Behind the scenes of "Celebrity Duets"

Tessa Prieto-Valdes (in photo), fashion icon and newspaper columnist, bested Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. and Jessica Rodriguez-Bunevacz in the grand finals of Celebrity Duets.

The finals night of Celebrity Duets aired last Saturday, October 20, concluding the 11-week competition that was shown weekly on GMA-7. It premiered on the Kapuso Network last August 11, hosted by Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid.

When PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) arrived at the Studio 3 of GMA-7, we were able to watch the contestants rehearsing their songs with their respective partners. The seats were filled with supporters of the Final Three—Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. and Jessica Rodriguez-Bunevacz.

The Social Butterfly's supporters wore multi-colored wigs and spelled out Tessa's name with individual letters. Hayden's supporters carried calendars and placards saying "Belo loves Hayden." They shook tambourines as the young doctor sang his songs. As for Jessica, her fans wore yellow t-shirts and a huge banner saying "We love you, Celebrity Babe Jessica" hung on one side of the studio.

By 4 p.m., the contenders changed into their outfits and they started taping the show, which was scheduled to be aired on the Kapuso Network by 7 p.m. All of the past contenders attended the grand finals except for Dr. Manny Calayan who had a gig at Zirkoh Timog that same night.

Those who took part in the first season of Celebrity Duets were Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2007 Ana Theresa Licaros fashion designer Frederick Peralta, talent manager Wyngard Tracy, and entrepreneur-newspaper columnist Tim Yap. They all performed the song "Rock Baby Rock" for the opening number.

The three finalists had two rounds of performances. Jessica had a duet with Jaya for "My Immortal," Hayden sang "How Far We've Come" with Jay Durias of South Border, and Tessa performed "True Colors" with Joey G of Side A.

In their second performance, Jessica had a duet with Cacai Velasquez-Mitra for the song "Like a Prayer," Hayden belted out "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" with Verni Varga, and Tessa sang joyfully with Kyla for the hip song "I'm Walking on Sunshine."


CELEBRITY DUETS PART 2? PEP also got the chance to ask Ms. Wilma Galvante, GMA-7's senior vice-president for entertainment, if there would be a second season for Celebrity Duets, her response was, "I hope so. But definitely not this year because of Philippine Idol."

Is she impressed with the performance of Tessa? "Yes, very much. I don't know the exact figures pero lead siya talaga. I think nagustuhan ng viewers yung performance niya because of the production value. She has fun every time sa lahat ng numbers niya," Ms. Wilma points out.

How about the performance of the show? "Celebrity Duets is one of the most successful shows we've had this year. Kahit ako, I'm surprised with how it performed."

FRIENDLY COMPETITION. Hayden showed that he was a true sport when he told PEP that he was glad Tessa won the competition. "Before pa kami kumanta dito sa finals night, we said to ourselves, ‘Let's give them a good show. Panalo na tayo kahit sino pa sa atin ang manalo.' We're all friends. Maraming makikinabang dito. I'm so glad it's Tessa."

The Celebrity Duets champion emphasized, "I did it all for charity. I'm so happy kasi sa lahat ng mabibigay ko at matutulong. Nasisiyahan ko sa at nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng sumuporta sa akin from the very start. I'm here for entertainment and I'm so happy to be the first Celebrity Duets champion," gushed Tessa.

As for her chosen charities, the newspaper columnist is just as excited to share her blessings to those in need. "Talagang kailangan nila yung pera. Yung mga batang walang bahay, mga mommies na nangangailangan...they need the money. I'm so excited to give it to them."

Dr. Vicki Belo gave her boyfriend, Hayden, a surprise gift after the show: she funded his own concert titled Let's Duet with Hayden Kho Jr on December 4 at the Music Museum


Ms. Wilma congratulated the young doctor and told him, "Now, we're ready to guest you [in GMA-7]. You have to guest in the shows—the dramas, the musicals. Marami kang fans!"

An overwhelmed Hayden told Vicki, "My beloved, thank you so much. You know how important this is for me na manalo para sa charity. Now, I love to sing. I will pursue this until magkaroon ako ng album!"

Outside the GMA-7 building, a black BMW X5 was waiting for its new owner. It had a red ribbon on its hood and when Jessica learned that her husband had finally bought her her dream car, she burst into tears.

An emotional Jessica told PEP, "I just want to say, no one has ever loved me the way he loves me." David Bunevacz narrated that he got the idea to buy Jessica a brand new BMW X5 about a month ago since she was always saying that she liked his car (also an X5). Two weeks ago, he bought the SUV for her and decided to give it to her after the grand finals of Celebrity Duets. Needless to say, Jessica felt like she was a champion even if she did not bag the P1 million cash prize of the competition.

Click MORE PICTURES to view behind-the-scenes photos.





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