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Again by Janet Jackson - Cover Song by Tata Villaruel

Friday, January 27, 2006

Singing tilts not just about musical talent

Editor's Note: Published on Page A2-1 of the January 27, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

ON "SEARCH FOR THE STAR IN A MILLION" last Sunday, Kris Lawrence emerged as the grand champion, over similarly talented runners-up Tata Villaroel and Jimmy Marquez. What factors helped him surge past them in the final stretch of the tough singing tilt?
Vocal prowess apart, we think that Kris' unique musical and visual "packaging" did it for him.
His choice of cool and accessible songs over the standard "amateur hour" do-or-die songs made him click with younger music fans, because it did away with the trying-hard mustiness that often cloaks contestants of local singing competitions.
Kris' signature look made him stand out even more: "pirate" head scarf under rakishly-tilted hat, flashy shirt and suit, and trendy and chunky jewelry--Kris' packaging was divertingly distinct.

Now that he's won, however, the signature look could end up as a liability, because it could eventually limit him, and restrict his forays into other musical and performance styles. stars need to do everything they can to keep from becoming predictable, so Kris should eventually opt to go for greater variety, not just in his music, but also in the way he looks.
So, the "urban pirate" look that worked well for him in the competition should soon give way to a more flexible performing persona, if Kris wants to stay longer in the music biz.
Speaking of looks, at one point in the finals, all of the tilt's past winners were presented to viewers and the studio audience, and it was clear that appearance played an important role in their relative success as stellar musical performers.
Simply and bluntly put, the winners who look good, young and svelte have the most successful careers.

So, singing tilts aren't only about musical talent and verve in performance. Good looks may not be everything, but they are a key part of a singer's stellar persona in these parts.
Therefore, aspiring singers who don't look all that good should address those problems and try to rectify them first before they throw their hats into the musical ring.
This could have sidelined a talented finalist in this year's tilt. So, the "realistic" rule of thumb does apply.

Finally, final survivors Kris and Tata were both given the same song to sing at the ultimate stand-off, and Kris proved his supremacy by simply singing the demanding number better than Tata.

Having said all that, we still decry the elimination in midstream of the finalist we believe was the best singer in the whole bunch. He looked good, too, so his appearance wasn't the deal-breaker, just inept judging.

Well, there's nothing that can be done about that now, but if the gifted singer opts to launch his career, notwithstanding, we'll help him attain the success his exceptional talent deserves.

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