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.”
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 “At the start, he was withdrawn and shy, but he blossomed.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.”
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.
“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.”