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MANILA, Philippines - I write this fresh from the American Idol concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that I was able to watch thanks to Tessa Alviz, Angela Robinson and Thea Llana of ETC and my fellow Rappler, Laszlo Lim.
I live blogged as it happened, but since there was no 3G signal at the spot where I stood, I could not blog photos that I knew our live blog readers would have wanted to see.
So I went the other way and shot as many videos as I could for all of you.
But before the videos, a brief concert review:
By the time Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Hee Jun Han, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon and Hollie Cavanagh arrived in Manila last Tuesday, Sept. 18, it was already public knowledge that the concert was almost sold out. Only a few patron seats remained unbought.
So, tired as they were from 3 months of touring — and jet-lagged from their 14-hour trip to Manila — the Idols obliged their fans with mall shows on Sept. 19 and 20. They performed in pocket shows at Megaworld and Ayala Malls venues, and signed CDs bought by their loving fans.
Imagine my astonishment tonight when, as I was on my way to the red gate of the Smart Araneta Coliseum, I still saw a long line at the box office. There were still people hoping to buy tickets and watch their Idols perform live, in the flesh.
The road to my spot at the patron area right beside the stage proved to be quite bumpy, though, because a lot of people tried cutting our line. With the help of a brave few, order was restored, but not without a few arguments. "Hey, it's just a concert," a gentleman said. "Please, no pushing."
The concert began a little after 8:30 pm. There was no front act. The Idols opened their show with an ensemble performance, with Jessica standing in the middle of the stage. And if she was the one singing the line (even if it was just one line), the crowd roared and cheered. Pinoy pride was truly alive, and Jessica definitely felt it.
In between her numbers, Jessica even said, "Maraming salamat. Mahal ko kayong lahat. Maraming, maraming salamat."
This was a sentiment repeated by her fellow Idols. Whoever was singing onstage would say, "You've treated us so well and you've all been very nice to us. Thank you so much, Philippines."
Colton got a lot of cheers from his Filipino fans tonight. Here's his cover of "Moves Like Jagger" with Erika, Joshua and Hollie:
The program was arranged as such that solo and group numbers were alternately performed. The Idols would also do back-up singing for each other.
The chemistry, synergy, friendship and rapport that I observed during the press con and round table interviews last Tuesday were even more evident tonight.
Here's one of my favorite numbers: a cover of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" by Hee Jun, Jessica and DeAndre:
There was an intermission in-between. The second part saw some of the Idols perform numbers they performed in the competition.
Jessica opened this second part to the delight of the crowd.
Here's Jessica singing "Best Thing I Ever Had":
I remember live-blogging my disbelief that she's just 17 years old. Her petite and slender frame contains such a powerful voice. She didn't just stop at the strong parts of a song; she would always have a follow-through.
Yep, Jessica Sanchez, Filipino-Mexican, is a born performer and entertainer; she has a bright future ahead of her.
Speaking of "power," Joshua Ledet was the one who made me stop live blogging tonight to stare. The guy's voice sent chills up my spine. I looked at my arm and saw goosebumps.
Gospel singing all his life did him well, because Joshua has the stage presence and singing style of a true diva. I was not a fan of Joshua's during the competition, but after the round table interviews and tonight, I hope to see more of him in the future.
Then there was Phillip Phillips. Being the AI season 11 winner, he sang the most number of songs. His 5th song, "Home," also became the sort-of finale of the night, when the rest of the finalists joined him in the last part of the song, all dressed in white.
By then, I kinda knew the night was about to end, but I didn't feel bad. The kids gave a good, full-on show. I think people got their money's worth for their tickets, with all those amazing performances.
The finale-finale song was a cover of The Wanted's "I'm Glad You Came." I only got to shoot part of it because I was live-blogging, but check out DeAndre's dance moves. The guy is good!
Here's the part of "I'm Glad You Came" that I was able to shoot:
After that last song, the Idols came back onstage one by one for a final bow. And when the show was finally over, I remained standing at my spot.
Aside from the fact that my right leg was numb from standing, I also wanted to "simmer" in the energy that remained in the venue as the crowd showed themselves out.
Everyone was content, happy and smiling. They didn't need to ask for an encore.
They got the performances they wanted, needed and expected to see.
As promised, here are the other videos:
Jessica singing Alicia Keys' "How Come You Don't Call Me" accompanied by Joshua and DeAndre:
The Idols' final bow:
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