When ABS-CBN's Pinoy Dream Academy opens once again for the next batch of scholars, it will have a new headmaster in the person of Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. The renowned Filipino musician was last seen in Philippine Idol, which was aired on ABC-5, as one of the judges, along with Pilita Corrales and Francis Magalona.
During the June 3 press conference of PDA held at the ABS-CBN compound, the Maestro was asked what makes the Endemol franchise PDA different from other reality singing competitions. He answered, "When they asked me on board, sabi ko, we will really focus on honing the best entertainers and best singers that we can. Kalimutan na natin ang mga embellishments. Importante muna na magagaling silang performers, yun ang kailangan natin ngayon.
"Yung pagiging composers nila at pagiging mahusay na dancers, I think medyo ide-defocus muna natin yun. Very important sa amin na ang performers ay maging original and be able to affect the audience and leave a lasting impression on Filipinos."
When pressed to elaborate on the differences between the two reality singing competitions, ABC-5's Philippine Idol and ABS-CBN's Pinoy Dream Academy, Mr. C (as Ryan Cayabyab is fondly called) explained that he could not answer this directly since he makes it a point not to watch the competing show.
"The truth is, I did not watch the last season [of PDA] because I was doing the other show [Philippine Idol]. Ayokong ma-influence...I don't want to think about it. Sa totoo lang, ako ang parang bagong salta dito sa PDA. Para akong nangangapa...I asked them, 'Ano ba dapat ang ginagawa ng headmaster?' After being briefed by Lauren [Dyogi], okay na."
He was also asked to compare PDA with GMA-7's Pinoy Idol but he sidestepped by saying, "I haven't watched an episode. I'm sorry but I put it upon myself to be focused on what I am doing. I just work on what I'm assigned to do."
What made him accept the role of headmaster in PDA, replacing Jim Paredes who is now based in Australia?
"Even before I accepted the other show in another world, the ABS-CBN people have been talking with me. I have remained close with them. Remember I did Ryan, Ryan Musikahan from 1988 to 1994. Many of the PAs [production assistants] have risen to become EPs [executive producers] here. I'm very close to them.
"What made me decide? Mapilit si Lauren, e," he quipped.
He continues: "I think Pinoy Dream Academy is a very important show... I want to be back in the fold. I was out for six years, I was doing corporate work. Tamang-tama, pagkatapos nun, 'eto si Lauren who asked me, ‘Do you want to do PDA?' Sabi ko, ‘Sure, just let me tie up loose ends.'"
FIRST GRAND STAR DREAMER. Aside from Maestro Ryan, the other mentors of PDA Season 1 were present during the presscon to talk about Yeng Constantino, the first Grand Star Dreamer of PDA. On hindsight, did they ever think that the rock singer would win the competition?
According to Voice Master Kitchy Molina, she said that she felt Yeng had what it takes to be the grand winner of the reality show. "I came into the ball game in the middle of the show. Nakita ko na may potential siya, added to the fact that she was able to compose a hit ["Hawak Kamay"]. And when you talk to people outside, nahulog na nga ang loob ng mga tao sa kanya."
Film director Joey Reyes, who is tapped as the Performance Master this season, observed, "Yeng had the advantage, e. How many people can have a hit song while they are still inside [PDA]? When she came out, everyone was singing "Hawak Kamay." We are absolving that this season. Now, we don't have songwriters who will eventually have an advantage. There was this anticipation that Yeng would win the competition."
In the first season, there were many controversies that came up because of the unruly behavior displayed by some of the PDA dreamers. How do they plan to prevent this problem from coming up again?
Direk Lauren answered by saying, "We want to instill more discipline kasi isa nga sa mga problema namin dati yung tendency na maging spoiled ang past scholars. Ngayon, meron kaming mga systems in place para ma-ensure na disciplined ang lahat ng artists.
Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 will show the 32 dreamers starting June 9. The opening night will be held live at the PDA concert hall next Saturday, June 14.