When I saw the pilot episode of PINOY IDOL, where they were choosing finalists from a sea of contestant-wanna-bes, I felt I was watching a different show altogether. I thought I was watching... uhm... “Wish Ko Lang” because they showed clips featuring some contestants and their unbelievable struggles to get through the harrowing audition process. One contestant told her depressing tale, how she sold her car to get to Manila to join the contest. “Gusto ko talagang manalo sa Pinoy Idol para makaahon kami sa hirap. Pagod na pagod na kasi ako sa ganitong buhay.” Another contestant was even taped during her father’s burol complete with coffin in the background. I thought I was dreaming -- maybe I was. Another contestant, who was barely 18, when asked why he joined the contest answered “Para mapakain ko po ang mga magulang ko at mapag-aral ko ang mga kapatid ko.” Another girl said “Para makakain po ako ng tatlong beses isang araw.” It went on and on and on and on. Wow. I thought this was a singing contest. Bakit parang naging KAPWA KO, MAHAL KO with musical production numbers in between segments? Ano yun? Kulang na lang mamigay si Mel Tiangco ng relief goods sa mga contestants.
Why does everything have to be OVERLY DRAMATIC? Why are we romanticizing poverty so much that it feels like everything we do is motivated by money? Yes, times are hard but should we milk every melodramatic moment in front of the camera? This is a singing contest --- not “Wowowee” where, as a contestant, “the more tears you shed you get more chances of winning.”
Whatever happened to following your dream? Whatever happened to “pride” and “dignity” in performing? Of becoming a real artist? Of pursuing your passion? Of expressing yourself and communicating to others? This contest should be about talent and musical passion. Nothing else.
It’s not the contestants’ fault they have tragic stories to tell. (Heck, my life will make an interesting Maala-ala Mo Kaya episode but I’d rather keep my sob stories to myself, thank you.) They were asked sad questions by the segment producers and the poor hopefuls, willing to do anything and everything to be in the final 12, willingly answered. The Pinoy Idol writers obviously exploited the more “heart-warming” and “human interest” angles of the contestants’ lives to make the show more “touching” and “relevant.” Dapat merong “Awwww...” moment. Lagi na lang ba? Is it really necessary? They have so many shows focusing on mushy stuff already. Geez. Pati ba naman singing contest?
They're by Vince De Jesus, and there's more of his typically sharp, witty and pertinent observations about GMA-7's ineffectual singing tilt, the state of the local music industry, money versus artistry, etc. in his aptly titled Multiply post, “Milking the Melodramatic Cow.” And he's not even talking of the contestants yet.
PLUS: More raps in the head, for Nina's “What-is-she-on?” birit here, Sitti's “desafinado-sintonado” bossa here. Stop laughing, this is serious!