The fall of the latest Pinoy Idol

24 May 2004

Jasmine Trias cuts a tragic figure -- the innocent victim of a people who suffer from an insatiable thirst for heroes -- at best -- and a chronic starry-eyedness -- at worst.

She seems to be a very nice and potentially talented person.

Unfortunately her ascent in that reality show to the Top 3 was apparently propped up by a "solidarity vote" (probably ethnic in nature). Simon Cowell alluded to this after her last set of performances before she was finally voted out on 23 May 2004 . "It has to end here", Cowell said with confident finality.

If indeed her presence in the final stages of the contest can be accounted for by a strong Pinoy/Hawaiian vote -- a vote therefore that was about ethnic or state solidarity rather than talent -- then it backfired badly in Jasmine's final weeks in the contest as her talent shortfall became more glaring with each week she remained and as the calibre of her co-candidates' talent reached rarefied levels. The sympathy vote that kept her in the race until then may have even cost the continued participation of more talented contestants (La Toya London, for instance, who was voted out in the episode before Jasmine's last).

The poor kid drew harsh criticism from the judges while the other two's performances drew raves. The glaring gap drew attention to a phenomenon that is all too familiar with most Pinoys -- the continued presence of an underdog in a cut-throat competition that should have been about skill and talent.

Sound familiar?

Of course, Jasmine was not in the race to put one over the others. But a possibility closer to the truth is that the "Pinoy vote" -- if there was one -- sought to overlook talent (a) para makiisa, (b) para makisama, and/or (c) para makaisa.

Take your pick.

For those who cannot read Tagalog, ask a Flip to translate -- and watch him/her squirm.

Pride that is not substantiated by achievement is an empty shell.

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