
Little did they know that Celine’s concert was almost canceled.
This is what Joed Serrano, one of the main producers of her concert, revealed to a few members of the press last Thursday, July 26.
The reason: the producer’s friend who was supposed to come up with half of Celine’s talent fee backed out at the last minute.
Joed said he was on the verge of accepting the idea that Celine’s Philippine concert would be canceled, despite having sealed the deal many months before.
But a “miracle” came through the King of Talk Boy Abunda.
“October of last year when we were able to close the deal for Celine Dion. And then siyempre nagbayad na kami ng Ovation [Productions],” related Joed, referring to te payment of 50 percent of Celine’s talent fee.
On the last week of December in 2017—the deadline for the payment of the remaining balance—Joed’s friend, who committed to shell out the money, did not deliver.
So Joed called everyone he knew in order to find someone who could help him, but to no avail.
He was desperate for help, but didn’t know who else to call.
What’s more, the first payment they gave to Celine’s camp would be forfeited if they did not pay the other half of the amount, as stated in the contract.
Coincidentally, a friend brought up the name of Boy Abunda.
Joed knew it was a long shot, but he called the talk-show host anyway.
He said that he did not really have a personal relationship with Boy, except being acquaintances.
When they were on the phone, Joed confided to Boy.
“Sabi ko, ‘Kilala mo si Celine Dion?’ ‘Yeah, yung kumanta ng 'My Heart Will Go On.' You got my attention.’
“’May problema ako, Tito Boy, nangako si ganito, hindi dumating. E, kasi, Tito Boy, mukhang hindi mangyayari if I don’t get the full payment na maayos.’”
During their conversation, Boy referred to Joed a dear friend of his, who could help with the producer’s plight.
Joed had a meeting with the host of Tonight With Boy Abunda and his friend, Flor Santos of Dreamwings Entertainment, who agreed to fund the rest of the money as Celine's fee.
And the rest as they say, is history.
“That’s why I want this out. It has to be fair for all,” Joed declared.
He said that Boy and Flor deserve to be acknowledged, because without their help, Celine's first-ever Philippine concert would not have happened.
“Because kung wala ang tulong niyang iyon, walang Celine Dion.
“Napaka-low profile lang ni Tito Boy.
“Hindi ko alam kung gugustuhin niya ito, pero it’s my way of saying, Thank you, Tito Boy. Kasi nung mga panahong iyon, milagro.”
“Gusto ko i-acknowledge si Tito Boy, na nagsuporta. Ayokong ariin, ayokong angkinin kasi sa totoong buhay, kung hindi lang sa mga taong ‘to, wala.
“Kahit ako natutulala pa rin ako na, ‘Wow, naitawid ko talaga si Celine Dion na muntik nang nawala.
“It was a trial of faith kung hanggang saan talaga. Aminin niyo miracle talaga,” Joed concluded.
Co-presentors of Celine's concert included Smart and PLDT.
A former member of the youth-oriented show That’s Entertainment, Joed ventured into concert producing in 1998 and is responsible for bringing over international performers, such as Korean pop sensation PSY, Katy Perry, The Jonas Brothers, James Ingram, Boyzone, Michael Learns To Rock, among others.
Locally, he produced concerts for Vice Ganda, Sharon Cuneta, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Martin Nievera, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Gary Valenciano, and many more.