Four failed voices trying to make it in the business

By Nickie Wang

Manila Standard Today


Less than a year after the quartet You’ve Got Male was formed to entertain the avid viewers of SOP, this fearless group tried to test the waters of performing live last Feb. 20 at the Music Museum.

On a busy Friday night, avoiding the busier thoroughfares like the Aurora Boulevard, we decided to watch Four…The First Time at the Music Museum since we already know what’s going to happen at the Big Dome. The performance we thought would be a breath of fresh air just disappointed us, or maybe we just expected too much from the four young men who aimed to introduce themselves as legitimate concert performers.

From the opening “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the closing “Time of My Life,” and an hour and 40 minutes in between, the quartet who call themselves a group and individual performers at the same time practically showed the audience why they didn’t win the respective talent searches they were once part of.

Just when they thought that boy bands are still in, the fallen talents of disparage searches paid tribute to Barry Manilow crooning classic hits like “Mandy,” “When Will I Hold You Again,” and “Can’t Smile Without You,” boy-band style of course. On the surface, the four looked and sounded good together because of excellent harmony in vocals but turning to their individual performances was a completely different story.

More recognizable Gian Magdangal, whose live outings include stage plays and guest performances in several concerts, made elaborated movements during his moment on the stage. His interpretation of Bread’s “Everything I Own” sounded as if he has just lost everything he had. We got completely distracted by his exaggerated facial expressions making him not so pleasant to look at. His unnecessary movements overshadowed the talent he had to showcase on that defining night.

Bryan Termulo, who rendered his own version of 1979 hit “Cool Change” and Rob Thomas’ “Smooth,” tried hard to act and move sexy. His attempt to seduce the female and gay people at the audience only earned him the moniker “the sissy boy.” We also noticed that his outfits didn’t fit quite well with his short and stocky thighs, except the ensemble for the final part of the show when he was groomed with a sleek white suit just like the rest of the members of the group.

The only classy member of the You’ve Got Male on that particular night, Jan Nieto, really made the fans go loud. His distinctive presence on the stage encouraged our thoughts that he has better potentials than his band mates. “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” and his debut album’s carrier single composed by Ogie Alcasid “Bakit Kailangan Pang Lumayo” were flawlessly delivered. Jan also visibly carried his outfits better than the other three members of the group.

Harry Santos, who sounded like a pale imitation of Josh Groban, nearly didn’t hit the high notes of “You Still You” and the Ryan Cayabyab’s masterpiece “Araw Gabi.” The downside of his performance is that he was associated to Josh Groban because of his being vocal in idolizing the American artist. It’s obvious that the young singer is trying to imitate the famous crooner but the problem was he didn’t even sound close.

The people who put together the four performers didn’t make fine touches on the concert’s concept. It is safe to say that it looked like a prolonged version of SOP’s segment “Three of a Kind” having You’ve Got Male occupying the center stage the whole time.

Special guest Lovi Poe was the big surprise. Although veteran singer Pop Fernandez and choreographer Regine Tolentino were also guest performers, Lovi, who sang “Someone to Watch Over Me,” saved the first half of the show when the audiences were getting restless with the middling performances delivered by Gian and Bryan.

The four performers’ excitement of having a very first concert was evident in the way they horse around the stage but it was their spiels that we found evidently canned. During the entire show they uttered phrases that didn’t have any connection to the songs they were about to sing, not to mention the long lines they dropped that gave the impression that they’re not actually included in the disorganized script.

The concert ended with a medley of the songs the quartet performed in the contests they joined. Harry emotionally sang “You Raised Me Up,” Bryan belted “Flying Without Wings,” OPM lover Jan went romantic with “Will You Say That You Love Me,” and Gian crooned with his version of “Impossible Dream.”

It is hard to tell if there would be a repeat or would we still see You’ve Got Male at a different, or perhaps a bigger, venue. The concert didn’t fill up the minuscule Music Museum, and that is despite the number of performers featured on stage.

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