Truth be told, we’re still hungover with the sickening looks that were served during the finale of Drag Den Philippines. The show spanning two months was short but sweet, yet still delivered and made its mark for the Filipino queer community to remember. Whether you’re team Naia, MC, Shewarma, or any of the queens, you can’t deny that all the plot twists and unexpected awards that were given during the finale was one heck of a Dragdulan to wrap things up. Below, we’ve listed down the stellar fashion moments that slayed.
When Filipino designer Francis Libiran offers to make you a gown, you have to be this EXTRA. Manila Luzon wears his creation in the signature yellow shade the show’s Drag Lord is known for. It’s a nod to the iconic campy pineapple dress Manila wore in RuPaul’sDrag Race.
As the Drag Dealer of the show, Nicole Cordoves she had to look major for DragDen’s finale night. She delivered us a look that turned heads in a neon latex dress and leather gloves by Just Bonita. Did you know that she was also supposed to have two outfit changes? Period.
Now THIS is how you do a finale look. Lady Gagita dedicates her outfit to all our Grab drivers who tirelessly work hard day and night just to serve. The look was a team effort with queen’s partner, Mond, designing the motorcycle ensemble, the bodysuit made by Cynthia Salting and body armor by Jay Cayabyab. She was crowned Aling Puring of the season because of her cool merch.
Bow down because NAIA Black has finally arrived. The first ever Drag Supreme was regal in a nude illusion dress with pink fringes by Santi Obcena and a pink tulle cap to match her strawberry blonde hair. On your knees now.
After everything is said and done, still, she will rise. Shewarma was a phoenix rising from the ashes in a leather ensemble with lace-up details, a dramatic trail, and chains and ringlets that chimed when she walked.
MC’S (MARIA CLARA) HOMAGE TO THE SARIMANOK
What’s more Filipino than a sarimanok reference? MC or Maria Clara wore an embellished top by Maison Soriano styled with thigh high latex boots. She was crowned 2nd runner up of the season. As Rachel Chu of Crazy Rich Asians once said, bok, bok, bitch!
BARBIE-Q AS THE MOTHER OF THE SEASON
Barbie-Q’s outfit at the DragDen finale was just as majestic as her. The pleats on her gown’s trail and on her head piece emulated the Philippines’ marine life. The all-white ensemble earned her the Grand Mother of the season award. Well-deserved.
Pura Luka Vega channeling Jesus Christ and Mama Mary simultaneously is as campy as it can get. A lady in mourning, the drag queen wore a black avant-garde look by Santi Obcena and played it up with lots of lace and dark roses. She was given the “Miss Fortune” award by the end of the night.
O-A/ODASHA FLOP AS THE BUTTERFLY QUEEN
We honestly couldn’t choose between O-A’s butterfly look or her foxy lady performance outfit cause she really went the extra mile for the finale. The drag queen was awarded as the Panlasang Pinay or Miss Photogenic of the season.
Presenting, The Miss Understood award aka The Look Queen of the season. Aries Night played with fire during the finale in a dark, romantic gown that was witchy enough to earn her the Look Queen title.
Last but not the least, we have Director Rod Singh—the brains behind DragDen. Wearing an ultra sparkly gown by Jan Garcia, another fact about this look is Rod’s makeup was revealed to be done by Drag Race PH queen, Min Ortiz. Queens supporting queens, always.
When you think of Asian pop, the mind usually goes to K-pop or J-pop. But the region is also home to diverse sub-categories of the genre, such as in the Southeast Asian region. P-pop has been having its golden moment over the past couple of years, and that looks to continue moving forward. Another country that also has a healthy pop scene is Thailand with T-pop. You don’t need to look far to see the Thais have pop talent, and one group that has been making a name for themselves as of late is PRETZELLE.
GETTING US IN TWISTS
The Thai girl group, whose name is indeed based on the pastry, is a quartet under 54 Entertainment composed of members INC, ICE, AUMAIM, and GRACE. They made their debut in May 2020 with the appropriately titled debut album PRETZELLE DAY. Since then, the group has scored a series of hits, grown their fandom (fondly called Twist), appeared on high-profile shows, and even been featured on the OST for a Thai TV drama called Love Revolution on PPTV and a Korean animation called Teteru on KBS1. Already, PRETZELLE has been played over 85 million times across all platforms, and are hoping 2023 is the year they bring pretzellemania and T-pop to the international stage.
To that end, they start the year with the release of their new single called U R Mine. The catchy love song sees the members be fiercely devoted to a romantic partner and not wanting to accept any “different opinions” or competition for their affection. All the members participated in writing the entire song, but also added that global touch with the track being mixed by Shin BongWon who has worked on, among other things, Ditto by NewJeans. It all makes for a song that represents their growth from their previously introspective style as they embrace their more confident and assertive sides while still maintaining their signature charm.
NYLON Manila had the chance to speak with PRETZELLE about their new music, hopes for the global stage, their favorite pretzels, and more. Get to know the members and dip your toes into the world of T-pop by reading the full interview below.
Could you describe the meaning behind the group’s name, PRETZELLE?
INC: For us, the name PRETZELLE represents the idea of spreading joy and positivity through our music and energy. It’s like an infinity symbol, symbolizing our goal of sharing an endless amount of happiness with our audience through our songs.
How would you describe T-pop for people who are unfamiliar with the genre?
AUM: Thai songs are known for their relatable lyrics and contemporary themes, such as our song U R Mine, which expresses the idea of self-confidence and being sure of one’s feelings in a relationship. The Thai title of the song, “Not taking second opinions,” is a phrase commonly used by Thai people to express their admiration and devotion to their idols. By listening to a variety of Thai songs, you will get a sense of what is popular in Thailand at the moment.
Additionally, the Thai language is tonal, with a melodic quality to it, which gives Thai music a distinct and unique sound that sets it apart from other languages.
How would you describe PRETZELLE’s style of music?
GRACE: PRETZELLE’s music is a combination of pop and other styles, with an energetic sound and lyrics that focus on love from the perspective of the four members of the group. If you’re a fan of PRETZELLE’s music, you’ll easily be able to recognize our new songs as soon as you hear them.
INC: It’s pop music that has a unique style. once you listen to our songs, you’ll be able to easily recognize the distinct sound that sets us apart.
ICE: PRETZELLE’s music is a blend of various styles and emotions. Our songs range from upbeat and lively to reflective and melancholic, providing a soundtrack for all different moods and moments in life. We aim to be a friend through our music, providing a source of support and companionship in any situation.
What was the experience like getting to write the lyrics of U R Mine?
AUM: Our producer sent us the beats and melody for the song, and from there, we came up with the theme of “no more second opinions,” which resonated with us as a group. It’s a phrase that relates to our own experiences as young women and also makes for a catchy phrase in Thai. We put a lot of effort into writing the lyrics and were thrilled when our producer approved them.
GRACE: I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write my own rap section for the song. I worked closely with the main lyrics that Aumaim had already developed, carefully selecting words and themes that felt true to my own personal experience. I’m so excited to see my ideas come to life in the final product.
ICE: Working together on the lyrics for our song was a really enjoyable experience for us. We felt comfortable sharing our ideas and opinions with each other, which helped us to better connect with the song and capture the emotions we wanted to convey.
In just a couple of years, you guys have received strong support from the public. How does it feel to receive all this attention?
INC: We appreciate all the support that our fans have given us. Thank you for recognizing our hard work, and we promise to continue bringing new and exciting music to our listeners.
GRACE: We still have a lot of potential and room for improvement. We are extremely grateful for all the love and support our fans have shown us.
What do you think it is about PRETZELLE that helps you stand out from the other girl groups on the scene?
GRACE: We have a distinct sound and style that sets us apart from other artists. Our approach to music is unique, and it’s what gives us our own image and identity.
AUM: Our music is upbeat and lively, but our music videos have a mysterious and intriguing vibe. We are also very quirky and playful.
Why do you think the world is ready for T-pop?
GRACE: I think there are many talented artists in Thailand. Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and meet other artists in the Thai music industry. I’ve seen firsthand that everyone has a high level of skill and produces great work that is worthy of being shared on a global stage. I am confident that if more people were exposed to T-pop, they would fall in love with it, too.
ICE: I believe that Thai culture and language are inherently playful, which allows for a unique and fun approach in T-pop music. With the ability to blend multiple languages, T-pop songs have a distinct and enjoyable sound that sets them apart from other genres.
What are the group’s New Years resolutions for 2023?
GRACE: We want to create high-quality music that showcases our unique style and personalities. We are constantly working to improve and evolve as artists so that our fans can continue to enjoy fresh and exciting content from us.
INC: We will make many songs and give happiness to our Twist.
If people want to get into PRETZELLE, which song/s of yours do you think they should check out?
GRACE: I believe that Never Give Up represents us well as a group. It showcases our unique style and sound, and if you enjoy this song, you’ll likely enjoy the rest of our music as well.
AUM: I would say U R Mine because it’s our latest release, and it showcases our growth as a group. It also has a special significance for us as it’s a song we wrote ourselves.
INC: I would recommend First Love as it’s the song that really put us on the map. It’s a great introduction to our music, and it’s still a fan favorite to this day. I think it’s a good song as well.
ICE: I totally agree with Inc! FirstLove is such a sweet and special song for us. It’s the one that really put us on the map and made people fall in love with our music. The lyrics are so genuine and relatable, it’s a song that will always have a special place in our hearts.
What’s your favorite kind of pretzel?
INC: I prefer my pretzels with a sprinkle of salt. It’s the original flavor, and I don’t like things that are too sweet.
GRACE: I’m a chocolate lover, so for me, it’s pretzels with chocolate drizzle. It adds a sweet touch to the salty pretzel.
ICE: I also love chocolate on my pretzels, it’s a perfect balance of sweet and savory. Plus, chocolate always puts me in a good mood.
AUM: I like my pretzels with just a simple sprinkle of salt. It’s easy to eat and doesn’t make a mess.
When BGYO debuted on January 29, 2021, ABS-CBN’s Star Hunt Academy and Star Magic undoubtedly gave Filipinos another talented boy group that, with a year-long training under its belt, was poised to make its mark in the Pinoy pop scene. And since taking over, Akira, Gelo, JL, Mikki, and Nate surely have been leaping to career highs, achieving impressive milestones, and making historic feats over the span of two short years. Truly, they’re the Aces of P-pop. And to celebrate their second anniversary, let’s look back at all the momentous moments in the past year that made BGYO one of the fast-rising P-pop stars in the country.
Marking the continuous success of Pinoy pop and its indubitable winning motion, the first-ever Pinoy Pop Convention (PPOPCON) was held in April 2022. A celebration of the vibrant growth of the proudly Filipino pop culture creation and the biggest gathering of fans and talented artists, PPOPCON was the first event of its kind and the biggest event since the pandemic happened that was held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. BGYO was a part of this historic moment where they flexed their sheer talent and performed their debut song The Light, Kundiman, and The Baddest.
After winning a trophy from the 2021 Asian Creative Academy Awards, their first-ever major recognition as a music group, for their original He’s Into Her soundtrack, BGYO returned for the second season of the hit youth-oriented digital series in 2022 with another musical piece, Best Time. Written by Jonathan Manalo and Gabriel Tagadtad, the duo responsible for BGYO’s award-winning song He’s Into Her, Best Time became a befitting anthem to HIH’s final season. The five-piece P-pop wonder was also a part of the show’s grand finale concert.
TUMITIGIL ANG MUNDO
One of the ACEs’ most anticipated moments last year was the comeback of their P-pop mains. This happened in July 2022 when BGYO finally released their energetic and endearing bop, Tumitigil Ang Mundo. The first single of their sophomore studio album BE:US, the electro-pop dance track eventually became part of An Inconvenient Love’s original soundtrack, which also includes their sister P-pop group BINI, Zack Tabudlo, and Moira dela Torre.
Another career highlight that proves how in-demand BGYO was in 2022 is when they were tasked to do the original theme song of Mars Ravelo’s Darna. BGYO flew with the popular Pinoy superhero with their original song, Patuloy Lang Ang Lipad. They also performed it on the ASAP stage the same day it was released in August.
In October, the talented pentad took the 35th Awit Awards stage and gave an almost eight-minute dazzling performance of their hits. BGYO also triumphed at the event, taking home the Favorite Group Artist accolade. Truly, a much-deserved win.
Weeks before the release of BE:US, BGYO first dropped Magnet, the album’s lead single, and its music video. With some fiery, irresistible beats and blazing choreography by the world-renowned Brian Puspos, Magnet found Akira, Gelo, JL, Mikki, and Nate at their most sensual and seductive yet. Indeed, the BGYO comeback all ACEs needed.
ASAP NATIN ‘TO IN LAS VEGAS
When BE:US finally came out in November and started topping charts, like all of us had expected, BGYO then began journeying through the world stage for their album’s international promotion. Starting with theASAP Natin ‘To In Las Vegasgrand concert where they performed Magnet for the first time abroad and repped the P-Pop banner so hard it’ll make everyone proud. And what made this milestone even bigger was BGYO’s once-in-a-lifetime collab with Asia’s Songbird herself, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, who joined the boys’ rendition of Mahal Na Kita.
WISH USA BUS PERFORMANCE
BGYO’s global domination continued with their debut Wish USA bus performance last November where they serenaded their international fans at the snowy Chino Hills, California, with their latest tracks PNGNPand Magnet. It was also a special P-pop moment as BGYO was joined by BINI and their kuyas, SB19; one that melted the hearts of ACEs, Blooms, and A’TIN alike.
BGYO ON THE GO
While it serves like a personal, colorful diary of some sort, BGYO’s BGYO On The Go series can also be called another highlight of their 2022 as it features the boy group’s little, sincere, and cute moments that while fun and light, also shows the boys’ sheer passion, brotherly love for each other, and genuine charisma. The series also foregrounds their special love for their fans as all the earnings that they get from successful challenges goes to fund their thanksgiving parties.
BGYO’S NEW YORK TAKEOVER
And then there was BGYO rocking the streets of the Big Apple, owning Times Square and Domino Park with their performances of The Baddest, Magnet, and Be Us. In their special MTV Jammin‘ spot released weeks ago, BGYO shared the inspiration for each song, their preparation for each shoot, and meeting new fans in New York.
From a heartbreaking KathNiel film to an iconic feel-good 90s rom-com, FDCP’s Sine Sinta: Pag-ibig at Pelikula will help you get in the mood for love.
If you’re like Bianca Gonzalez, then you’ve probably been aching for January to finally end after what feels like a year already. Thankfully, we’re just a small stretch away from the end of this year’s first month and we’re more than ready (hopefully) to take on February. And as you hopeless romantics know, this month is especially exciting as it is of course, the season of romance.
Whether or not you have found “the one,” are still searching for love, or are on the verge of giving up (don’t!), you deserve to start the month on a heart fluttering note. Good thing that the Film Development Council of the Philippines has concocted just the right love potion for you: the Sine Sinta: Pag-ibig at Pelikula showcase. Nothing beats a classic date at the movies and Sine Sinta has got the classic and iconic Pinoy romantic movies that will let you begin the love season just right.
Sine Sinta: Pag-ibig at Pelikula is part of the fresh batch of projects by Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) slated for 2023. And as the event’s name suggests, Sine Sinta offers the power of love in one cinematic showcase. With a curated lineup of romantic Filipino films that transcends generations and still works its magic today, the program aims to welcome the love month and to encourage cinema lovers to go back to the cinemas and appreciate the communal experience that it gives.
Included in this romantic presentation are renowned local films that will break and heal your marupok hearts simultaneously. Are you currently facing some challenges in your long-term relationship? You’ll surely relate to Cathy Garcia-Molina’s record-breaking and award-winning romantic drama The Hows of Us starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Joel Lamangan’s Metro Manila Film Festival-winning Rainbow’s Sunset, which centers on an elderly gay couple and stars the late Eddie Garcia and Tony Mabesa, is also part of the Sine Sinta lineup.
Restored and remastered versions of classic Pinoy romantic films will also be presented, thanks to ABS-CBN Film Restoration Project, also known as Sagip Pelikula. These include Jerry Lopez Sineneng’s Labs Kita…Okey Ka Lang (1998), which was written by National Artist Ricky Lee and starred Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin. It follows best friends Bujoy and Ned who have to deal with their special feelings for each other.
An Olivia Lamasan double bill will also be shown at Sine Sinta: Sana Maulit Muli (1995) with Aga Muhlach and Lea Salonga and Got 2 Believe (2002) top-billed by Claudine Barretto and Rico Yan. Garcia-Molina’s John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo-starring A Very Special Love (2008) and Carlos Siguon-Reyna’s Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit (1991), which features Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez, complete the list of kilig-inducing titles.
You’ll get to enjoy all of these with your special someone for free as FDCP holds public screenings in Trinoma Cinema 3, in all of its Cinematheque Centers across the country, and for some plein-air watching experience, at the Rizal Open Air Auditorium. Sine Sinta: Pag-ibig at Pelikula kicks off on February 3, 2023 at the Rizal Open Air Auditorium with host Mr. Fu and special performances by Bugoy Drilon and Jona. It will run from February 3-5 and from February 8-10. You can book through this link if you’re planning to attend the screening at the Cinematheque Centres, and this link for the cinema and open-air screenings.
Sine Sinta: Pag-ibig at Pelikula is organized by the FDCP in partnership with the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) and the Department Of Tourism (DOT) and with the support of ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN Sagip Pelikula, Trinoma, JuanFlix: The FDCP Channel, and Cinematheque Centres.
In late 2022, Twitter was hit with an unimaginable travesty. We are of course talking about Janella Salvador’s Twitter account being suspended for a time. Luckily, this was rectified because if not, we would have lost one of our low-key favorite accounts on the bird app. While Twitter isn’t exactly one of the top things you would associate with Janella, the actress and singer knows her way around the platform. If she isn’t fangirling about her faves, she’s scoring viral tweets thanks to her sense of humor. Janella actually once said that she has the most boring Twitter account, but we beg to differ. Here are just some of our favorite tweets from @superjanella.
Celebrities have received weird fan gifts over the years. And Janella Salvador is no exception. During a recent Darna mall show in Bataan, a fan gave Janella, out of all things, Tinapa wrapped in plastic. Understandably, the star took to Twitter to share her confusion about the interesting present. At the end of the day though, Tinapa is a local delicacy, and Janella is more than excited to fry her fishy treat.
FYI, Janella sees all your tweets. When a fan tweeted that there should be a game where you take a shot every time Janella liked a Darlentina tweet, the actress responded by saying that we should do it. She’s really out here trying to get us drunk.
Ah, that’s history. Just right when the Darlentina ship was about to set sail, Janella got the boat into max speed with this tweet saying she’ll bite Darna. Given how Jane and Janella recently said that they’re both open to doing a GL series, we may just see them “bite” each other soon.
Darlentina stans are a different breed. If they aren’t trending our new favorite sapphic love team, they’re putting JaneNella on billboards. Such as this moment when fans paid for digital billboards to go up along Shaw Blvd. Being the grateful star that she is, Janella was more than willing to share her appreciation.
There are a few things in the world of K-pop that give us that needed boost of serotonin than seeing our idols do dance covers to other groups. This is especially true when it comes to male idols and groups covering girl groups or female idols’ songs. While the tendency for some idols is to make the dances more masculine move away from the more feminine aspects of the songs, others put in the work to not only go toe-to-toe with the girls, but to give the OG choreography much needed respect.
Not only do these covers honor the girl group’s songs, but it also shows that these boys aren’t afraid to channel that feminine energy and shake those hips. As people would say, these idols understood the assignment. Here are just some of our favorite covers from male idols who were more than ready to do what needed to be done.
Hype Boy by NewJeans is such a bop even the Korean military is dancing to it. In late 2022, you may have seen the viral video of Korean military personnel dancing to the Hype Boy choreography. Currently rendering their mandated service, SF9’s eldest member Inseong, ONF’s E-Tion and J-US, Spectrum’s Jongchan, and dancer Kim Namwook busking to Hype Boy during the Gyeryong World Military Culture Expo was truly a sight to behold. They served their country with that one.
One of K-pop’s most buff male idols happily dancing to ANTIFRAGILE in that outfit? We love a man who’s secure with his masculinity. Throughout all three nights of BTOB’s concert in December 2022, Minhyuk channeled his inner baby girl as he danced to the LE SSERAFIM hit as well as Hype Boy in outfits that could make most blush.
4th gen’s It-boy is a lot of things, and being a master at girl group dances is one of them. Ask Yeonjun to dance to a girl group song, and he’ll tear up the dance floor. Just look at the way he more than keeps up with Chaewon as they dance to FEARLESS.
Here goes our main slayer Xiaojun once again. You can bet once Naughty was released, he was practicing his voguing skills at Wayv’s dorm, waiting for Irene and Seulgi’s call.
BTS’ JUNGKOOK AND J-HOPE – RUSSIAN ROULETTE BY RED VELVET
BTS is no stranger to doing dance covers of girl group songs, often with J-Hope and Jungkook leading the way. And speaking of the two, the duo gave us this iconic cover of Russian Roulette all while on national TV.
They say an angel gets its wings whenever NI-KI covers a girl group song. In that case, an entire army of angels took flight when NewJeans blessed us with this video of NI-KI dancing Hype Boy with Minji and Hyein
THE BOYZ – WHAT IS LOVE BY TWICE
This is how you respectfully do a cover of a girl group song. During M Countdown in Taiwan in 2018, The Boyz performed What Is Love and didn’t shy away from the cute and playful side of the track. It was fun, enjoyable, and done without a mocking tone.
CRAVITY’S ALLEN, HYEONGJUN, AND TAEYOUNG – OMG BY NEWJEANS
Ask an NCTzen what their favorite Jaehyun moments are, and they’ll probably include this dance cover on that list. And that is for a good reason. From the look to the moves, he made his senior proud with that one.
Popstar Royalty Sarah G has released so many timeless classics over the years, even K-pop idols are dancing to them. There was WINNER who danced to Tala during their concert in Manila back in January 2020. And just recently, SHINee’s Minho shook netizens with his take on the Dati-Dati Challenge even though he was only shown the dance last minute.
Something seems to be in the Philippine air or water these days because Filipino teleseryes have been hitting differently. While there have always been good local TV shows, some have been criticized for their substandard quality, rushed nature, and uneven standards compared to international productions like K-dramas. But in the past year, a new breed of teleseryes have popped up, one that features more out-of-the-box storytelling with quality production. This could be seen in the hit series Maria Clara at Ibarra, and it looks to continue with Dirty Linen.
In hindsight, the Justin Besana-designed poster should have been a clue about the quality of this show. Ever since it began airing on January 23, ABS-CBN’s latest trending thriller has been getting rave reviews and attention even from people who don’t watch local productions. It’s a series that local entertainment needed and is the right step in championing Filipino productions on the global stage. If the hype has gotten you curious about the show, we run down just a few of the main reasons why Dirty Linen has been cleaning it up as of late.
The casting director of the show needs a raise for putting together such a great cast. John Arcilla, Janice de Belen, Angel Aquino, Joel Torre, JC Santos, Christian Babbles, Tessie Tomas, Zanjoe Marudo, and more all in one show? Yes, please. Janine Gutierrez has always been a talented actress, and her turn in the lead role is really showcasing her versatility. Her ambitions, anxiety, eye movements, and nervous twitching speak for the audience.
The Fiero Clan is a family we love to hate brought to life by the talented Janice de Belen, Tessie Tomas, and Angel Aquino. Francine Diaz is such a baddie as Chiara, and we can’t wait to see her scenes with Seth’s Nico. We also love how the show is serving as the acting comeback for Jennica Garcia and two-time FAMAS awardee Xyriel Manabat. It’s a moment particularly fitting for Jennica as she revealed that she initially planned on becoming an OFW if she didn’t get cast on a project. There isn’t a single weak spot in the cast that all graduated from the mata-mata school of acting.
When Dirty Linen began with the death of Olivia, the show hasn’t slowed down since as it builds its tale of revenge. Gone is the love story, and in is an armrest-clenching tale of a woman seeking revenge for her mother’s death. We can’t wait for Mila’s act of revenge to be put into motion, that is if the Fiero’s greed and malice don’t take them down first. At the same time, the show seems to be opening up doors that may lead to major arcs and revelations down the line. Series writers Bridgette Rebuca, Jayson Mondragon, Maribel Ilag, and Kay Conlu-Brondial are setting up what looks to be a very spicy story with a pasabog nearly every episode.
Family-friendly this show is not, at least when it comes to its depiction of mature topics. Already, we’ve had a few scenes of violence, blood, and abuse, but all were done within the proper context of the story. The show can and does get dark, which works in its favor. It should also be noted that Dirty Linen isn’t afraid to reference real-world moments. The Fiero clan may even remind you of a certain family in power. Injustice, social issues, and the like all look to be explored in this tale of David vs. Goliath. It’s the kind of un-sensitization that primetime needs while still giving relevant lessons to the viewer.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the show is fond of using unconventional and dynamic camera angles, something we don’t see often in mainstream teleseryes. You can thank camera operators Michael Jacinto, Ronaldo Jacinto, and Dustin Uy for the show’s interesting visuals that go beyond your conventional cinematography conventions (FYI: they use a Canon C300 for the show). Dirty Linen’s editor Froilan Francia then puts all these shots together to form each cohesive episode. That timelapse and single-shot take of the Fierro’s Arena being built in the pilot episode is already one of the best things we’ve seen on local TV this year.
Leading the charge are the show’s directors, Onat Diaz and Andoy Ranay. From their time working on series like The Good Son, The Broken Marriage Vow, and Wildflower, the duo is helping create a production that feels like a much-needed breath of fresh air for Philippine TV.
At the end of the day, the success of Dirty Linen, MCI, and other shows is a win for the Philippines. Not only is it good in general to support local, but these productions are hopefully a sign for the things to come, not just a blimp at the moment. While the industry as a whole still needs improvements, this change is more than welcome. With the praise and attention that they are getting, it will hopefully be a sign to those in power that this is what the local entertainment industry needs.
Popstar Royalty Sarah Geronimo has been around for as long as we can remember. With her career’s longevity unmatched, seeing every single one of her eras are evident with the different hairstyles she’s worn for her movies and performances. From chopping all her hair off to going blonde, here are eight of the most drastic hairstyles Sarah Geronimo has ever worn that proves she’s one versatile pop star.
We have yet to see more photos of Sarah G as a blondie IRL, but for now we leave you with this stunning pic. The ash blonde hair color makes the warm undertones of her complexion pop even more.
This might be the shortest hairstyle we’ve ever seen on the Popstar Royalty. We also have a theory that shorter the pixie, the higher the notes you hit with your vocals. We’re looking at you, Coach Lea Salonga. 👀
THE LAIDA MAGTALAS PIGTAILS
“Trust? Big word!” We can almost hear her voice when we saw this still from the 2008 rom-com hit A Very Special Love. One of the most memorable looks was this pigtail hairstyle that Sarah’s character, Laida Magtalas would always wear along with her colorful wardrobe.
Something altered our brain chemistry the moment this shoot came out. Sarah Geronimo in mermaid waves is looong overdue and we’re here for it.
BRAIDS, BRAIDS, BRAIDS
Sarah’s signature look wouldn’t be complete without the mention of her love for braids. After all, it’s her go-to hairstyle whenever she performs. This killer look has been serving from one performance to another.
AUDREY HEPBURN UPDO AND MICRO BANGS
For her movie Miss Granny together with James Reid, Sarah Geronimo’s hairstyle was reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn on Breakfast at Tiffany‘s from the red lips to the micro bangs.
Nobody messes with Sarah and her high ponytail. Aside from the natural “fox eye” lift it gives, this hairstyle looks like it has a life of its own whenever she whips it onstage.
THE BLUNT BOB
Cool, calm, and collected. Sarah looked chic as ever when she chopped off her long locks in favor of a face-framing bob.
BONUS: HER HAIRSTYLES IN THE 2000s WERE UNMATCHED
Sarah Geronimo’s album covers could be the perfect time capsule from the year 2000s. Who else wasn’t wearing a deep side part and curly hair with straight bangs?
With every new comeback, KAIA is seemingly giving us a new side to them. First was their pre-debut track KAYA, which screamed empowerment anthem. Then, there was the debut single Blah Blah, a pop-EDM number that took no prisoners with its explosive beat. Afterward, the P-pop girl group surprised us in the best possible way with the R&B bop that is Dalawa. (FYI, it’s currently their most streamed song on Spotify.) And now, the group kicks off what promises to be a strong 2023 with a bang courtesy of their new party anthem, Turn Up.
IT’S TIME TO TURN UP
Written by the members themselves and helmed by acclaimed K-Pop producer Lee Oh Won, who has worked with international artists such as Stray Kids, SHINee’s Taemin, TVXQ, SB19, and more, Turn Up is a fun and bombastic track all about enjoying your life. It displays the group’s signature brand of sass while reviving the bold, explosive sounds of early 2010’s dance-pop. By the opening seconds of the song, it invites the listener to hit the dance floor and just feel themselves.
“We got so busy stressing out about things that we couldn’t control,” shares KAIA. “This song somehow encourages listeners to break away from the mold, live in the moment, and let their body groove into the music. Sometimes all you need is to disconnect from the outside world and be yourself.”
In a time when we feel like life is trying to hit us at every angle, Turn Up is an escapist anthem here to remind you about setting one’s worries aside for the time being. With Turn Up, you’re transported to a world where it’s more than ok to take pleasure in moments that call for fun and adventure. “Because it’s upbeat and danceable, we thought a party concept will best for it, so people could have fun whenever they hear Turn Up,” adds the group. “We want our listeners to feel good as they vibe with the song.”
KAIA IS COMING FOR 2023
This groove and energy were on display with the group’s performance video of the song. Directed by Denny Lee and Jake Jung, the visuals to the self-penned tune find KAIA performing the track with synchronized choreography. Once the DJ starts playing this song, you need to get on the dance floor ASAP.
If Turn Up has gotten you excited for more KAIA, then you’re getting your wish as the track serves as a taste off their debut EP which will be out in the next months. The group is also set to perform at P-POP CON 2023 in March where they will hold their very first live stage of Turn Up. The girls are bringing it this year.
It doesn’t take a lot to realize that girl groups have been making major moves as of late. LE SSERAFIM, NewJeans, IVE, STAYC, and G(I)-IDLE just to name a few have earned global hits within the past year. And in this modern girl group renaissance is an all-Japanese group who, despite only having a handful of songs and performance videos under their belt so far, have already caused shifts within the community. This group is none other than XG.
XG, whose name stands for Xtraordinary Girls, is a seven-member girl group from the global entertainment production company XGALX. With a mission to “produce artists with a defined worldview, creating a culture of bold creativity,” the company formed what can be described as seven centers in one group. Members JURIN, CHISA, HARVEY, HINATA, JURIA, MAYA, and COCONA display a level of talent, polish, and skill that is rarely seen in a rookie group. Eschewing simple labels, they are a global girl group whose music is sung in Japanese, English and Korean. It was apparent from the jump with their debut single Tippy Toes in early 2022.
The song showed immense promise with its hip-hop/R&B tones and was further realized in their follow-up, MASCARA. The track, which hit number one on the iTunes chart in 17 countries, is as catchy as it is empowering with the message of being a boss. And if that wasn’t enough, the girls, specifically the rap-line COCONA, MAYA, HARVEY, JURIN, left social media quaking with their uber viral [XG TAPE #2] GALZ XYPHER. It was a performance so good, it even caught the attention of some of the original artists.
Proving that 2022 was no fluke, the group came back strong with the dreamy R&B number SHOOTING STAR this January. A pre-release photo of all the members in blue hair set the internet ablaze while the actual song added even more fuel to the fire. From the track, looks, choreography, vocals, bars, and more, their new era feels fresh yet classic at the same time. Needless to say, XG is not one to be messed with. Get to know more about the group, their new music, their viral rap cipher, and more in our one-on-one interview with the girls.
For people who are unfamiliar with XG, how would you describe the group?
JURIN: XG is a global girl group with inspiration from hip-hip/R&B, and we made our debut in March 2022. We recently released our third single, SHOOTING STAR. Our group name, XG, is an acronym for “Xtraordinary Girls,” meaning that we’re unconventional and out of the box. We want to deliver what only XG can do to everyone around the world with our music and performances, without being constrained or stuck in any convention or mold.
You’ve only been active for less than a year yet you’ve received a lot of hype. How do you guys feel about all the positive praise you’ve been getting?
JURIA: I’m so happy about it, and it boosts our confidence. We’ll keep pushing forward to bring more courage, confidence, hope, and emotion to even more people across the globe!!
JURIN: Honestly, I’m absolutely thrilled. Even though I’m Japanese, we’re a unique team that also sings in English and Korean, aiming to become a global group. I’m very thankful to those who have been receptive to our music and enjoy it, and we intend to keep doing unconventional and unexpected things that only we can do, so please continue to support us.
What do you think it is about XG that helps the group stand out from the crowd?
HINATA: Our teamwork is our biggest strength; we’re basically joined at the hip. When talking to Simon and the members, I get a lot of inspiration and learn new things, and it makes me feel like I’m floating through space.
JURIN: I’m really glad to hear that. I think we were different from other groups in a lot of ways, even since we were trainees. We all put everything on the line to be here: school life, and a future outside of XG, we put all of that on hold and placed all of our chips on XG. That’s why I think we, among ourselves, as well as with our producer Simon and all the staff have developed such a deep bond, making us a really unique group! When I’m chatting with my XG friends, we always come up with really unexpected and fun things, and making that a reality is so fun for me!
COCONA: It’s because each one of us is really passionate about making our dream come true. We were taught a lot about passion when we were trainees, so each one of us has a lot of passion. That naturally leads to more practice and more refined details. I think it’s the passion that really sets us apart.
A major breakthrough for the group in 2022 was the release of the GALZ XYPHER that went viral all over social media. Could you share how you guys chose the songs and how you prepared for the performance?
MAYA: I was so surprised and happy that so many people watched our GALZ XYPHER video and reacted positively to it. For that video, we all chose tracks that we like. I like tracks with a fast beat or that have a powerful sound, so I chose Dreamville’s Down Bad. Also, we gave each other feedback on our gestures and performances.
COCONA: It’s such an honor to be told that! I’ve been a big fan of J.I.D.’s raps since I was a trainee, so I chose his track. The three other members and I also stayed up late to give each other advice on our gestures to help us further draw out our personalities.
Did you expect the video would do as well as it did?
JURIN: I did want the video to go viral, but I never imagined it would be received the way it was. In fact, COCONA’s part made its way to J.I.D., who did the original track, and I was really moved by how so many famous people and artists reacted to it. We’ll do our best to keep evolving and show our growth as artists.
HARVEY: I never thought so many people would watch it. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment as well as was deeply moved by all the kind words and positive reactions, and it really made me reflect on our story of how we worked so hard to get to this point. We’ll continue to level up so that everyone can continue to enjoy our content!
What can ALPHAZ (the name of their fandom) expect from your new music?
JURIN: I want to tell all the ALPHAZ to “trust yourself and be what you want to be.” The lyrics for SHOOTING STAR are imbued with our dreams of wanting to grow into global artists, while LEFT RIGHT is a pledge to keep moving forward toward that goal, or “the only direction I know,” as the line in the song says. Trusting yourself and being what you want to be is something that can apply to anyone, and I believe that it’s the meaning of life. It’s just what I think personally, but I believe our two singles really represent XG’s new image.
I love doing things that nobody has ever imagined. I find it alluring. Seeing someone do something that nobody’s ever imagined before gives me a lot of courage. I think a lot of people who listened and watched to these two new songs were surprised at our new visuals and the all-new XG. I hope we give you courage! Let’s work hard together by listening to these songs!
All of the members sporting blue are so visually striking. What was the concept behind the look?
CHISA: The theme of SHOOTING STAR is “neo-romanticism,” and the track has a dreamy mood, yet still retains XG’s identity, and is very edgy. I think it best showcases the all-new XG!
Given how a lot of people see you as rising stars, do you feel a pressure to live up to expectations?
JURIN: I don’t feel any pressure. We’re just going to proceed at our own pace, constantly staying true to ourselves!
JURIA: I don’t have any pressure about having to live up to expectations, but I do feel passionate about wanting to live up to the expectations of our fans around the world. I promise we’ll become big global stars!!
Despite your young age, you guys look so confident in your stages and performances. Where do you think this confidence comes from?
HARVEY: The bond that we’ve all established together has translated into my confidence. Our journey so far, as well as the things we’ve seen and experienced, have all made me stronger. Having the members helps me feel safe as well as makes me unafraid of anything, and lets me feel like I can accomplish anything.
MAYA: I think it comes from practicing together daily and just chatting!! During practice, we make sure to stay on top of all the little details as if it’s the actual performance, while when we’re performing, we make sure to have fun. The more we practice, the more we improve, and it leads to our confidence. Also, we think it’s important to watch each other’s performances as we practice.
What can we expect from XG in 2023?
JURIN: I mentioned this briefly earlier, but in 2023 I hope we’re starting with SHOOTING STAR, and I hope to have more opportunities to meet all of the ALPHAZ! I believe we’ll be able to deliver more of XG’s world to you all, so please look forward to that! Please continue to support us from here on out.
What message do you have for your ALPHAZ?
JURIN: All ALPHAZ! Thank you so much for your support of XG. We’re starting 2023 with SHOOTING STAR, and I hope we have even more opportunities to meet and hang out with everyone! I hope you all look forward to the things we have planned! Love you always! I can’t wait to see you all in person.
CHISA: Thank you so, so much for all your support! I’m always full of gratitude! The ALPHAZ is a big motivating factor for us, and a single message from you guys gives us so much energy, which helps us get through each day! In 2023, we’re starting with SHOOTING STAR and LEFT RIGHT, bringing you an all-new XG, so I hope we all hop on the same boat and push forward! In 2023, I hope to meet as many ALPHAZ as possible.
HINATA: Thank you always for all your support! The ALPHAZ are so precious to us, XG. We’ll keep progressing to continue to deliver new and improved versions of XG, as well as continue to deliver excitement, so ALPHAZ! Stick with us! I love, love, love, love you all!
HARVEY: I can’t wait to meet all the ALPHAZ! Thank you so much for supporting us and cheering us on no matter how far you are, and I love you all for that! Thanks for always gifting us with happiness. It’s all thanks to you guys that we can passionately follow our dreams! I hope to do my best to keep XG a shining star that lights up your future and makes your dreams come true! We’re going to keep bringing you new sides of XG, so please stay tuned! Let’s make some awesome memories together forever!
JURIA: I can’t wait to see all of you ALPHAZ! We’ll work hard one day at a time to make our dreams of having a world tour meeting you all come true!! Love you all.
MAYA: Words can’t express my gratitude enough. I’m so thankful for all your cheers and how much you support XG to the fullest and send us huge amounts of love, I can’t even believe how happy that makes me! We’re just getting started, so please stay tuned to what we have to offer in the future! This year, I hope to meet you all in person and make more awesome memories. Thanks always! I love you all so much.
COCONA: I can’t express my love enough for the ALPHAZ. We had very few opportunities to meet all of you since we made our debut, so I hope that through SHOOTING STAR and our future work we can all meet up and talk. I love you all for always warmly watching over us from afar and moving along with us.