Wanted: Better judges
To be fair, Ryan Cayabyab did try to act like a judge. He tried to be objective and to make sensible comments. In fact, many times during the show, he could not help but take a swipe at the supposed poor taste of the Filipinos who cast their votes last week (the better performers among the male semi-finalists did not make the cut). But how can Filipino voters make an enlightened choice if the judges do not make sensible comments to begin with? The judges are supposed to help the audience make enlightened choices, but their comments tonight were simply neither here nor there.
Tonight, the 12 female semi-finalists competed for four of the final six slots. It was a great showcase of sheer talent, lung power, emoting, and well, fashion hits and misses. It could have been a great opportunity to educate Filipino audiences on the subtle differences between vocal quality, tonal quality, etc., but...well, please, take a look at what these people tried to pass off as sensible comments and you be the judge.
(Okay, okay, I know that my side comments are nasty and literal; those who need to take supplements of irony need not lose sleep over these comments, I admit I was pissed off when I wrote this piece)
1. First performer was Gail who performed Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It.
Francis Magalona: (Said something nonsensical and that made me decide to write down the rest of the comments of the judges).
Pilita Corrales: You look like a contestant for the Miss Universe contest! (what's that got to do with the singing?)
Ryan Cayabyab: The song ate you out. (That's it?)
2. Second performer was Ting Otero. She performed Diana Ross' Come In From The Rain (I remember this song as the theme song of James Bond movie when I was in high school)
Francis Magalona: Papirmahin na yan ng kontrata! (That is a critique?)
Pilita Corrales: Iba talaga ang bisaya! (She won points simply because she was born in the Visayas?)
Ryan Cayabyab: I suggest a makeover para mas bumata ang hitsura mo kasi ang ganda ng boses mo (where's the logic? Ahhh...pag bumata na ang hitsura nya, magiging mas maganda ba ang boses nya? Duh!)
3. Ynah Pangan, performed Aegis' sore throat-inducing Halik
Francis Magalona: Courageus effort, basta OPM okay sa akin, plus factor. (Duh! OPM music is great, but such reverse discrimination is a disservice. Ibig sabihin kahit kumanta ng Pamela One, pwede kasi OPM?)
Pilita Corrales: I liked the choice of song. (And then she started flirting with Ryan Agoncillo).
Ryan Cayabyab: Sugal ang ginawa mo sa pagpili ng kanta at nanalo ka. (Pwede na, pero ganun na lang ba yun? Boboto kami dahil nanalo sa sugal?)
4. Apple Chiu, Rhythm of the Street (I remember this girl from the auditions because she sang that Spaghetti song by the Sexbomb girls with such aplomb. It turns out she was a strong contender for the Korean staging of Miss Saigon).
Francis Magalona: Kinareer nya! (How very insightful!)
Pilita Corrales: You are very sexy and I like you. (This is a singing contest, po!)
Ryan Cayabyab: Di ko matake ang kanta, buti na lang maganda ang boses mo. (Pwede na sana ang comment, pero sana mas intelligent pa ng kahit konti na lang - para naman di namin makalimutan na music expert ka, in fact you are the country's foremost musical expert!)
5. Jeli Mateo, Bridges
Francis Magalona: Sugal ang pagpili ng kanta. Nasakyan ko. (Huh? Ahh...sasakyan kita, sa lahat ng gusto mo...)
Pilita Corrales: I like you, you are taller than Ryan Agoncillo (and flirted again with Ryan Agoncillo; this time Ryan went along and the two made shameless repartee reminiscent of what Pilita and the late Bert Tawa Marcelo used to do on Ang Baking Kampeon eons ago).
Ryan Cayabyab: You are tall and beautiful. (Remind ko lang po na singing contest ito!)
6. Ira Marasigan, Mr. Melody. (This girl is the daughter of prominent stage and film actress Irma Adlawan and theatre stalwart Dennis Marasigan, and Irma was prominently focused - was even made to stand up after she sang. So much for fairness).
Francis Magalona: You had lots of energy. (Yeah, she took lots of Enervon C and Lipovitan, you should too!)
Pilita Corrales: You have blossomed, I hope you make it. (Banana blossoms ba ito? Why do you like her singing? Why? Why?)
Ryan Cayabyab: You have class (may caste system ba dito?)
7. Pow, OPM Song Ikaw Lamang
Francis Magalona: Manloloko ka, mahusay ka na mang-aawit. Kelan ka magpapalda? (He thought his political incorrectness was cute and funny)
Pilita Corrales: Whatever you wear, whatever you say, I love you. (Followed up on Francis M's gender insensitive ribbing about Pow's gender, but mercifully decided to spend more time flirting with Ryan Agoncillo again, this time comparing the contestant's and Ryan's shoes).
Ryan Cayabyab: Boses mo punong puno ng emotion, kung tama bumoto ang mga tao, papasok ka sa top four! (Anak ng tipaklong naman eh...Kung matino at helpful sana ang comments nyo, matututo bumoto ng tama ang mga tao! Kaya nga kayo judges eh! )
8. Steff Lazaro, Home (From The Wiz)
Francis Magalona: I think inspite of the fact that you are from Australia, you did good! (Australians should ban him from their country! What the heck was that supposed to mean!)
Pilita Corrales: I've watched you doing (and she gestured incoherently with both arms - like sparring with someone). (Ano yun?)
Ryan Cayabyab: Nothing new. (He prefaced his critique by commenting on the song as national song for singing contests). (Pwede na, Simon Cowell copy cat, pero pwede na).
9. Mau Marcelo, Sweet Love by Anita Baker
Francis Magalona: Kahit si Fantasia (Barrino, American Idol champ) titiklop kay Mau. (I agree, but I wish he explained why)
Pilita Corrales: I really like the way you've changed. Sexy ka na ngayon. (Again, singing contest po ito, Mamita!)
Ryan Cayabyab: With a performance like that, I don't understand why you are not yet an international singer. (Finally, something that came close to a sensible comment. And as if to acknowledge the fact that finally a judge made a sensible comment for a change, Mau promptly broke down. I would have, too, if I were in her shoes).
10. EJ Bautista, Paalam Na by Rachel Alejandro. (This girl is partially deaf and supplied the emotional quotient in the first round of auditions. But since she did not make such a big deal of her disability, they called in her mother into the room to provide the emotional hara kiri).
Francis Magalona: Malinis ang pagkakainterpret (Finally! A sensible comment)
Pilita Corrales: Despite your disability, you are always nasa tono, always in the right key.
Ryan Cayabyab: Good enough, not exciting, nothing spectacular. (Ryan makes better comments when he is bored)
11. Suey Medina, Almost Over You
Francis Magalona: Beautiful! You killed it! (Killed? Did he just say killed? Homicide ba ito?)
Pilita Corrales: (Flirted with Ryan Agoncillo again) You like her? Very Good!
Ryan Cayabyab: I was ready to diss you (talked about his observations during rehearsals)...but your performance was better, congratulations! (Again, no specifics)
12. Arms Cruz, Superwoman
Francis Magalona: Best performance tonight. (Pwede na, except that this was a standard comment in American Idol)
Pilita Corrales: It's strange that this is the first time you did not cry, etc. (talked about how contestant was always crying for other contestants who did not make it during the auditions). You are my superwoman!
Ryan Cayabyab: Very solid performance. Very, very professional!
And they blame the Filipino audience for not making the enlightened choices? Duh!