John Prats segued from ABS-CBN Network’s weekday noontime program Happy Yipee Yehey, a show that enjoyed a year of airing, to reality show Pinoy Big Brother Unlimited.
The actor turned television host joined his co-network talents Toni Gonzaga, Bianca Gonzalez, and Robi Domingo in anchoring for the latter program that marked its finale last March 31.
John, affably called "Pratty" by his Kapamilya colleagues, was officially introduced as a mainstay host in Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition at a press conference held at the ABS-CBN ELJ Building’s 14th floor yesterday, April 11.
The fourth season opened and introduced its first batch of teenage contestants last Sunday, April 8. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
Announced at the press conference, John is handed the role of Big Brother’s “sidekick,” masking a special hosting duty that the 28-year-old charmer undertakes for this season’s run.
Unsure himself of what the role of Kuya’s sidekick entails, John wonders out loud, “Nakakatuwa, nakaka-flatter yung name dahil ‘sidekick.’”
He says that PBB director Laurenti Dyogi, however, did mention, “Yun naman yung objective, e… na gagawin ko yung Pinoy Big Brother Teen—para mas masaya, para mas fun yung dating. Yun siguro dahil yun yung puwede ko mai-deliver dun sa show.”
John had his turn competing inside the Big Brother House in 2006. He emerged as the Second Big Winner of the reality show’s first Celebrity Edition, where the flamboyant comedian-actress Keana Reeves bagged the grand prize.
Participating in the show was quite a learning experience for him.
John tells, “Siguro dun sa pagsali ko sa PBB… nung paglabas po, mas naging comfortable ako dun sa sarili ko saka sa tingin ng mga tao sa akin dahil feeling ko talaga, mas nakilala nila ako as a person.
“So, paglabas ko, parang wala nang inhibitions.
"Parang confident na po ako ipakita kung ano yung tunay kong ugali on camera at saka siguro mas naging bagay ako dun sa comedy na ginawa ko.”
This feat resulted to his more candid demeanor in front of the camera that aptly placed him in Happy Yipee Yehey and gag show Banana Split.
John adds, “Parang mas maging confident ako na i-express ko yung ako— [yung] gusto ko sabihin, lahat ng… wala na akong inhibitions.
"Siguro yun po yung pinakamalaking nakatulong sa akin sa paglabas ko ng Bahay ni Kuya.”
THE SHIFT. When his contract ended in January of this year, John says he was transferred to Direk Laurenti’s care.
“Miniting [meeting] ako. Binigay na ako sa unit under Direk Laurenti Dyogi,” he explains.
There he told the director about his plans.
“Sinabi ko kay Direk Lauren kung ano yung mga dreams ko, kung ano yung mga gusto ko gawin.
"At isa sa mga nasabi ko po talaga… I want to try hosting Pinoy Big Brother… kung okay sa kanila.
“Parang um-okay naman siya. Sabi niya I really have to work hard on it.
“Siyempre yung mga kasama kong host dito—sila Toni, Bianca, and Robi—talagang batikan sila dito.
"Ako naman po, yung ginawa kong hosting kasi is from Banana Split to Happy Yipee Yehey, it’s really different, although mas nagustuhan ni Direk Lauren yung … mga ginagawa kong hosting before dahil mas natural at mas kengkoy.
“Yun yung dinadala ko ngayon dito sa Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 4.”
John expressed that his stint in Happy Yipee Yehey made him realize what he wants to pursue.
“After kasi ng Happy Yipee Yehey, na-in love ako sa hosting. Parang nahanap ko yung… ito pala talaga.
"Parang gusto ko ‘to, gusto ko ‘tong ginagawa kong hosting.”
He is convinced that PBB is where he should be: “Siyempre, [ang] Pinoy Big Brother hindi naman siya basta-bastang reality show lang o isang show na ino-offer na hino-host.
“So sabi ko… I want to try something new and then ito yung binigay sa akin.
"So, hopefully may mga future na hosting [jobs] for me.”
STRENGTHS, ADJUSTMENTS. When John was placed right smack in the middle of PBB Unlimited’s run last season, he found himself misplaced.
It was on one of the eviction nights when housemate Tin Patrimonio, tennis athlete and daughter of Filipino basketball star Alvin Patrimonio, was booted out.
John shares an anecdote: “Ito nakakatawa, nung sinabak ako ni Direk Lauren nung Unlimited pa… sinabi niya sa akin, ‘You go straight to eviction night.’”
“[Sabi ko,] ‘Po? Akala ko sa Teen Edition pa ako?’
“[Sabi ni Direk Laurenti,] ‘Hindi. Tomorrow. Trial [lang].’”
John tells that the instruction intimidated him initially.
“Kinabahan ako, may audition pa ako. Mag-o-audition pa ako! Paano kung sumablay?
“So, nag-attend ako. E, ang hirap kasi coming from HYY and Banana Split, ang hirap mag-adjust ’tapos hindi pa ako masyadong na-brief, basta host ka lang dito.
“So naka-suit ako. Nakita ko si Toni naka-gown. Si Robi pormal.
"Sabi ko, ‘Pa’no ko bababuyin itong mga ito? Ano’ng gagawin ko? Pa’no ako magho-host?’”
John said he tried to trim down his comics and candidness: “Ini-straight ko na lang yung hosting ko. Sige magpapakabait na lang ako dito.”
To his surprise, he received a text message from Direk Laurenti as the show was ongoing.
“Nagte-text sa akin si Direk Lauren [at sabi niya,] ‘Anong ginagawa mo?’
“Sabi ko, ‘Bakit po? ‘Di pa naman po ako nabubulol, a.’”
The director told him, “‘Para kang nagho-host ng TV Patrol! Kaya kita nilagay diyan para maging mas masaya!’”
It was from that experience that John slowly found his function in the show.
“Now I know my place. I know my role as a host here in Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition.
"After nun, mas naging kalma na ako kasi ang hirap pala ng ginagawa ni Toni na talagang pumapalo ng comedy at biglang poker face.”
John thinks highly of his new co-host: “Sa tingin ko, si Toni lang makakagawa nun sa Big Brother. Kanyang-kanya talaga yung koronang iyon."
He knows, nonetheless where his strength lies: “Ako, alam ko naman, mas sanay ako kasi nahihirapan talaga ako ‘pagka may script. Mas sanay ako [na] in [my] own words.
“Yun na lang ginawa nila sa akin. Basta alam ko na yung flow and then bahala na lang ako kung ano gagawin ko.”
EDGE? As he shares the show’s hosting task with Toni, Bianca, and Robi, John cannot seem to say what his edge is over the others.
He talks about Robi, also a former housemate and second placer during the second season of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition.
“Well, hindi ko masabi, e, kasi ako nagulat nga ako na nung nakasama ko si Robi, hindi ko alam na ganun siya ka-witty na host.
“Talagang, yung term ko talaga sa kanya [is] ‘sira-ulo talaga siyang tao.’
“‘Sira-ulo’ siya kasi coming from Banana Split show na bawal ang hindi witty, bawal ang slow, so nanggaling ako dun, pagdating ko sa Big Brother na pinag-pair kami ni Robi, nagulat ako kasi talagang nag-jive kami!
“Dahil siguro nga Atenista, matalino, so talagang alam mong ang sarap niyang ka-host.”
John considers being able to mesh well with his co-hosts as his strength.
He says about himself: “I’m a team player. I’m not a soloist.
“Mas gusto ko yung involved lahat. Mas gusto ko yung sama-sama tayo para sa ikagaganda ng show.
“Hindi ako yung tipong ako lang, ako lang, ako ang bida, ako ang bida. Hindi ganun.”