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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 14, 2020


aicelle santos

aicelle with CENTERSTAGE hosts Alden and Betong and co-judges Pops and Mel Villena

aicelle with husband mark zambrano

AICELLE SANTOS feels fortunate to be chosen as one of the judges of GMA-7’s new reality talent search, “Centerstage”, that will start airing tonight. 

“I myself was discovered when I joined a singing contest, so whatever experiences I gained when I was a contestant in ‘Pinoy Pop Superstar’, puede kong i-share sa mga kasaling bata ngayon dito sa ‘Centerstage’.”

She says her job as a judge in ‘Centerstage”, along with co-judges Pops Fernandez and musical director Mel Villena, can actually be quite difficult.

“Kasi nga mga bata ang involved,” she stresses. “You can’t judge giving a truthful assessment of their performances kasi baka masaktan sila. We don’t want to traumatize them, we want to continue encouraging them.

"So dapat, maingat kami sa pagsasalita para we don’t say something that will make them feel backing out and not joining any contest ever again.”

How do Pops and Mel feel about it? “Sabi nga namin nina Miss Pops and Kuya Mel, we want the experience to still be enjoyable for them. Ayaw naming isipin nila na basta strict competition ito at kalaban nila lahat ng other contestants.

"We also want to convey that if they lost, it doesn’t mean na ending na ng career nila. Kasi ako, natalo rin ako sa ‘Star in a Million’ sa kabila, before I joined ‘Pinoy Pop Superstar’ sa GMA-7 kunsaan nakabawi ako.

"So you don’t just give up your dreams and your career that easily. You can feel sad after you’ve lost but you can also use it as a motivation para mas magpursigi ka.”

And eventually, Aicelle was also discovered in musical theatre. Locally, she did the hit “Rak of Aegis” and “Himala, The Musical”, while internationally, she played the coveted role of Gigi in “Miss Saigon”. So what piece of advice would she give to aspiring singers?

“Just don’t give up easily. You should also learn how to forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Just keep on singing, keep on practicing, because the more you sing, the more your voice and your style improve.

"Don’t ever stop learning and you’ll even discover new vocal placements that you’re not even aware before that you’re capable pala of achieving. And always give your heart and soul each time you sing. Own the stage!”

Aicelle tied the knot officially with sportscaster Mark Zambrano in a garden wedding in Batangas last November, after they had a long distance relationship while Aicelle is in Europe performing in “Miss Saigon”. So how’s married life so far? 

“We’re happy. But oh, I discovered my husband can sing pala and he really enjoys singing nonstop. He actually sings so much more at home than I do, kaya tuwang-tuwa ako. May in-upload nga akong video niya singing ‘I Swear’, panoorin nyo sa youtube.”

Do they have plans of having a baby soon? “It’s all up to the Lord. Okay lang kung agad-agad kasi 34 na ko, e. At mas okay sana kung twins agad ang ibibigay sa amin para double blessing din agad.”