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Contestants’ heartbreaking stories add to the challenge of judging TNT

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Contestantsâ heartbreaking stories add to the challenge of judging TNT
Tawag ng Tanghalan (TNT) hurados Jed Madela, Louie Ocampo and Nyoy Volante.
STAR / File

Judging from home may be challenging for Tawag ng Tanghalan (TNT) hurados but it has an advantage as well.

Nyoy Volante, Jed Madela, and Louie Ocampo, including It’s Showtime host Karylle, tackled in a digital press conference how difficult it is to judge a singing competition in this time of pandemic.

In terms of the technical aspect, Nyoy said that although it’s a “step down” from what they hear in the studio, where they are provided with ear monitors, the advantage now is that it has become easier for them to listen through their devices.

He said, “Kasi maririnig namin what everyone else is hearing. Kasi isa sa mga na-encounter namin before (in earlier seasons), meron kaming naririnig na hindi naririnig ng mga nanonood sa television.”

But now, everyone can check on the Internet and listen through their devices, “so in some way, the technical aspect has become an advantage kasi naging pantay-pantay yung perceptions natin,” explained Nyoy.

Plus, under this new normal set-up, judges can now have a comparison. “We now have both. We have the reference of what we used to hear and then we can compare itong nandito kami sa bahay. Nakikinig kami through the Internet. Ito din yung naririnig ng lahat ng nanonood sa amin. So it’s additional information for us,” he said.

It is difficult for them to judge this season because of the heartbreaking stories they hear from the contestants.

“In terms of emotional aspect kasi makikita mo yung stories nila kasi medyo naghihirap yung kalagayan nila (some contestants) ngayon. Merong mga pinagdadaanan because of the pandemic,” shared Nyoy.

The hurados would empathize and sympathize with the contestants. But, of course, “more than anything else the challenge is for you not to be affected in that way. Kumbaga maapektuhan ka sa kanya, tao sa tao, pero pag-judge ka ng TNT at contestant siya, yun muna ang trabaho mo,” he furthered.

Music maestro Louie added, “We, us judges, want to make sure that what you are hearing is what we are hearing, with a little step higher and with more detail…We wanna make sure that what we hear is what everybody hears so that everything is fair.”

Because of this “downtime during this COVID-19 era, my ears have become sharper and I’ve become more forgiving, technically,” shared Louie with a laugh and recalled how he grew up listening to transistor radio.

However, he has come up with “certain expectations because of this lockdown” and challenged the finalists. “Yung tenga ko parang sobrang na-expose uli so I’ll be expecting a lot again from them. So I hope this will push them to become even much better and to give something new.”

Jed agreed that during this time of pandemic it has become more of a challenge for them because “everything is all technical now.” “Of course, pag nasa Internet ka, online ka, iba yung naririnig mo sa naririnig mo sa studio. On the good side, kung anong naririnig at nakikita ng mga madlang pipol, ganun din ang naririnig at nakikita sa technical side of it.”

The Kapamilya singer also admitted he can be “very generous” and “very meticulous” at the same time. “Not much on the mali nila on the performance. It’s more of kakayahan nila. So ‘pag naririnig ko at nakikita ko online, yun ang points na kino-consider ko lagi.”

He would also empathize with the contestants’ heart-wrenching stories. But then again, “it’s our job to base it on the talent and the actual charisma and personality of the contestants. It’s a challenge but at the same time, it’s also a matter of how you perceive or look at the situation. It’s good thing for me that everything is online kasi mas meticulous ako sa mga bagay na yun,” said Jed.

Karylle, who also became a judge at a certain point this season, noted that “a lot of the contestants are actually becoming brave.” “They put their dreams on hold for so long. Ngayon, parang nagkaroon sila ng panibagong lakas. Maybe they never thought they would actually audition and go to compete.”

The candidates have developed an “awakening of some sort,” as per Karylle.

Meanwhile, TNT grandwinners Janine Berdin and JM Yosures have some advice for this season’s finalists and that is to love what they’re doing.

“Mahalin niyo lang yung ginagawa niyo. Because if you love what you’re doing, kahit anong mangyari, you enjoy doing it,” said Janine.

JM echoed, “Mahalin mo yung ginagawa mo and isipin mo kung bakit mo siya ginagawa in the first place. Kasi sometimes, medyo harsh tayo sa sarili natin. Pag para sa sarili lang natin parang, ‘Ah OK lang, ayoko na ituloy to,’ pero para sa mga taong naniniwala sa’yo at sa mga taong nagdala sa’yo sa posisyon na yan, dun ka mas mai-inspire kesa sa sarili mo, sa totoo lang.”

“Just continue your passion and surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook,” the young singer added.

The eight singers from different parts of the country who will compete today in the fifth TNT grand finals on Its Showtime are: Reiven Umali, Froilan Cedilla, Psalm Manalo, Gem Christian, Adrian Manibale, Anthony Castillo, Lorraine Galvez and Aixia Mallary.

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