TV5, through Cignal TV’s Cignal Entertainment, inked a partnership deal with live streaming platform Kumu and multimedia company Cornerstone Entertainment to mount the search for the next Pinoy pop (P-pop) idol group.

Titled Top Class, The Rise to P-Pop Stardom, the original talent hunt survival series will scout for 30 hopefuls before whittling their number down while tracking their journey into future P-pop idols.

During a contract-signing on Monday, Feb. 28, Cignal TV and TV5 CEO-president Robert Galang told The STAR: “This (Top Class) is one of the fresh, new content that we’re introducing this year from quite a number of other titles that we will launch. But this is very exciting because it’s a reality edition and it will cut across different platforms, not just broadcast free-to-air, but also digital. And we’ve also partnered with one of the best talent management agencies in the country, Cornerstone, so it’s exciting.”

The show is slated for this year, although executives are tightlipped on the details concerning the format and how it will be different from other reality talent searches.

Nevertheless, according to Jeff Vadillo, vice president at Cornerstone Entertainment, “We really want to incorporate the world-class element to the show. We are yet to announce the details as we go on moving onwards. But definitely, I’m very proud because we are going to get the best of the best, international caliber hosts and mentors with like international body of work that can compete on the global stage, and not to mention the production elements or production value of the show.”

“We’ve really invested quite an amount just to make sure that it’s going to be a show that would really be a platform and a springboard for the future P-pop icons and hopefully shine on the world stage,” Vadillo added.

Asked why they chose to stage a P-pop talent search program, Vadillo said, “Nakikita natin na yung genre na K-pop (or K-pop artists) were actually able to conquer the entire world through their music, through their excellence, without even singing English songs. Imagine, they were only singing like their own language, but they do it really well. And they were able to capture a world market.”

He continued, “We feel that Filipinos, in terms of talent, we have it. We have the raw talent, we have the packaging and lahat nasa Pilipino and it’s just a matter of providing the right training, the right influences, and the right support. So, that’s why we’re doing the show because we want to provide that kind of support to our talents, to help them become the best they can be.”

As a talent agency, Cornerstone also rode the P-pop wave by debuting early this year the boy group Vxon and the girl group G22.

Vadillo added, “Even other bands who have been ahead of us, like there are a lot of P-pop groups which are actually making waves right now, not just in the Philippines, but even all over the world. And from our experience with Vxon and even with G22,  every time we release something, it’s not just the Filipinos who appreciate it. It’s actually people from other countries doing reaction videos, watching and appreciating the things we do and we release like mostly Tagalog singles. But that is the kind of future that we’re working on — to be able to create Filipino artists who have very strong roots and then making it, doing so excellently that other people from other countries can appreciate and relate with it.”

Meanwhile, in less than two years, after its pivot back to the entertainment production scene, the Kapatid network continues to give platform to premium content through content partnerships.

Galang said that it’s been very encouraging that their decision in 2020 to work with different production and live production companies has bore fruit. “And we really have a strong conviction that in order to be able to create the best content, we have to work with the best talent, best creative minds in the industry, rather than doing it on our own. So this way, we get access not just to the writers and directors, but also to the stars and artists that are normally not accessible to us,” he said.

TV5 has also partnered with Cornerstone since 2020 via its content-creation arm CS Studios for award-winning shows like Niña Niño and Sing-Galing.

“We’ve partnered with Cornerstone as a producer and as a line producer. So, when their ideas come up, it’s natural that we get together and work together on this. So this is a fruit of our continuing partnership with Cornerstone. Now, a new element would be Kumu, a very popular app now.”

Just three years old, the proudly Filipino-made Kumu has grown to become the largest social entertainment app in the Philippines.

Kumu chief commercial officer Paolo Pineda noted, “To date, more than 10 million people have registered on Kumu. We have the Kumunizens all the way from the US to Europe. Of course, the majority are still in the Philippines. But millions of streams on a monthly basis,” Pineda said.

In Top Class, the content streaming platform aims to help empower more content creators around the world to showcase their talents.

Pineda said, “So with what we’ve been doing the last few years, we’ve partnered with other brands like Big Brother with ABS-CBN. And just now, we’ve partnered with Miss Universe also for the exact same thing — to find talent or people who want to join Miss Universe. We all do it on Kumu.

“So, it was a natural progression that we actually put together a show where we allow these creators to even progress in their career. And we are not in the business of talent management and production. So, we work with Cornerstone who will help us and guide us through that. But the platform and Kumu will always complement the show that we’re putting together. And, of course, you need a free-to-air platform so that the majority of the Filipinos get in on what’s going on.”

Pineda further told The STAR, “It’s our first (partnership) so we’ll see where this goes. But definitely, we will have more things with them (TV5) as with all the others. We really want to work with everybody (and) make sure that everyone is discovered in their own way, in one way or another.”

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