A glittering night at the Awit

- Leah C. Salterio -
"The winner for Best Performance by a New Male Recording Artist is Gary Valenciano!"

The announcement would have made Gary ecstatic, considering that after 20 years in the music business, he still "won" as New Male Recording Artist. But that was not for real, of course. That was the big blunder made during the 17th Awit Awards last Thursday night, when acoustic singer Nyoy Volante mixed up his awardees and read the wrong card to announce the winner in the said category.

It was not solely Nyoy’s fault, though. While onstage with his co-presenters Nina and Kyla, he was given one card too many and he apparently opened the wrong one. As a result, Nyoy also pre-empted the announcement of winner for Best Performance by a Male Recording Artist, which went to Gary Valenciano for Ang Aking Munting Bituin, under Universal Records. The actual winner for Best Performance by a New Male Recording Artist was Erik Santos for his debut recording, I Believe I Can Fly, under Star Records.

Save for that booboo, the 17th Awit Awards last Thursday night at The Tent turned out to be a glittering affair, attended by the biggest names in the music industry, recording executives and top showbiz stars.

Even in the list of presenters, the show managed to come up with interesting and amusing tandems. Who would have thought to bring together fashion icon Tessa Prieto-Valdes and erstwhile presidentiable-turned-comedian-turned-recording artist Eddie Gil? The bungling Eddie Gil was definitely no-match for Tessa’s glib banter, but they were able to pull it off onstage, despite Eddie Gil’s lapses.

Raymond Bagatsing was paired off with Juliana Palermo. ABS-CBN comedians Arnel Ignacio of MTB: Ang Saya-Saya and Bayani Agbayani of Yes, Yes Show, also gave out two major awards. Ditto with Luke Mijares and Andrea del Rosario; Aleck Bovick and DJ Alvaro; EK Channel tandem Marvin Agustin and Rica Peralejo.

Organizers and production team of the Awit Awards should be lauded for giving importance to the music industry’s anti-piracy campaign, with a short video on artists saying "no to piracy." The likes of Aliya Parcs, JR, Jed Madella, Erik Santos and Artstrong expressed their anti-piracy sentiments. In fact, when former Eraserheads lead vocalist Ely Buendia was asked to go onstage to talk about piracy, he gave out an immediate reply, "Piracy generally kills the artists, musicians and the industry. Let’s do our part to stop piracy."

The Awit Awards recognizes technical and creative performance in the recording industry. Hosts for the night were pairs from the two popular cable music channels — Iya Villania and Karel Marquez from Myx Channel; KC Montero and Sarah Meier from MTV Asia.

Parokya ni Edgar, the group behind the monster hit Mr. Suave, turned out to be a big winner that night with seven major awards, including the most coveted Album of the Year for Bigotilyo, under Universal Records. Mr. Suave also won the Song of the Year plum for its composer Buhawi Meneses, as well as the Best Novelty for its producer and band member, Chito Miranda.

Moreover, Mr. Suave bagged the Music Video of the Year honors for the tandem of Chito (producer) and Ace Enriquez (director). Bigotilyo was likewise accorded with Record of the Year plum for its outstanding sales. Parokya ni Edgar also copped the Best Performance by a Group Recording for Mr. Suave and Best Rap for The Yes, Yes Show. Too bad, however, since not one member of the group was in sight that night to receive any of their awards.

Louie Ocampo bagged two trophies for musical arrangement and vocal arrangement for Tell Me, his original composition which was revived as a duet by Ariel Rivera and Regine Velasquez in Ariel’s latest album under BMG Records Pilipinas.

Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist went to Lani Misalucha for Malaya Ka Na (Viva Records), while Best Performance by a New Female Recording Artist was handed to Sarah Geronimo for Forever’s Not Enough (Viva Records). Sarah’s upbeat Tagalog ditty, Sa Iyo, also won Best Dance Recording, besting Bayani Agbayani’s phenomenally popular Otso Otso, much to the disappointment of the Star Records team who attended the awards night. Sarah’s awards were received by her composer, Vehnee Saturno, who went up onstage with Sarah’s dad.

The Ogie Alcasid-Regine Velasquez duet, Pangarap Ko ang Ibigin Ka, was adjudged Best Song Written for Movie. It was penned by Ogie and produced by Mon Faustino under Viva Records. Best R & B was I Will Find You by Kyla, who bagged another trophy for Best Performance by a Duet, with Gary Valenciano for their revival of Sana’y Maulit Muli (EMI Philippines). Kyla was also the favorite artist in the People’s Choice Awards.

Gary offered his award for Ang Aking Munting Bituin to his dad, "the man behind so many memories, not only in my mind but also in my heart." The song is the theme from Maryo J. de los Reyes’ award-winning film, Magnifico, produced by Violett Films. Meanwhile, for Sana’y Maulit Muli, Gary thanked wife Angeli Valenciano, who wrote the lyrics of the popular ballad.

Other awards were: Best Album Package for Noel (Jesuit Communications Foundation); Best Engineered Recording for All I Need by Angee Rozul (Warner Music Philippines); Best Instrumental Performance for Take Me Out of the Dark by Jay Cayuca (Universal Records); Best Jazz for Tinamaan Mo by Noel Cabangon;

Best Christmas Album was Pasko na Naman with Gloc 9 (Star Records); Best Inspirational or Religious Album was Awit sa Ina ng Sto. Rosario, produced by Jeanne Young and recorded by Karylle with the Bukas Palad artists (Universal Records); Best Performance by a New Group was Akafellas for Help Me Forget (Star Records); Best Ballad was Bakit Pa Ba?, composed by Vehnee Saturno for Jay R (Universal Records); Best Rock was Mariposa by Sugarfree (EMI Philippines); and Best Alternative Music was Burn Out, also by Sugarfree (EMI Philippines).

People’s Choice Awards for favorite group went to Make Your Momma Proud (MYMP) for A Little Bit. Presidential citations for outstanding achievement were given to artists and composers who represented the country in international music competitions abroad last year: Jed Madella and composer Vehnee Saturno in the Russian Music Festival; Divo with Soc Villanueva and Jungee Marcelo in the Shanghai Music Festival; and Reuben Laurente, Markel Luna and Jay Gomez in the USA Songwriting Competition.

Midway into the awards rites, the show shifted to a series of well-conceptualized production numbers which featured top music artists. It was perhaps a tough task for the show’s musical director, Gerard Salonga, who brilliantly stringed together several medleys for the different production numbers.

Star in a Million
finalists Nyco Maca and Michael Cruz performed a pop-rock medley with Cookie Chua and Francis M. In a bouncy pop-dance medley were the Masculados with their Jumbo Hotdog ditty, the Sex Bomb Dancers with Bakit Papa, Viva Hot Babes members Asia Agcaoili and Sheree with comebacking actress Daisy Reyes in Sayaw Kikay, Di Ako Bakla and Bulaklak. The songs were truly danceable, so that even Gerard himself was swaying while playing the keyboards.

Star in a Million
finalists Sheryn Regis and Christian Bautista, with winners Erik Santos and Frenchie Dy, and Star for a Night champion Rachelle Ann Go and singer Jed Madella belted out vocally challenging pop ballads to a crowd of screaming fans.

Doing a dance-rap medley were Anna Fegi, Roselle Nava, Jay R and G Tongi, while Nyoy Volante, Pido and Paolo Santos carried out an acoustic medley. Ogie Alcasid, Nina and Kyla had their Tell Me and Sana’y Maulit Muli number. Bands like Salbakuta, Barbie’s Cradle, Sugarfree and The Dawn led by Jett Pangan sang their hits.

Before presenting this year’s Dangal ng Musikang Pilipino award to Willy Cruz, Lea Salonga and Gary Valenciano did a stirring duet of memorable and popular Willy Cruz compositions, like Mahawi Man ang Ulap, Kapag Puso’y Sinugatan, Bawat Pintig ng Puso, Init sa Magdamag, Bituing Walang Ningning and Sana’y Maghintay ang Walang Hanggan.

The 17th Awit Awards night was directed by Romy Veron. It will be aired on RPN 9 next week.











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