Filipino artists

From Melai to SB19: Why the Philippines was a memorable host for the 2023 Asia Artist Awards

Ally De Leon

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From Melai to SB19: Why the Philippines was a memorable host for the 2023 Asia Artist Awards

Micah Go/Rappler

Filipino talent, culture, and humor were in the spotlight during the Asia Artist Awards 2023

MANILA, Philippines – Held last December 14 at the Philippine Arena, the Asia Artist Awards (AAA) 2023 was a night to remember for Filipino Hallyu fans. Top idol groups and actors were in attendance to the massive event, allowing fans to witness an array of performances and speeches previously only seen on online livestreams in the Philippines.

While AAA is dominated by Hallyu acts, the awards show does not shy away from taking pride in various forms of Asian culture, true to its name. Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino performers also graced the stadium, and as this year’s host, Filipino culture shined through in this star-studded event. 

Here are some highlights that show off exactly why and how the Philippines was a memorable host for the 2023 Asia Artist Awards: 

Ryan Bang’s red carpet

It’s Showtime regular and comedian Ryan Bang was the host for the Asia Artist Awards red carpet. With a great grasp of the English, Tagalog, and Korean languages – that got Korean media outlets asking how he attained that level of fluency – he ensured a smooth and hilarious red carpet run for all the artists involved.

When it was NewJeans’ turn to walk the red carpet, he made members Hanni and Hyein laugh as he off-handedly admitted being a fan of the group. Other antics with idol groups included but were not limited to imitating a famous Filipino Christmas carol to praise The BOYZ, requesting Stray Kids to guest on his home turf It’s Showtime, and joking about Japanese girl group Sakurazaka46’s school uniform-inspired outfits.

Through his comedic commentary and fangirl-esque remarks, including the praises he sung for actor Kim Seon-ho, Ryan Bang started the event off with a bang through his humor and hospitality.

The Melai movement

Ryan Bang wasn’t the only icon who made waves at AAA. Aside from the performances from everyone’s favorite groups, much of the local virality of the awards show was brought on by Ma’am Chief star Melai Cantiveros.

The comedienne-actress’s interaction with IVE’s Jang Wonyoung, who served as one of the three MCs for the event, drew boisterous laughter from the audience given the contrast between their overall “vibes” and tones of voice. Melai continued to make the arena laugh as she gave her acceptance speech for her Best Actor award, wherein she joked about questioning her own receipt of the award as well.

Several firsts with SB19

Pioneer P-pop group SB19 were able to experience a lot of “firsts” as a group during the Asia Artist Awards. The award show marked their first group performance after securing the rights to their name and logo. Coincidentally, they were also one of the first performers for the night in a medley collaboration stage with Japanese boy group &TEAM.

During this stage, SB19, alongside &TEAM, performed their hit single “Gento,” a favorite among K-pop stars for dance challenges. SB19 also won the Hot Trend and Best Artist awards, which the group considered a feat given that it was their first time being invited to and attending the awards show.

Where P-pop and K-pop met

While there was no shortage of Philippine-based Filipino artists at the Asia Artist Awards such as Ben&Ben (who took home the Best Choice Award), fans were also grateful to see familiar faces come from South Korea to perform in their homeland. 

MLD Entertainment’s Filipino K-pop boy group HORI7ON performed “SIX7EEN” at the main stage and were awarded the “Focus Award.” After the ceremony proper, members JEROMY and MARCUS also did a dance challenge with SEVENTEEN-BSS’s DK

Further, HORI7ON and SB19 were finally able to meet, as documented in a dance challenge on the former’s TikTok page.

@hori7onofficial HORI7ON x SB19 Finally meet‼️❤️‍🔥🤩 #HORI7ON #호라이즌 #KYLER #카일러 #WINSTON #윈스턴 #SIX7EEN #SB19 #SB19_PABLO #SB19_JUSTIN ♬ SIX7EEN – HORI7ON(호라이즌)

Fellow labelmates Lapillus were present at the awards show, as well. Former Star Magic artist Chantal Videla, otherwise known as Chanty, is a Filipino-Argentine member of the group. When the group won the “Potential Award,” Chanty gave a quick speech of gratitude in Tagalog, garnering a warm round of cheers from the Filipino-dominated audience.

Kathryn and Daniel, post KathNiel

The Asia Artist Awards night was one of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s first public appearances together since confirming their breakup. The ex-couple seemed to be all smiles and on friendly terms during the awards ceremony, where they both received the “Fabulous Award” alongside top K-pop acts NewJeans, Stray Kids, and Lim Young Woong.

Notably, Kathryn garnered positive attention and audience clamor during her acceptance speech. The actress switched seamlessly between English and Tagalog, appreciating Filipino pop culture and considering the country’s hosting of the esteemed awards show as “an honor.”

Check out more event highlights here. –

Ally de Leon is a Rappler intern.

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FULL LIST: Asia Artist Awards 2023 winners

FULL LIST: Asia Artist Awards 2023 winners

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