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The stars to watch out for in 2021

Alexa Villano

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The stars to watch out for in 2021

Photos from Janine Gutierrez, Charlie Dizon, JC Alcantara Instagram/ABS-CBN/IdeaFirst Company

Check out the stars whose careers and projects are sure to be (virtual) crowd-drawers in 2021!

Despite the challenges in the entertainment industry in 2020 (work stoppage because of the coronavirus pandemic, among them), several on-cam stars managed to shine.

Here are some stars who’ve made our 2020 interesting and who we’ll be watching out for in 2021:

Kokoy de Santos and Elijah Canlas

Kokoy and Elijah became online and offline sensations through the Boys Love series Gameboys. Following the success of the online show, the two started getting more TV projects.

Elijah is anything but a newbie. He’s starred in several films and won Best Actor during the Gawad Urian, FAMAS, and the 17th Asian Film Festival for his role in the movie Kalel, 15.

He is currently on the series Paano ang Pangako, which airs on TV5.

Following Gameboys, Kokoy starred in another BL series, Oh, Mando, which streamed on iWantTFC. He stars in the TV5 series Stay In Love opposite Maris Racal and regularly appears on the noontime variety show Sunday Noontime Live, also on TV5.

Photo from The Ideal First Company
Maris Racal

Maris Racal has come a long way since debuting on Pinoy Big Brother All In. After playing supporting roles, Maris top-billed a movie for the first time in Ellenya L, which was released in 2019.

In 2020, the young actress had tons of projects up her sleeve. She released a new single called “Not for Me,” starred in the iWantTFC original Beauty Queens, and joined the cast of TV5’s noontime show Sunday Noontime Live.

Maris currently stars in the show Stay In Love, produced by CS Studios, opposite Kokoy de Santos.

Charlie Dizon

If there is anyone who deserves to be called the “Breakout Star” of 2020, it would be Charlie Dizon. After proving herself in supporting roles, Charlie nabbed two big projects, both of which were released in 2020 – as the young Teddie in Four Sisters Before the Wedding and Jane in Fan Girl.

Her performance in Fan Girl was well received by critics and viewers, and won her the Best Actress Award at the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Charlie is set to appear in IWantTFC’s Horoscope, streaming this month.

Screenshot from Charlie Dizon Instagram
Kira Balinger and Grae Fernandez

As Jake and Hope in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, their tandem came naturally and was a welcome reprieve for viewers who follow the intense conflict between Elice (Iza Calzado) and Marissa (Jodi Sta Maria).

As early as now, a lot of viewers believe that their loveteam is the next one to look out for.

Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan

Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan gained recognition thanks to the hit series Gaya sa Pelikula, written by Juan Miguel Severo. Their on-screen chemistry as Vlad and Karl was praised by the fans of the show, who lovingly dubbed them “PangPang.”

Their careers are just getting started. Both have signed up as talents of Cornerstone Entertainment and have guesting on several variety shows.

Ian has guested on Sunday Noontime Live and recently appeared as Kurt in the show I Got You, produced by Cornerstone and Project 8 and aired on TV5.

Alexa Ilacad

Alexa Ilacad started her showbiz career at a young age – she starred in commercials and the kids show Goin’ Bulilit, which produced the likes of Nash Aguas, Miles Ocampo, and Sharlene San Pedro.

She would go on to star in a number of shows in ABS-CBN. In 2019, she was cast as Luna Dela Cuesta, the antagonist to Janella Salvador’s character Emma in The Killer Bride.

In 2020, Alexa landed the role of the young Bobbie, one of the 4 Salazar sisters in Four Sisters Before the Wedding. Bobbie was originally played by Bea Alonzo in the original Four Sisters and A Wedding.

Aside from acting, Alexa is also a singer. In 2020, she released the music video for her song “Love at First Sight,” which she wrote, produced, and recorded.

Belle Mariano

Belle Mariano, 18, also started her career in the show Goin’ Bulilit. She appeared in shows such as Maalaala Mo Kaya, Hawak Kamay, Kadenang Ginto, La Luna Sangre, and Bagani.

In 2020, Belle landed the role of Gabbie, one of the 4 Salazar sisters in the film Four Sisters Before the Wedding. Gabbie was originally played by Shaina Magdayao in Four Sisters and A Wedding.

Belle’s next project is the romantic comedy He’s Into Her, where she is paired with Donny Pangilinan. The show is based on a Wattpad novel of the same title and will premiere on iWantTFC this 2021.

Gillian Vicencio

Before nabbing the role of the young Alex in Four Sisters Before the Wedding, Gillian Vicencio was known for her role as Eri in the horror film Eerie starring Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos. She also appeared as part of the cast of Hello Stranger starring Tony Labrusca and JC Alcantara, and the iWant Original series Kargo in 2019.

Erika Rae Poturnak

Erika, daughter of Ina Raymundo, signed a contract with Cornerstone Entertainment in September 2020.

Erika is an aspiring singer. She currently performs on Sunday Noontime Live, where she is featured alongside several artists.

JC Alcantara

JC first became a familiar face when he appeared in a commercial for a fast-food chain. One of his first roles was in the show Halik, starring Jericho Rosales.

In 2020, JC got his biggest role to date as Mico in the BL series Hello Stranger, opposite Tony Labrusca. The two are currently finishing a movie based on the show.

JC is also active on social media, doing vlogs and co-hosting We Rise Together, one of ABS-CBN’s online shows.

His life story was also featured in Maalaala Mo Kaya, where he appeared as himself.


BINI, the new P-pop female group from ABS-CBN, has been gaining recognition ahead of their formal debut. In 2020, they released a cover of the Smokey Mountain classic “Da Coconut Nut.” The 8-member group has performed on ASAP Natin ‘To, It’s Showtime and the opening of Pinoy Big Brother Connect.

The group recently joined the Star Magic management as one of its newest talents and will prepare for their album and official debut in February 2021.

Photo from ABS-CBN

Formerly known as the Star Hunt Academy Boys (SHA), BGYO is set to make its debut on January 29.

Ahead of their debut, the group has been attracting attention as ABS-CBN’s P-pop boy group. They have been making appearances on ASAP Natin ‘To, It’s Showtime and performed during the opening of Pinoy Big Brother Connect.

The boys have also recently signed as new talents of Star Magic.

Julia Barretto

Julia Barretto, of course, has always been in the spotlight. In 2020, Julia left Star Magic and signed up with Viva Artists Agency.

Speaking to reporters of her decision to switch managements, Julia said that she felt it was time to explore other opportunities.

“When I met with Viva management, they really laid in a really good plan and they were really willing to help me out,” she said.

Since switching management, Julia has appeared on Masked Singer Pilipinas as a guest judge, starred in a campaign for local fashion brand Penshoppe, and been busy with her YouTube channel.

File photo by Dion Besa/Rappler
Janine Gutierrez

It’s been a great year for Janine. She won the Best Actress at the Gawad Urian and FAMAS awards for her role in Babae at Baril, which first premiered at the QCinema Festival in 2019.

The movie was also chosen as an opening film at the New York Asian Festival, held from August 28 to September 12.

After 9 years with GMA Artist Center and GMA Network, Janine moved to ABS-CBN.

The daughter of Lotlot de Leon and Ramon Christopher is also a sought-after endorser for many products.

Bea Alonzo

After 19 years with Star Magic, Bea Alonzo bid goodbye to the agency in November 2020. She has since signed with Shirley Kuan, whose talents include Albert Martinez and Donna Cruz.

Since the start of the lockdown, Bea focused on her foundation, I Am Hope. She’s been working to gather and distribute relief goods, food, and other supplies to people in need. She has also been busy producing videos for her YouTube channel.

In February, she and on-screen partner John Lloyd Cruz reunited for a quick live reading of That Thing Called Tadhana in Makati. The two also performed via Instagram Story “Love Team” under The Unconfined Cinema in April.

Bea’s management has yet to announce her next projects but it was reported that she and John Lloyd are set to reunite in a movie under Star Cinema.

Rob Reyes/Rappler


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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.