Hours before cable channel AXN aired Asia’s Got Talent’s final episode of its debut season on Thursday night, Filipinos on social media were abuzz when an entertainment blogsite leaked that El Gamma Penumbra from the Philippines had won the competition.
The Filipino group won the hearts of the viewers of the show, which was aired live, for its final number that paid tribute to Mother Nature to the song “Colors of the Wind” from the animated film “Pocahontas.”
The El Gamma Penumbra, which started as a hip-hop crew from Tanauan, Batangas, defeated its closest opponent Khugsugtun, an ethnic band from Mongolia.
Everyone rejoiced even if some were unsure if the leak was accurate since the show had not even started yet.
Proof, however, came from a leaked photo of the triumphant El Gamma Penumbra posted by Instagram user Edsel Roy (@starmometer). Although the picture had since been deleted, the blog post at www.starmometer.com can still be viewed.
At the live viewing party hosted by AXN Philippines at Hyve in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (Metro Manila), blogger friends of Roy shared that he was part of the audience who watched the taping of the final show earlier in the day at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
The Instagram photo quickly circulated online through reposts in other social media sites congratulating the shadow play dance group from Batangas.
While it was definitely good news, excited viewers who were waiting for the telecast felt cheated out of enjoying the victory.
“EXCITED, BUT NOW DISAPPOINTED. IVE WAITED FOR THE WHOLE WEEK FOR THIS SHOW. NOW YOU SPOILED IT!! ANYWAY CONGRATS TO EL GAMMA PENUMBRA.. STILL HAPPY FOR THEM,” CTC commented on the Starmometer website.
Twitter user Jacoboooom (@Jacoboooom) posted, “leakage of El Gamma Penumbra result so sad. I’ll never use my phone in that situation haha. Spoiler Die. #AsiasGotTalent”
This was echoed by Gidget Policarpio-Lao, director and business head of AXN Networks Philippines Inc., in an interview with The Manila Times.
“It’s sad [for us that the show’s results were leaked],” she said. “Madaming nagalit sa social media. Pero wala kaming magagawa, ganun e. Ang bilis mag-repost kaso papatayin mo ‘yong excitement. Buti na lang nanalo tayo [Many were angered in social media sites. But we can’t do anything about it because that’s the way it is these days. It’s so quick to repost, but at the cost of killing the viewer’s excitement. It’s a good thing we won].”
When asked if AXN Philippines expected El Gamma Penumbra’s win, Lao replied that they were “hopeful” but not certain because after all, the Philippines had four out of nine finalists in the contest.
“We really hoped for the Philippines to win, not just El Gamma Penumbra but at least one of the four,” she said.
Another Filipino who finished in the Top 3 was Gerphil Flores.
She was the “Golden Buzzer” vote of judge and producer David Foster at the auditions that sent her straight into the competition.
Still impressed by her finals performance, Foster personally bade goodbye to Flores and approached her at the stage to whisper a private message.
In previous shows, Foster had promised the young lady “the world will know her.”
The other two Filipinos were 10-year-old singer Gwyneth Dorado and the all-boy dance group Junior New System.
Flores is a classical singer from Paranaque City (Metro Manila) while Dorado is a 10-year-old singing sensation from Pangasinan province.
Meanwhile, Khusugtun, the first group from Mongolia to ever join an international competition, emerged as El Gamma Penumbra’s runner- up.
The winner of the first Asia’s Got Talent was determined via region-wide text votes.
The other finalists were Talento from Thailand, Triqstar from Japan, Gao Lin and Liu Xin of China and Dance Trilogy of Singapore.
The show’s judges were Foster, Anggun, Vannes Wu and Melanie C, who shared the Asia’s Got Talent stage in a rare performance especially for the results’ night.
The four sang “Let’s Groove,” after which they announced that proceeds of the recording will be donated to relief efforts for earthquake-stricken Nepal.
Besides the finalists, the show’s hosts, Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez, are also Filipinos.
El Gamma Penumbra took home a grand prize worth $100,000 along with the opportunity to perform on the international stage.
Malacañang on Friday commended El Gamma Penumbra for winning the grand finals of the first season of Asia’s Got Talent.
”We praise the group of El Gamma Penumbra for their success as champion of Asia’s Got Talent in Singapore,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a text message to reporters
”They symbolize the natural talent and skills of the Filipinos which for many instances have already been proven in the different international arenas,” Coloma added.
The Palace also commended the performances of the three other Filipino finalists.
With CATHERINE S. VALENTE