Who will be the next TV Idol?
- Leah C. Salterio () - August 13, 2004 - 12:00am
ABS-CBN is constantly on the look out for promising talents to make the network’s stable more exciting and competitive. After the highly successful talent search in Star Circle Quest which has produced now-popular newcomers, the singing sensation search Star In A Million and even the search for new comedians Clown in Million on Yes, Yes Show, ABS-CBN is now on the homestretch for TV Idol, the search for the next young male host of the daily noontime variety show, MTB: Ang Saya-Saya.

The competition stretched from July 17 to 31, where the eight finalists were trimmed down to five. The final five will compete in the grand finals on Aug. 21, Saturday on MTB: Ang Saya-Saya. Vying for the title of TV’s newest TV idol are Angel James "AJ" Dee, John Emmanuel "JE" Sison, Marc Cortez, Ahron Villena and Kiko Matos.

AJ Dee, 21 years old, is a boy-next-door type who spends his time watching movies, playing computer games and painting. He feels that his statuesque height and toned body give him an edge over his competitors. He frequents the gym at least thrice a week and keeps fit by playing today’s popular sport – badminton. He looks up to Aga Muhlach "who is a very good actor."

AJ has long been a ramp and commercial model and was the first runner-up in the Mossimo Bikini Summit last summer. He was also a runner-up in the more recent Bodyshots tilt. He was raised in Naga and graduated with a degree in BSBA Management at the Ateneo de Naga.

Nineteen-year-old JE Sison is a car enthusiast who also enjoys PC games, billiards, basketball, "gimmicking" and long drives. However, JE is confident he will excel in showbiz. Born and raised in Olongapo City, JE was a second year nursing student at the Far Eastern University when he left school to concentrate on acting and modeling. He lives alone in Manila but occasionally goes home to Palauig, Zambales to visit his parents. He was born on May 13.

"Since being in the first batch of winners, I have gained more experience in TV hosting," JE says. "My idol is Edu Manzano. If I can surpass what Edu has achieved, why not do it? I also want to excel in action, drama and comedy".

With his other gifts in singing, acting and dancing, plus his previous exposure in TV commercials, JE stiffens the competition. He is Colt 45’s most recent endorser. Videoke enthusiasts may get the chance to see JE in songs like True Faith’s Huwag na Lang Kaya and pop hits of Dingdong Avanzado.

Seventeen-year-old Ahron Villena dreams of becoming like Jericho Rosales. "I see myself in Jericho," says Ahron, an outdoor-kind-of-guy who spends his time playing basketball and billiards. He loves to sing, dance, act and– all ingredients of a star in the making.

Born and raised in Batangas City, Ahron lives with his grandmother and father and has never seen his mom, who left him since birth to work in Japan. He was a nursing student at the Lyceum of Batangas University, but opted to skip school, albeit only this semester, in order to concentrate on TV Idol activities.

Marc Laurence Cortez will turn 16 on Oct. 12. The Libra kid is supposed to be the quiet type who enjoys a good book when he’s alone. However, in the presence of an audience, he turns into a livewire who can do some witty repartee. He is a talented and independent teen who can dance and sing. His idols are Jim Carrey, Edu Manzano and Chokoleit. Marc hails from Laguna. He lives with his father and grandma, while his mother works as a nurse in Canada. His parents and relatives may not be supportive of his showbiz career but he has made a pact with them: he will pursue nursing studies, following in his mom’s footsteps, after one year in showbiz.

Francisco "Kiko" Matos is of Portuguese-Filipino descent. He was born on Sept. 22, 1988 and travels every year to Lisbon, Portugal, where his dad hails. Kiko is a second year high school student at Ann Arbor Montessori in Parañaque. His handsome, exotic looks may be attributed to a blend of two races, his father being Portuguese and his mother a Filipina. Both are supportive of his showbiz activities.

Highly energetic and ultra athletic, Kiko engages in boxing, basketball, swimming, volleyball and table tennis, but he is confident that his forte is acting. He dances very well, too. The kid with a warm personality initially admitted to having difficulty expressing himself in front of an audience, but workshops and other activities related to the contest gave him the necessary confidence.

Each of the five TV Idol finalists brings to the competition a uniquely astute character and stands as a promising powerhouse of talent. Aside from appearing regularly on MTB: Ang Saya-Saya, the final five are also seen guesting in other ABS-CBN shows like Wazzup, Wazzup, EK Channel, Magandang Umaga Bayan, The Buzz and the sitcoms.

Win or lose, the five TV Idol finalists are assured of a showbiz career, since ABS-CBN already has plans to give them TV, film and recording projects after the competition.

The grand finals of TV Idol will be held in MTB: Ang Saya-Saya on Aug. 21. The contestants will be graded by ABS-CBN management (30 percent), the three judges of the competition – Ryan Agoncillo, Cristy Fermin and Desiree del Valle (30 percent), the hosts of MTB: Ang Saya-Saya – Edu Manzano, Ai-Ai de las Alas and Arnell Ignacio (10 percent) and the text votes of the fans and viewers (30 percent).

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