Switching Channels
  • Snigdha Nandipati (R) of San Diego, California, embraces with her brother Sujan (L) after she has won the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition May 31, 2012 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Nandipati became the champion after she correctly spelled the word 'guetapens' in round 13. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Another American idol was crowned last week in Washington, DC. Her name is Snigdha Nandipati. She's only 14 years old and like Jessica Sanchez, she comes from San Diego, California. Unlike "AI's" Phillip Phillips, however, Snigdha did not need the votes of the TV audience to claim victory. I have no idea whether she's a superb singer but she's definitely a whiz when it comes to spelling. She just won the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee and was awarded $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library, a $5,000 scholarship, $2,600 in reference works, an online language course and a Nook Color. The event was covered live on ESPN.

    From a field of 278 elementary school students, the Bee was down to two finalists in Round 11, Snigdha and Stuti Mishra. The two were able to spell their assigned words: "admittatur" (the certificate of admission given in some American colleges) for Snigdha and "chionablepsia" (the condition of snow blindness) for Stuti.  In Round

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  • Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago gestures as she explains her not guilty vote on Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona at the conclusion of his impeachment trial in Manila May 29, 2012. The Philippine Senate voted on Tuesday to remove Corona, the country's top judge, in a landmark victory for President Benigno Aquino that should embolden his campaign to root out institutional corruption and could quicken the pace of economic reforms. Twenty out of 23 senators voted to oust the Supreme Court Chief Justice on charges of failing to declare his wealth, making him the first Filipino official to be removed by an impeachment court. REUTERS/Bullit Marquez/Pool (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)Based on ANC's coverage, here are the most striking images during the verdict of Chief Justice Renato Corona:

    1. Senator Miriam Santiago's 20-minute combative speech.

    True to form, the lady senator used most of her long-winded peroration to scold the prosecution and even her fellow senators with her ear-splitting voice as she explained her interpretation of the constitution and the law.

    She pointed out that she's the only former judge in the Senate and also cited her appointment to the international court, maybe to justify her ex-cathedra statements.

    How appropriate that the director cut to a shot of Atty.Vitaliano Aguirre who was cited in contempt for covering his ears while Santiago harangued the prosecution for their errors in a previous session. This time, Aguirre was well-behaved and listened to her seemingly endless explanation of her vote.

    Presiding officer Juan Ponce-Enrile must have regretted giving the senators' unlimited time to explain their votes instead of the previously

    Read More »from Memorable moments from the Corona verdict
  • "Television is an emotional medium and it works best when it prompts an emotional response rather than when it tries to persuade us with rational argument" says Paul Heath, president of Ogilvy and Mather Asia, a respected ad agency. He knows whereof he speaks because his company produces commercials that convince consumers to buy their clients' products.

    That's why telenovelas have more viewers than talk shows. Viewers, most of who belong to the CDE economic class, empathize with the battered wife or the abandoned child. They are not moved by a panel discussion on the Scarborough Shoal controversy.

    Testifying, or rather speaking lengthily (more than three hours)  at his much anticipated appearance at the impeachment court, Chief Justice Renato Corona attempted to use the powers of television to get the sympathy of the millions of viewers by tugging at their hearts.

    Speaking in Pilipino,  he claimed that he and his family are the oppressed party because of the well-planned machinations

    Read More »from Prelude to the verdict: Corona’s emotional speech not convincing
  • Now that the dust has settled, I can say without fear of contradiction from most readers that Jessica Sanchez was the best singer on "American Idol," Season 11.

    Phillip Phillips' victory illustrates the weakness of the present system where the winner is chosen on the basis of popularity rather than talent. Several posts ago, I stated that music pros and not viewers should pick the winner. If this had been the case, Jessica would have won, hands down.

    Compare Jessica's duet with Jennifer Holliday on "And I Am Telling You" with Phillip's duet with John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival on "Bad Moon Rising" and it is very clear who is the better singer.

    A sing-off with Joshua or Colton preferred

    Jessica has always taken risks to tackle different styles of singing and has faltered in some of her choices. On the whole, however, her interpretation of "The Prayer," "And I Will Always Love You," "Try A Little Tenderness" and her most difficult challenge ever, "And I Am Telling You" has

    Read More »from When it comes to talent, Jessica is the real ‘American Idol’
  • Jessica Sanchez (FOX via Getty Images)

    I'm glad I was mistaken in my assessment of Jessica Sanchez's chances in the Top 3 sing-off last night. I have always cheered for Jessica since she made it to the top 10 but last night, she was up against two seemingly unbeatable foes.

    Phillip Phillips has a fan base that votes for him no matter how underwhelming his performance is while Joshua Ledet seemed to be the favorite of the three judges who have given him numerous standing ovations.

    In terms of talent, however, it was clear to me that Jessica and Joshua led Phillip by a mile. So I said in a previous blog that rightfully, the finale should be a duel between Joshua and Jessica since they were the better singers.

    Well, I was wrong.

    Joshua's ouster a plus for Jessica

    The last two singers standing are Jessica and Phillip. With this surprising development, I think Joshua's elimination will be a big plus for Jessica's victory.

    I think many of Joshua's supporters voted for him because they considered him as the best singer of the

    Read More »from Odds are in Jessica's favor to win 'American Idol'
  • Sharon Cuneta (NPPA Images)Of the many stars who have moved over to TV5, Sharon Cuneta generated the most buzz. She is the Megastar after all and ABS-CBN had been her home for the past 23 years. What's more, she reportedly signed a P1 billion contract in late November, 2011.

    Initially, I doubted the astronomical sum and none of the top executives of the Kapatid network would confirm the amount. I only accepted the figure when Sharon told Philippine Star columnist Ricky Lo in March this year that she did not sign up with TV 5 because of the one billion.

    Although I realize that the huge sum will cover not just her TV shows but also movies and special projects like commercial endorsements for Manny Pangilinan's many companies for the next five years, I expected the network to give her a mega program befitting her stature. Initially, there was talk about Sharon doing a show in January this year. But January came and went with Sharon a no show.

    Then there was an announcement that she would finally host a "different"

    Read More »from Does Sharon’s size matter?
  • Just like the song from "Dreamgirls" made famous by Jennifer Holliday on Broadway and Jennifer Hudson in the movie version, Jessica Sanchez is not leaving "American Idol" this week. With her show-stopping rendition of "And I Am Telling You I;m Not Going," and a competent version of Etta James's "Steal Away," the Fil-Mexican-American singer secured a spot in the Top 3 along with Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips.

    British-born American singer Hollie Cavanagh got the lowest number of votes and finally got eliminated after landing in the bottom 3 several times. Her fourth place finish is remarkable if we consider that she auditioned in Season 10 and got eliminated early.

    Jessica elicited a standing ovation from the three judges who accorded her the same honor when she sang Whitney Houston's "And I Will Always Love You" in March. As Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler raved about her number, it was apparent Jessica was still trying to recover from her emotionally exhausting

    Read More »from Jessica is the underdog among the Top 3
  • (L-R) Top 4 contestants Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips onstage at FOX's American Idol Season 11 Top 5 to 4 Live Elimination Show on May 3, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)Although I am hoping that Jessica Sanchez will get enough votes and emerge as the next American Idol, I firmly believe that viewers should not participate in the judging. It is true that the viewing audience only started voting when Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler whittled down the thousands of auditionees to the top 25. From this group, the top 5 males and the top 5 females with the most number of votes advanced to the next round. Each judge then had to pick one contestant from the wild card round to join them. Once the 13 were chosen, the judges could still save one contestant from elimination. Ultimately, however, it's the viewers who have the final say.

    By adopting this system, "AI" has become more of a popularity contest than a talent show. At first glance, this may be a smart move since the winner is the singer who gets the most number of votes so it follows that he or she will also sell the most number of albums. Not true.

    Of the 10 "Idol" winners who have

    Read More »from Music pros, not TV viewers, should pick ‘Idol’ winner
  • (L-R) Top 4 contestants Phillip Phillips, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez backstage at FOX's American Idol Season 11 Top 5 to 4 Live Elimination Show on May 3, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)(UPDATE) Jessica Sanchez escaped elimination on "American Idol" this morning (Thursday evening, U.S. time) when Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh landed in the Bottom 2. Eventually, it was Skylar who was sent home by the American viewers.

    Next week, the battle will be for the Top 3 spots and there is a strong possibility that Jessica will survive another elimination round and face off with Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet the week after. Hollie will probably be sent home. That's my wish, anyway.

    If Jessica does land in the Top 3, she will have equaled the accomplishment of Jasmine Trias who landed in third place in Season 3.

    But getting to the finale will be a more difficult task to accomplish. Phillip and Joshua are tough opponents.

    Phillip: Kept alive by female tweens

    Phillip Phillips has gotten lukewarm feedback from the judges yet he has never landed in the Bottom 3. This week, he crooned his way through his two songs, "The Letter" and "Time of the Season" and never moved from his

    Read More »from Jessica Sanchez faces rough road to ‘Idol’ finale
  • Miriam Quiambao (NPPA Images)In 1999, Miriam Quiambao slipped and fell onstage at the Miss Universe beauty pageant but regained her composure and went on to place second in the prestigious contest. Recently, many people believe Miriam slipped again and she's having a hard time extricating herself from the controversial comments she made on Boy Abunda's talk show, "Bottom Line" on ABS-CBN. Boy's guest was Bems Benedito, Ladlad party list representative but it was Miriam's comments that generated a lot of attention.

    Miriam should have known that when she expressed strong opinions on sensitive topics like sex and religion, she was opening herself up to controversy. True enough, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community and its sympathizers threw brickbats at Miriam.

    It didn't help when she made the following remarks in her Twitter account: "Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth."  Later, she would post, "No offense

    Read More »from The Miriam Quiambao controversy

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