Switching Channels
  • Jessica Sanchez (FOX via Getty Images)Pinoy viewers in the U.S. didn't have to wait long before Jessica Sanchez made it to safety in the first 15 minutes of last night's "American Idol" results show (Friday morning, local time).  Jessica is now one of the top 5 finalists.

    Elise Testone was first on the Bottom 3. Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine would join her later as the show went on. The results show airs tonight at 6 p.m. on RPN 9 and Channel 14 on Sky Cable.

    In the end, it was Elise, a regular at the Bottom 3, who was sent home.

    Underwhelming performance

    When I watched Jessica sing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" last night, I had an uneasy feeling. She hit her notes alright but a rocker she's not. It was a brave choice for the 16-year-old but very few singers can do justice to the most recognizable of Queen's songs. It was a forgettable number and I was worried that she would again be in danger of elimination.

    Despite her underwhelming performance, the judges were all kind to her. Steven Tyler thought, "Freddie Mercury

    Read More »from Jessica Sanchez moves closer to ‘Idol’s’ top spot
  • Cheesa Laureta (Photo courtesy of NBC)In last week's elimination show, Cee Lo Green saved FilAm singer Cheesa Laureta from going home. Yesterday (Monday, US time), Cheesa managed to survive elimination when Cee Lo sent James Massone packing. James did a weak version of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" and deserved to leave the show. That left Cheesa, Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms competing for the two slots today. The viewers chose to save Jamar Rogers who was aided by a fiery set and back-up dancers as he sang "It's My Life."

    Cheesa and Juliet had to perform again and impress their coach to stay on the show. Cheesa sang Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone." For the life of me, I don't know why she would choose a song that deals with departures. Juliet  tackled Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn." Blake Shelton believes Juliet should stay because the fans would applaud that decision. Christina Aguilera admits that although Cheesa has "gone a long way," she's always been a fan of Juliet. Cheesa is in tears as she waits for Cee Lo's

    Read More »from Cee Lo sends Cheesa home on ‘The Voice’
  • (L-R) Contestants Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon and Phillip Phillips and host Ryan Seacrest onstage at FOX's 'American Idol' Season 11 Top 7 With Save To 6 Live Elimination Show on April 19, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)The viewers have spoken. Jessica Sanchez lives to fight another day on "American Idol." After escaping elimination last week by the skin of her teeth, courtesy of the three judges, Jessica convincingly proved to the American audience that she deserves to continue performing on "AI."

    Of course, I didn't see the results show on TV as it will only be aired tonight on ETC (Channel 9 on terrestrial TV and 14 on Sky) but Jessica's victory was all over the Internet this morning. That's because the show aired Thursday evening in the US which is Friday morning in the Philippines. The Internet also contained the names of the three singers who were in the bottom three, Hollie Cavanagh, Elise Testone and Colton Dixon. To add to the suspense and make sure viewers stayed till the conclusion of the show, Ryan did not get to Jessica till the last 10 minutes of the show when he revealed that she was safe. Finally, Ryan announced that it was Colton who was going home.

    I did watch the Top 7 perform last

    Read More »from Jessica Sanchez makes it to ‘American Idol’s’ top 6
  • Lena Headey as Queen Cersei Lannister (Photo courtesy of HBO)Spending tens of millions of dollars on a miniseries was unheard-of in the TV business until HBO upped the ante with "Band of Brothers," " Rome ," and quite recently "Game of Thrones (GOT)." All three have become certified mega-hits and "GOT" is now on its second season in the US. Local viewers will finally get a chance to continue enjoying the series when the first episode of Season 2 airs Saturday, April 21 at 9 p.m. on HBO and 8 p.m. on HBO HD.

    To promote the new season, HBO invited entertainment media to an advance screening at The Fort with Senior Executive for Communication Angela Poh, flying in from Singapore to host the event. When I got the invite, I wondered what gimmick the publicists had lined up for us. In February, the cable network was pushing "Luck," a miniseries about horse racing starring Dustin Hoffman. The press briefing was held at the Manila Polo Club where we viewed the premiere episode, listened to a lecture on horses and participated in betting on which horse

    Read More »from Let the ‘Game of Thrones’ (Season 2) begin
  • (L-R) Annalie Forbes, 2nd RU; Nicole Schmitz, Bb. Pilipinas International; Janine Tugonon, Bb. Pilipinas Universe; Katrina Dimaranan, Bb. Pilipinas Tourism and Elaine Kay Moll, 1st RU. (George Calvelo/NPPA Images) Last night, I watched the Bb. Pilipinas 2012 beauty pageant where the following emerged as winners: Janine Tugonon, Bb. Pilipinas Universe; Nicole Schmitz, Bb. Pilipinas International; and Katrina Jayne Dimaranan, Bb. Pilipinas Tourism. I hope they do as well or better than Shamcey Supsup, third runner-up in Miss Universe 2011.

    I have my own list of winners for their onscreen appearances so congratulations to the following:

    ● Shamcey and Venus Raj for doing a fine job as program hosts. They were comfortable with the English language and shone on the TV screen.

    ● Risa Hontiveros Baraquel, for translating her question in English into Pilipino and asking the contestant to answer in the language that she's more comfortable with.

    ● Binibini No. 7, Patricia Lae Ejercitado, for giving the most real answer of the evening Asked to recall the biggest obstacle she ever faced in her life, she said, "There was a time in my life that I doubted the existence of God but I realized that it was just

    Read More »from Winners and losers in the Bb. Pilipinas 2012 beauty pageant
  • Jessica Sanchez with 'American Idol' judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and host Ryan Seacrest. (Photo by Fox via Getty Images)The unthinkable happened on "American Idol" this week. Fil-Am singer Jessica Sanchez, admittedly a front runner on the talent search show received the lowest number of votes among the seven remaining finalists and faced elimination.

    This prompted Randy Jackson to remark after seeing Jessica in the Bottom 3 along with Elise Testone and Joshua Ledet: "In the 11 years I've done this show, this is the first time this happens. This is a ridiculous Bottom 3, America . They got it wrong tonight."

    This has been a scary week for Fil-Am singers. Cheesa Laureta, our bet on "The Voice" was in the Bottom 3 last Wednesday and also faced elimination. Thanks to her soulful rendition of "All By Myself," her coach, Cee-Lo Green, saved her from being sent home.

    Jessica's lack of audience support was surprising since the judges and mentor Jimmy Iovine gave her excellent feedback. Randy, especially, was full of superlatives for her rendition of Jazmine Sullivan's "Stuttering": "That was superb. That was of

    Read More »from Why Jessica Sanchez almost got eliminated
  • Cee-Lo Green (Photo by Isaac Brekken/WireImage)For a moment, it looked as though Fil-Am singer Cheesa Laureta would be out of "The Voice" after the live performances Monday night (Tuesday morning Philippine time).  She was not among the top three singers on Team Cee Lo who got the most votes from the viewers. Her interpretation of the disco number "Don't Leave me This Way" did not impress the viewing audience. This despite the rave review from her coach, Cee Lo Green who said, "I thought she did a great job. I think it was a successful match of you and your voice. It was electrifying. I enjoyed it. I think the people did as well." The other coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton were not as enthusiastic but they all agreed that she did a great job.

    I watched her number Wednesday evening on AXN and although she wasn't spectacular, she certainly held her own against her teammates. I feel that what's preventing some viewers from voting for her is the "glamour" factor. Cheesa doesn't have the look that will attract

    Read More »from Cee Lo saves Cheesa from elimination on ‘The Voice’
  • (Photo by Richard Swaidan/WireImage)Now that the Lenten season is almost over, I am reminded of the local TV version of "Jesus Christ Superstar" which was shown by ABS-CBN on Easter Sunday, April 11, 1971. This was months before the musical made its debut on the Broadway stage on October 17, 1971 and years before the movie with Ted Neely in the title role was shown in 1973. In April, 1971, "JCS" was a rock album that had become a big hit in 1970. It was also quite controversial because it portrayed the human side of Jesus Christ. It was unthinkable, even sacrilegious, at that time to portray Jesus saying to God:

    Take this cup away from me

    For I don't want to taste its poison

    Feel it burn me

    I have changed

    I'm not as sure as when we started

    The ABS-CBN version was a low-budget production. Bernardo Bernardo as Jesus, Tommy Abuel as Judas and Laurice Guillen were theater actors who did not command high talent fees. The sets were stylized, another word for inexpensive. The director was also not a problem when it came to

    Read More »from Memories of ABS-CBN’s ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar
  • Cheesa Laureta (Publicity photo courtesy of NBC)I confess I have not watched a single episode of "The Voice," another talent search reality show similar to "American Idol." I have been addicted to this year's "AI" since Jessica Sanchez made it to the top 24 and progressed to the top 8 last week. She is heavily favored to reach the final episode where only two finalists will compete for the top prize.

    When I heard that a FilAm girl, Cheesa Laureta,  was in the top 24 of "The Voice" or "The V," I made it a point to watch the next episode of "AI's" competitor. (The Live Round of "The Voice" starts airing on Thursday, April 5 on AXN, Ch. 49 on Sky). I also searched the internet for more information about her. Cheesa (pronounced "Che-za"), 21, was born and grew up in Hawaii just like Jasmine Trias,  who placed third in "AI's" third season. Both of Cheesa's parents are Filipino (her mom is from Cebu and her dad is a Manileño).  She has a brother, Troy, who's also musically inclined. He is Charice's musical director when she goes on tour.

    Read More »from Jessica’s doing fine, it’s time to cheer for Cheesa on ‘The Voice’
  • Normanie Santos (Contributed photo)I know very little about fashion. I'm more interested in the models rather than the clothes they're wearing. When Hollywood stars drop the names of fashion icons on the red carpet at the Oscars, most of the names don't ring a bell. So when I went to the launch of "Project Runway Philippines" on March 25 at the Genting Club, I didn't really expect much. Solar TV, which produces the show, gave us a peek into the premiere episode which aired Sunday, March 25 at 8 p.m. on ETC (Channel 9 on free TV, 14 on Sky and Global Destiny)

    Before that, the emcee introduced Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, program host, Jojie Lloren, mentor, Rajo Laurel and Apples Aberin, judges. What's a contest without attractive prizes? The winner will get half a million pesos, an all-expense paid trip to Paris to witness Paris Fashion Week, sewing machines worth P300,000, an Intuos 4 Wacom tablet and many more goodies.

    To my utter surprise, watching "PRP" was an engrossing experience, thanks to the artistry of French

    Read More »from Ex-seminarian first to leave on ‘Project Runway Philippines’


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