Sunday, September 03, 2006

'Idol' and 'Academy' Finalists Compared

Check out this very sound observation of Mr. Nestro Torre regarding the finalists of the two rival reality talent search (As published on page E1 of the September 2, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer):

LAST WEEKEND, “Pinoy Dream Academy” announced its 16 “scholars,” while “Philippine Idol” went down to its final 24. Since “Academy” was telecast on Saturday and “Idol” only a day later, the ABS-CBN talent search effectively upstaged the ABC-5 tilt, which had earlier enjoyed a head start.


What difference does a mere day make? At face value, not much -- but, its psychological impact could be substantial. As we feared, “Academy’s” fast-tracking sapped “Idol” of some of its initial time advantage, since it set the talent standard by which ABC-5’s own finds were subsequently evaluated.

That isn’t an enviable position for a talent competition to be in, that’s for sure.

But, that’s water under the bridge. The big show biz question now is: Which TV talent tilt has come up with the more promising batch of finalists? We caught both shows last weekend and came up with these comparative notes:

“Academy” has tapped “scholars” who are generally younger and more “international” in projection, with a Fil-Am, Fil-Aussie, Fil-Japanese and a beauty from the Netherlands among its 16 best bets.

On the other hand, “Idol” has come up with generally better singers. We listened to many of its top 40 bets singing solo, and all of the singers we heard sounded good.

We can’t say the same for all of “Academy’s” 16 top choices, some of whom may have been chosen for performing factors other than exceptional singing ability.

Astute choices

Thus, right now, “Idol” jurors Ryan Cayabyab, Pilita Corrales and Francis M can take a well-deserved bow for their astute choices. On the other hand, some of the “Academy” scholars still have to prove their worth in the next four months. Well, the ABS-CBN tilt’s “school” format under “headmaster” Jim Paredes will make it easier for them to improve as performers in the weeks to come...

We note, too, that “Academy’s” finalists are more varied in terms of the character types they “represent.” Was this “textured” configuration intentionally arrived at?

Aside from the “international” representation, “Academy’s” scholars also include an OCW, a Grace Nono “ethnic” wannabe, more rockers than usual, some real lookers from the Netherlands and Australia, a “plus-plus-sizer,” etc.!

This varied casting is reminiscent of ABS-CBN’s past “Pinoy Big Brother” reality shows, which also featured very mixed “housemates” -- the better to sustain viewers’ interest and to give niche audiences different types to empathize with, and root and vote for?


On the other hand, “Idol’s” 24 finalists were generally more homogenized in terms of looks and emphasis on exceptional singing ability.

Yes, the ABC-5 tilt does have a resident gender bender, but that’s about it in terms of exotica, and there’s no preferential treatment obvious here in terms of “textured” casting, because the singer in question is clearly a superior performer.

This weekend, “Idol” will whittle down its 24 finalists to its Magic 12. For its part, “Academy” added four more to the 16 who were announced at the end of its Cebu show. The plot thickens!