03 June 2013

D’ Intensity Breakers, Roel Manlangit and PGT Voting

Pilipinas Got Singers. This was the text string that trended overnight on the social media site Twitter following young Roel Manlangit’s victory in the Season 4 final of the competition Pilipinas Got Talent. The boy brought home the two million prize money and probably earned himself a lucrative recording contract as well.

The implication, as if one needs to explain, is that followers of the show have become rather tired of seeing singers dominate all four seasons of the competition. The unstated question, naturally, is did those who have become exasperated bother to vote at all.

At the end of the day, the competition is not set to award the most talented but to bring income to the television and telecommunications networks.

By no means is the voting system even a democratic one using the one-is-to-one principle. So thus, the competition is decided by those who have the load, the gadgets and the desire.


Go check the list of America’s Got Talent winners and see for yourself that all are singers except for a ventriloquist. Albeit to be fair, the list of Britain’s Got Talent winners has more variety to it. So maybe it is all down to people actually getting their handsets out and making an effort to vote.
Because regionalism is implicit to the competition, then to a certain extent it is up to the neutrals who are not represented to swing the vote.

After Saturday night’s finals show, all things being equal, I would have wagered on D’ Intensity Breakers and Zilent Overload. Both acts were visually rich, captivating and innovative.

While both acts oozed talent and creativity, I would have wanted D’ Intensity Breakers to bring home the bacon because its performance had the extra quality of being breathtaking. Not to mention that I am from Lipa and would naturally have been party to the bragging rights.

They do say in colourfil lingo, however, that shit does happen, now don’t they? As things subsequently turned out, D’ Intensity Breakers could only finish fifth; while Zilent Overload could do no more than one notch higher at fourth.

Runners-up to Manlangit were Frankendal Fabroa and the Mp3 Band.

Fabroa’s act had a bit of novelty to it; but take away the ring and he would have probably struggled to impress seasoned choreographers. As to the Mp3 Band, I can understand that their style may be attractive to the younger generations; but I personally thought they were quite pedestrian.

Which brings us to little boy Roel Manlangit.

In a just world, votes would have been cast on the merit of Saturday’s performances. However, voting only ended towards the end of the next day’s awards show. This meant that all the contestants still had the chance to influence the last minute voters.

I thought the boy performed well last Saturday. He can sing, that much I will concede. However, with the really high notes, he has a tendency to shout rather than sing; and the shrillness can be more painful than pleasant to listen to.

This, I thought, was the major limitation of his performance on Saturday.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly – and we will never know – the show’s production staff gave him a probably undeserved boost during the awards night by pairing him with Zsa Zsa Padilla. I actually thought the boy sang better than he did the night before.

I instinctively knew that the duet would have a decided influence on the night’s voting. It also did his chances no harm when Zsa Zsa gave him a glowing endorsement. Even as the two wowed the national audience, I immediately feared for the chances of the D’ Intensity Breakers.

There was also the little matter of both Roel Manlangit and Fabroa having been victims of really hard luck stories; and these they were allowed to tell over and over. No prizes for guessing who won the sympathy vote. My heart goes out to the two and I mean them no disrespect.

But it was a talent competition.

PGT’s voting method will, of course, have the accountants glowing self-satisfiedly. Personally, I prefer Idol’s method which closes voting after a period of time so that all votes are counted by the time the awards show commences.

Not only do I think the latter method is fairer; PGT’s voting method also renders the finals, to a certain extent, rather useless.

When I try to rationalise last night’s Pilipinas Got Talent results, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that singers will always have the decided advtantage. After all, singing is probably the most universal of art forms and the one that most will express an appreciation and preference for.

Hard to vote for a drifting team when you don’t even own a car. The level of technical appreciation will just not be the same as that for singing.

The irony, and not that I need to point it out, is that PGT – and its other international versions – pretends that this is conceptually not true. It tries to avoid being yet another singing competition but ultimately ends up being so.

Go check the list of America’s Got Talent winners and see for yourself that all are singers except for a ventriloquist. Albeit to be fair, the list of Britain’s Got Talent winners has more variety to it. So maybe it is all down to people actually getting their handsets out and making an effort to vote.

And in the process making the networks wealthier than they already are, of course...

Were it up to me, I would ban the singers altogether. After all, it is true that there are enough singing competitions already. This way we won’t all have to gripe after yet another singer wins PGT as one is predictably bound to do so all over again in the future.

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