Networks line up bets for child superstardomBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The big, brash entry of Ryzza Mae Dizon has shaken up the ferociously competitive world of local TV-film child stardom. Just one season ago, the lay of the land was much more predictable and secure: At ABS-CBN, Zaijian Jaranilla was preparing to temporarily fade away due to the inexorable deadline imposed by “galloping adolescence”—but, not to worry, the channel had another reliable pace-setter in Xyriel Manabat, who still has some productive years left to her stellar “reign.”
As for GMA 7, the busiest child performer there was cute but pudgy (or pudgy but cute) Jillian Ward. But, what a difference a year makes: Now Ryzza is “suddenly” the flavor of the year at GMA 7—and where’s Jillian?
Did her handlers do anything that the studio didn’t like or agree with? We hope not, but the fact remains that, last year, she was all over the place. Whatever the real reason for her relative absence, it’s similarly clear that Ryzza is the channel’s current darling.
Aside from her many other current involvements, GMA 7 has taken the unprecedented step of whipping up a new show at 11:30 a.m. weekdays for the new apple of its corporate eyes.
“The Ryzza Mae Show” is still struggling to figure out what it should be about, but what isn’t an issue here is that the whole shebang is built around the unusual concept of a child as the focus/fulcrum of an entire daily show!
Will it eventually make sense? It had better—failure due to over-reaching would be not just embarrassing, but also expensive. And it simply won’t do for the country’s newest child star to do less than spectacularly well at this all-important “launching” stage of her fledgling career. Our hopes and prayers go out to her.
Whatever happens over at GMA 7, ABS-CBN is lucky to have such a gifted and natural pint-sized performer of its own in Xyriel. She’s proven that she can do practically anything, no matter how far-fetched or gauche, and still make it look natural and felt. The wonder is why the channel has yet to fully acknowledge her exceptional ability by giving her a show of her own.
Oh, she’s in this teleserye and that fantasy show, but only as part of a big cast, so the focus isn’t fully on her, as it should be. Maybe, later this year?
Star Cinema should also be whipping up a good movie showcase for Xyriel. If she’s handled right and given good material, she could make it big. Why not ask Michiko Yamamoto, acclaimed writer of “Magnifico” and other sensitive stories about children, to script a film specifically for Xyriel?
N has other child talents who are also doing well, like JB Agustin in “Little Champ,” but they aren’t as focused and natural as Xyriel, so she should be given the special attention and showcases she deserves.
That’s it: This season, ABS-CBN’s best bet is Xyriel, while GMA 7 is building Ryzza up in a take-no-prisoners way. If ABS-CBN belatedly realizes Xyriel’s worth, the winner of their big square-off—is a foregone conclusion!
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