Melai Cantiveros’ biggest challenge as a TV host
“Even though I try to be serious, my funny side always comes out,” said comedienne Melai Cantiveros when asked what for her is a major challenge of being a television host.
For her new show, Pinoy Interactive Entertainment (PIE) Channel’s hybrid narrative-reality series titled “The Chosen One: Ang Piliserye ng Bayan,” Melai said she had no choice but to seamlessly shift from being funny to serious, and vice versa.
“Definitely, when I make important announcements, you will see a serious Melai, but generally, I’m a happy and bubbly host every Saturday because I simply want to share happiness with PIE viewers. Of course, as my character Miss Jane in the ‘Soap Opera,’ I have to be serious because I’m the owner of the mysterious company, Astra Nuevo,” she told reporters during a recent virtual media gathering.
Explaining the show’s unique concept, Melai said there is a suspense thriller series titled “Soap Opera” within the “piliserye,” and that PIE viewers can control the story and determine which character stays alive until the end by voting.
The pilot episode [aired on Sept. 24] of “Soap Opera” introduced the character named Charlie (Kaila Estrada) as she signs up for a shady networking group called Astra Nuevo. There, she met 10 aspiring entrepreneurs who share her dream of gaining financial freedom. But soon, they discovered that their ambition could cost them their lives.
Also during the first episode, Charlie and the others attended the orientation session led by Miss Jane. This was also when Charlie found the lifeless body of Astra Nuevo’s security guard.
Joining Kaila in the hybrid narrative-reality series are former “PBB” housemates Andi Abaya (Rachel), Amanda Zamora (Julie), Dustine Mayores (Jason), Gabb Skribikin (Cheska), Kobie Brown (Peter), Luke Alford (Kiko), Maxine Trinidad (Emma), Rob Blackburn (Joe), Seham Daghlas (Paula) and Zach Guerrero (Mike) who will act as players in the show or the characters that will be voted by viewers.
Meanwhile, Kaila is a non-player and will not be part of the 10 characters that are up for voting each week. Other non-players in the series are “PBB” Otso housemate Emjay Savilla and film and theater actress-host Sunshine Teodoro.
Every Saturday (8-10 p.m.), “The Chosen One” will air live episodes of “Soap Opera” so “chosen mentor” Jhong Hilario can dissect and rate each player’s performance in the narrative. It will also reveal the current standing of the players based on the audience votes.
During the Oct. 1 episode, the players who received the highest number of “ligtas” votes and those who are in the bottom two will be revealed.
Melai, the host, said it was her first time working with Jhong on this show. “I feel happy and honored. Expect to see my endless banter with the original Sample King. It will be like playing volleyball with him. When he sends me something funny and witty, I give them back to him,” said Melai as she tried to explain her work dynamics with Jhong.
At the media gathering, Melai was asked to react to a comment that she is “lucky” whenever she participates in reality shows because she ends up winning them, just like when she joined “PBB” Double Up in 2009 and the first season of the Philippine version of “Your Face Sounds Familiar” in 2015.
“Do I now think that I’m the ‘chosen one?’ Not really. Everything that is happening is by God’s choice. I think we all have a spot in His heart when it comes to receiving blessings. He gives out blessings that are meant only for each of us,” said Melai, who is also host of the morning talk show “Magandang Buhay.”
She also tried to downplay a comment that she is one of ABS-CBN’s most in-demand talents since she never stopped doing TV and movie projects even at the height of the pandemic lockdowns in 2020. “Thank you if you consider me as in-demand, but really, the producers and staff are responsible for choosing who to include in a particular project. As for me, I just keep on praying for work. I always say that I will accept whatever God has planned for me, that I will do nothing but give thanks to Him endlessly.”
She also reacted to an observation that she has less haters compared with other celebrities because of her relatively clean and good image. “I’m sure I also have bashers out there. I just don’t pay any attention to them. I also can’t say whether I really have less haters compared to others. As show biz personalities, my colleagues and I understand that we will always encounter people who will disagree with our opinion and the causes we promote. So I guess I’m not that ‘clean,’ I just know how to handle public life.”
She continued: “All I know is that I try hard not to let people down or do them wrong. I always try to be myself. I always remember that I need to be a role model to the younger audience because they watch my shows, especially this one. As long as you know you’re doing the right thing, just go! Bashers are part of life for me.”
Finally, when it was time for her to give her two cents to the young contestants, Melai said: “Don’t forget to enjoy the experience. You’ve all done ‘PBB’ and have learned a lot from the show. Back then, you weren’t aware that you have fans or supporters rooting for you. Now, you have a better understanding of what’s happening. Just let your supporters do their thing. Enjoy the process.” INQ
Melai Cantiveros asks for help to find netizen who called her ‘magnanakaw’
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