entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, television

Born Out of Desperation: GMA’s The Clash Premieres This Weekend

Desperation has become a theme for GMA in recent years.

Weekend primetime, in particular, is more of a mess for the Kapuso network than a blessing. After all, ABS-CBN’s high-rating franchised talent shows like ‘The Voice’, ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ and ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ has left GMA in a wretched state, always one step behind from the other.

And even when GMA tried to produce a talent show, they tend to make some unwise decisions and avoid any sort of competition against ABS-CBN’s own. Remember when they aired ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘To the Top’ on the not-so convenient late-night slots?

Fast forward to now and it looks like GMA has learned its lesson and is finally poised to give ABS-CBN a dose of its own medicine. Starting this weekend the network will introduce ‘The Clash’, an all-new singing competition to be hosted by Regine Velasquez-Alcasid.

A total of 62 aspirants selected from several nationwide auditions will compete in intense one-on-one battles to determine the country’s next singing sensation. Judges Lani Misalucha, Ai-ai delas Alas and Christian Bautista will evaluate the performance of each individual and reveal the verdict in front of the audience.

Also part of ‘The Clash’ are Joyce Pring and Andre Paras. The two will provide some news on the preparations of each aspirant and give updates on their performance.

Having learned from the poor reception that ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘To the Top’ earned, GMA made a smart move with ‘The Clash’. The show would air not only on Saturdays but on Sundays as well, and in a more convenient timeslot.

But that does not mean they will have a fighting chance against ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’. With the latter show currently earning ratings in the 30s, ‘The Clash’ should have its hands full dealing with this tough opponent.

Still, Kapuso viewers will be more than happy to see GMA produce a singing competition show once more. This is an opportunity that GMA is itching to do, and out of desperation, they delivered.

Now it is up to ‘The Clash’ to make an impact. But will it be more than enough to make the competition more meaningful?

‘The Clash’ airs every Saturday after ‘Pepito Manaloto’ and Sunday after ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ on GMA.

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entertainment, hits, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, television

To the Top’s New Timeslot Shows GMA’s Lack of Trust

A new timeslot for ‘To the Top’ on Saturdays shows GMA’s lack of confidence with the show. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

GMA is definitely not confident with ‘To the Top’.

This past Saturday, GMA moved ‘To the Top’ to a new timeslot of 10:40 p.m. This means that it has to face both ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ and ‘The Bottomline’, two ABS-CBN programs that merely cater to night owls.

Airing this late will definitely not bode well to the show, its participants, and its audience. The exposure of the boyband aspirants would have been more helpful if ‘To the Top’ were to air at an earlier timeslot and with a wider amount of viewers, but at 10:40 p.m., they will be severely handicapped.

While the Sunday edition will stick to its close-to-10:00 p.m. slot, this is still a period where GMA feels uncomfortable with. After all, the Kapuso network still has to worry about ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, and much like ‘Bet ng Bayan’ before it, ‘To the Top’ may still have no chance of success.

Despite its premise as a multi-platform reality show, ‘To the Top’ cannot depend on its online viewers alone. After all, television remains the most widespread medium to expose the talents, which ‘To the Top’ desperately needs.

That said, GMA appears to have little to no trust whatsoever in ‘To the Top’. They are not confident that the show will succeed in a traditional media setup, which is why they moved it to a later timeslot to avoid getting humiliated.

‘To the Top’ seems like a lost opportunity than a blessing for GMA. It may be the first show to employ both a traditional and a new media setup, but it is clear that GMA is wasting its time on the show, given its treatment and promotion.

So much for being the first boyband competition in the country. Now let’s see what they will do with ‘StarStruck’.

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entertainment, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, television

‘To the Top’ Avoids ‘The Voice Kids’

‘To the Top”s upcoming weekend schedule will see them pit against ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ instead of ‘The Voice Kids’ season 2. (Logo courtesy of GMA & ‘To the Top’ Official Facebook)

“Avoid ‘The Voice Kids’ at all costs.”

This is the battle cry of a despondent GMA management upon revealing the schedules of the soon-to-air multi-platform reality boyband talent show ‘To the Top’. Starting July 25, ‘To the Top’ will air every Saturday at 8:50 p.m. following ‘Magpakailanman’, and every Sunday at 9:40 p.m. following ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’.

This means that ‘To the Top’ will only compete against ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ rather than the ‘The Voice Kids’ season 2. With the latter having set a series ratings record of around 43% (according to Kantar Media) the previous weekend, GMA knows they’re in a losing battle, and wisely did what’s best for them.

But that doesn’t mean ‘To the Top’ will beat ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ once they get underway. As it stands, PBB remains a serious contender despite the recent spate of controversies, and for GMA to make ‘To the Top’ even more interesting than its adversary, they need to raise the level of skill and entertainment value to win the viewers’ hearts.

That said, a tough battle still lies ahead for ‘To the Top’. Even though they’ll no longer go head-to-head with ‘The Voice Kids’, they still have something to prove as far as ratings go, and that alone won’t be easy.

Good luck.

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entertainment, music, Philippines, songs, talent show, television

A New Rival for ‘The Voice Kids 2’

‘The Voice Kids’ season 2 will be having a new rival.

Opposing the hit ABS-CBN singing talent show soon will be GMA’s first multi-platform boyband competition in the Philippines, ‘To the Top’. Produced by GMA News and Public Affairs, this program aims to discover the country’s next great boyband.

Unlike other talent shows in the country, ‘To the Top’ did not conduct open auditions. Instead, it invited the best male singers from different schools and organizations to join and audition for the final 25 slots.

‘To the Top’ initially aired as an online-exclusive series where they document the journey of each finalist from being soloists/group members to being members of a boyband. These webisodes were hosted by Julian Trono, who was intensively trained in KPop.

The remaining 25 finalists were then trimmed to 14, with the 11 eliminated finalists competing for four wildcard slots that was decided through social media votes. The 18 finalists who will see action in the televised portion of the series are:

  • AJ Ajrouche
  • Lance Busa
  • Ken Carpena
  • Mico Cruz
  • Cholo dela Cruz
  • Martin de Vera
  • Luis Gragera
  • Joshua Jacobe
  • MJ Magno
  • Miko Manguba
  • Seph Manlapaz
  • Bryan Olano
  • JP Palanca
  • Adrian Pascual
  • Louie Pedroso
  • Lharby Policarpio
  • Edric Ulang
  • Chris Yumang

The 18 singers will then be divided into groups of six, and will be housed together and undergo further vocal and dance training in preparation for their performances. They will then be judged based on their singing and dancing ability, as well as their cohesiveness.

The panel of judges will be led by accomplished composer Ryan Cayabyab, and will be joined by The CompanY’s Moy Ortiz, Sweet Plantado and OJ Mariano. The quartet will also act as vocal coaches for the three groups.

The dance coaches will be Philippine Allstars alunmi and two-time World Hip-Hop champions Madelle and Prince Paltu-ob, and international breakdance champion Reflex Gotangco. The sound and music department will be led by Sonic State Audio’s Jonathan Ong, along with Chino David, Chrisanthony Vinzons and Brian Lotho.

‘To the Top’ was originally scheduled to air this Saturday, July 18, but for some unknown reason, it was moved to July 25. The show is expected to compete against ‘The Voice Kids’ season 2, which is currently on a hot streak as far as ratings are concerned.

By all accounts, GMA should have their hands full in this latest endeavor. Opposing ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ and its kids edition has been a difficult ordeal for the network, having seen its most recent talent show ‘Bet ng Bayan’ fail against the said ABS-CBN program.

That said, a daunting task awaits ‘To the Top’ as it nears its premiere. Will this show provide a tougher competition to ‘The Voice Kids’, or will it fall in the same manner as ‘Bet ng Bayan’? We’ll see.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: GMA

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the GMA Network, who endured yet another frustrating year.

Positives

In a year where anything could go wrong, only a few bright spots remained on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

GMA’s Afternoon Prime emerged as the network’s top performer on weekdays, with ‘Villa Quintana’ and its successor ‘The Half Sisters’ leading the way. Also enjoying impressive performances were ‘The Borrowed Wife’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Innamorata’ and ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’.

Afternoon Prime’s predecessor ‘Eat Bulaga’ remained a force on noontime, gaining some notoriety for its ‘Suffer Sireyna’ segment. Fellow long-running programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ also continued to impress viewers.

Perhaps the most welcome sight on the Kapuso network this year was the return of the Sunday TV Mass after a four-year absence. In response to criticisms that GMA was biased towards Catholics, they got the services of Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI) to broadcast the weekly mass every Sunday morning, thus appeasing their Catholic viewers for now.

And finally, GMA earned numerous awards in both local and international award-giving bodies. GMA News and Public Affairs, in particular, continued to garner praise for its excellent journalistic work by winning another Peabody Award, in addition to numerous New York Festival awards.

Negatives

If there is one network who deserves much of the blame for its failures, it is GMA. And 2014 was just another tough year for the No. 2 network.

GMA Telebabad continued to be an underwhelming performer for the Kapuso network. Virtually every teleserye GMA threw at its disposal failed to make an impact, including the four-week long historical drama series ‘Ilustrado’, who performed badly against its rivals from Mother Ignacia.

The 19-year old ‘Startalk’ also underperformed this year, with timeslot changes to blame for its poor performance. Neither a return to Sundays (vs. ‘Buzz ng Bayan’/’The Buzz’), nor a transfer back to Saturdays (vs. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’) helped ‘Startalk”s performance this year.

An ongoing purge to GMA’s weekend programming proved to be not as tense as last year, although the slumping ‘Sunday All Stars’, a clear candidate for cancellation, moved to a later time to avoid ‘ASAP’. Three movie blocks on Sundays, along with ‘Asian Horror Stories’ on Saturdays, did not help GMA at all.

Being the king at answering ABS-CBN’s every move, GMA countered ‘Meteor Garden’ and other Kapamilya throwback Asianovelas by re-airing ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Coffee Prince’ and others, none of which were successful. GMA also countered ABS-CBN by airing ‘Marian’, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘Don’t Lose the Money’ versus its rival’s programs, again to negative results.

Controversy also affected GMA in 2014. Both Aljur Abrenica and embattled GMA employees under the name ‘Talents Association of GMA’ filed lawsuits against the network for various complaints, while Sen. Bong Revilla’s arrest due to the PDAF scandal prompted the network to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to avoid any negative publicity.

Overall, it was an abysmal year for GMA, both in terms of ratings, financial performance, and standards of quality.

Outlook

Ramon Ang may have taken some of the shares, but GMA’s fortunes continue to revolve around their aging pair of owners in Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit. So expect another difficult and trying year on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

‘Second Chances’, a long-overdue series, will kick off GMA’s slate of new programs this 2015, but it remains to be seen whether or not will there be second chances for the said network this year. One thing’s for sure: a wild ride continues for the men and women inside the GMA Network Center.

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dance show, entertainment, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television

‘Marian’ Ends Tomorrow. Will ‘Bet ng Bayan’ Finally Air on Saturdays Too?

Take a bow, Marian Rivera.

After over five months, ‘Marian’ will officially air its final episode tomorrow. The dance show’s finale will feature a dance number starring Rivera and her fiance Dingdong Dantes, along with highlights of their ‘Despedida de Soltera’.

No third season will be produced, as Rivera expressed the need for rest in preparation of her wedding on December 30.

Debuting on June 21, ‘Marian’ hoped to be GMA’s solution to its ongoing ratings woes on Saturday evenings. Instead, the show failed to live up to the hype, losing on a consistent basis to ABS-CBN rivals ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Wansapanatym’, and ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ during its run.

While Marian Rivera was undoubtedly GMA’s top female star, the fact that their biggest asset failed to deliver in the ratings may have affected the network’s morale. The truth is, ‘Marian’ was basically intended to keep her on television, but as it turned out, not even her skill in dancing can keep audiences interested.

Looking ahead, GMA will now have a vacancy to fill on their Saturday night lineup come December 13. The question is, will ‘Bet ng Bayan’ fill that void?

When the second season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ added a Saturday edition on November 8, it gave GMA a huge mismatch. This forced the Kapuso network to switch the timeslots of both ‘Marian’ and ‘Magpakailanman’ the following week, but even with that change, it still failed to beat the former.

Meanwhile, the first two months of ‘Bet ng Bayan”s run had been uneventful. The reality talent show would have given ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ a run for their money*, but instead, they were handcuffed by the lack of airtime space on Saturday nights, and the extended running time of ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ on Sunday nights.

That said, getting rid of the 15-minute recap shows on weeknights in favor of a 90-minute episode on Saturday nights should give ‘Bet ng Bayan’ a more competitive spot on weekends. More importantly, it should provide a little more breathing room for GMA Telebabad to thrive upon.

Still, the fate of the vacated timeslot of ‘Marian’ will be up to GMA management. Hopefully they make the right decision as soon as possible.

Note: ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ season 2 debuted on October 26, three weeks after ‘Bet ng Bayan’ premiered.*

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