The power of an organized campaign

I stayed home to watch the final contest of Philippine Idol last night. Overall, I wasn't disappointed because the top three contestants, Mau, Gian, and Jan were all generally talented and performed well. However, I couldnt help but note the impact of an organized "pala" on the overall performance of contestants and the general mood of the contest.

Of the three, Jan Nieto had the better machinery - which probably explains why the judges made the fearless forecast that the first Philippine Idol will be male. Jan's supporters seem more organized and seem to have a better-managed campaign going. This was painfully obvious last night at the Araneta - his supporters had all the works... glittering pompoms, larger tarpaulins, more streamers, and louder shrieks.

If we are to go by the audience reaction at Araneta Coliseum last night, the contest was already won by Jan Nieto. He simply had better connection with the audience, although not with those watching at home. Jan has great vocal pipes and I think he has shown considerable improvement since his earlier days in the contest, but he still looks awkward and uncomfortable at turns. Television is a painful medium and his facial ticks and tendecy to over-emote were often highlighted on camera. He seemed all heart.

On the other hand, Gian was the exact opposite - he looked very polish and comfortable onstage. Problem is, he looked verrrrrrrrrry comfortable and he had the tendency to come out sterile. In short, the technicals were perfect, but his performance seemed to lack heart. His rendition of Impossible Dream was vocally perfect, but strangely, I did not feel an emotional connection with him - and to think that song has special meaning to me (favorite song of my grandmother).

Mau is admittedly the more talented of the three. Unfortunately, her performance last night lacked the usual power and presence that have become her trademark. She just wasn't as animated as in the past. But that last song sure blew me away - I think even Whitney Houston could not have done a better job.

So who is going to be? I hope people will remember that while all three are great singers, the winner is going to represent the country and will be compared to the other Idols from other countries. Jan is okay, but Mau and Gian are the better singers and performers.

I voted for Mau and Gian. I hope one of them makes it.


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