The 12 finalists of Pilipinas Got Talent are a lucky lot. Aside from being able to showcase their unique talents in Araneta Colisseum on Saturday, June 12, and a chance to take home the two million cash prize, they were also able to form strong bonds with each other.
Yesterday, June 9, these bonds were put to the test as the 12 contestants of the top-rating ABS-CBN reality show were presented to the entertainment press in a press conference held at the Dolphy Theater in ABS-CBN, Quezon City.
The contestants, however, were unfazed. They gamely answered questions of intrigue, competition, love, and other matters related to the contest.
The 12 finalists are: singer Jovit Baldovino, ventriloquist Ruther Urquia, magician Alakim, musician Markki Stroem, guitarist Keith Delleva, breakdance group Velasco Brothers, Ezra Band, singer Sherwin Baguion, singing group Luntayao Family, young musician Jeline Oliva, dance group Baguio Metamorphosis, and Broadway singer Ingrid Payaket.
ANONG BAGO? Several contestants were asked what would be new with their performances on Saturday.
Alakim said he's preparing a big surprise. "Yung pinakita ko pa sa round one and round three, that is my original act. Alam naman po ng mga tao na yung ipapakita ko po ulit, e, yung act na trademark ko. Pero may something new and level up. Yun po yung isu-surprise ko sa Sabado po," he said.
Ruther Urquia, Alakim's best friend in the competition, answered that he can always bring something new, especially since he had already formed a connection with his puppet Titoy.
"Ang ventriloquist po kasi for me is more than just speaking with your mouth closed," Ruther said. "It's creating a character, creating a life form. Ngayon pag buhay na 'yan, habambuhay kayo. Hangga't buhay ka, buhay rin siya. Mayroon kayong pagkukuwentuhan habang may nangyayari sa mundo. Laging-laging meron."
PERSONAL LIFE. Several questions delved into the personal lives of the contestants.
Fil-Norwegian crooner Markki Stroem, easily the most good-looking contestant on the show, was asked if he plans to enter showbiz.
"I would like to first focus on music. I feel that is my passion po," he said.
Does he feel that his good looks are an advantage?
Markki said people should vote based on talent, not on looks. "This is a talent show, so it showcases yung talent po namin. When I joined the competition, I felt na may talent pa ako, and I just want to showcase it sa buong Pilipinas."
Balladeer Sherwin Baguion was asked if he was willing to exchange his slot with his father, an eliminated contestant. Sherwin auditioned with his father, Wilfredo, who had a vastly different talent—he showed that he is not affected by electricity by putting a live wire in his mouth.
Sherwin answered with concern. "Para sa akin, hindi po. Kasi naaawa rin po ako kay Papa. Delikado po yung ginagawa niya. Kaya po pinag-pray ko kay God na sana ako na lang po makapasok, 'wag na lang po si Papa kasi delikado po talaga."
Jovit Baldovino, a former siomai vendor who's currently the crowd favorite, was asked to clarify that he's really poor. Rumors have accused Jovit of faking his poverty to gain sympathy votes.
He told his detractors, "Sa katunayan po, puwede po kayong pumunta sa amin, na makikita niyo po ang katayuan namin."
UNFAIR? The press conference became heated when the press asked the contestants if they think it's unfair that Jovit is the contestant mostly featured by ABS-CBN in its various teasers for the show.
Most contestants think it's okay.
A representative of the Luntayao family said, "Para po sa akin, okay lang din po, kasi po ang mga tao rin po ang magde-decide kung sino po ang mananalo po."
Noe of the Velasco Brothers said, "Okay lang po kasi siya po talaga ang nakakuha ng puso ng mga tao."
Ingrid Payaket still believes the contest is in the hands of the viewers. "No matter how much ma-promote yung isang tao, it will also depend on the viewers. But definitely, media will play a big part."
Ezra Band has this to add: "Okay lang po na laging pinapalabas si Jovit sa teaser ng ABS-CBN because ang ABS-CBN naman po ang nag-decide, at si Jovit po kasi na-capture niya ang puso ng bawat Pilipino kaya okay lang po."
But Karen of Baguio Metamorphosis had the best and most intriguing answer. "It's a reality show, e. Let's face it, there has to be a storyline, there has to be the one, the rags-to-riches story. When I got in Pilipinas Got Talent, I really researched a bit. Kailangan din po ng medyo ili-lead yung path to that way," she said.
Karen believes that Jovit's promotion helps the show's ratings. "For us contestants, we know who's gonna win. And we're really okay with that, because he got the hearts of the masses and that's what's important. And it's good also for the ratings; sa second season patok na patok 'to."
A YOUNG LOVE TEAM. A love team was born towards the last part of the press conference, when the contestants were asked who they want to win, other than themselves.
The press cheered as young musician Jeline Oliva, 13, answered, "Kapag hindi po ako nanalo, para sa akin po si Keith kasi po pure talent po siya. Naggi-guitar. Unlike po sa iba kailangan pa pong tumambling. Yun lang po, pure talent po."
The air became sweeter when Keith, 14, promptly answered, "Ako din po gusto kong manalo si Jeline. Pareho po kaming musician. Para po maitayo namin yung music industry sa Philippines."
After the press conference, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked the two contestants about the blooming love team.
What if ABS-CBN launches them in a soap opera, à la GMA-7's First Time?
Keith was completely cool with it.
"Okay lang po," Keith answered. The young man said he's ready for showbiz anyway, and that he's already taking up acting workshops.
Jeline, however, was clueless. "Ano po?" she said innocently. But does she want to be an artista?
"Opo," was her curt reply.
WHO DO YOU WANT TO WIN? Other contestants expressed their choices for Pilipinas Got Talent's ultimate winner.
Ingrid Payaket picked Jeline. "Aside po from siya lang yung female solo act [except for myself]. And she is truly talented—she plays 12 instruments? That's really remarkable for a young girl."
Karen of Baguio Metamorphosis picked Ingrid. "Besides being a fellow Igorota like me, pag narinig niyo po talaga yung boses niya, it's talagang world-class. Marami po tayong singer dito, marami pong mananayaw, hindi lahat world-class. Ingrid, you bring her anywhere, talagang lahat po hahanga."
The Luntayao family picked Jovit Baldovino. "Kasi po nakita naman po natin yung talent niya. Deserving naman po siyang manalo sa grand finals."
Sherwin Baguion picked the Velasco Brothers. "Gusto ko pong manalo the Velasco Brothers. Kasi nga po magaling po sila."
The Ezra Band also picked Ingrid. "Kasi ang ganda po ng advocacy niya."
The Velasco Brothers picked Keith Delleva. "Kasi po iba talaga yung bilis ng kamay niya pag naggitara po siya."
Markki Stroem picked Ezra Band. "I see their dedication to their music. They're really inspired and they're really Christian. They believe."
Best of friends Ruther Urquia and Alakim picked each other. "Gusto po namin tulungan ang ibang magicians sa Pilipinas," they said jointly.
Lastly, Jovit picked the Ezra Band. "Kasi po ngayon lang po ako nakakita ng ganung tao na kahit putol ang daliri nakakapag-piano po siya. Bihira lamang po yung taong pinagkalooban ng Panginoon. Ngayon lang din po ako nakakita ng babaeng napakalaki ng boses," he said.
WIN FREE TICKETS. Two lucky PEPsters can get the chance to win tickets to the finals of Pilipinas Got Talent. To join the raffle, submit a comment answering this question:
Would you rather watch the performance night (June 12) or the results night (June 13)?
NOTE: Only comments submitted before 12 noon this Friday, June 11, will be included in the raffle.
Only Metro Manila residents can join this online promo. Tickets can be claimed until 3 p.m. at the Summitmedia office this Saturday, June 12.