GMA Network’s reality singing competition for kids Centerstage will return this February 7 with a twist—a virtual set this time.

Children are not allowed to leave their houses because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the team behind the singing competition came up with a way to ensure that contestants can still compete safely.

Aicelle Santos, Betong Sumaya, Pops Fernandez, Alden Richards standing in front of a store © Provided by LionhearTV

That is why the Centerstage team has organized its competition by having their contestants sing from the comfort of their homes with the judges and mentors evaluating them from the studio.

Because of this particular innovation, the hosts and judges of the show have expressed their gratefulness and awe towards the resiliency of the Kapuso network.

In a virtual conference, they have shared their own thoughts regarding Centerstage being the first show to be virtually produced on national television.

For its host Alden Richards, he admitted that he was afraid at first since Covid stopped everything.

“Parang syempre when we stopped taping for Centerstage after the ECQ was announced, ako personally I really had the fear of parang baka hindi na matuloy. Baka hanggang dun na lang talaga since everybody would understand since nag-lockdown nga and parang we have Covid-19 to blame sa nangyari,” the host said.

However, he applauded the network for making it possible. He also admired how GMA adjusted to its viewers and did what they had to do in order to make way for its supporters to watch their favorite shows on the network.

“Not being biased with GMA but for some reason, GMA has always parang merong way. There is always a way despite of what’s happening around. GMA will always adjust for the Kapusos, for the Filipino viewers, to be able to continue watching certain shows that they loved to watch in the Kapuso network. So dun ako napa-proud to be Kapuso kasi I have been with them for 10 years and like for example AR, Alden’s Reality Concert. Inisip nila na possible eh. Everything is possible. What is thinkable is possible,” he added.

Betong Sumaya, his co-host, also agreed with what Alden said. For him, what truly amazes him is how the network was able to create such a grand reveal for the show this coming February 28.

“Sobra kaming excited kasi totoo ang sinabi ni Alden. Kasi di ba sa tagal nating di nagkita-kita ulit at syempre bawal lumabas ang mga bata. Paano nga ba natin dadalhin sa GMA studio yung mga bata. Pero ang pinaka nakakamangha rito ay ang grand reveal na mangyayari sa February 28,” the comedian-host said.

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Sumaya was also amazed by how the Kapuso network was able to make history by having the first-ever virtual set in the Philippine TV. The fact that GMA made this in order to continue the halted show gave Sumaya goosebumps.

“Na talagang first ever na magkakaron ng virtual set sa Philippine TV na show. At yun talaga ang nakita namin kahapon nung kami ay nagtaping na talagang paano nga ba gagawin to, kakanta ang mga bata sa mga bahay nila, and then makikita virtually sa show. Grabe, talagang kami din ay nagulat. Kaya sobrang excited na rin kami na ipakita sa inyo to,” Sumaya added.

Meanwhile, for Centerstage judge Pops Fernandez, she thought that they would have to wait for the pandemic and the quarantine protocols to ease up. However, she was wrong. GMA went beyond her expectation by bringing the set of Centerstage to the contestant’s home.

“I really thought the whole time na hintayin namin na mabago ang rules when it comes to shooting the kids para magparticipate sila. Ang hindi ko naimagine ay they went way over my expectations anyway para lang maibalik ang Centerstage at maibalik namin ang mga bata on TV again,” Pops said.

She also expressed her appreciation for Centerstage’s team which according to her, would not have made this show’s return possible without their dedication and passion to their work.

“…ang hindi masyadong nababanggit pero babanggitin namin paulit-ulit. Ang bida rin po eh yung tao behind Centerstage. Because of all the effort that they put and all the risk that they put just to make sure na makabalik kami sa TV. Again hindi ko inexpect na ganun kahirap at ganun ang gagawin nila. Isa rin ako sa mga namangha at na-overwhelm. Anything is possible if you really put our heads together and if there really is so much dedication, passion, and love for your work. And that’s exactly what you’re gonna see sa Centerstage, anything can be possible. Because yung ginawa nang Centerstage, people behind Centerstage, amazing,” the singer added.

For fellow judge, musician Mel Villena, waiting for eight months for Centerstage to continue is worth the wait. He was honored that when it is time for them to return to TV, it is through the first-ever virtual set on Philippine television.

“If there’s anything in there that went through that eight months or so, it would be this. Yung minamangha kami technically dun sa nakikita namin na which is possible pala. We didn’t dream of it that way because we haven’t seen anything like it sa local TV. And now, parang buena mano, kami yung andito, what an honor,” the musician said.

a group of people standing on a stage © Provided by LionhearTV

The same goes for Kapuso vocal powerhouse and West End singer now Centerstage judge Aicelle Santos that it is truly an honor to be part of Centerstage. She narrated how the production team came up with the idea of having a virtual set.

“…when we had a meeting, a Zoom meeting then with the production, with the judges and the hosts, sinabi nila na babalik tayo, gagawan natin ng paraan. The only way for this show will continue is to have the kids sing in their own homes. Kasi bawal sila lumabas. Nung narinig ko yun, aba, mahirap na trabaho ang gagawin ng staff, mabusising mabusisi, isa-isa talaga,” Aicelle shared.

Upon hearing the sacrifices of the crew of the show, Santos was really lucky to be a part of Centerstage.

“…nung nag-taping kami kahapon, nalaman namin ang lahat ng sinuong ng Centerstage staff, talagang sinabi ko na ‘wow, ang galing’. Ang galing na nagawa namin ito. And ako I’m thankful and honored to be part of the show kasi ako nanggaling din ako sa batang nangarap,” she added.

‘Centerstage’ is GMA Network’s current singing competition for kids. The show will return on television on February 7 and viewers would have their jaw dropped on February 28 for their “Grand Reveal”, only on GMA Network.

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