In the past 25 years, ASAP has been providing us with world-class music experience every Sunday noon through the exhilarating and impeccable song and dance numbers courtesy of its well-loved mainstays and talented guests.
But for the first time, we weren’t able to see on-air the concert party we’ve been avidly watching since 1995 for more than a month due to the terrible circumstances that completely affected its broadcast. And now, we’re about to see them back, not only recording themselves from the comforts of their respective homes, but live from the studio this coming June 14.
As we look forward on their highly anticipated return on the Kapamilya Channel, let’s take a trip down memory lane and reminisce the fantastic beginning of ASAP and how it withstood and overcame all the challenges that came its way in the past years that eventually catapulted it into becoming the longest-running musical variety show in the country.
Premiered on February 5, 1995, ASAP was conceptualized by a group of production people with renowned singer-host Martin Nievera, and one of its eventual emcees, joining the brainstorming while taking a break from the taping of his eponymous talk program then. It was also Martin who suggested the title “ASAP”, an acronym which stands for All-star Sunday Afternoon Party.
Accompanying him in the pioneer hosting line-up were his then-wife Pops Fernandez, crooner and actor Ariel Rivera, and Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres. The cast of the coming-of-age film “Pare Ko” – Claudine Barretto, Victor Neri, Roselle Nava, Gio Alvarez, Jao Mapa, Mark Anthony Fernandez, and Nikka Valencia – were also tapped to become their co-hosts in order to attract younger viewers. A year after, the pool of hosts expanded as artists from the ABS-CBN Talent Center (Ang TV, Gimik, and Star Circle) were also hired.
Marking their second anniversary in 1997, the original theme song “Hot Na Hot Sa ASAP” was replaced with “Better Than Ever”, which is being used up to the present. Besides, from its first home at Delta Theater in Quezon City, it transferred to its permanent venue in the Studio 10 of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center. Richard Gomez and Zsa Zsa Padilla then joined the variety show.
In 2001, the sensational all-male group “The Hunks” comprised of Piolo Pascual, Diether Ocampo, Jericho Rosales, Carlos Agassi, and Bernard Palanca was born and went on to become very successful as they also appeared in other ABS-CBN Programs and various live shows in and out of the country, and even had concerts and albums.
The weekly musical variety program was called ASAP Mania in 2003 and was also simulcast on its sister station on Studio 23 for months. Gary Valenciano and Kuh Ledesma were introduced as the newest additions to the ever-changing ensemble after its remaining pioneer hosts Pops and Ariel left. At the same time, two segments were launched – Star In A Million and Victim – that later on became full-length shows because of their tremendous success.
Winners of different reality singing competitions, which included Sarah Geronimo, Mark Bautista, Rachelle Anne Go, and Star In A Million alumni Sheryn Regis, Erik Santos, Christian Bautista, and their runners-up, converged and the ASAP Champions was formed in 2004. Spin-off show ASAP Fanatic was also launched that featured the hottest teen stars of the network, as well as former contestants of its reality contests Star Circle Quest, Magandang Tanghali Bayan’s TV Idol, Qpids, and Pinoy Big Brother.
Along with the consistent changes in its title, more groups and segments were also launched in the coming years, such as ASAP Sessionistas, ASAP Supahdance, UD4 (Ultimate Dance 4), YRS, Gigger Boys, Coverboys, Kanto Boys, ASAP Boyfriendz, IT Girls, Kanto Boys Jr., Gimme 5, ASAP POPables, among others.
It became ASAP 20 in 2015 to signify its 20th anniversary celebration that lasted for a year. A few adjustments were made by adding segments like a short skit and games featuring the mainstays and Kapamilya stars, but the show was later on reverted to its traditional musical-variety format in the latter part of the year.
In 2016, two singing groups were formed, namely ASAP Birit Queens – composed of Jona Viray, Morissette Amon, Klarisse de Guzman and Angeline Quinto – and ASAP Soul Sessions – comprised of Jason Dy, Daryl Ong, Jay R, KZ Tandingan and Kyla. Later that year, the ASAPinoy segment was instituted, tapping Ogie Alcasid as its host and regular performer.
The show’s existing segments were eventually replaced in 2018, with “ASAP LSS: Love Songs and Stories”, “ASAP RePlay: Retro Playlist”, and “ASAP MYX: The Maja-Yassi Xperience” and teen singing group ASAP G!, comprised of Darren Espanto, Isabella Vinzon, Jayda Avanzado, Jeremy Glinoga, Kyle Echarri, and Ylona Garcia, was launched at the same time. Later that year, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid was officially declared as its newest mainstay following her inclusion in its out-of-the-country concert in Sydney, Australia in October and her controversial transfer to ABS-CBN.
ASAP Natin ‘To
ASAP Natin ‘To was launched on November 18, 2018 featuring totally different segments, such as The Greatest Showdown and ASAP Concert Presents. Its online counterpart iWant ASAP was introduced as well on December 2, 2018, with Robi Domingo, Donny Pangilinan, Maymay Entrata, and Edward Barber as the hosts.
And just two months after the program celebrated its 25th anniversary last January, the show’s regular broadcasting of live shows was halted after the government put the entire Luzon under lockdown in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Replay of past episodes were aired in the first two weeks, until the hosts and production team were able to record new episodes from the comforts of their homes via video conferencing in the next few weeks. However, unlike the regular programming that ran for two hours, the airtime was shortened to one hour and they were moved to the 2:30 pm timeslot until their last episode on May 3.
Back-to-back concert experience
After more than a month of going off-air, ASAP Natin ‘To is definitely back this coming Sunday, June 14, at 11:30 am as it resumes live staging of new episodes, sans studio audiences, to be aired on the Kapamilya Channel.
And for its opening salvo, it’s going to treat us to a spectacular and sure-fire back-to-back concert experience courtesy of the country’s music icons, such as Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, Sarah Geronimo, Piolo Pascual, Martin Nievera, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Erik Santos. Exciting, right? So don’t you dare miss it!