There are certain local television shows that can be said to stand the test of time. One of them would have to be the amateur singing competition “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” first aired in 1953 on the channel now known as ABS-CBN, until it ceased operations at the start of Martial Law in 1972. In 1987 the show experienced a brief one-year revival until 1988, but is now a TV viewing staple again since 2016, as a major segment of the Kapamilya network’s noontime variety show “It’s Showtime.” Said iteration just concluded its third season last Saturday after a fifteen-month run, with a singer from Mindanao being named the Grand Champion.
As ABS-CBN News tells it, Elaine Duran of Agusan del Norte was voted the greatest singer of them all for the third season of “Tawag ng Tanghalan” on “It’s Showtime,” as the venerable singing contest came to its “Huling Tapatan” Live Finale this past September 28. With only three contestants remaining from the Final 12, Duran would overcome fellow finalists John Michael dela Cerna and John Mark Saga in one last three-song medley performance showdown that earned her the best percentage in terms of public votes and the judges’ score.
This can be considered a personal triumph to the contestant from Mindanao, as Duran had been trying her luck on “Tawag ng Tanghalan” ever since the contest was revived on “It’s Showtime” over three years ago. Unfortunately she failed to advance significantly in the audition phases of the first two seasons. But the third time proved to be a charm as Elaine breezed through Quarter I of the season 3 auditions, maintaining her place through waves of Resbak returnees until being confirmed among the Final 13 (12 after the withdrawal of Mariko Ledesma), and ultimately reaching the Final 3 contestants.
For her finale performance Elaine Duran would secure her Final 3 spot with Shanti Dope’s “Nadarang.” Then she would interpret three hit songs of legendary OPM balladeer Basil Valdez: “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan,” “Sana ay Ikaw na Nga,” and “Ngayon at Kailanman.” From her combined fan votes and scores of the 15-member judges (led by Rey Valera), she garnered 41.18% against John Mark Saga’s 33.59% (on a December Avenue medley) and John Michael dela Cerna’s 25.23% (from his Bon Jovi medley). As Grand Champion of “Tawag ng Tanghalan” season 3 Duran won the expected P2 million cash prize, house and lot, packages for family vacation and “negosyo,” and finally contracts with ABS-CBN (management) and TNT Records (music recording).
Image from Philippine Entertainment Portal