Shadow play dance team El Gamma Penumbra has emerged as the inaugural winner of AXN’s hit talent competition, Asia’s Got Talent.
Throughout the competition, El Gamma, from the Philippines, has impressed audiences as well as the four celebrity judges (David Foster, Van Ness Wu, Anggun and Melanie C) – with their shadow plays of touching stories that had conveyed important global messages, such as conservation and world peace.
Can barely believe that they had won the talent show
El Gamma could barely believe that they had won the talent show competition and their members were all very emotional, even to the point of tearing, when they had been announced as the overall champion.
Said Melvin Marfa, 25, one of the members of the 12-strong El Gamma team, “We are very happy right now. We could not believe that we would ever win at first, when we took part in the audition. Our dream had been to simply perform on stage, but as the competition went by and we progressed further, we started to dream big. Now we are standing here today, as the winners of Asia’s Got Talent, and we are very thankful for this success.”
Wanted to distinguish themselves from other dance groups
What had made El Gamma decide to use shadow play, as their talent? Initially a hip hop dance group, El Gamma had wanted to distinguish themselves from other dancers in the Philippines.
Added Marfa, “We wanted to make our group unique to others, to stand apart from the rest of the competition. If we simply do hip hop, we will have lots of competition. Now that we have won, we are hoping to continue improving on this talent that we have gained recognition for.”
Beat Mongolian throat singing band in the grand finale
Tension had gripped the air, just before it was announced that El Gamma had beaten the eventual runners-up, the Mongolian throat singing band, Khusugtun – with the last two teams standing on stage. Some of the other nine acts which had performed in the grand finale of Asia’s Got Talent had included young Singaporean tap-dancing group Dance Thrilogy, Chinese dancers Gao Lin and Liu Xin as well as Japanese dance group Triqstar.
Judges thought El Gamma were deserving winners
The judges too, had been impressed with El Gamma – even right from the very beginning of the Asia’s Got Talent competition, when the eventual winner had stepped into the audition room to try out for the talent competition.
Explained Anggun, “Right from the start, we felt that theirs was the kind of performance that you want to say to other people, come and see them, because there were so many things that they can tell in their story. They are so universal and that is what I found so smart about their performance.”
Added Foster, “We were so glued by every single one of their acts and how they managed to tell their stories the way that they did. It simply felt like magic to us, and we don’t know how they did it every single time – but we all loved them for it.”
Difficult for the judges to make a decision
Throughout the competition, the judges admitted that it was tough to judge with so many great and talented performances.
Said Melanie C, “We have been blessed with so much talent and beauty throughout this show – that is where Asia does well. We have had the joy of watching traditional and modern acts, contemporary dance, singers and the shadow play performances from the totally deserving champions – which I don’t remember seeing before Asia’s Got Talent. In some ways, the talent made our job easier because we were so thoroughly entertained, but closer to the end, it got harder as everyone was good – so we were pleased that the final decision was taken out of our hands and given to the public through voting.”
But while El Gamma may have been crowned as the eventual champions, the judges all reiterated that each of the nine finalists are champions in their own right, with every single one of them having amazing potential.
Wins prize money of USD100,000
To reward them for their efforts, El Gamma will be taking home the prize of USD100,000 and the opportunity to perform at Marina Bay Sands – where the Asia’s Got Talent Semi Finals, Grand Final and the Grand Final Results Show had been staged. In addition they will also get $10,000 worth of flights to any Jetstar destination in Asia.
What will El Gamma intend to do with the USD100,000 prize money? Said Marfa, “We will give a portion of our prize money to our families to help them with their daily living expenses. Some of it will go to charity and we will use the rest to build a studio for our own rehearsals.”
Tips for youngsters
And what tips can they share with youngsters who would like to follow in their footsteps? Explained Marfa, “We have also struggled and suffered hardships, to get to where we are today. So just continue to strive harder and dream bigger. Whenever an opportunity comes your way, simply give it your best shot and treat it as though it is your last. And we believe that success will come your way.”
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