Who will be the next showbiz royalty?

STARBYTES - Butch Francisco -

With all the talent searches launched by the two leading TV networks — GMA 7 and ABS-CBN — the past couple of years, the entertainment profession is now overflowing with talents. The trouble is, the industry doesn’t know what to do with all of them.

Fortunately for those who managed to survive, a lot of them are doing extremely well: Mark Herras, Marky Cielo, Aljur Abrenica (who are on Zaido) and Gerald Anderson, whose movie with Kim Chiu — I’ve  Fallen For You — opened yesterday in Metro Manila theaters.

But as always, the competition among the girls is tougher and tighter and up for grabs now is the position for the next movie queen. Judy Ann Santos is now the youngest member of crowned showbiz royalty, but she has no one to pass the scepter on to yet if and when she decides to slow down (maybe when she gets married and starts raising a family). Angel Locsin was this close to inheriting it and still has a chance to — if she recovers from all that negative publicity she got after being branded an ingrate.

At the moment, however, there is still no official successor to take over the throne of Judy Ann, who — I believe — will always be up there along with Vilma Santos, Sharon Cuneta, Nora Aunor and other movie queens ahead of them. But there are candidates from our roster of young female talents today. Here are my bets:

Marian Rivera — She languished in the wings for a couple of years — waiting for her big break to come and it did come this year and how! Marian had always had a lovely face, but she was never this beautiful. I don’t know her process of transformation (I’m not referring to surgical procedures — it’s something coming from within), but she developed star quality practically overnight. If her lucky streak continues, then she may just be the next movie queen.

Yasmien Kurdi — She had always been just second to Jennylyn Mercado. Second in the StarStruck contest. Second in billing. Second in the distribution of assignments. But she seems to have overtaken Jennylyn now. Gifted with a fine singing voice, she is also fast developing into a fine actress and I see this on the daily soap Pasan Ko and Daigdig.

Kim Chiu — People say her presence in the ABS-CBN compound was what displaced Sandara Park. Actually, it seems like she has dethroned even Kristine Hermosa and Bea Alonzo as the prized possession of Star Cinema and Channel 2. Kim as you can see is not your usual Spanish mestiza beauty. But she has a good blend of very Oriental looks that makes her standout in a sea of half-breed young talents. Her face is very likeable and this is what the masses adore.

Nadine Samonte — Her face is sweet, but not saccharine and you can go on and on looking at it and not get tired. She can also play it rich or poor and this should be to her advantage during casting for female lead roles. However, she still has to learn depth and needs further training in the acting department.

Maja Salvador — Her name says it all. Maybe she’s too young still at this point. But with her pretty face and talent for drama, she has the makings of a future movie queen. At least, there’s a lot in her that could still be further developed.

Christine Reyes — She used to suffer in comparison to older sister Ara Mina, but haven’t you noticed how she is now starting to bloom? But she should keep honing her acting skills and start taking tips from Ara on how to become a serious and respected actress.

Lovi Poe — I have high hopes for this girl, who is both pretty and talented (she sings very well). Maybe it’s not her time yet, but I believe it will come — soon.

KC Concepcion — Did you see her ABS-CBN special last Sunday? The small screen wasn’t big enough to accommodate all that superstar quality in her. I don’t know what her plans are (if she is joining showbiz full-time), but she is definitely a movie queen in the making. If this daughter of Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion decides to embrace movies, TV  and recordings as a profession, then finally there will be a mother-daughter tandem in the gallery of Philippine movie queens.

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