The Sunbaked King

This Is A Competition, For Crying Out Loud

The Pinoy Dream Academy scholars have been trimmed down to just The Final 6. Right off the bat, I’m going to say this: I could not have hoped for a better set of Top 6, nor could have I asked for a better season. Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 boasts of better execution, better implementation of rules, better judges (Gerard Salonga), and most important, a better batch of contestants (aside from the disappointments named Jet and Ross– I hate quitters and voluntary exit-ers). For all this and more, congratulations. The show has got me hooked.

I have, however, one BIG gripe with this show in particular, and with Filipino reality shows in general. It’s the lack of willingness to acknowledge that they are in a competition. It’s the lack of admission that they are in it to win it. Stark contrast to American reality TV shows, where cutthroat is the way of life. Consider, for instance, the self-ranking the scholars did earlier this week. They were asked to rank themselves and each other from 1 to 6, where 1 indicates that they won the competition. Only one of them (one!) put himself in the number 1 position (go Miguel!), while others moaned about how they’re not really good enough compared to others, settling for 2nd or 3rd. If this were America’s Next Top Model, Tyra wouldn’t even deign to pick you if you admitted that someone was better than you were.

Of course, others would say that self-awareness is an attribute that’s sorely lacking in several reality shows, but the thing is, I don’t think it was self-awareness that prompted them to “humble” themselves. For me, it’s a distorted sense of modesty. In any case, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they are indeed being self-aware. Fine. But this brand of self-awareness could not possibly explain the above-mentioned voluntary exits. I’ve seen enough of this show, and all the various installations of Pinoy Big Brother, to come to realize that some contestants would rather leave the show they auditioned for in the first place. Amazing. This is even more horrific if this happened in PDA, because singing talent is something that they can assess. If you know you’re better than at least a handful of the contestants, why leave? You’re just wasting the slot better reserved for others. You’re just wasting audience visual space.

This is not to say contestants need to be crass and downright dirty to win. Cutthroat isn’t always pretty. However, you can be honorable and play the game at the same time. Furthermore, you can be not poor and be entitled to win these competitions at the same time. Aha! Another gripe. Miguel summed it best: “Just because I came from a well-off family does not mean I can’t have the chance to win competitions with prizes.” Word. And yet people still vote based on need and not ability. I know this sounds generalizing, but it’s a common trend. “Nakakaawa kasi” and “Mukhang kailangan niya” are two of the biggest reasons why people vote. Never mind if they can’t sing or can’t act a damn. They simply need this.

It’s going to take some time before attitudes change regarding reality shows. As for now, I’ll just have to be resigned to the fact that Bugoy will probably win it all. Bleh.

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Filed under: The Couch Potato, TV

3 Responses

  1. white says:

    oh! you really follow PDA huh? hehe same here.

    All your observations are very valid and I agree with them in the context of Filipino reality shows. I think that is the “reality” here in the Philippines. Culture-based? We Filipinos won’t admit publicly that we are better than anyone else in the world. We always try to be humble despite the aspiration of becoming more at par, if not better, than the rest of the world. 🙂

  2. joeysince1983 says:

    I agree sa first statements about reality shows. :p

    I never watched PDA but I watched an episode of ASAP where its contestants performed. Nagalingan ako kay Bugoy at Laarni (particularly Bugoy). 😀

  3. kerwinray says:

    @ White: That’s the weird thing, White. We won’t admit we’re better, and we act like that’s a good thing.

    @ Joey: Haha. I don’t like Bugoy, but it’s a given, he’s got the voice. I like Laarni. 🙂

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