entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

It’s Showtime’s Fall and Rebirth Amid the AlDub Saga

What a difference a year makes.

Back on July 16, 2015, viewers of the then-hit noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ were suddenly stunned to see the debut of the popular AlDub tandem on ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Kalyeserye’ segment. Thanks to the split-screen magic between Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was able to win by just 0.2% in the national ratings that day.

The surprising love team took not only the nation, but the entire world by storm. Twitter went abuzz as Alden and Maine exchanged Dubsmash replies through song each and every day, while Lola Nidora (played by Wally Bayola) tried to play it as if it is only fictional in nature.

While the AlDub phenomenon was hitting its stride, ‘It’s Showtime’ tried its best to keep up. They answered the AlDub love team by trying to give Angelica Yap (a.k.a. Pastillas Girl) a new partner in the skit ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’, which did not work out.

The peak of the AlDub fever took place on October 24, when ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ charity concert at the Philippine Arena drew not only 50,000 or so fans, but also millions of viewers around the world. The national ratings reflected that success as well, as ‘Eat Bulaga’ scored a 40.1% rating over ‘It’s Showtime”s 10.2%.

The lopsided ratings could have ended ‘It’s Showtime’ as viewers know it. Instead, they persevered and finally came up with a segment that took the steam out of AlDub.

Enter ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, the 1950s classic singing competition that returned as a segment of ‘It’s Showtime’ on January 2. The premise of the segment was simple: singers must perform well to win, then defend the title the next day against other aspirants from around the country.

Thanks to the presence of the revived TNT, the show gradually rebounded, and by January 11, ‘It’s Showtime’ overtook ‘Eat Bulaga’ for good in the ratings. The aura that once enveloped AlDub on ‘Kalyeserye’ disappeared.

Many factors were given as to why ‘Kalyeserye’ suddenly fell flat. But perhaps the most notable of these was the fact that Maine Mendoza, whose real voice had been withheld from the public for months (except for an interview on ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’), was finally ‘given’ an ability to talk fluently during the ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ concert.

Skits soon became predictable and repetitive, and as a result, viewers who were once part of the AlDub fever were switching back to ‘It’s Showtime’. Even after the July 16 episode in which Alden and Maine celebrated their first anniversary as a couple, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was unable to recapture past glory.

On the other hand, ‘It’s Showtime’ was back to its old entertaining self. They not only have the hit ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment, but also ‘TrabaHula’, a skit where players had to guess the real worker among the four in the audience.

Indeed, the recent dominance of ‘It’s Showtime’ in the first half of the decade is manifesting itself once again. And for Vice Ganda and company, they have no intention of letting it go.

So what’s next for this noontime rivalry? One can only hope that ‘Eat Bulaga’ can find a way to regroup their ‘Kalyeserye’ strategy, otherwise, ‘It’s Showtime’ and TNT will continue to assert their place atop the noontime charts.

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