TNT’s Gidget Dela Llana Puts the Spotlight to OPM, Co-Finalists and Her Fans

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Photo. ABS-CBN Entertainment

There is no doubt that the recently concluded segment of It’s Showtime!, Tawag ng Tanghalan has gained a big following from all over the country and even around the world. Its success has been massive and the singing show has been one of the most talked about competitions for the past year— with it being the leading trending topic on social media for months. The talent has been incredible on its first season and for some reason, the grand finals has been considered as one of the most highly-anticipated finales— after more than a year of finding the best that there is in the competition.

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Photo. ABS-CBN Entertainment

There came balladeers of all sorts, diva’s that vied to stand out from all the belters of the generation, aspiring pop sensations, YouTube stars turned reality search hopefuls and more. But what made Tawag ng Tanghalan stand out from all the singing competitions out there is its unique way of elimination which truly determined who was deserving to really stay in the show. It gave way to the discovery of the ten best and most outstanding voices of the whole search.

Each of the grand finalists has their distinct sound and style in their own genres and fortes. Every one of them had something different to offer, but in the end, an all-male top 3 stood out, with ‘Bukid Boy ng Negros‘ Noven Belleza being hailed as TNT’s new champion. The limelight is bright for Noven, and even if the show has already ended, the finalists and the newest vocal sensations of ABS-CBN are vying to begin their careers in the music industry. One of them is 21-year-old Gidget Dela Llana dubbed as the Sweet Songstress ng Laguna. Being a part of the first batch of grand finalists along with sessionista diva Maricel Callo, and being considered as one of the front-runners of the show, Gidget doesn’t regret not making it to the final 3. She tells us, “I don’t regret anything. It was a fun and friendly competition. Actually, nag enjoy talaga [kami] during our last performance sa TNT.” She also believes that the top 3 deserved to be in the final round. “Yung last na nakapasok— Noven, Froilan, and Sam are also great singers! I admire them all!”

In an earlier interview, Gidget shared that she joined Tawag because she wanted to know what it felt to perform on stage again. In fact, she is not a newbie to TV competitions, as she also competed in Eat Bulaga!’s Ikaw at Echo: Ka Voice ni Idol and Q’s Pop Star Kids. Out of all the competitions that she has entered, she describes that Tawag ng Tanghalan was different. “Ibang klase po yung experience ko dito sa Tawag ng Tanghalan, kasi iba talaga yung labanan. Talagang marami kang makakatapat na magagaling na singers and sobrang saya kasi iba talaga yung opportunity na to.” She also tells us that even if the search has already ended, she still can’t believe that she made it that far in the show. “Actually, hanggang ngayon hindi ko akalain na nakapasok ako sa Tawag ng Tanghalan.” For the young singer, the show opened her to a new family, and she admits that being an only child made her treat everyone as her own brother and sister. “Yung mamimiss ko sa Tawag ng Tanghalan [ay] yung bonding moments naming mga grand finalists— yung kulitan, tawanan, baliwan, and yung mga staff sa loob ng Showtime. Kasi para na talaga kaming pamilya. Yung turing ko sa mga grand finalists parang mga kapatid ko na. Kaya ganun turing ko sa kanila kasi isang anak lang ako.”

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Photo. Gidget Dela Llana

Since the beginning of her journey in the hit talent show, people have been in awe of her sweet and soothing sound. Her first performance back in February 2016 led to her popularity— singing an ultimate Filipino love song, ‘Araw-Gabi’, and eventually making her win the daily round. It didn’t stop there. That same day, she showcased the versatility of her vocals— singing Wicked’s ‘Defying Gravity’. Gidget, who is a fan of both the Asia’s songbird Regine Velasquez and theater diva Idina Menzel, was given credit by the hurado’s on the versatility of her voice. When asked about her first piece, she reveals that she is overwhelmed by the reaction of the people on her version of the Nonoy Zuñiga original. “Nakakagulat po na yung Araw-Gabi ko, nag reach ng 2 million views sa YouTube. Araw-Gabi is one of my favorite songs, kasi sobrang sarap niyang kantahin and when I sing, I want to capture the heart of the audience— hindi dahil gusto ko pakinggan niyo ako. Dahil gusto ko maramdaman niyo ang message ng kanta and parang kayo na din ang kumakanta dahil nararamdaman niyo yung kanta.” Aside from the classic ballad, she has also graced the TNT stage with heartwarming Pinoy tracks such as Kung Ako Na Lang Sana, Hanggang, You are My Song and Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan. So is this what she wants to pursue in her music career? “For me kasi, OPM touches the hearts of Filipinos.” Even when OPM doesn’t get much attention these days, Gidget says that she is willing to focus on the music of the industry. “I’m willing to risk that! And no, it’s not a melting industry. Hindi pa lang siguro sila nakakahanap ng tamang tunog.”

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Photo. It’s Showtime

On April 2016, Gidget along with Maricel Callo entered the Grand Finals, while Tawag continued to search for more talents that deserved to be lined with both artists. Almost a year later, Gidget stood on stage again to prove her place in the finale, and while she didn’t get to be on the last round of the grand finals, she still embraced the fact that she was one of the 10 people who were the last to stand in the competition. Was there a song that she always wanted to sing on the TNT stage but didn’t get a chance to? She shares that she has always wanted to perform her version of Florante’s ‘Handog’ as a message to all the people who is supporting her. “Nandito na lahat sa kantang to yung gusto kong sabihin sa maraming tao, and yung pagmamahal ko sa music ine-explain ng kantang to.” The song has deep roots in Gidget’s heart, and it is a clear statement for anyone who’s ever been following her since day one, and people who’s been with her on the journey towards her dream of becoming a successful singer. When asked about her fans, Gidget didn’t believe it when we said she has one of the biggest fan bases among all the finalists. During the competition and even after the finale, she is a popular trend on social networking site Twitter and she, along with grand finalists Sam Mangubat and Eumee Capile, even topped several internet polls on who people think deserved to win the show. Gidget shares how humbled she is to have one of the best fans out there, “I treat them as one of my friends and nakabuo sila ng family. Sobra yung pagmamahal and support nila sa akin and gusto ko ibalik yun sa kanila.” Being a bubbly 21-year-old, she wants to remain true to who she is in front of them, with or without the cameras. “Tulad ng pagkanta ko— lalo na sa pagtawa ko, at pagiging totoo ko sa harap nila, masayang masaya na sila lalo na ako.”

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Photo. Justine Belen

To be part of a prestigious talent search broadcasted worldwide, anyone who’d get a chance to be on such stage will say it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them. The talented small-town songstress considers it as the turning point in her life as it taught her a great deal in the business. “When you are inside ABS, you have to act properly— I mean yung attitude [mo] kailangan maayos and kahit pagod ka na, you have to smile pa din.” Aside from professionalism, she learned to remind herself to take a break. “Pinaka natutunan ko— rest kapag may time ka kahit matulog ka ng ilang minutes basta makapag-rest ka, okay na yun.”

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Photo. ABS-CBN Entertainment

Now that Tawag ng Tanghalan is over, what’s next for Gidget? On April 7, she will be performing with co-finalist (and close friend) Eumee Capile, Marcelito Pomoy, Yeng Constantino and Ogie Alcasid at the Erik Santos’ sings The Greatest OPM Classics at the KIA Theater. While she can’t promise anything big at the moment, she shares that she will just keep following her passion. “I don’t know if may mga plans po sa amin, basta ako go with the flow and I’ll just wait for my time. God will provide, and I’ll just do what I love [which is singing].” 

Although she is already in the spotlight of show business, as they call it, she still considers herself as a regular kid. “I’m just an ordinary person like you who loves to laugh, eat, and be crazy. I love to sing my heart out and I love to inspire people, and sobra po ako mapagmahal.” She also wants to be an inspiration to people who dreams just like her. “I want to inspire people— not just to do what they want. You have to love what you are doing, and don’t be afraid to take risks ‘cause if you don’t, you’ll never learn. Isa po yan sa mga natutunan ko sa buong buhay ko. I’m not perfect. I learn from my mistakes, and now I’m still learning.”

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It’s definite that the young vocalist has captured so many hearts and has moved people every time she let out a sound. From sensational heart-wrenching ballads to jaw-dropping big hits, her versatility proves that her talent has a place in the industry. Not to mention the fact that we can see how much she knows who she is as an artist— a down-to-earth and driven OPM artist who can definitely sing the phone book. The real competition have only just begun for Gidget Dela Llana, and indeed, nothing’s gonna stop her now.

Follow Gidget Dela Llana’s journey by clicking here!

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