Why El Gamma Penumbra won
When the first “Asia’s Got Talent” TV tilt reached its finals recently, viewers were impressed to see that the Philippines had the most bets—four out of nine!
What made the country’s performers so popular with the show’s viewer-voters was the variety of their chosen formats—shadow play for El Gamma Penumbra, solo classical for Gerphil Flores, solo folk-pop for Gwyneth Dorado and dance crew pyrotechnics for Junior New System.
Some of the other Asian finalists were also remarkable, but they tended to be rather pat and predictable to come off as truly exciting (except for a kiddie tap group that similarly stood out).
At the final-finals, the three top viewers’ faves were Gerphil, a musical group from Mongolia and El Gamma Penumbra. What enabled it to edge the others out? If memory serves, there was a giveaway moment some weeks ago, when El Gamma Penumbra was given the rare golden buzzer push to skip a sequence and land in the finals.
To us, that was a tell-tale decision, implying that the judges had a specially soft spot for the Pinoy shadow group. But, we told ourselves not to celebrate just yet, because everything would depend on the group’s new number.
If it felt too much like their previous showcases, the special thrill and emotion would be dissipated.
Thank goodness, El Gamma Penumbra did come up with a bracingly significant visual montage about environmental woes that moved the judges again!
To be sure, there were people who expressed disappointment when they learned that the shadow play format wasn’t an original one, and that in fact the El Gamma Penumbra team had “borrowed” it or been inspired by it from YouTube.
For our part, however, this revelation is not a deal breaker, because many performers now scour YouTube and other sharing platforms for clever concepts that they can tweak in their own way to come up with a winning showcase.
It’s all in the creativity that the format is being tweaked, which shouldn’t be too referential to the original, and in fact should take it to the next level—which is what El Gamma Penumbra has precisely done!
So, why did El Gamma Penumbra win? Because it did more than entertain and delight, it inspired viewers to aspire, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
The problems may not be solved by a simple performance, but it can make people care enough—to do something about them. That may not be everything, but it’s a winning advantage!
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