Arts & Leisure

Dreaming of making it

Posted on September 25, 2012

THE BATTLE to become the first champion in the local version of the hit TV talent contest The X Factor has become more intense as the final four finalists compete for a chance to win P4 million in cash and prizes.

THE JUDGES of The X Factor Philippines -- (l-r) Garry Valenciano, (w/show host KC Concepcion), Pilita Corales and Martin Nievera -- also serve as mentors for the contestants
After nationwide auditions last November and weekly eliminations since June, the remaining contestants in The X Factor Philippines are: Gabriel Maturan of Dapitan City; Allen Sta. Maria of Nueva Ecija; KZ Tandingan of Digos City, and the Manila singing quartet Daddy’s Home.

The show’s host KC Concepcion said the competition gets tougher each week as the remaining contestants pull out all the stops to come up with impressive performances every time they perform on stage.

“All of the finalists deserve to win this competition. They all work hard each week. They are all talented. They all want to be the champion,� Ms. Concepcion told reporters earlier this month.

One more contestant will be eliminated this coming weekend, before the three remaining finalists perform on the finals night on Oct. 6.

The public then will vote for the winner via SMS/text messaging, and the finalist with the most votes will be revealed as the winner of the contest on Oct. 7.

For the finalists, the show is not just a battle of charisma, stage presence and unique vocal prowess, but also a personal battle to overcome problems that might have prevented them from realizing their dreams of making it big in the music industry.

Mr. Maturan, for example, has long struggled to have a complete family.

Growing up, there were three different men he considered fathers. After living in Denmark for more than three years, his mother and his Danish stepfather parted ways, and he and his mom returned to the Philippines.

They now live in Zamboanga del Norte with his new stepfather.

Ms. Sta. Maria is the show’s youngest finalist at 17, would join various amateur singing contests and get gigs as a singer to support her studies and necessities like clothes and shoes.

Ms. Tandingan has had to deal with throat problems that affected her singing voice. She can no longer belt out high notes and her self esteem has suffered as a result. But with her family’s help, she rekindled her love for music and searched for a unique singing style with her band.

The all-male quartet Daddy’s Home is composed of Allan Silonga, Herbert Silonga, Eric Dacanay, and Jerome Icatar, all professionals aged 31 and above which makes them the oldest among the finalists. Daddy’s Home members don’t have as much time to make it in the industry. The members also face conflicting priorities since they have families to provide for. But they consider their families as inspirations to win the competition and penetrate the mainstream scene.

Created by former American Idol judge Simon Cowell in the UK in 2004, The X Factor has spawned more than 70 champions to date including pop star Leona Lewis from more than 30 franchises around the world.

Unlike the Idol format where the judges only critique the performances, in The X Factor each judge is a mentor, aiding contestants with song selection and styling.

The X Factor Philippines has four judges who each mentors a particular category. Martin Nievera mentors the boys’ category; Gary Valenciano handles mentoring duties for the groups’ category; while Charice takes care of the girls’ category. The show’s fourth judge, Pilita Corrales, handled contestants aged 25 years old and up -- her contestants were eliminated earlier in the competition.

The X Factor Philippines airs on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABS-CBN. The show’s official Twitter account is @thexfactorphil and official Facebook fan page is -- Jeffrey O. Valisno