[We also have our own androgynous chinky eyed pop stars. I understand why Kim Hyun Joong didn’t sing at the Trinoma event (it wasn’t part of the program). I just know and feel that the Pinoy counterparts love performing so much that it’s so much easier for us to ask them to render a song or dance number. We should support our own. That’s how the Korean acts became popular too, the Koreans support their own.]
Written and photographed
By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Thousands of young teenage fans were screaming at the sight of the latest batch of new musical stars during the P Pop Explosion at the Aliwan Theater last April 1, 2011. XLR8, RPM and Pop Girls are the newest hip hop and dance acts to capture the imagination of the youth. What makes them all special is that they are all Pinoy.
The concert was literally a coming out party for the country’s response to the wave of Korean acts that have successfully held shows here. These Pinoy groups have banked on the advantages that they have over their counterparts: impressive vocals, innate dance abilities and a varied multicultural look.
The Pop Girls for example have two members like Nadine Lustre and Joanna Morales who has chinita eyes. If Kim Chiu ever turned into a rocker chick, Nadine (Nadz for short) would be it. Schirin Sigrist on the other hand is a tall brown haired Caucasian beauty who can also belt out. She is reminiscent of American Idol Finalist Katherine McPhee. Rosalie Van Ginkel and Angellie Urquico are the other members of the five girl group. Unlike other girl groups from K Pop or J Pop, each member has a unique look that represents the cultural diversity in the Philippines.
XLR8 is a boy band and may be the most popular among the three. Their regular stint at GMA 7’s ‘Party Pilipinas’ has garnered them national acclaim. The group is so popular that they have their likenesses on the box of the V12 MyPhone. Tracks of their self titled album like, ‘You’re So Hot’ and ‘I Love You Girl’ are also included in the music player of the cell phone. This is in the same vein as Michael Jordan getting on the Wheaties box of cereals. Having the likeness of a celeb on the product itself is a higher form of endorsement than the typical ads or billboards. Behind the scenes footage of a TVC by another MyPhone endorser, Anne Curtis, was also showed during the concert.
Aga Muhlach’s brother Adrian or (AJ) is also a member of XLR8. AJ’s claim to fame is his dance abilities. While the rest had song solos his was a dance number. Francis Ramos (Kiko) showed his vocal skills when he sang an emotional “Out Here On My Own” by Irene Cara. The real life brothers Melmar Magno (MM) and Meljohn Magno (MJ) gave a tribute to Bruno Mars’ ‘Nothing on You’. Arkin Del Rosario sang Justin Bieber’s ‘Never Say Never’. Hideaki Torio, Carlo Lazerna, Caleb Santos are the three other members of the group. Bruno Mars will have an upcoming concert on April 8 while Bieber is scheduled to be here by May.
The musical influences of the groups were apparent in the songs they performed. The Pop Girls started off their set with an updated and faster version of Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin.’ Britney Spear’s ‘Toxic’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Just Dance’ were all upbeat and meant to energize the crowd which it did effectively. Their original song ‘True Love’ was a great example of their strength over international girl groups which is their vocals. Nadine came out belting Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N’Roll” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. Nadz has the similar almond eyes of Kim Chiu but shows the appeal of a Rock Goddess coming out in black leather tights and strength in her voice.
Real Pinoy Music (RPM) has the combination of both male and female band members. Anna Luna even came out with an excerpt from Les Mis. Male members aren’t wall flowers either. Pio Balbuena has that mo hawk hairstyle and thatMoreno, dusky appeal, not unlike Apl D’Ap of the Black Eyed Peas. Pio is not just the best rapper for his own group but of the whole batch. In the middle of their performance of Far East Movement’s ‘Rocketeer’, Pio gave a Filipino rap that gave the track their own stamp on it.
Chris Salcedo is the most notable dancer doing back flips and cartwheels. He can B-boy with the best of them. Chris saved his spectacular moves when they sang BEP’s “Dirty Bit.” Samantha Page is like a teenage version of Angelica Panganiban. Yanna Garcia has that powerful voice perfect for R&B and hip hop. Carl Trazo and Vince Yap are the other multitalented performers of this seven member team. RPM showed their versatility singing their original songs from their self titled album. ‘Freak show’ is very danceable while ‘Para Sayo’ is already a hit ballad.