Newcomers vie at 17th Awit Awards
() - July 9, 2004 - 12:00am
The country’s most sought-after and up and coming artists fight it out for the 17th Awit Awards.

Music-loving Filipinos will catch the country’s most powerful performers when they belt their songs for the finals night at the NBC Tent on Sept. 9.

So who made it to the finals this year?

One is Sarah Geronimo. She is one of the finalists in the Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist and Best Performance by a New Female Recording Artist categories of this year’s Awit Awards. Her carrier single Forever’s Not Enough also earned a slot in the Song of the Year category. Sa Iyo is also a finalist in the Best Dance category.

Another product of a singing competition, Erik Santos is a finalist in the Best Performance by A Male Recording Artist category for his version of R. Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly. Santos’ moment came when he sang This Is the Moment in a network’s search for singing talents.

It may seem like he’s been around forever but Paolo Santos, is a newcomer in the recording industry. His version of Moonlight Over Paris, Through the Fire, Overjoyed and many others established his status as one of the greatest, acoustic performers in the country. He is a finalist in the Best Performance By A New Male Recording Artist for Mapansin.

Jay R may be a common fixture on TV but he is in reality just a newcomer. Bakit Pa Ba, a cut from his album is a finalist in the Song of the Year, Best Ballad and Music Video of the Year categories.

Arnee Hidalgo is getting out of her brother Jeffrey’s shadow and is now carving a name in the industry. Her take on Francis Magalona’s Cold Summer Nights earned her a slot in the Best Performance by A Female Recording Artist category.

Bayani Agbayani can really sing. But landing on the finalist list of the Awit Awards may hush the skeptics a bit. Bayani’s Otso Otso and Alam Kong Di Ako, Okey Lang are among the five entries in the Best Novelty division. Otso Otso is also one of the finalists in the Best Dance category. Other newcomers who landed in finals are King for Maybe (Best Performance by A New Male Recording Artist), Jed Maddela (Best Performance by A New Male Recording Artist).

Vying for Best Performance By A Female Recording Artist is Lani Misalucha. Although she already retired to devote more time for her family, Lani left with a powerful song, Malaya Ka Na. Anna Fegi competes in the same category with Saan Ka Na Kaya Ngayon, a song constantly included in the playlist of several radio stations.

Gary Valenciano is also a force to contend with in the Best Performance by A Male Recording Artist category. He has two nominations in the category for Ang Aking Munting Bituin and Kailangan Kita. Hitmaker Ogie Alcasid also gets nominated with Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala. The Best Performance By A Duet seems like an arena for the biggies. Nominated are Ariel Rivera with Regine Velasquez (Tell Me), Kyla with Gary Valenciano (Sana’y Maulit Muli), Wency Cornejo with Rachel Alejandro (Kailan Ka Darating), Anna Fegi with Luke (Even If), and Regine Velasquez with Ogie Alcasid (Magpakailanman).

Mr. Suave
by Parokya ni Edgar is a nominee for Best Performance by A Group Recording Artists. Other nominees in this category are Barbie’s Cradle’s All I Need, Nyoy Volante with Mannos’ Nasaan, Rivermaya’s A Love To Share, and Akafellas’ Help Me Forget.

The Album of the Year category features an interesting mix of newcomers and old-timers. Parokya Ni Edgar’s Bigotilyo, Gary Valenciano’s Gary Valenciano at the Movies, and Martin Nievera’s Chasing Time Vol. 2 are joined by newcomers Paolo Santos’ Playlist and Nyoy Volante with Mannos’ Acoustic: Nyoy Volante with Mannos.

Sugar Free’s Mariposa, 6 Cyclemind’s Pa Ba, Barbie’s Cradle’s Independence Day, 18th Issue’s Funky Mama and the Aegis’ version of Mike Hanapol’s Laki Sa Layaw are nominated in the Best Rock category. Filipino alternative music is alive as it still produces great music. Worthy of a nomination are Sugar Free’s Burn Out, Bayang Barrios’ Malayo Man Malapit Din, Noel Cabangon’s Pauwi Na, Rico Blanco’s Bye Bye Na, and Still Band’s Fall on Me.

A total of 368 entries were submitted. This was trimmed down to 126 finalists. Of the remaining 126 entries, 11 are from corporate members of the Philippine Association of the Record Industry, and four from associate members.

On judgement night, one winner will be chosen per category (there are 27 categories).

This year, judges were chosen from different segments of the music industry. This enables more aspects of an entry to be evaluated.

The judging of this year’s entries is also made easier via computerization. Awit Awards teamed up with respected IT industry players Moscom and Microsoft. Microsoft provided the software while Moscom will be responsible for the hardware used for judging of the entries.

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