Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Go, Gian!

This Sunday, November 19, will be a big day for Gian Magdangal. It's the "Movies and Musicals" day on "Philippine Idol," which means he and the four other surviving contestants will sing one song each from a movie and from a musical play. They will have to work extra hard, because the guest judge is no less than Lea Salonga. And, on top of that, Sunday also happens to be his birthday.

Because musical theater is the genre Mr. Magdangal is most identified with, the pressure is greater for him to outclass the competition at this point. I have high hopes he will. This guy has been giving it his all every week on "Philippine Idol," and many agree that he's one of the best, if not the best, of the lot. Ryan Cayabyab himself has said so, and as things stand, he's the only judge in that show who seems to know what he's talking about.

People from theater have known for a while that Mr. Magdangal is a talent to watch. His years with Trumpets, under Audie Gemora and Freddie Santos' guidance, have resulted in a focused, hardworking and energetic young performer whose triple whammy of skills--singing, dancing and acting--has been on display on Manila's stages for some time, but is getting widespread attention (at least the singing and dancing parts) only now via "Philippine Idol."

One would have to see Mr. Magdangal in a musical to appreciate his third gift, which is acting. He is a natural on stage. In "Joseph the Dreamer," "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast," he learned his paces by being part of the ensemble. But by the time he played Willard Hewitt in last year's "Footloose, the Musical," staged by Trumpets' sister company Stages under Chari Arespacochaga's direction, he was ready for a breakthrough. And he got one, with a performance that was one of the best things in that show, especially his winning "Mama Says" number with lead star Jay-R and three other fresh-faced kids.

(For this performance, I counted him as a nominee for Best Featured Actor in a musical in my "2005 Best of Theater" roundup, along with Mr. Gemora ["Footloose"], Leo Rialp ["St. Louis Loves Dem Filipinos"], Jett Pangan and Bodjie Pascua ["Once on This Island"], and Nazer Salcedo and Rody Vera ["Noli Me Tangere"], theater veterans all.)

Early this year, Mr. Magdangal stepped into the shoes vacated by Jeffrey Hidalgo in the brief restaging of "Once On This Island," directed by Bart Guingona, and held his own against stage heavyweights such as Mr. Pangan, Michael De Mesa, Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, Michael Williams and Bituin Escalante. Better yet, his co-stars spoke highly not only of what he could do onstage but also of how he was off it.

Clearly, with his good work in theater and the by-now improbably classic story of his entry into "Philippine Idol" (borrowed money from friends to catch auditions in Cebu, was booted out early, got himself back in as a wild card, still comes close to being voted out from time to time to Mr. C's consternation, sings his guts out every time and through it all), the guy is destined for bigger things.

I, for one, am glad that more Pinoy TV viewers, many of them otherwise unfamiliar with local theater names--especially upcoming ones like Mr. Magdangal's--are now savoring his talent right in their living rooms.

Go get that prize, Gian. Happy birthday, and break a leg this Sunday!

[To vote, text GIAN to 2339 or dial 190854365-0_(the number of his performance slot) on the night of the competition. To know more about Gian, check out his Friendster and Multiply accounts.]

[photo 1: Rudy Esperas]


reo said...

Antaray. At me review na talaga sya ngayon.

But I agree. Gian is my bet too.

Howdy, my friend? Wassup?

reo said...

Ei! Just spent my whole morning reading your posts (he he. kung alam lang ng opisina ang ginagawa ko). Sensya na po. I just realized na matagal ka na palang celebrity blogger. I thought naligaw lang ang comment mo ke Gian. Di ka na talaga ma-reach. Mukhang kailangan ng matakot ni Nestor Torre sa yo. Anyway, I did enjoy the stuff you wrote. The writing is superb, as always. Kaya nga idol talaga kita noon pa mang payak pa ang mundo natin, he he. Enwey, pakape ka naman! Ok rin na while watching Philippine Idol. Caveat: I don't watch it from the point of view of an art connoisseur like you. Alam mo naman tayo, pop ang orientation. He he.

bananas said...

magaling kumanta.


malayong-malayo sa mala-lamok na wewang ng pinsan na si jolenz.

laitera ba?



Oliver Oliveros said...

Hi Gibbs,

Thanks for this extra boost for Gian!

=) Oliver

Rey said...

Too bad Philippine Idol is not shown internationally.

Nicole's Mama said...

Hey there, Gibbs...

I too am looking forward to this Sunday's Philippine Idol episode. For the most part I've been rooting for Gian, that with each week he makes it through to the next round. However, I must tell myself to be completely unbiased and objective as far as his performance is concerned. Given that it's Movies and Musicals week, I have high expectation for Gian, after having seen him in a few musicals. He should have the easiest time with this genre compared to the other idol hopefuls. But, you never know what the others have up their sleeves.

In any event, this weekend should be a lot of fun.

As for how I'll end up expressing my criticisms, if any, I've been admonished to keep things objective without resorting to cruelty. In other words, no Simon Cowell-isms. I also wouldn't want to be hammered by a disgruntled fan's placard, or slapped by cartolina. I do need my face for my own work, he he he.


gibbs cadiz said...

hi REO, glad you found your way to this site! punta nga tayo baguio and relive our knights of rizal youth conference dun, haha! then we can ask dong puno the right questions, like--on agreeing to be erap's spokesperson and squandering his name in the process: what WERE you thinking? :) you remember how you rattled a UP prof with your question about rizal vs. bonifacio? hehe, those were the days!

BANANAS, haha, hala ka kay jolenz!

hey OLIVER, you're welcome!

ey REY, sa singapore ka nga pala ano. yep, you're missing quite a lot! :)

gibbs cadiz said...

hello LEA, this sunday should really be fun with you there! haha, i can imagine how the candidates are feeling now. but am sure they'd end up cherishing the experience, with or without the simon cowell-isms. good luck to you, too! give 'em hell (the right kind). :)

Anonymous said...

Good day! Thanks for your article on Gian Magdangal. I'm rooting for him; he's the best among the PI hopefuls. I hope you get to watch this Sunday's performance night and write an article on it. That will be another interesting write-up, 'm sure. God bless!


Anonymous said...

hi Gibbs,
Thanks for the write up. It means a lot, It's a big help too! :) I'll do my best this weekend. I hope the viewers enjoy the show and continue to support Philippine idol. God Bless!


snglguy said...

Ok I'm kinda lost here since I never watch Philippine Idol, not after the first audition anyway. But since things are getting to be interesting, I'd probably hop over to channel 5 to see how Gian will fare this Sunday. Tsk, sinabi mo eh. Haha :-D

Have a great weekend, Gibbs.

gerome! said...

Gian has a great voice. He's one of my bets at first because we can't really deny he has this complete package as a performer. But for me, his performances this past few weeks is just on the middle simply because I can't see something new in him. Excluding the sing-and-dance episode, I think the way he performs his songs is just the same, though he was able to lessen the theatrical aspect of his performances.

He deserves to have a slot in the Top 5, but he should re-invent himself once in a while. :D

gibbs cadiz said...

hey GIAN, glad to see ya here, thanks for taking time to post a comment. happy birthday! :)

SNGLGUY, do watch, and tell us what you think! :)

ey GEROME, thanks for the comment. am sure gian would appreciate the feedback. :)

gerome! said...

gian's great! 'yun ang hinahanap ko kay gian. astig at cool na performance! two thumbs up! :D

gerome! said...

sana pa-link na rin. :D

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