PRESS STATEMENT FROM TV5:
"It was a nerve-wracking evening for the Artista Academy students because they knew that one of them would be expelled from the school and eliminated from the competition tonight. Chris Leonardo, Benjo Leoncio, and Brent Manzano got the lowest grades in the live exam night that was held in front of a live audience last Saturday. And together with their grades from the academy and the text votes, the three boys partly formed the bottom seven that were asked to report in the principal's office immediately.
"Nicole Estrada, Akihiro Blanco, Stephanie Rowe, Jon Orlando, and the three boys converged in Ms. Wilma Galvante's office where they were reminded about the importance of their grades in the academy and the weight of their performances in their live exams. Direk Mac Alejandre also told the students that more than the tears in acting, the big voice in singing and the complicated movements in dancing, the most important thing is whether they are able to connect with the audience.
"And when the announcement arrived, it was the dancing cutie from Laguna, Chris Leonardo, who was declared as the first kick-out student of Artista Academy. Chris, who grew up in the province, spent his weekends with his grandparents just before the elimination night. He is very close to his lolo and lola especially since his mother left him when he was just a child to live and work in Japan. He hasn't met his European father and he dreams of having the opportunity to be able to talk to him someday.
"With a heavy heart, Ms. Wilma Galvante hugged Chris and told him that even though his bid to become the Artista Academy Best Actor may have ended, his schooling at the Asian Academy of Television Arts (AATA) will continue to train him in becoming a professional actor.
"Direk Mac also believes that although Chris has been eliminated, he is still part of the Top 16 and has a strong chance of making it in the industry. "They are all part of the top 16 and they all have the looks and the talent, but in any part of the competion there will be winners and there will be non-winners," he said.
"Chris may have been the first student to say goodbye but he promised that he will continue with his dreams and that he is dedicating all his achievements to his lolo and lola who were both instrumental in his Artista Academy journey."
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