Dutiful, safe approach dilutes kiddie tilt’s strengthsBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAST Saturday, the new ABS-CBN kiddie tilt, “Talent Camp,” encouraged a fresh batch of pint-sized singers, dancers, actors and rappers to compete for a finalist slot in its new search for the child Stars of Tomorrow.
Hosts Dimples Romana, Xian Lim and Matteo Guidicelli put some aspirants through their paces and a board of judges vetted the kids’ performances. Before the show ended, 12 finalists had indeed been chosen.
We liked the show’s brisk pacing, but found the telecast wanting due to its hosts’ “automatic” and rather impersonal and scripted handling of the proceedings, which made them come off as perfunctory and predictable.
Some of the finalists were as young as only 4 years old, and it was amazing to witness such precocious miniperformances! —However, most of them were deficient when it came to spontaneous talent, personality and innate charisma—and the elusive “X Factor” that everyone keeps talking about when it comes to new discoveries.
Instead of that key and magic element, the young contestants came up with too studied—and copied—acts that betrayed incorrect training on the part of their stage parents or mentors, who may have simply acted out what they wanted their young wards to do, which the kids then obediently copied, down to the last detail—gaya-gaya, puto-maya style.
This training technique is safe and reliable, because it assures a passable level of performance. But, it isn’t the stuff of which major new talent discoveries and “stars of tomorrow” are made!
If you consider the biggest child stars the country has ever produced—Niño Muhlach, Aiza Seguerra, Tessie Agana, etc.—they became stars not because they were excellent singers and dancers, but because they were bright, quick-witted children who could ad-lib entertainingly and projected unique personalities that viewers doted on, and took to their hearts.
“Imitated” performances and “generic” projections of cuteness and liveliness aren’t what young stardom is all about—or else we’d be seeing scores and scores of child “stars,” instead of the few new faces and voices who manage to make their mark each show biz season.
Current young sensations like Xyriel Manabat, Zaijian Jaranilla and Yogo Singh have managed to stand out, not because they’re exceedingly obedient performers, but because they bring to their performances their own personalities and interpretations of the material they’re given to perform.
You can try to teach—or imitate—“personality,” but it really can’t be done, as all of the clones of iconic stars out there have found out to their great dismay. Therefore, it was disappointing to see that many of the “Talent Camp” discoveries came up only with dutiful and not sufficiently unique and felt acts.
We hope that, as the talent search progresses, its resident mentors will go beyond the finalists’ stage parents’ safe approach and encourage the young aspirants to discover and project their own expressiveness and ability to entertain, so the tilt can produce real stars, instead of merely imitative and derivative facsimiles thereof.
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