MISTERS 2015: THE TALENT SHOW (PART 1)

Last Sunday afternoon, the 3rd floor Atrium of Fisher Mall in Quezon City provided the venue where the 30 candidates of Misters 2015 showcased their talents.  It was a generally entertaining program overall, but let’s face it not all talents are created equal, and some performances, are, let’s face it–not ready for primetime or for public consumption.

Most of the weakest performances were the singers–there are quite a few off-key disasters from this group, but I will not mention those drecks by name and prefer to focus on the positive and give credit to those who at least sang adequately or on-key, like:

  • Two of the Fil-Aussie guys, Fil. Comm. of Victoria (Ari Kane) and Fil. Comm. of Australia (Rob McNamara) sang generally adequately.  The former, unfortunately, suffered technical difficulties as they couldn’t load his backing track on time and he had to sing his song a capella–anyway he looked dashing in his white polo shirt, black necktie and black slacks getup.  The latter tackled Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One”–yes, he was able to hit many of those high notes, but well, only a rare few can outdo the formidable awesomeness that is Sam Smith.
  • Laguna Province (JE Adajar) first showcased his mellow side by hunkering down with an acoustic guitar and sang Madonna’s 30-year-old(!) chestnut “Crazy For You”, but after singing a few verses and the chorus, he then told the audience “Would you like to see my real talent?” and then went into an exhibition of his skills as an MMA fighter.  In general both are good, though not great–the song performance would be a smash hit in the context of an informal get-together with family and barkada and the martial arts routine could’ve been developed further instead of tacked in as an afterthought.  If he had decided to focus on either one, he would’ve gotten a fighting chance for at least a plum citation, but I suppose he couldn’t quite make up his mind and decided to showcase two of the many facets of the man also known as John Outlaw.
  • Also on an acoustic bent was Butuan City (Marcel Stulir).  He chose to perform Bob Marley’s reggae classic “Redemption Song”.  His high-pitched voice was a good fit for this song, and he sang pretty well, but he was a bit too inward that he didn’t quite connect with the audience.
  • Speaking of high pitch, I know there were a lot of people who loved Bacolor, Pampanga (Arcel Yambing)‘s performance, especially with the high notes he wailed.  Unfortunately I would beg to differ–I’m not familiar with the song he sang, but it reminded me of Rockwell’s treacly 1984 ballad “Knife” if it was covered by the German hard-rock band The Scorpions (perhaps it was indeed a Scorpions song), and whatever that song was, I found his delivery rather screechy.  I’d like to hear him do a different song, as maybe he actually does have the chops, but perhaps it’s not showcased well with the song he performed.
  • Admittedly, OPM songs are not my forte so I’m not familiar with the song performed by Quezon City (Jake Camarines) but he was entertaining as he serenaded a lady from the audience, and then broke out into a striptease by taking off his dark shirt and jazzed it up with dance moves.  Whatever he sang, he sounded pretty good.
  • Also doing his song performance in the form of a serenade was Sta. Rosa City (Karan Singhdole), showcasing strong vocal chops singing Rivermaya’s OPM smash “Hinahanap Hanap Kita” but he did it with a progressive twist–he selected a transgender pageant fan to join him in his serenade.  We Filipinos are still rather conservative so this is viewed as rather bold, and in my opinion, courageous.  Still, it’s a big crowd-pleaser with good-natured howls of delight from the audience.  I want to add the hashtag #LoveWins to that performance.

A couple of guys showcased their artistic skills by painting.  It’s not really entertaining to watch the process (yes, it’s like that old cliche phrase, “watching paint dry”), plus employing spray paint like what these two did can irritate nostrils, especially if you are seated in front.  Jazzing up with a little speech after the artwork was finished was rather stilted, at best, in my opinion.  Still, I have to salute the quality of the output delivered by Bohol (AR de la Cerna) and Ilocos Norte (JM de la Cruz) in the limited three-minute timespan they had to work with.

It’s also nice to salute performances that are very unique.  Davao del Norte (Ian Flores Alibo) was obviously proud of his physique (yes, he didn’t make the beachwear Top Five for nothing) so he showcased it with a bodybuilding exhibition.  Ironically, as beautiful as his physique was, it’s not really as bulky as a bodybuilder (and I wouldn’t want him to bulk up)–this kind of routine would’ve been more suited for, say, Rob McNamara.

Another act I can classify as unique in this context is the comedy monologue delivered by Pagbilao, Quezon (Reniel Villareal).  Sporting a long wig and leather jacket, and with Guns N’ Roses’ 1988 mega-smash “Sweet Child O’ Mine” blaring as he entered and intermittently during his piece, he made me recall actor Robin Padilla in his line deliveries.  It was crowd-pleasing entertainment, though with foreigners in the judging panel of this event, they may not have gotten his humor.

The type of performance that actually shone best in this event was dancing.  With only two notable exceptions, all of the candidates who chose to perform dances were of high caliber.  I’ll not name the two exceptions but just critique them as blind items.  The first exception performed basically a duckwalk to a funky late-2014/early-2015 mega-smash; okay, he brought energy and enthusiasm to his performance, but not skill and that much needed funk that the irresistibly catchy song requires–yes, it will go well in an informal party setting and well, there are fans who find him utterly cute and regard him as an inside shot for the semifinals, but I don’t think cuteness will be sufficient enough.  The second exception has a high concept, props, and a backup dancer and took a while to set up his piece–the problem with his performance is that even if he tried to emote and performed lifts, he wasn’t the focal point of the performance so it was generally a mess in my opinion–still his status as a front-running favorite still seems secure.

COMING UP:  THE DANCERS and the TOP FIVE.

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