As with any audition, elimination is a reality that should be apparrent from the start. Each successive round means more and more people will go home, and when the stated maximum number of winners is capped at 48, you know people will be shedding a lot of tears in the end.
In this case though, some of those tears just came a little earlier. ‘It’s Showtime’ has just introduced a weekly elimination in the MNL48 audition. Yes, WEEKLY elimination. And it just started last Saturday with five hopefuls being sent home.
But before we get there, two new aspirants moved up and performed live as part of the week 3 Top 10 girls. After a week of rigorous training and rehearsals, this week’s top-rankers performed Anne Curtis’ OPM single “Empire of Pink”.
Eunice and Sayaka have maintained their rank as Top 1 and Top 2 for the second time. Here’s the rest of the Week 3 Top 10:
Before the Top 10 performance, the Week 2 Top 10 got to perform an encore of their “Mr Kupido” performance plus another number featuring 10 chosen girls. It has been observed that most of the Weekly Top 10 are returning members and people have been clamoring to see the performances of the other girls and it looked like “It’s Showtime” was finally going to oblige.
It turned out to be something else entirely, not to mention a bitter-sweet moment for some as it was announced that the eliminations will start that very same day, and some of those girls chosen to perform were the unlucky ones whose dreams would have to wait a little longer for them to come true.
Zara, Zhyra Ica, Isha, and Krizzia, all had to exit as they have been eliminated from the audition. All five weren’t my favorites, but it was really difficult to stay dispassionate and detached from the process especially since I have involved myself too much into it. My first reaction was one of disbelief, second of fear as at least one of my bets were in danger.
What this new development brings is an added urgency to make it into the Weekly Top 10 because anyone outside of it will be subject to evaluation. The evaluations will come from three places:
- Talent and Discipline by the Coaches
- Potential and X-Factor by the Advisers
- Attitude and Behavior by the Team MNL48 Staff
This would also mean that the candidates should always be on their guard at all times. They would need to double their efforts during their practices and approach the difficult rehearsals with the right state of mind. They must convince the advisers that they have the potential to be a star (although this may depend heavily on the advisors actually liking you or not). They must also be in good behavior at all times which may or may not include things they post in their social media accounts.
Do I like the weekly elimination thing? I honestly do not know. The fan side of my brain is screaming bloody murder, while the rational, Mass-Comm trained side is giving out cold, heartless conclusions. I feel for the girls – both the eliminated, and the ones who are still in the game. But at the same time, elimination is a reality in all auditions and it’s bound to happen here sooner or later.
If you take away all the trappings that Hallohallo Entertainment allowed ABS-CBN to add to this audition, you can see at the microscopic level the nucleus of AKB48, and that the process was – in a way – designed to mimic what idols go through every day. The girls are constantly evaluated by dance and voice instructors, people from the industry, and the staff. A member who doesn’t get much opportunities are usually one of two things: either they are simply not that marketable (which I imagine to be the most common reason), or they pissed one of those three groups off so much that your career is on indefinite limbo until “you straighten up”.
AKB’s idols are very tightly controlled, and Filipinos are normally not used to being controlled in that level. Weeding out the girls who fail to meet the standards set by the management is as much a mercy act as it is a business decision. If you’re having trouble keeping up, you may be better served in learning and improving at your own pace rather than with a set standard. After all, a number of AKB48’s big names failed in their first attempt in getting in.
Moving on, any fan (at least, those who haven’t “boycotted” MNL48) is looking forward to the day the MNL48 theater will open doors. After all, despite the animosity towards what people describe as the “wrong process”, the theater is a tangible connection to AKB48. A proof that MNL48 is “part of the family”.
However, news is sparse about the theater. Not even a teaser or a preview is available, and the place in Centris Station has been in construction since late 2017. There’s also the Tokyo Girls Collection located in Vertis North’s Japan Town, and a similar one in Glorietta, all of whom will be locations for MNL48 performances.
Since I was on holiday last Chinese New Year, I decided to visit at least two of the three locations. The trip serves two purposes: do an ocular inspection of the site and get a general feel of the place, and determine how much money, time and effort I would have to make to attend their events. I’ve recently moved from Makati to Cavite and the events I expect to attend will require me to go on a bit of a road-trip.
Centris Station: The Home of the Theater
When I first found out that Centris Station will be the location of the new Movie Stars Cafe as well as the MNL48 Theater, I was a bit skeptical. Centris is deep in Quezon City, and the mall isn’t exactly prime destination. However, it certainly has some advantages. First, it is fairly accessible via bus and train. Second, while the mall itself isn’t prime estate, the surrounding area has the potential to be.
The floor-plans were included in one of the presentations regarding Movie Stars Cafe and MNL48 that are uploaded in Hallohallo Inc.’s Japanese website. As the screen-caps show, the Movie Stars Cafe is slated to occupy a large space with the MNL48 theater right beside it. It was easy to spot where Movie Stars Cafe will be located. If you are going north, it is located past the MRT station.
Seeing the floor-plan, I already have some idea on how big the area will be. But being there physically, well, let me say that the place seemed bigger in person. The downside is that it is all still covered up.
According to the plans, the MNL48 theater is located to the right of Movie Stars Cafe. Because the whole area is still covered, I made a guess, based on the plans, on where the theater would actually be located.
However, there’s also another possible location which is immediately to the right of the one shown in the picture. This one doesn’t have the red cover that the rest of Movie Stars Cafe had, and it was still clearly under construction. But it is situated at the top of a flight of stairs similar to what you might expect to see in a theater. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures as there are people working in the area, and I’m not comfortable having my cell-phone out in a place I am not familiar with.
The place certainly has potential, and I am hoping that the theater itself is big enough. I still have fond memories of going to Movie Stars Cafe and I’m really looking forward to going there again. The area has enough space for fans can wait in line for a theater performance. I’m just a bit concerned with the apparent lack of shade but construction is still far from done so these things might still be incorporated later on
Japan Town, Vertis North
The announcement that MNL48 will be the first endorser of Tokyo Girls Collection which will be set up in Japan Town of Vertis North was a surprise. After all, the deal itself is very lucrative and the group yet to be born. The deal also included Japanese streaming service ‘Showroom’, which simply means that the shows will be broadcast in Japan via the Showroom app.
But the true beauty of the whole deal is the location. A beautiful Japan-centric location with well-known Japanese restaurants and stalls. It’s still all food for now, but the place is expected to host a number of other Japanese shops. One look at the place and I instantly regret eating in Bonchon.
The ambiance is extraordinary, and I suspect the main hall were activites may be held is the one in front of this screen.
There’s no sign indicating where the TGC store will be located, but that doesn’t matter. The place is oozing Japanese whichever way you put it.
In hindsight, I should have taken more pictures, but I was really tired both by the travel and the walking and so I decided it’s time to go.
Before I crossed the over-pass to the south-bound lane of EDSA, I decided to drop by Trinoma. Here, late in 2015, I finally decided to follow AKB48 after witnessing their performance during the Cool Japan Festival. While I’ve known the group for a long time as a fan of Hello! Project and had been watching subtitled versions of their shows on the internet, it wasn’t after witnessing Team 8 perform that I finally accepted the fact that I’m now a fan and in many ways, this place was where it all began.
I couldn’t drop by Glorietta because it is way out of my route. According to people who tried to see the location, the area is blocked. Honestly speaking, I could have forced myself to go, but since unlike the other two locations, you won’t be able to access the actual area, I decided not to. There’s no point.
The girls are actually getting better after each week. Although I would really prefer that the middle-of-the-pack girls should also be given a chance to show off their progress. Normally it’s just the Top 10, the next few ranks, and then the bottom rankers.
The Online Update should also feature behind the scenes footage. Adding some games the previous week was good. Now we need more of that, as well as allowing the girls more chances to interact with other candidates in a variety setting.
ABS-CBN should also consider following some of the girls when they give out flyers in malls or in other places. Not only would it give a documentary vibe, but it can also show the girls hard at work trying to campaign for more supporters.
Oh, and HHE is still very silent this week.
Here are some interesting bits from the MNL48 You Tube channel: