Cosmetic surgery is not an option for Laarni Lozada

Monday, September 22, 2008 got a one-on-one talk with Grand Star Dreamer Laarni Lozada during the press conference for the Top 6 scholars of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2.

When asked if she wants to move her parents and two siblings into the city with her, Laarni replied: "Pinag-uusapan pa namin. Pero as much as possible gusto ko sila sa province na lang na malayo sila sa mga intriga. Gusto ko sila protektahan, alam mo naman sa showbiz." Laarni’s family is a native of Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao but now that the young singer is a proud owner of a house-and-lot after bagging the top place in the competition, she has the option of moving her family to Manila as she embarks on her singing career.

"Pagbubutihin ko ‘yung career ko pero ang pinaka-importante talaga is ‘yung foundation ng family ko," she added. Laarni is currently enjoying her time with her family who arrived in the city in time for the PDA finale and is staying with relatives indefinitely.

With more star hopefuls trying their luck in the entertainment industry, having good looks will definitely get one further. However, Laarni, who was first worried of her looks when she entered the Academy, has a different view on this now that she’s conquered the competition with her raw talent.

"Mahal na mahal ko ang sarili ko kahit napakarami kong imperfections. Siguro wala na akong babaguhin sa sarili ko. Kapag inisip ko pa ‘yung mga operation parang sakit lang sa ulo ‘yun. Gusto ko mahalin ako ng tao sa kung paano nila ako nakilala," she told

Laarni said that she would prefer wearing the best clothes and taking time to learn the correct way of putting on make-up and having the right hair style rather than going under the knife.

Becoming the Grand Star Dreamer was not an easy journey for this former choir singer and competition reject. Laarni recalled her experience inside the academy where she faced a series of probation and emotional breakdowns, but she remained determined in reaching her dreams.

"Siguro kaya ako nami-misinterpret ng maraming tao, first week pa lang probationary na ako. Five times akong na probie. Nakakapanghina talaga ng loob kasi pinaghandaan ko ito tapos mapo-probie lang ako. Grabe ‘yung emotional pressure kaya siguro kahit sino, tao lang naman tayo na nasasaktan, kaya ganun ‘yung naging reaksyon ko. Dinaan ko na lang sa iyak at sa prayer. Inisip ko talaga na ayokong mag-quit," she said.

PDA bottom 3: a long showbiz career

Friday, September 19, 2008

Laarni Lozada was voted Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA) Season II Grand Star Dreamer (to the wonderment and disappointment of Bugoy Drilon?).

Of course, being a Cebuano, I rooted for Van Roxas (remember the campaign I headed here?) but then maybe the rest of the tele-viewers thought that Van already has the smoldering looks and, if he becomes the grand winner, that would be too much in his favor. Hindi naman siya lang ang anak ng Diyos, no?

My other bet was Liezel Garcia, she with the exotic beauty and clean, distinctive voice. It’s a given that all the PDA scholars, including those who were voted out and those who made their exits voluntarily, have the makings of great singers.

But Liezel to me simply still stands out.

At first, I tolerated Bugoy’s antics and actuations but later they became distracting and irritating. I also noticed that he has become self-conscious and “feeling artista already,” to quote a friend, several days before the grand night.

Add to this the glaring favoritism by the mentors, ao my dislike for him grew night after night. I can still remember that scene where teachers Monet and Kitchie danced like fools while singing Alleluia after Bugoy delivered the song they wanted. Shame on them!

My reaction on his declaration that “in my heart I am still the Grand Star Dreamer”? No way!

While the top three winners (Miguel Mendoza completes the list) will enjoy the cash prizes and the other items that go with the top slots, I have this strong hunch that it will be the bottom three (Chris “Cris” Pastor, Liezel and Van) who will enjoy a longer stay in show business.

There’s life after PDA

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just minutes after the show wrapped up, after Laarni Lozada was named new Grand Star Dreamer, composer and music teacher Ryan Cayabyab assessed the latest edition of the ABS-CBN reality contest, “Pinoy Dream Academy.”

“I enjoyed doing this show because the format allowed us to work closely with the students and help them develop as performers,” said Cayabyab, head master on the show. “On ‘Philippine Idol,’ where I was judge [two years ago], we could only give comments, but we couldn’t teach the contestants.”

Personal picks

Cayabyab named Lozada, 1st runner-up Bugoy Drilon and 3rd runner-up Liezel Garcia as his personal Top 3. (Miguel Mendoza is 2nd runner-up.)

He described Garcia as a “unique” find who has “a distinct voice—an original.”

Lozada is the “most vocally equipped,” said Cayabyab. “She’s well-trained. She can do classical, kundiman as well as the usual birit (belting).”

“Bugoy is refreshing, sincere and giving as a performer,” Cayabyab noted. “At the start, he was withdrawn and shy, but he blossomed. On finals’ night, he exuded self-confidence.”

Resident psychologist and counselor Randy Dellosa agreed, describing the contestants as an “inspiring bunch.”

Added mentor Jose Javier Reyes, “They [matured] a lot throughout their stay in the Academy.”

Mentors’ aim

Reyes recounted that he and Cayabyab, and fellow mentor Kitchie Molina, endeavored to equip the contestants with the necessary tools to help them survive in show business.

“Kitchie reminded them to take care of their voices, not to abuse their bodies,” Reyes said. “Ryan emphasized the importance of being creative. I kept repeating that they shouldn’t permit themselves to get stuck in a rut, that they should constantly grow as artists.”

Reyes concurred with Cayabyab’s observation that the contestants’ 13-week stay in the Academy wasn’t enough.

More crucial

“That was just the gestation period,” Reyes explained. “Most of these kids look at contests as their ticket out of poverty, but the hard work begins after winning. The more crucial question is: What happens now?”

Said Cayabyab: “This is only the beginning of their journey.”

Reyes explained further: “In show biz, they will go through the grinder. They will undergo stress and torture … they will realize that it’s not enough to sing your heart and lungs out, you also need guts and determination to remain standing in this industry.”

That, Reyes pointed out, “is their real growth. It is when idealism is confronted by raw facts that we get to separate the mere wannabes from the real warriors.”

TV Ratings (Sept. 12-15): "Pinoy Dream Academy" finale reigns supreme; "Survivor Philippines" outplays "Kahit Isang Saglit"

Here are the Top 10 daytime and primetime programs from September 12 to 15 based on the overnight ratings conducted by AGB Nielsen Philippines among Mega Manila households:

September 12 (Friday)


  1. Eat Bulaga! (GMA-7) - 23.5%
  2. Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan (GMA-7) - 21.5%
  3. Daisy Siete (GMA-7) - 20.5%
  4. Una Kang Naging Akin (GMA-7) - 20.4%
  5. Wowowee (ABS-CBN) - 17.5%
  6. El Cuerpo del Deseo (ABS-CBN) - 16.8%
  7. Ligaw Na Bulaklak (ABS-CBN) - 16%
  8. Marimar (GMA-7) - 15.9%
  9. Pilipinas, Game KNB? (ABS-CBN) - 15.7%
  10. SiS (GMA-7) - 9.7%


  1. Dyesebel (GMA-7) - 41.8%
  2. Codename: Asero (GMA-7) - 39.9%
  3. Ako Si Kim Samsoon (GMA-7) - 34.5%
  4. 24 Oras (GMA-7) - 30.2%
  5. My Husband's Woman (GMA-7) - 27.4%
  6. TV Patrol World (ABS-CBN) - 25.4%
  7. I Love Betty La Fea (ABS-CBN) - 24.6%
  8. Iisa Pa Lamang (ABS-CBN) - 24.1%
  9. Dyosa (ABS-CBN) - 23.6%
  10. Pinoy Dream Academy (ABS-CBN) - 23.4%

September 13 (Saturday)


  1. Eat Bulaga! (GMA-7) - 23.1%
  2. Pinoy Records (GMA-7) - 20.4%
  3. Wish Ko Lang (GMA-7) - 17.6%
  4. Wowowee (ABS-CBN) - 18.6%
  5. Startalk (GMA-7) - 14.2%
  6. Making of I.T.A.L.Y. (GMA-7) - 14.1%
  7. That's My Doc (ABS-CBN) - 11.7%
  8. Entertainment Live (ABS-CBN) - 10.9%
  9. Cinema FPJ: Da King on ABS-CBN (ABS-CBN) - 8.9%


  1. Pinoy Dream Academy: Performance Night (ABS-CBN) - 31.8%
  2. Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho (GMA-7) - 28.7%
  3. Bitoy's Funniest Videos (GMA-7) - 28.6%
  4. Imbestigador (GMA-7) - 27.3%
  5. Celebrity Duets (GMA-7) - 24.1%
  6. Maalaala Mo Kaya (ABS-CBN) - 21.8%
  7. Varga (ABS-CBN) - 19.7%
  8. XXX (ABS-CBN) - 14.2%
  9. Nuts Entertainment (GMA-7) - 13.7%
  10. Sine Totoo (GMA-7) - 9.6%

September 14 (Sunday)


  1. ASAP ‘08 (ABS-CBN) 17.9%
  2. SOP (GMA-7) - 16.5%
  3. Takeshi's Castle (GMA-7) - 14.4%
  4. The Buzz (ABS-CBN) - 11.7%
  5. Your Song (ABS-CBN) - 11.4%
  6. Dear Friend (GMA-7) - 11.1%
  7. Showbiz Central (GMA-7) - 10.5%


  1. Pinoy Dream Academy: Awards Night (ABS-CBN) - 36.1%
  2. Tok! Tok! Tok! Isang Milyon Pasok (GMA-7) - 26.6%
  3. Kap's Amazing Stories (GMA-7) - 25.3%
  4. Goin' Bulilit (ABS-CBN) - 25%
  5. Mel & Joey (GMA-7) - 22.5%
  6. Rated K (ABS-CBN) - 20.9%
  7. All Star K (GMA-7) - 18.4%
  8. Sharon (ABS-CBN) - 17%
  9. Ful Haus (GMA-7) - 15.3%
  10. SNBO (GMA-7) - 12.2%

September 15 (Monday)


  1. Eat Bulaga! (GMA-7) - 23%
  2. Una Kang Naging Akin (GMA-7) - 21%
  3. Wowowee (ABS-CBN) - 19.6%
  4. Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan (GMA-7) - 19.5%
  5. Daisy Siete (GMA-7) - 18.9%
  6. Marimar (GMA-7) - 18.7%
  7. El Cuerpo del Deseo (ABS-CBN) - 17.9%
  8. Pilipinas, Game KNB? (ABS-CBN) - 15.8%
  9. Ligaw Na Bulaklak (ABS-CBN) - 14.9%
  10. SiS (GMA-7) - 13.5%


  1. Dyesebel (GMA-7) - 38.8%
  2. Codename: Asero (GMA-7) - 36.4%
  3. Ako Si Kim Samsoon (GMA-7) - 34.8%
  4. Survivor Philippines (GMA-7) - 31.8%
  5. 24 Oras (GMA-7) - 28.3%
  6. I Love Betty La Fea (ABS-CBN) - 28.2%
  7. TV Patrol World (ABS-CBN) - 27.8%
  8. Iisa Pa Lamang (ABS-CBN) - 25.8%
  9. Dyosa (ABS-CBN) - 25.3%
  10. My Husband's Woman (GMA-7) - 22.7%

Voting ends on ASAP 08

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Voting for the Grand Star Dreamer has ended and was closed at ASAP '08 at 2 this afternoon. The votes are now being tabulated and in a few hours the winner of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 will be announced.

Who have you voted deserving of the Grand Star Dreamer title? Witness the culmination of the country's top singing reality search tonight at 7:45 after Goin' Bulilit.

Congratulations Laarni!

Cuneta Astrodome was indeed filled with tension tonight as the much awaited announcement of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 Grand Star Dreamer has finally arrived. The Top Six Scholars were joined by their former co-Scholars, Vina Morales and Wency Cornejo to open the show with their rendition of Bon Jovi Its My Life and the legendary group Journeys Dont Stop Believin.

Tonight, the Little Dreamers Little Dream Bigayan Project was also launched. In the spirit of Christmas, the Academy kids imparted a collection of Christmas songs as the former Scholars roamed around the dome in order to collect donations to be given to the kids̢۪ charity Childhope Asia Philippines.

Uberture host, Billy Crawford also imparted a song and dance number tonight. Together with the Banana Split girls, he performed his hit song Bright Lights. Aside from Billy, the Dream Mentors too prepared a little something to bid their Scholars farewell. Teacher Von, Teacher Monet, Teacher Kitchy, Direk Joey and Headmaster Ryan had their own interesting version of Earth, Wind and Fires September and the Tagalized version of Umbrella on stage.

To finally end the night, the much awaited announcement was made. Laarni was hailed the newest Pinoy Dream Academy Grand Star Dreamer. After garnering 651,696 votes, which is equivalent to 35.21 percent of the total text votes, she owned the stage with great pride and sang her very first single Manalig Ka. The Independent Woman from Sultan Kudarat was indeed overwhelmed upon hearing her win. She broke down in tears in the middle of her final song, but since the show must go on, she did her best to pull herself together.

Joining the new Grand Star Dreamer in the Top Three were Bugoy and Miguel who gathered a total of 26.70% and 13.69% respectively. Unfortunately, Liezel, who was a consistent Star Scholar didnt make it into the Top Three and had to settle with fourth place with a total of 247,346 text votes. She was followed by Van who garnered 112,065 votes while Cris filled in the last slot with only a total of 36,487 text votes.

Top Six Scholars face their Grand Dream Night

The night that Bugoy, Cris, Laarni, Liezel, Miguel and Van have been waiting for has finally arrived the Grand Dream Night. Again, they were asked to face the jurors, composed of Louie Ocampo, Girlie Rodis and their very own Dream Mentors, in order to gain commendations and be hailed deserving of the newest Grand Star Dreamer title. To open the act, the reality shows infamous hosts Nikki Gil, Billy Crawford, and Toni Gonzaga shared their part with an interesting opening number, followed by the performance of the expelled Scholars.

Live from the Cuneta Astrodome, Headmaster Ryan Cayabyab initiated the graduation rites as he called the Scholars one at a time to grant them his blessing. After the commencement exercise, the Scholars began with their show as they welcomed their guests with their rendition of Awit ng Pangarap. After the said welcome performance, the Top Six proceeded with their corresponding production numbers. Bugoy, Miguel and Van went in to wow the crowd first with their production number consisting of Ne-yo greatest hits Closer, Addiction and Because of You. The girls, on the other hand, heated up the dome with their sexy performance of Pussycat Dolls When I Grow Up, Buttons and Dont Cha.

The performances above were plainly teasers, the real show was their individual presentations. First to show to the whole world what he got was Miguel. With his songs Love is on the Way and Man in the Mirror, juror Girlie couldnt deny how great the Romantic Crooner had improved.

Laarni went next with her rendition of Manalig Ka and Boogie Wonderland. By the end of her act, she got a little off note, which Headmaster Ryan immediately noticed. But despite her mistake, Mr. C couldnt deny how well the Independent Woman pulled of the said number.

Teacher Monet couldnt be happier for the next performer, Cris, who finally found her focus. Aside from simply being naturally sexy and pretty, the in-house teacher also commended Cris for her remarkable artistry and ability to cope up with their lessons. Her great musical improvement was clearly displayed tonight through her rendition of Out Here on my Own and Candyman.

Van immediately wowed the crowd the very moment he took over the stage to sing Hard Habit to Break and Probinsyana. As Direk Joey said it, the young man from Cebu is indeed oozing with star quality. The media performance teacher claimed that though he didnt have the best voice quality among the bunch, his charms will surely bring him to different heights.

Speaking of star quality, juror Louie also found it in Liezel as she ruled the stage tonight with her version of I am Changing and Respect. The said juror couldnt be happier for the lass, because at long last, she came out of her shell. He even added that if she continues this development, she wont be far from becoming a great star in the near future.

Aside from Liezel, Bugoy too has come a very long way. After his presentation of Ligaya and Climb Every Mountain, Teacher Kitchy couldnt help but recall the lads audition piece, Guy Sebastian Angels Brought Me Here. According to the over-all voice teacher, given his great voice quality, he was indeed brought by angels to where he is now.