ABS-CBN continues to make dreams come true for talented and deserving artists, whatever it takes. Over the years, it has offered several platforms for these artists to achieve stellar heights, including talent shows, reality programs, and artist development efforts.
More recently, however, this initiative shifted to a global scale, as the network searched for talents that would catch the eyes and ears of an international audience, particularly in the musical genre of Philippine Pop, or P-pop, which has started to gain worldwide attention with such acts as the boy band SB19, and the girl group MNL 48.
READ: Star Hunt Academy set to make more P-pop idols shine worldwide
This drove ABS-CBN Head for Entertainment Production Direk Laurenti Dyogi to hold auditions for a training camp which aimed to hone the talents of these future idols in 2019. Thus, the Star Hunt Academy was born. The initial auditions were first participated by around 250 aspirants until they were whittled down in the succeeding rounds. After meticulous and careful deliberations, the final Academates composed of five boys and eight girls were named and entered the Academy in May last year. The lucky boy trainees picked were Gelo Rivera, Akira Morishita, JL Torreliza, Mikki Claver, and Nate Porcalla, while the lucky girl trainees chosen were Aiah Arceta, Colet Vergara, Maloi Ricalde, Gwen Apuli, Jhoanna Robles, Mikha Lim, Sheena Catacutan, and Stacey Sevilleja.
Photo credit to iamsheenacat IG
Time really flies as the girl trainees graduated from Star Hunt Academy and will soon debut as a P-pop rookie group set to make heads turn in the international scene. They tagged their ceremonies on Saturday, October 10, the #PasaSHAlamatGraduation streamed live on the Star Hunt Academy’s YouTube channel, Facebook and Kumu pages.
During the graduation, previous videos of the girls performing incredible and powerful renditions of the K-pop hits “In and Out” by Red Velvet, “Dun Dun” by Everglow, and “More and More” by TWICE were played prior to the livestream. In another clip that was shown during the festivities, the girls also performed “Ngiti” by Young JV featuring Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano.
At the start of their graduation, the girls performed Toni Gonzaga’s “Kahit Na,” which was the first song they learned during their bootcamp days, Jhoanna shared that the song reminded them about the start of their friendship. “After one year and a half in the camp, we’re finally ending one journey and embarking on another,” Jhoanna said.
The Star Hunt Academy girl trainees also thanked their families, friends, and followers for continuously believing in them.
Special awards were conferred to some chosen fans, who went over and beyond in their efforts to support the group.
During the graduation, the girls were “recognized” with fun awards for certain traits and skills they have shown as trainees.
The “Hikaw Lang Sha Akin” award was given to Sheena, who takes a lot of time and effort to fix and wear her earrings.
Next was “Miss Fast Forward” award was offered to Mikha for her quick moves while undergoing trainings or participating in events.
Meanwhile, the girls believed that Maloi should get the “Energy Bunny” award for not losing energy despite their long, tiring sessions.
“Miss Wansapanataym” was bestowed upon Aiah, who was deemed as the “storyteller of the group” for always sharing lots of captivating stories to the other girl trainees.
The “Matanglawin” award went to Jhoanna for her meticulous attention to details, especially during training.
Jhoanna also bagged the “Dream’s Lister” award for showing outstanding leadership skills and following the tasks of the Star Hunt management efficiently.
For her “talent” in sleeping almost anywhere, the girls awarded “Miss Antokyo Japan 2020” to Sheena.
As the foremost music lover, especially the classic hits, Gwen was given the “Songnaunang Panahon” award.
The “Cheerleader” award was endowed to all the girls for always being a great friend to their fellow trainees. And, the “Baby Metal” award given to Sheena, for pulling through amidst her darkest moments while inside the camp.
Photo credit to iamsheenacat IG
All turned emotional upon reading letters and receiving surprise gifts, such as flowers, cakes and cupcakes from their beloved parents, who secretly organized it since they could not join them physically. They also got heartwarming personal notes from fans and read some of them.
After revealing all the challenges and difficulties they went through being far from their families while in their lock-in training in the months the country was under the community quarantine, battling anxieties amid the ABS-CBN shutdown, and the hurtful comments they get from bashers, the girls said they emerged as stronger and better persons and artists.
They would spend four hours of voice training and another four hours of dance workshops each day, while shooting their online content, studying for their distance learning classes and their Kumu livestreams every other day.
To show their appreciation to all their followers, they sang the song “This is Me” by Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Ensemble.
The girls thanked the Star Hunt management, their coaches, and all the people who guided them during their stay in the bootcamp. They said the camp not only honed their singing and dancing skills, but also instilled discipline, a proper mindset, and respect for others. Last but most definitely not the least, they gave thanks and appreciation to Direk Lauren for trusting and never giving up on them.
Even though their journey as girl trainees has ended, exciting times lie ahead for the girls as Star Hunt will debut the girls on the P-pop scene very soon, hinting November 20, 2020 as a date that will be one for the books.