Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pinoy reality academy

I've been watching ABS-CBN's Pinoy Dream Academy since it opened last Monday mainly because I like the repartee between Ryan Cayabyab and Direk Joey Javier Reyes.

For quite sometime now, I've been ranting about the absence of intelligent commentary on singing contests where there are judges whose job description is precisely to explain what they liked or disliked about a contestant's performance. Unfortunately, most of our experiences in this area has been dismal failures because the judges either tended to be too shallow or focused more on playing to the cameras than trying to make sense.

I had high hopes for GMA 7's Pinoy Idol (the reincarnation of the local edition of American Idol - there was a Philippine Idol in another channel a couple of years back) because I know Ogie is articulate and Wyngard can be ascerbic and insightful. But we all know that show has not really taken off because nothing has clicked so far - the emceeing by Raymond Gutierrez is uninspired and borders on the irrelevant, the staging is so "That's Entertainment," and the critique is neither here nor there. For some strange reason, the performing area of Pinoy Idol looks cramped and it looks like they've been scrimping on electricity because the lighting is painfully inadequate.

Fortunately, Pinoy Dream Academy has started airing.

The current edition of PDA admittedly apes the Idol format in terms of having judges who make commentary on the performance of the contestants but has added creative flourishes that actually make the show interesting. For example, the judges don't just make a critique; there is an on-the-spot workshop on vocal techniques.

Of course the ABS-CBN trademark is still pretty much evident - they still milk situations for their emotional value a la Maalala Mo Kaya - but I think that this edition of PDA is going to be successful if only because for a change it features three judges who actually come across as knowledgeable.

We all know Ryan Cayabyab is a musical genius. However, his competency as a critic has not been brought to the fore until now that he has been paired off with Direk Joey Reyes who is perceptive and garrulous. The result is analysis that is not only incisive but also enlightening.

More of PDA some other time...

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