Days before the February 10 pilot episode of Little Big Superstar (LBS), members of the entertainment press were invited to watch the making of ABS-CBN's latest talent search.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was there at Studio 10 of ABS-CBN to witness the huge effort needed to tape one episode of LBS.
Two star-shaped holes served as the backdrop of the stage and an elevated walkway was constructed on the right side of the stage. Located underneath this walkway was the live band.
The nationwide contest, formerly called Little Big Star, has been reformatted to become not just a singing contest but also a search for the next young sensation who can host, act and dance.
After an hour of waiting, the judges arrive—led by Bituing Walang Ningning star Angelika dela Cruz. Direk Joyce Bernal and composer-arranger Louie Ocampo were also there to lend their expertise in acting and music, respectively.
With the cast and panel of judges finally completed, the floor director instructs everyone (members of the press as well as family members and friends of the contestants) to get on their feet and dance to the lively music of heralding the start of the show.
Makisig Morales, one of the hosts of Little Big Superstar, is clearly nervous, which becomes apparent when he fidgets with his hands. The Super Inggo star sings the song "Shine" with the much drama before he segues to a livelier tune. The back-up dancers suddenly hoist him up in the air where he strikes a fighting pose.
Makisig's co-host, Sarah Geronimo, then makes a grand entrance and performs an energetic dance number with Erich Gonzales, Hazel Ann Mendoza, Rayver Cruz, and John Wayne Sace.
The director reviews the taped opening number and asks the cast to perform the whole routine again. After the second take, the director is still not satisfied with the performance and makes them perform the opening number again.
I personally found it amazing that even after performing a strenuous breakdance number three times in a row, the young dancers still managed to sing the fast-paced song "Superstar" with Sarah.
When asked to expound on her personal criteria for selecting the next Little Big Superstar, Direk Joyce Bernal told PEP that she relies primarily on her first impression of the contestant. "Sa kin, [nadadala] ako sa first impression. Kasi parang kabahan man sila o hindi, dapat may galing sila to pull it off. Yung first impression kasama na rin dun yung dating, yung look [ng contestant]. Actually, yung isang pinaka [criteria] ko lalo na pag sa singing, kapag kinilabutan ako."
The contestants were then introduced in three batches. The first batch of girls performed with soul siren Nina, the second batch with former Pinoy Dream Academy scholars RJ Jimenez, Geoff Taylor, Eman Abatayo, and Davey Langit. The third batch performed with singer Mark Bautista.
Each week, the kids undergo challenges that will determine their singing, dancing and acting skills. The finalist who excels in drama acting, dance showdown and concert performance will be named the country's Little Big Superstar.
The 15 finalists are: Jea Marie Reyes (12, the Music Belle), Trina Alcantara (12, Golden Voice), Kristofer Martin (12, Prince Charming, this one is a potential matinee idol), Kristine Sanchez (12, Singing Darling), Aria Clemente (11, Star Princess), Ronald Jaimeer (11, Mr. Heartsong), Von Flores (11, Mr. Smiley), Janet Japor (11, Shining Sweetheart), Devanni Tusi (11, Music Prince), Ysrael Carreon (12, Junior Heartthrob), Clarissa Chua (11, Star Belter), Christian Mercado (10, Mr. Melody), Allan Parel (8, Child Wonder), Joshua Cadelina (9, D'Beat Boy), and Louissa Pressman (9, Pop Angel).
Five out of the 15 finalists were eliminated during the pilot episode of Little Big Superstar last February 10. By the end of the show, Louissa, Devanni, Allan, Clarissa, and Von were sadly no longer part of LBS.
Little Big Superstar airs on ABS-CBN every Saturday, after Abt Ur Luv.
Click MORE PHOTOS to take a sneak peek at the making of the pilot episode of Little Big Superstar.