The Star For A Night singers

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil () - July 18, 2011 - 12:00am

I am of the belief that in order for a talent contest to be exciting, all of the finalists must be potential winners. The key to the success of these competitions is in the choice of finalists. If you get this process right then you will get not only one winner but two or three or more stars. With this you are assured that anybody who wins the grand prize has what it takes to be star.

Just take a look at what happened to Season 10 of American Idol (AI) this year. After some years of declining viewership, most probably because of the mediocre contestants, the reality show reached new heights because of its most talented batch of finalists ever. Any one of them could have won the title and satisfied the fans. It was not a case of wala kang mapili or having only one or two standouts.

This thought came to mind after Angeline Quinto won the Star Power title. I remember Angeline. She was one of the finalists in the Star For A Night (SFAN) contest produced by Viva Television eight years ago where Sarah Geronimo was declared winner. SFAN was the local franchise of the reality show of the same title from the UK and was aired over IBC-13. The series was so successful that it marked the return of singing competitions to local TV. And as the ensuing years would later prove, it also got the cream of the crop among our singing talents.

Sarah, who sang Celine Dion’s To Love You More, turned out to be a truly worthy winner. During that glorious Star For A Night evening at the ULTRA, she went from total unknown to a star. And she is now one in every sense of the word. Sarah makes hit songs, stars on TV and is one of the top product endorsers. She also sets movie box-office records and fills up the Araneta Coliseum during her concerts. No other winner of a local contest enjoys the same degree of success.

Now, the then 14-year-old Sarah bested 10 other finalists in the competition that night but it was not the end of the road for them. SFAN was no case of having only one stand out in Sarah. The finals’ night was actually a case of ang hirap mamili. Thanks to a rigid screening process and the excellent eye for talent of those involved with the show, the contestants were mostly great and good things have since then also happened to them.

Belter Maureen Marcelo from Lucena who did Diane Reeves’ Better Days became the first Philippine Idol in the local version of American Idol and was the runner-up in the Asian Idol contest held in Singapore. Mark Bautista, hitched a ride in a cargo boat from Cagayan de Oro to audition for SFAN. He sang Ngayon At Kailanman and is now one of the country’s top young balladeers. He also acts in the movies, stage and television.

The pretty Angeli Mae Flores, who did Mandy Moore’s Cry, was only 13 then. She is now one of the members of the Pan-Asian girl group Blush, which is touted as the next Spice Girls. They are now recording their debut album, which will be released internationally, with several Grammy winning producers. And then there was Star Power winner Angeline who did Habang May Buhay.

So I got to thinking, maybe since theirs have been proven to be an excellent batch, and it has been slim pickings in most singing contests nowadays, maybe the other Star For A Night finalists deserve another turn. One of the standouts because of her smooth tones and excellent vocal control was the dusky beauty Floriemae Lucido who sang Ngayon. She was remade into Reema Lucida but was said to have opted for marriage and now lives in Canada.

I remember Jason Velasquez who sang You Are My Song was vocally, an intriguing cross between Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano. There was also a young Beyoncé in Musica Cristobal’s Emotions, a promising balladeer in Carlo San Jose’s Never Ever Say Goodbye, and potential soul divas in Mailyn Yu with Visions of Love and in Roxanne Joy Castro who did Fallin’.

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