THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) ended their annual search for the “Total OPM Performer” on a high note on June 7 at the Pagcor Grand Theater in Airport Casino Filipino, Parañaque City.
The star-studded grand finals night saw 14 young promising OPM artists belting out, showcasing their raw yet unparalleled talent in singing. Crooner Christian Bautista and girlfriend, Singaporean actress-radio DJ Carla Dunareanu hosted the event. Among those who rendered show-stopping performances were OPM icons Dulce and Jaya.
At the end of the two-hour show, freelance singer Karl Aris Tanhueco from Angeles City, Pampanga emerged as the grand winner of “OPM@Pagcor 3: A Nationwide Search for the Total OPM Performer.”
Tanhueco displayed exceptional poise and stage presence in his heartfelt interpretation of Gary Valenciano’s “Narito ang Puso Ko.” He bagged the top prize of P300,000 and a performance contract worth half a million pesos from Pagcor. Tanhueco said he will use a portion of his cash prize to help renovate the house of his grandmother.
Tanhueco also recognized his fellow finalists whom he said all deserved to win.
“Magagaling po lahat ng mga kalaban ko kaya’t hindi ko po inaasahang ako ang mananalong grand winner. Nagpapasalamat po ako unang-una sa Diyos at pangalawa po sa Pagcor at OPM sa pagbibigay sa akin ng pagkaka-taong matupad ang pangarap kong maging isang professional singer,” he said.
Finishing a close second was Shane Anja Tarun who performed a spirited rendition of Rivermaya’s “Posible.” Coming in third place was Harriz Dover Battung who belted out “Ikaw Lamang,” another song popularized by Gary Valen-ciano. Tarun and Battung received P200,000 and P100,000 in cash respectively.
Singer-songwriter and current OPM president Ogie Alcasid hailed this year’s batch of OPM@Pagcor grand finalists for showing perseverance, brimming with confidence as they gave praiseworthy performances. “Magagaling silang lahat. At least dalawa sa kanila ang nakita kong malayo ang mararating as singers. Overall, happy ako sa ipinakitang perfor-mance ng mga grand finalists this year.”
According to Alcasid, the OPM is very happy with their continuing partnership with Pagcor in tapping undiscovered talents in the country. “Hopefully, we can continue with this project. We thank Pagcor for always supporting our local talents and OPM performers,” he added.
Alcasid was the chairman of the OPM@Pagcor 3 board of judges during the grand finals night. He was joined by Pagcor President and COO Jorge Sarmi-ento, OPM officers Mitch Valdez and Noel Cabangon and Tet Naguiat, wife of Pagcor Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr.
Bong Quintana, Assistant VP of Pagcor’s Entertainment Department, said the huge success of this year’s competition inspires them to continue providing the much-needed break to young ama-teur singers who dream of establishing successful career in the Philippine music industry.
“This is already the third season of our nationwide singing competition and we are proud to say that we have produced the best singers. Some of them are already touring the different Casino Filipino branches nationwide with some of the country’s finest OPM artists,” Quintana said.
Also during the event, plaques were awarded to teen heartthrob and recording artist Daniel Padilla, pop-rock singer Yeng Constantino and rapper Raymond “Abra” Abracosa, all of whom were named as junior ambassadors of OPM. Their mission is to encourage the youth to support and promote Original Pilipino Music.