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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 11, 2020


pops fernandez with aicelle santos in CENTERSTAGE

alden richards, pops fernandez, mel villena, aicelle santos & betong sumaya

CENTERSTAGE judges aicelle, pops & mel villena

pops and martin in their Valentine TWOGETHER AGAIN concert

POPS FERNANDEZ is back on television as a judge in GMA-7’s new talent search, “Centerstage”. At the show’s launch, Pops looks so young you wouldn’t suspect she’s the mother of two grownup sons. As one newshen says: “Parang forever young, hindi nagkakaedad.” So what’s her secret?

“There’s no secret,” says Pops who turned 53 last December. “Just be positive. Don’t dwell on the negative. Forget past hurts, learn to forgive and just keep moving on.”

It’s her first time to agree to be a judge in a reality show and she promises to be very kind to the contestants. “I’ve never joined a singing contest, unlike my co-judge, Aicelle Santos, who won in one,” she says.

“Kaya nga, I want to be kind to the contestans, who are kids. I will tell them to just relax, enjoy the moment and make friends with the other contestants even if they all know that this is a competition.”

Pops will her also have her Valentine show, “Twogether Again”, with ex-hubby Martin Nievera at the Solaire Theatre starting on February 14. They will also hold the concert on February 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

As a live performer, has she ever experienced embarrassing accidental moments where she forgot the lyrics of a song she’s singing?

“Nangyayari naman talaga yan,” she says. “No matter how many times you’ve rehearsed, may moments na hindi talaga perfect. But I think that’s the best part of performing live, kasi you never really know what’s gonna happen on stage. Doon nga makikita if you’re a really good performer, na kahit may nangyaring mali, the audience won’t feel or notice na nagkamali ka.”

She has even been a victim of wardrobe malfunction. “Like one time, nagpapa-sexy ako, I was wearing very tight leather pants, then as I was dancing pumutok sa likod yung leather pants ko, but you have to continue kasi the show must go on.

"It’s scary but you shouldn’t let the audience be aware na may nangyayaring ganun sa’yo on stage. Nakalimutan ko na rin yung lyrics, nadapa na ako many times, but that’s the challenge nga of live performance, dapat hindi ka huminto, ituloy mo lang.”

Aicelle Santos agrees with her. “Nakakalimutan ko rin yung lyrics at kailangang maging composer ka rin, mag-imbento ka. Nasa pagdadala mo yan, kung mahahalata ka o hindi. You don’t have to be so hard on yourself kasi tao lang naman tayo, lahat, nagkakamali.”

Aicelle considers it an honor to be working with Pops Fernandez as co-judge for the first time in “Centerstage”. “Fan ako ni Miss Pops ever since at hindi nga ako makapaniwala na magkatrabaho na kami ngayon and she’s so nice. I look forward to all the future episodes ng ‘Centerstage’ na magiging magkasama kami sa show.”

Going back to Pops, she says she’s happy to be working with Alden Richards, the show’s main host. “I met him in Sta. Rosa noon pa kasi common friend namin ang mayor doon,” she adds. “Mabait talaga siya and he has remained humble despite his success. I think that’s the reason why he is so blessed.”

People say she looks like Maine Mendoza, Alden’s ka-love team. “So they say, kaya nga pinagsasabi ko nang ex ko siya, e. Ha ha ha! Baka ma-revive ngayong magkasama na kami rito sa ‘Centerstage’,” and Pops laughs even harder.

“Centerstage” starts airing this Sunday night, February 16, right after the toprated “Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko”.