MANILA,Philippines - Talent searches, especially those for singers, are dime a dozen in this country where many can carry a tune well. However, officers of Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-Aawit (OPM) cite "OPM@PAGCOR" as cut above the rest for several reasons.
At the press launch of its second year, Mitch Valdes said that more than promising stardom for the winners, "OPM@PAGCOR" gives them gainful employment and a chance to share in the spotlight.
"It is heartbreaking that there are thousands of excellent Filipino singers who have not been given the opportunity to shine," she noted.
Valdes revealed that last year, they auditioned up to 150 singers a day, some of whom come from faraway places "only to be told 'Thank you but you did not make it."'
"The screening process is very emotional kaya mga battle-scarred na ang mga yan."
Unlike other searches in which winners automatically get a "career" with recording contract and TV show as part of the prize, Valdes said that "OPM@PAGCOR" hones their contestant like they do in theater and not "practicum in public."
"They gain a lot of experience and training even before sila sumalang sa tao," she said.
Ogie Alcasid, on the other hand, underscores that the contest is lone one in partnership with OPM.
"And that's great kasi kasama sa mandato namin na magkaroon ng training program for professional singers and those aspiring to be one. As you know, magkaiba ang basta singing from entertaining.
"Ang training dito, napaka-intensive, parang 'Survivor.' No, but seriously, they learn a lot from professionals. By the time they are ready to compete, wala na silang kaba."
A talent search product himself, Christian Bautista said that such a contest gives singers "drive and direction." "Madami akong natutunan sa contest na sinalihan ko dati - and yet it was only the first step.
"But contests such as this... it is an important chance; perhaps, a start of a future."
Recall that last year's winners Marie Joyce Tañaña, Charles Kevin Tan and Renz Ruther Robosa) and two other promising finalists Steve Fernandez and Hadasa Von Camporaso were given the chance to perform in various Casino Filipino branches nationwide; as well as perform with renowned singers like Sitti Navarro, Ariel Rivera and Pilita Corrales.
According to a release, "The OPM@PAGCOR 2, A Nationwide Search for the Total OPM Performer" is open to all amateur singers, Filipino or with dual citizenship, between 18 to 30 years old as of May 1, 2012. They should not have won any major prize in any national singing contest.
Prizes at stake are P300,000 and a performance contract for the Grand Winner, P200,000 for 2nd place and P100,000 for 3rdplace. The rest of the grand finalists will each receive P20,000 as consolation prize.
Deadline of submission of application is on May 1, 2012 for applicants in the Visayas-Mindanao area, May 10, 2012 for applicants in the Luzon area, and May 18, 2012 for applicants in the Metro Manila area.
Auditions will officially start on May 7, 2012 in Casino Filipino Cebu. Other audition venues are Casino Filipino Bacolod (May 9), Casino Filipino Davao (May 11), Casino Filipino Tagaytay (May 15), Casino Filipino Angeles (May 19) and Airport Casino Filipino (May 22 to 25).
The top two winners from the six regional Casino Filipino competitions will also bring home cash prizes and will participate in the Professional Singing and Live Performance Workshop from June 5 to June 12, 2012 to be conducted by OPM luminaries.
The grand winner will be proclaimed during the Grand Finals Concert to be staged at the Pagcor Grand Theatre at the Airport Casino Filipino in Parañaque City on June 16, 2012.