"Think big" seems to be the motto of "Artista Academy," TV5's new talent search program where P20 million in prizes awaits the final two winners.
There are no specifications, however, on how much will be in cash and how much will be in kind. Will talent fees for future productions be part of the package? In the initial episode last Monday, host Marvin Agustin mentioned that the winners will come out in a new teleserye.
The format is not unique. ABS-CBN's "Pinoy Dream Academy," which spawned Yeng Constantino, had mentors like Ryan Cayabyab, Jim Paredes and Malou de Guzman.
The TV 5 version has musical director Louie Ocampo, choreographer Georcelle Dapat Sy of G Force and TV-movie director Joel Lamangan.
Sob stories galore
The preliminary screening, where more than 10,000 aspirants reportedly showed up at the Araneta Coliseum , was conducted by Regal producer Roselle Monteverde, talent manager Gelo Jamias, TV 5 Talent Center head Mac Alejandre and Asian Academy of Television Arts director Wilma Galvante.
The first two episodes of the show focused on some of the aspirants who passed the first round.
As I expected, many of them featured sob stories about domestic problems and tragic events in their lives. What's interesting is that those sob stories sounded more realistic than their acting auditions.
There were also clips of TV 5 stars Sharon Cuneta, Lorna Tolentino, Aga Muhlach and Alex Gonzaga on how they started in show business and their advice to the contestants.
Aspirants with showbiz connections
Those who made it to the next round were not impressive. Although there were many who looked good on camera, they did not excel in the acting, singing or dancing department.
I was unable to spot anyone who had the potential to be a superstar even if they had aspirants who said they looked like Angel Locsin or Kim Chiu.
There were also features on the relatives of stars like Gerald Anderson, Polo Ravales, Elizabeth Oropesa and Aljur Abrenica.
Again, they didn't impress me. I hope their show biz connections will not be used in judging their performances. In this group, it was Aljur's brother, Alvin, who stood out
A page off 'American Idol'
Cesar Montano, another AA host, showed up towards the end of the second episode to explain why the contestants who passed the first round were divided into two groups. It was reminiscent of "American Idol" where contestants were divided into several groups and judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson would go into each room to inform the groups whether they had made it.
Cesar started by saying that the group on his right would move on to the next round. The group members on his left naturally assumed that they failed only to be informed by Cesar that they too would proceed to the next round.
From the two groups made up of close to 200 aspirants, 75 will be chosen to continue their quest for stardom. In the end, only 16 will be admitted to the Academy.
I suppose the classes will last for several months which I think is not enough time to get them into shape. The pair who will win this competition will need additional months of training and continuous follow-up to prepare themselves for the world of show business.
Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed.