The Vote of the Philippines
Last night I was one of the millions who tuned in to the finale of The Voice of the Philippines. I was alternating between watching and finishing a writing task but managed to squeeze in time to vote for my bet Janice Javier. Unfortunately she didn’t garner enough votes to advance to the grand final round because the results were purely based on text votes. I knew that Mitoy was the contender to beat because he enjoyed the support of a wide fan base of text voters but I nevertheless kept my hopes up.
So when the final two names were announced my interest to finish the show waned. But finish the show I did, if only to watch Janice in the remaining production numbers. And with each production number Mitoy appeared more confident than ever–chewing up the stage, out-singing the other performers, and irritating the heck out of my ears.
I have no doubt of Mitoy’s talent, but in my opinion, he was not the best singer of the four finalists. However, I will admit that among the finalists, he was the most charming.
Hours after The Voice of the Philippines declared Mitoy the winner, I kept on thinking of singing contests in the past when the winner was chosen not by a popular vote but instead through a panel of judges who were either musicians themselves or music industry insiders. I remember when contestants competed purely by their singing and performing talent alone and not through their life stories and struggles that were processed into neat little ‘branded packages’ that are offered to the viewers in exchange of text votes and downloads. When Regine Velasquez competed in Ang Bagong Kampeon in the 80s, the audience never had a view of her life outside the competition, except for a glimpse in the grand finals that showed her rehearsing in her modest home.
I guess that old template of a talent show is no longer suitable in today’s climate of ‘Reality TV’, whose business model has proven to be so effective that it has taken up space in almost all aspect of our lives. When the imperative to raise revenues in as many ways as possible has become the most important goal so that in the end, instead of getting a talented winner whose evolution we can look forward to as her/ his career progresses, we get a ‘packaged’ performer who will probably spend a good amount of time either breaking out of or forcefully embracing & embodying the boundaries of the ‘packaging’ bestowed upon her/ him.
But what am I griping about? The voting results of The Voice is only reflective of the way we also choose our elected officials, right? Aren’t many of us swayed by the charms of a candidate that we forgive even their obvious shortcomings as a candidate? Our standards are often inappropriate for the kind of choices that we should be making. Just look at our elected officials today, in light of the things that we know now on the real depth and extent of corruption in our government.
At least, those who voted for Mitoy can expect to be entertained because that’s what he is, a consummate entertainer. As for the clowns in congress and in the senate, I’m not sure when their show will end, if it will at all.