FIRST READ ON PEP: Gretchen Espina proclaimed as the first "Pinoy Idol"

Biliran's pride Gretchen Espina was hailed as the first-ever Pinoy Idol earlier tonight as she got the highest text votes over fellow finalists Jayann Bautista and Ram Chaves.



Makabuluhan ang tatlong natira para sa Final Showdown of the first Pinoy Idol staged sa SMXsa SM Mall of Asia earlier tonight, August 17. Each one represents the threeregions of the Philippines. Jayann Bautista is from Pampanga, so siya angnaging pride of Central Luzon. Si Gretchen is from Biliran, so she is the girl fromthe Visayas. Ram Chaves is from Cagayan de Oro, so he represented Mindanao.

Almost 5 p.m. nanagsimula ang taped as live telecast ng Results Night sa Hall 2 ng SMX with the crowd in theirseats as early as 1:30 p.m. dahil ito ang naging call time even for the pressinvited.

Maganda naman angnaging opening where the Top 24 finalists were grouped in four and sang withHajji Alejandro, Jett Pangan, Vernie Varga, and Duncan Ramos.

Sa first gaps of theshow, all three finalists were in silver. Bago mag-second gap, na-announce naang pagkakaalis ni Ram to give way to the final showdown between the twoladies.

Before the final showdown, nagbigay muna ng solo spots ang tatlo sa top bands in the Philippines: Pupil, Callalily, and Rivermaya.

The original formatused in the first Pinoy Pop Superstar na ginawa rin noon sa mga unang AmericanIdol ang ginamit para sa face-off nina Jayann at Gretchen, now both wearingwhite gowns with silver trimmings. Pareho nilang kinanta ang tinatawag na "coronationsong" composed specially by Pinoy Idol judge Ogie Alcasid and arranged by DannyTan entitled "To You."

Unang kumanta siJayann who cried in the end of the song making it indeed a personal journey forher. Sumunod si Gretchen who gave a very confident rendition of the same song.

With P5.7 million intotal prizes, the biggest in any singing competition in Philippine television, everyone wasin bated breath kung sino ang tatanghaling kauna-unahang Pinoy Idol. Gretchen went home with P1 million in cash, a recording contract with SonyBMG Records, management contract with GMA Artist Center, a brand new car, and a house-and-lot from Avida.

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In the end, talagangumiral ang power of text votes as Gretchen was hailed as the first Pinoy Idol.Gretchen is the only finalist who never joined the bottom list during theelimination.

Naging kontrobersiyal din ang pagkakapasok ni Gretchen sa Final 3. Marami kasi ang tumutuligsa na dahil sa power at influence ng kanyang ama na governor ng Biliran kaya hindi siya napasama sa bottom list kahit kailan, and eventually sa Top 3.

Pero sa Final Showdown kagabi, August 16, ay pinatunayan naman ni Gretchen na karapat-dapat siyang mapabilang sa Final 3 as she gave probably the best performance of the night. The three judges—Ogie, Jolina Magdangal, and Wyngard Tracy—even thought so, saying that Gretchen was a "revelation" and a "champion."


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