What makes Star For a Night different

STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco () - February 6, 2003 - 12:00am
Amateur singing contests have always been very popular here in the Philippines. Even in small barrios, the highlight of most fiesta celebrations is the amateur singing competition, although beauty contests of all sorts (female, male and even gay pageants) are also fast becoming popular.

On radio and on TV, Tawag ng Tanghalan was extremely popular from the late ’60s to the early ’70s. It was taken off the air only when ABS-CBN was shut down during Martial Law. It resurfaced as Tuklas on Channel 9.

During the ’80s, Channel 9 also launched another amateur singing contest which became a phenomenal success: Ang Bagong Kampeon, hosted by Pilita Corrales and the late Bert Marcelo. Ang Bagong Kampeon – I understand – was a baby of Wilma Galvante, now one of the top bosses of GMA 7. Ang Bagong Kampeon eventually became Tanghalan ng Kampeon on Channel 7 when Wilma moved there in the late ’80s.

On GMA 7 today, there is also K, hosted by Arnel Ignacio. K, however, is different from other amateur singing contests. An on-air videoke competition, it’s really more for fun. But obviously, it’s very popular because it’s still on top of the ratings chart more than a year after it premiered. (Its pilot telecast had very impressive ratings.)

Star for a Night,
produced by Viva TV, is more like Tawag ng Tanghalan and Ang Bagong Kampeon because it aims to discover prospective singing superstars. There is one big difference though. Contestants in Star for a Night (patterned after the mother show in the United Kingdom) do not have to worry about costumes and other needs related to their respective numbers.

Since every number is treated like a production number, Viva TV provides contestants with clothes (from Sari-Sari), makeover (by Paradigm Salon), hotel accommodations (at Bayview), choreographers, props – anything they need... maybe except for kerosene gas because who wants a repeat of the Angela Velez-Regine Tolentino scandal?

The other night, the 11 finalists of the Star for a Night Talent Search were presented to the press at the Viva auditorium in Quezon City. When they were asked to sing individually, it dawned on me that a lot of them – if not all – sound and perform even better than some of our already established singers in the entertainment profession. There really is a wealth of talent in this batch – most of whom already have their own following. Below, let’s get to know them individually:

• Roxanne Castro
– A resident of Australia for the past 10 years, 19-year old Roxanne never thought she’d join Star for a Night until she came home for a vacation here in Manila.

Back in Australia, she is a member of the Sydney Dance Company and a student of music at the University of New South Wales. It is her dream to put up her own school of music and dance and to perform in Broadway one day soon.

• Angeli Mae Flores
– Only 13-years old, her stint in Star for a Night was her first appearance on television. Recently, she also joined a local production of The King & I where she played one of the royal children. She is also part of the religious musical drama, Nasaan Si Hesus.

• Angeline Quinto
– Also 13-year-old, Angeline is a resident of Sampaloc and a first year high school student at the Dominican College. Star for a Night host Regine Velasquez is her all-time singing idol.

• Kristela Musica Cristobal
– With Musica as her second name, it would have been embarrassing for her to grow up in this world not knowing how to sing. Fortunately, she does – and does so extremely well. She sang the theme song of the Palarong Pambansa held in General Santos City and has performed with Regine Velasquez at the Metropop Young Star Song Festival.

• Carlo San Jose
– A resident of Las Piñas, Carlo was a vocalist for the De La Salle University Pop Orchestra when he was a student there taking up organizational communication. Now working as a cabin attendant for Air Philippines, he also underwent training at the Center for Pop Music Philippines and at the Ryan Cayabyab Music Studio.

• Sarah Geronimo
– A product of the kiddie shows Ang TV, Next and Pen-pen de Sarapen, 13-year-old Sarah wants to concentrate more on singing in the hope of becoming another Lea Salonga.

• Jason Velasquez
– Already stable in his job as a computer operator, Jason still wants to try his luck as a successful singer – hopefully through Star for a Night. Also a songwriter, his first time to join an amateur singing contest was when he was still 12-year-old.

• Mark Bautista
– From Cagayan de Oro City, 21-year-old Mark performs in a piano bar, singing mostly songs by Luther Vandross. For Star for a Night, however, he is singing Ngayon at Kailanman. I think it was wise of him not to ape the style of Basil Valdez because he already has his own which obviously is good because he made it this far in the Star for a Night Search.

• Mailyn Yu
– An 18-year-old Cebuana, she doesn’t deny that she wants to win this contest for the prize money which she intends to use to defray the medical expenses of a younger sister suffering from a congenital heart defect.

• Maureen Marcelo
– Like Regine Velasquez, Maureen, a native of Lucena, is also a veteran of amateur singing contests. Aside from school song competitions, she also joined Sing-Galing where she was champion for six weeks, the Panasonic Singing contest where she placed second and the Pioneer singing competition where she landed third.

In most of her performances, she uses the name Samantha Brown.

• Florie Mae Lucido
– At 16-year-old, she is a student of the National Science High School of Tagaytay. She wants to succeed as a singer – hoping that she would be able to help poorer relations with her earnings from the entertainment profession. But with the 20 percent withholding tax, plus the 10 percent VAT, sorry, but don’t count on it, kid.

All 11 finalists are competing in the Star for a Night grand finals to be held at the Ultra on March 1. The winner will receive P1 million – plus the chance to become a singing superstar under the guidance of Viva Records. But considering how good they all are, there is a chance that all of them will make it in the music industry – big-time.

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