Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado get personal in their first concert together, putting on an enjoyably kilig show with their fellow GMA-7 stars, along with ABS-CBN artists, as guest performers.
Their love story is the running theme of the sold-out Valentine show, CoLove Live, which took place last February 15, at the New Frontier Theater in Cubao, Quezon City.
The show’s program flow is divided into three chapters, chronicling the time they first met and fell in love, broke up and parted ways, then reconnected and got back together.
Following this format causes a snag at the start because, instead of the expected upbeat opening number, the production goes for a medley of love songs—“It’s Sad to Belong” and “Just a Smile Away,” which are supposed to reflect where the couple is at in that stage of their lives.
Dennis and Jennylyn are off to a shaky start onstage, too, as their anxiety shows in their voices and body language.
But their stellar presence and heartfelt sincerity withstands this initial setback, and things began to pick up as they sing and dance to Donna Cruz’s delightful ditty, “Kapag Tumibok ang Puso.”
Their spiels explain that their concert is an offshoot of the music videos posted on Jennylyn’s YouTube channel, which she proudly announces now has more than 400,000 subscribers.
In these videos, collectively called “CoLove,” the couple jams with a live band, as the versatile actress is an accomplished recording and concert artist, while the award-winning actor also sings and plays the drums.
Jennylyn narrates that the room where they hold their band sessions used to be occupied by her adoptive mother, Lydia Mercado, who passed away in 2016, and she says that she felt her Mommy Lydia was “parang nakiki-jam lang sa amin.”
Dennis adds, “Sigurado ako, for sure mae-enjoy ni Mommy Lydia ang jamming session namin ngayon, dahil marami sa kakantahin namin ang classic songs from the ’80s and ’90s.”
Thus, for the next number, their first set of guest performers—Nar Cabico, Nico Antonio, and Juan Miguel Severo—performs a medley of hits by the iconic ’90s Pinoy band, the Eraserheads.
When Jennylyn returns to the stage, she is ready to belt out Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” but is interrupted by another guest performer, Alex Gonzaga.
The ABS-CBN TV host, actress, and vlogger, who has made a name for herself as an irrepresible comedienne, recalls how her excitement to be on the show was doused when she saw that her photo was not included in the poster.
Alex recalls telling the female headliner: “Jen, paanong nangyari na wala ako?’ So, gumawa sila ng panibago. Ang lagay niyan, ako pa ang may utang na loob. Ako pa ang nagpumilit.”
Jen offers an explanation: “Hindi gano’n ang totoong kuwento. Gusto mo ikuwento ko?”
Alex changes the topic, looking instead at the cleavage-baring green dress Jen is wearing. “Huwag mo akong ina-ano," Alex says, "gusto ko ng papaya ngayon.”
The Kapamilya actress then looks at her maroon long-sleeved top and pants ensemble, and remarks, “Si Dennis ba ay naka-blue? Kasi parang pa-ABS-CBN na tayo. Susuportahan mo ba kami?”
The audience cracks up at how Alex has made a joke about the franchise-renewal dilemma faced by her home network, whose logo has the colors green, red, and blue.
In response, Jen sings a line from the station theme song of her own home network, GMA-7: “Kapuso, makulay ang buhay.”
Alex then praises the Kapuso actress, “Alam niyo, si Jennylyn talaga ang complete package. Singer, dancer, magaling na artista.
“Palakpakan natin si Jennylyn. Nasa kanya na ang lahat. Ang guwapo pa ng boyfriend mo.”
As the opening strains of Mariah Carey’s birit song, “Emotions,” play, she issues a warning: “Kapag nakarinig kayo ng hangin, dighay ko po ’yon. Pag nagsintunado po ako, tandaan niyo po na si Jennylyn ang ipinunta niyo dito.
“Huwag niyo po akong pansinin pag nagkamali ako. Ito po ang panahon kung kelan kayo mag-CR, bumili ng popcorn.”
Alex sings comically at first, but she seriously hits the whistle note several times.
Jen herself picks up from where she left off with the Whitney Houston chartbuster, and successfully reaches the high notes.
Alex tries to go there vocally, too, but ends up kneeling on the floor, to the great amusement of the audience.
The production wisely follows that scene-stealing comedy act with the solo number of guest artist Jay Durias, on keyboards, singing a medley of his own hit compositions, originally performed by his old band, South Border.
Concertgoers cannot help humming along with “Love of My Life,” “Ikaw Nga,” and “Kahit Kailan.”
(Interestingly, “Ikaw Nga” is the theme song of the GMA-7’s 2004 fantasy series Mulawin, starring Dennis Trillo.)
After this, Jennylyn comes onstage to announce that Janno Gibbs cannot make it to the show as a guest performer, so she calls back her bestie, Nar Cabico.
They sing the two songs that Jennylyn had recorded with Janno: “Moments of Love” and “If I’m Not in Love with You.”
That number marks the end of Chapter 1, and the intro to Chapter 2, titled “Heartache.”
JENNYLYN-DENNIS PAST BREAKUP
Without mentioning their big fight that hit the headlines in 2011, just a month shy of their first-year anniversary, Dennis and Jennylyn are shown on the video saying why they parted ways.
He says: “May mga nagagawa tayo na pinag-isipan nating maigi na hindi na lang sana natin nagawa. May mga nasasabi tayo na hindi na lang natin sana sinabi.”
She says: “We were on a journey. Maliit na bagay, pinag-aawayan. Marinig lang sa iba, pagseselosan mo.”
He adds: “We let our emotions get the best of us. Walang nagpapatalo, wala. Tama ba?”
She concludes: “May mga nangyayari talaga para i-test ang tibay ng relationship n’yo. Unfortunately for us, no’ng time na ’yon, hindi namin na-survive ang test.
“We felt we were not good for each other. It’s best for us to part ways.”
Dennis and Jennylyn open Chapter 2 with “Separate Lives,” the theme song from the 1985 Hollywood movie White Nights.
The severity of the breakup topic is then smartly made to stand in contrast to the lightness of real-life couple and comedians Jerald Napoles and Kim Molina, who gained famed in the PETA hit musical play, Rak of Aegis.
Kim, who plays Jennylyn’s best friend in the 2015 romantic flick #WalangForever, starts the comedy ball rolling.
She tells Jennylyn, “Ganyan talaga ang mga lalaki, pinapaluha tayo. Pinapaluha tayo! Luha tayo!”
Apparently, her last line is supposed cue the guitarist to start playing the Aegis song “Luha,” but the musician doesn't start, so the singer blurts out, “Yun na po yun, Kuya!”
And so Kim begins performing, flawlessly and effortlessly, the vocally challenging tune, while exchanging banter with her boyfriend Jerald.
Jerald responds with "Ulan," another Aegis chartbuster, until the talented couple ends up doing a duet.
Then it’s time for Co-Love Live to get serious with more heartbreaking songs, starting with Nyoy Volante, on guitar, singing his own composition “Nasaan.”
Dennis joins him onstage, saying that “Nasaan” is one of his and girlfriend Jennylyn’s favorite songs, before he plays the drums to accompany Nyoy, on the latter's take on his and ex-girlfriend Nina’s signature hit, “Someday.”
After that number, a suave guy in dark glasses comes onstage to perform a stripped-down version of “Say My Name” by the all-girl trio, Destiny’s Child.
He turns out to be Carlo Aquino, who has the misfortune of not being introduced to the audience.
Then comes a slew of tragic love tunes from Jennylyn (“I Love You, Goodbye”), Dennis (“Let Me Be the One”), and from both of them (“Paalam Na” and “Before I Let You Go”).
Next, Juan Miguel Severo wears his heart on his sleeve onstage with spoken word poetry, as Juan Karlos Labajo and his band set up for the next number.
The Voice Kids graduate’s first hit song, “Buwan,” was released over a year ago, yet the crowd’s overwhelming and positive response to it hasn’t waned.
Juan Karlos’s instense performance and playful interaction with the audience, meantime, brings the house down.
It is a great lead-in to the third and last Chapter, titled “Second Chance.”
Dennis and Jennylyn’s real-life reconciliation was first reported in 2015, but they confirmed the good news only a year later.
At their CoLove Live concert, they shed light on what brought them back together.
Jennylyn says in the video, “Ilang years ang lumipas bago siya nag-reach out.”
Dennis explains in the same video, “Siguro, parehong wala na sa amin ang nangyari no’ng time na ’yon. Wala, e, nagustuhan ko talaga siya.
“Bumalik sa pagiging magkaibigan hangga’t nakilala namin ulit ang isa’t-isa. Marami talaga ang nagagawa ng panahon.”
She adds, “So, the second time around, alam namin na may nagbago sa kanya, may nagbago din sa ’kin. Halos tugma lang.”
He points out, “Doon namin naisip na, ‘What if bigyan ulit namin ng chance ang isa’t-isa?’”
She agrees, “Baka nakilala namin ang isa’t-isa sa maling panahon kaya hindi nag-work. Pero hindi ibig sabihin, hindi na ito magwo-work ever. Kasi lahat naman ng mali, di ba, maaaring itama.”
He points out, “Everyone deserves a second chance, ika nga nila. Mahal ko talaga, e! Lalo nang magkabalikan kami. Mas nasabi ko talaga na, ‘Mahal na mahal ko ang taong ’to.’”
Jennylyn declares, using the title of her boyfriend’s 2018 movie: “He’s my one great love.”
Dennis responds with the title of his 2018 romcom TV series: “She is the one who got away…well, almost.”
She concludes the banter, using the title of her own movie: “Hindi totoong walang forever. Kasi may forever kung gugustuhin natin.”
Thus the questions: “Do I see forever in Jen?” and “Do I see forever in Dennis?”
Although these almost sound like romantic lead-ins to a marriage proposal, a relationship milestone that their fans have been wishing for, it doesn't happen here.
Instead, the couple happily performs the Natalie Cole classic, “Starting Over Again.”
Then appears onstage the evening’s final guest performer, Alden Richards, dishing out a string of ’90s boyband hits “I Swear,” “This I Promise You,” and “As Long as You Love Me.”
Afterwards, Alden says that he’s such a fan of the couple, there was no way he could turn down the invitation to perform.
“Fan ako dahil mabubuti silang mga tao,” the sought-after actor says of his fellow Kapuso prime artists.
As it was also the day after the birthday of the concert director, John Prats, himself a Kapamilya actor, he was called onstage to receive his birthday cake.
Dennis and Jennylyn close the show with the song featured in the most popular video on her YouTube channel, “After All,” which to date has registered four million views.
They follow it up with another ’80s hit, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” and then thank their sons Calix (for Dennis) and Alex Jazz (for Jennylyn), presenters, sponsors, and all the people who came to watch.
Finally, Dennis and Jennylyn thank each other. He takes the extra step, saying "I love you" to his girlfriend, before giving her a quick kiss on the lips.
CoLove Live will be aired on GMA-7 on February 29, 2020.