TnT gives Gidget a chance to shine

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One of the goals of a televised singing competition is to find a star. In the case of Tawag ng Tanghalan (TnT), it appears to have done exactly that by giving Gidget dela Llana a chance to shine.

When the staff of It’s Showtime! announced that they were going to bring back the iconic singing competition that launched the career of Superstar Nora Aunor in the ‘60s, Gidget decided to try her luck. An experienced kontesera, Gidget was fairly confident about her chances of securing a spot on the show. Not because she was cocky or anything like that, but because she believed her stints as a finalist on the Eat, Bulaga! segment Ikaw at Echo: Ka-Voice ni Idol and Q’s Pop Star Kids would serve her well.

And they did. The young diva breezed through the auditions and soon found herself singing in front of millions of people. Not just those watching live at the It’s Showtime! studio in the ABS-CBN compound, but those glued to their laptops or TV screens at home.

?At the time, Gidget says her only goal was to recapture the rush, performing used to give her. That was actually why she and her mother Imee decided she should try out for TnT in the first place. For Gidget, being part of it wasn’t so much about fame or fortune as it was about simply indulging her desire to perform.

“Gusto po talaga namin ni Ma na mag-contest po ulit ako, pero hindi para lumaban—gusto ko lang maramdaman ulit kung paano mag-perform sa entablado,” she explains. But on the day she was to make her debut on the TnT stage, she admits that her emotions almost overwhelmed her while she was waiting in the wings. (“Pinaghalong excitement, kaba at saya po ang nararamdaman ko noon.”) Luckily, Gidget managed to pull it together in time to wow the hurados and the audience.

Gidget’s first performance in the TnT semi-finals was a simple yet beautifully sung version of Araw Gabi. That ditty was first recorded by Nonoy Zuñiga decades ago. However, Gidget’s rendition was most probably a tribute to the cover by Regine Velasquez that the Songbird put on her Covers album in 2004. Gidget says Regine was one of her biggest musical influences growing up. “She’s my idol because she is really an excellent singer,” she explains.

As the TnT semi-finals continued, Gidget gained a reputation for being consistently good as she kept wowing viewers with her renditions of When You Believe, Let it Go and You Are My Song. She has also since amassed a large following called the Gidgetsters, a fan club with chapters in Bulacan, Davao City and Lucena City, to name a few. Those fans keep Gidget’s name a trending topic by regularly talking her up on social media, especially Twitter.

Her rise to prominence is such that Karla Estrada, one of the TnT judges, invited Gidget to join her recent concert at the Kia Theater as one of the guests. Also, as of this writing, ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube video of Gidget’s Araw Gabi performance has been watched 959,970 times and counting. Her voice has truly captured the hearts of the public.

She started singing when she was five years old, which she says floored her mother because as a child, Gidget wasn’t much of a talker, much less a singer. Gidget believes she inherited her skill from an aunt and cousin who can belt one out like nobody’s business. She adds that she has never had formal training — not in the strictest sense, anyway. Her talent is all natural.

Also, Gidget is already thinking about her future in music. At this point in her career, she already knows who she is as an artist and what she wants to do.

“As a singer, I really want to inspire people,” she says earnestly. “Gusto ko habang kumakanta ako, nararamdaman ng mga nakikinig yung message ng kanta ko. If ever I would be given a chance to do an album, I would like the songs to be all-OPM. ‘Yun po talaga ang feel ko kantahin.”

The one thing Gidget doesn’t know yet is what she will do with the TnT prizes should she win the upcoming grand finals. “For now, ang nasa isip ko po ilalagay po muna namin sa bank. Saka na po namin iisipin ni Ma kung ano po gagawin namin sa pera,” she laughs.

Showbiz has been mostly kind to Gidget so far, but she has also had her detractors. However, she’s able to keep soaring, thanks to the wind beneath her wings — her family, friends and passion for music.

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