Idol Philippines has named its Top 12 finalists.
They were chosen during the solo round in the show's June 22 and 23 episodes, where 10 male and 10 female finalists faced the Idol judges in Idol City.
The Idol Philippines judges are Vice Ganda, Moira dela Torre, James Reid, and Regine Velasquez.
In the end, six boys and six girls made it, and will enter the two-day live rounds next week on June 29 and 30.
The six female finalists are: Elle Ocampo, Fatima Louise, Rachel May Libres, Sheland Faelnar, Trish Bonilla, and Zephanie Dimaranan.
The six male hopefuls are: Renwick Benito, Miguel Odron, Matty Juniosa, Lucas Garcia, Dan Ombao, and Lance Busa.
The Top 12 contenders faced the entertainment media at their first press conference yesterday, June 24, at the ABS-CBN Center Road.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked during the press conference what the Idol viewers can expect from the live rounds.
Idol Philippines Creative Manager Tippy Adanza said, "Sa live shows po, it will still be a competition; the real competition begins in the live shows.
"Pero yung full support ng production, ibinibigay namin sa contestants so meron kaming mga bigating mentors na makikilala nila na, for sure, marami silang matutunan.
"Meron din kaming papasok na bigating mga musical director na mag-ga-guide sa kanila throughout the live shows."
Consistent with the Idol editions in other countries, the live rounds of Idol Philippines will have a different theme each week.
However, the Philippine finalists are free to choose their preferred songs.
Adanza said, "Yung choice of songs, mas prefer namin na manggaling sa kanila... Yung bunutan, hindi namin pagagawin kasi mahirap po na yung kakantahin mo, hindi mo gusto.
"So as much as possible, gusto namin, in collaboration with the contestants, with the mentors, and with our musical director para po talagang yung best nila, maibibigay nila.
"And after every performance, walang regret kasi yun naman po yung gusto namin na every performance will be an experience that they will never forget."
For the first week of the live rounds, the Idol Top 12 will be singing hits by National Artist Ryan Cayabyab, who will also serve as their mentor for the week.
In every Idol franchise, viewers are allowed to root for their bets and vote for their favorites, and the Idol finalist who gets the lowest vote will be eliminated.
But there's a difference.
According to Adanza, "Unlike other Idol franchises, ang mechanics will be 50-50—fifty percent score of the judges, fifty percent public votes.
"So para ma-maintain yung level of competition, the judges will still be there to give their scores, pero meron ding siyempre, we will refer to the impact ng contestants sa audience kasi nga Idol ito.
"So kailangan ma-test din natin kung paano sila kumo-connect, and we will test that through the text votes."
Adanza further explained, "Kasi maraming-marami na pong versions ng Idol and other talent shows na pure public votes.
"Sometimes, merong mga votes na nagugulat tayo. Merong mga... sa States, ha, merong nangyari doon na movement na Vote for the Worst, so we try to avoid that."
The Vote for the Worst is a website that does what it says: Vote for the worst or most-hated finalist in a talent show, with American Idol being the most prominent among these talent shows.
One particular incident was in 2008, when Vote for the Worst supported American Idol season six finalist Sanjaya Malakar.
As the "worst" finalist of the season, he was allowed stay in the competition for six more weeks to the dismay of Simon Cowell, founder and judge of American Idol.
Cowell had threatened to quit as a judge if Sanjaya won the competition..
Meanwhile, with the live rounds of Idol Philippines running for four weeks, more than one finalist can be eliminated in every round.
Expectedly, the Top 12 finalists of Idol Philippines are busy rehearsing for the live rounds.
Twenty-year-old Lucas Garcia, who hails from Lipa City, said, "Siyempre, kauna-unahan po diyan ay practice, last po ay disiplina talaga. Kailangan ng tamang tulog, yung mga bawal kainin, dapat hindi kainin, mga bawal inumin, huwag inumin."
Lance Busa, a 24-year-old hopeful from Butuan City, on the other hand, has been givng his physical looks more attention.
He said, "Unang-una po, tinanggal ko na po yung makapal kong bigote. Kasi simula po noong sa Idol City, sabi po nila sa akin, 'Tito Lance.'
"Sabi ko, 'Uy teka lang, magka-edad lang naman tayo.' Naging tito na daw ako!
"So nag-decide po ako na kapag nakapasok po ako sa Top 12, isi-shave off ko po 'tapos tatanggalin na po natin yung natitirang [baby fats]."
Renwick Benito, a 27-year-old singer from Pampanga, said that he and co-finalists Lance, Dan Ombao, and Matty Juniosa have formed a group called "jogging buddies."
"Lagi kami magkakasama ni Lance, Dan, and Matty, and actually meron nga kaming group chat na jogging buddies."
Lucas and 16-year-old Trish Bonilla also had their braces removed before the start of the live rounds.
Trish said, "Para ma-pronounce ko po yung words ko nang maayos, and para rin po maganda po yung look sa TV."
Even though each contender in the live rounds faces tough competition, the Idol hopefuls don't treat each other as rivals.
Dan Ombao, 23 years old, said, "Hindi namin tinuturing yung isa as a fellow competitor. Tinatrato namin yung bawat isa na nakababata o nakakatandang kapatid.
"Kumbaga, for all of us, ayaw namin ng issue siyempre. At saka masyado pang maaga para sa mga ganyang bagay, dapat hindi ini-entertain yung mga ganyang bagay."
Matty Juniosa, 20, added, "Competition pa rin po, pero the way we think, kahit sino naman sa amin, puwedeng manalo.
"Meron po kaming enough struggles sa sarili namin 'tapos wala na kaming time na makita na, 'O, si Dan, masyadong maraming ganyan,' wala na po kaming oras. Big deal na makasama kami dito."
Sheland Faelanar, a 17-year-old hopeful from Caloocan, agreed, "I think sa amin pong lahat, gaya po ng sinabi ni Kuya Dan, hindi po namin tini-treat yung isa't isa na fellow competitors.
"Yes, this is still a competition pero nandito pa rin kaming lahat para ma-build up yung isa't isa, to support each other, alam pa rin naman po namin sa sarili namin kung ano yung pinasok namin."
Sixteen-year-old Zephanie Dimaranan, the youngest among the finalists, added, "Totoo po na nagtutulungan kami.
"Na-witness ni Ate Rachel Libres at Ate Fatima Louise, pagdating sa mga songs, nagbibigayan po kami ng ideas.
"Yun lang po, nakakalungkot na if ever panget yung performance, parang maaapektuhan ka rin, so talagang tinutulungan po namin yung isa't isa, and yun yung isang way namin na pagba-bond."
The live rounds of Idol Philippines, which will air on June 29 and 30, will run for four weeks. It airs after Home Sweetie Home every Saturday and after Hiwaga ng Kambat every Sunday.
Here are the Top 12 finalists of Idol Philippines:
FATIMA LOUISE, 18, Quezon City
SHELAND FAELNAR, 17, Caloocan
ELLE OCAMPO, 21, Pampanga
ZEPHANIE DIMARANAN, 16, Binan City
TRISH BONILLA, 16, Lucena City
RACHEL MAY LIBRES, 17, Pasay
MATTY JUNIOSA, 20, Mandaluyong
RENWICK BENITO, 27, Pampanga
LUCAS GARCIA, 20, Lipa City
LANCE BUSA, 24, Butuan City
MIGUEL ORDON, 24, USA
DAN OMBAO, 23, Bataan