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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Popstar Kids sing Sugarpop

I have not had the chance to check if the show is still ongoing and if there is a new batch of interesting kiddie finalists. Must be because I am, like most of you out there, already up to my ears on TV talent shows. Still, it is nice to know that the best of last year’s batch in the Popstar Kids Edition singing contest are doing very well. In fact, Rita Iringan, the grand prize winner and runners-up Julia Ann San Jose, Pocholo Bismonte, Vanessa Rangadhol and Renzo Almario are now among the most popular youngsters in showbusiness.

Rita is an exceptionally talented singer. She is the grandchild of comedian Teroy de Guzman. She sang the theme of the TV soap Princess Charming and acted in the adventure series Asian Treasures. Julia Anne, who plays the piano, guitar and drums, was a finalist in Eat, Bulaga!’s Little Miss Philippines and third runner-up on ABS-CBN’s Munting Miss U. She also appeared in a commercial with Sharon Cuneta. The pretty Vanessa is a rarity among local young singers. She will grow up to be an alto. Good for her in a world where all the girls want to be only sopranos with birit powers.

And that includes the boy Pocholo who channels either the young Michael Jackson or even Regine Velasquez when he sings. Am I glad that his voice is not going to stay that way for long. The other boy is the cute Renzo. The Sony BMG press release does not say much about him but aside from also being a good singer, he joins the Popstar Kids’ edition finalists as members of the group known as Sugarpop. Regularly they show off their singing chops every Sunday in the variety program S.O.P. on GMA 7 and play hosts of the weekly show about the environment. Planet Q on Q-11.

Sugarpop is a brainchild of Iisa Pa Lamang composer Danny Tan. One of the most talented musical directors around, Tan, by choice, made himself scarce in the local music scene these past few years, preferring instead to attend to his pet shop. I do not know if it was Sugarpop that triggered his decision to return to making music, but he has definitely found these kids cuter and more talented than the goldfish and puppies he loves to spend time with. He got these kids together and named them Sugarpop. He then produced Sugarpop’s debut album, even wrote several originals for the CD and continues to coach the members in their performances to this day.

Having Tan on top of things has improved these kids’ musicality and given Sugarpop the opportunity to come up with a good album. There are already too many disappointing recordings by talent show discoveries in the stores. I do not think I can stand another one. Thankfully Sugarpop came up with something enjoyable and suitable to its market but does not insult older listeners. The CD alternates between dance pop and sweet R ’n B ballads. Rita excels in most of them. Her sweet voice and clarity of tones reminds me of Aiza Seguerra or even the young Rachelle Alejandro. Her solo in Tan’s original Alam Mo Na… Di Ba? is one of the highlights of the album.

Also titled Sugarpop, the CD also includes other compositions by Tan like Sugarpop, You Lift Me Up, Walang Laglagan, Written in the Sand and Thank You Po. The other cuts are the pop classic Name Game, Chocolate, Happy Hook and the leading staple for kiddie groups hereabouts, Ryan Cayabyab’s Paraiso, which was first recorded by Smokey Mountain. [source of news]

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