Pinoy Idol and Pinoy Dream Academy Compared

Check out this article by Nestor Torre from the Philippine Daily Inquirer regarding which talent competition is better, Pinoy Idol or Pinoy Dream Academy.

As GMA 7’s “Pinoy Idol” talent search chose its final 12 “best bets,” ABS-CBN’s own search for new singing stars, “Dream Academy,” unveiled its own 16 finalists last June 15. How do the two competing talent searches square up against each other?

First, the similarities: Like “Pinoy Idol,” “Dream Academy” appears to have more interesting female bets than their male counterparts. But the difference isn’t as glaring in the case of “Dream Academy,” where some male finalists came up with standout performances at the launching telecast two weeks ago.

On points of relative strength in terms of mentoring teams, “Dream Academy” appears to enjoy a decided edge, with the presence of the respected Ryan Cayabyab as its Headmaster.

Lost points

But “Dream Academy” loses points when it comes to “emotional exploitation,” because it makes such a big deal about its finalists’ kawawa backgrounds or current problems.

We know that this is meant to make viewers relate to the finalists in a more personal way, and to root for their favorite underdogs, but the focus is too relentless to be countenanced.

This is a search for new singers with the best voices, not a weepy, three-handkerchief melodrama.

Indeed, this stress on emotional “investment” had a really bad effect on the finalists themselves last June 15. They were so overcome by their having made it to the top 16 group (out of 30 semifinalists) that many of them teared and broke up, making it difficult for them to sing their showcase numbers well.

This was disastrous for them, because viewers were unable to objectively evaluate their singing skills, which were so severely compromised by their bathetic displays of emotion.

On point of hosting, both “Pinoy Idol” and “Dream Academy” come off poorly. On “Dream Academy,” even the highly-touted Billy Crawford failed to make his mark as program host.

It turns out that he’s much better off as a singer and dancer, so he has to work much harder to bring his hosting ability up to snuff.

Last June 15, he goofed a number of times, and once even called somebody by his own first name (Billy). He never quite recovered from that gaffe.

Things generally looked so hectic and ragged on “Dream Academy’s” launching show that we worried that the hosts and finalists lacked adequate production support. Even Headmaster Ryan sometimes couldn’t come in on cue with his announcements and comments, due to defective production coordination.

And there were a few shots that were so poorly timed that nothing much was happening in them. Perhaps “Dream Academy” should beef up its production team, to make sure that all bases and exigencies are covered from here on in?

Despite all these negative notes, we feel that “Dream Academy” has done a better job of coming up with more talented finalists than “Pinoy Idol.” How and why this has come to pass, we don’t know for sure, but Ryan’s involvement may have something to do with it. After all, he’s a past master at spotting and developing exceptional young singing talents.

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