Talent is Not Limited to Pang-Masa

It’s undeniable that Filipinos are very talented. Hence, talent shows sprout like mushrooms ever so often. But how winners are chosen in such programs are sometimes questionable; and when compared with international shows like Asia’s Got Talent, you have to ask what’s wrong with our perception of talent?


Asia’s Got Talent
Credit: AXN

I’ve been following the development of Asia’s Got Talent over AXN, including replays and videos at YouTube. From what I’ve read, local auditions were first held in the Philippines before a set of contestants were sent off to Singapore to face world renowned judges David Foster, Melanie C., Anggun, and Vanness Wu as well as Filipino hosts Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez (from the Ang Pinaka Show of GMA News TV). So to start off, most of the talents who auditioned at the actual AGT stage were already filtered with the inclusion of fail acts that were most likely included for diversity and comic relief.

There were several Filipinos who made it. Most of them even got 4 yes votes. Some also already advanced to the semi-finals based on the most recent episode. I’ve watched those Pinoy acts over and over again through AGT’s official YouTube channel and I can’t get enough. I particularly enjoyed singers Mis Tres and dancers the Velasco Brothers (acrobatics and break dancing), D’Intensity Breakers (literally set the stage on fire!), Symmetry (quite a new concept of dancing twins like mirrors) and Junior New System (who opened the show during the first episode). Gwyneth Dorado (10 year-old who sang Roar) was included in the Semi-Finals list 1 but I didn’t find her performance exceptional. It was ok though just like Lola Fe and Roadfill’s number and Neil, the beat boxer from Davao City who did not continue his quest due to conflict with school. Most likely, the earlier episodes (including the upcoming semi-finals) were already pre-taped before the school year ended.  

But the most notable Pinoy performances include El Gamma Penubra and Gerphil Flores. Both of which received the Golden Buzzer (from Anggun and from David, respectivelyand have advanced to the semi-finals automatically. The other acts who got the same advantage include dancers Time Machine of Japan (from Vanness) and acrobatic ballet couple Gao and Liu of China (from Melanie C.). The live audience contributed a lot in influencing the judge’s decision to press the golden buzzer. You’d hear them chant “hit that gold” before a judge eventually hit the gold with the exception of Melanie. I can’t protest for the latter because Gao and Liu were indeed amazing. As for Time Machine, their performance was just OK but their dance concept was very unique.

There are countless other amazing talents from all over Asia. I loved Vilas Nayak (India) and his portrait of The Joker done while on blindfold. David Foster even paid $1200 for that portrait. But the most entertaining ever are the Masked Performers from Japan who were stopped from performing by 4 X buzzers. But the audience chanted that they want more. And what followed is chaos, in a good way. Do you have muscle control that can blow a horn or peel a banana through your butt? For more videos, just head over the Asia’s Got Talent YouTube channel.


Gerphil Flores
Credit: Philstar

Going back to the main point of this post, what’s wrong with our perception of talent? Why didn’t El Gamma Penubra win during the text voting? Anyway, they have a long way to go in AGT but nonetheless, it’s quite obvious that local talent shows here are conquered by singers. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, voting in favor of a weaker singer because he/she doesn’t have money for a formal vocal lesson, is poorer than the other contender, or is more popular (translation: pang-masa) is definitely questionable. I need not mention specific contestants for example but ABS-CBN contests are spot on for this. At least, ABC 5’s Talentadong Pinoy had better rosters of winners.

But other than biased viewers, judges share the same biasness. An example was how Gerphil Flores’ (then called Fame Flores) was eliminated during the 2010 Pilipinas Got Talent semi-finals just because she sang a classical song (not pang-masa equals not talent?) even if the other singer who was pitted against her sang out of tune. She actually won the text votes but the judges didn’t favor her. See this video

But anyway, all’s well that ends well and we do believe that God has better plans sometimes, so it's best to never give up. If Ms. Flores stopped singing classical music because it was not a popular genre, she would not have been to AGT recently. The same applies to El Gamma Penumbra and all other acts that didn’t make it in local shows before but have tried for AGT.

We, Filipinos should start thinking beyond the usual when it comes to labeling what’s talent and what’s not. Talent is not limited to what’s pang-masa.


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8 comments :

  1. This is so true! And also judges here usually don't have the right to judge.

    BTW the painter is just wearing a mask, he's not blindfolded.

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    1. Man, he looks blindfolded! That fooled me! :)

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  2. Well what do we expect from 2 dimwits.. One who is a cougar nymphomaniac and another is a "royal blood" talentless nymphomaniac. Well maybe we should now consider being a nympho as a talent. As the old saying goes, birds with the same feather, flocks together.. suits them right.

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    1. Ah, kinda harsh but thanks for your comment. :)

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  3. So true! We need to be more open minded and objective to see where true talent lies and judge with any bias.

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    1. I agree. Judging shouldn't be based on what's "in" or "uso" and not what the judge's preference is when it comes to music. They should leave their personal opinions aside.

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  4. Call me a snob or whatever but I did not watch any of the PGT shows. When I found out who the judges were, I saw no point in doing so. How could someone who has no talent judge others that has it? They wouldn't know what talent is even if it's written boldly in front of their faces. I liked Talentadong Pinoy more: the judges there really knows talent. Anyway, because I didn't watch PGT it was such an amazing experience watching AGT. I believe most of the acts from the Philippines appeared in PGT first but since it was my first time seeing them, it was more fun. I've heard about Gerphil's case from someone who watched PGT and actually voted for her. Well this time, her time has come. Forget PGT. Win in AGT. :)

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    1. Most of the talents in AGT previously joined PGT. Even those from abroad are already recognized in their country so the show is really a pool of talent.

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