TV cookery competition MasterChef serves up an Asian edition

The week in Philippine entertainment: MasterChef cooks up Asian edition, StarStruck back in September, Rak of Aegis breaks records, Copenhagen hosts Filipino festival, beauty queen exits Pinoy Big Brother, and The Voice Kids down to final six.

The Filipino participants on MasterChef Asia, from left, Jake Aycardo, Lica Ibarra and Rico Amancio. Courtesy Lifetime Asia
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The reality-TV cookery contest MasterChef is launching an Asian edition on September 3.

MasterChef Asia will pit 15 ­amateur chefs from China, ­India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines against each other in the kitchen.

The three Filipino contestants are paralegal Rico Amancio, bank analyst Jake Aycardo and finance officer Lica Ibarra.

The judges are Hong Kong-born, Toronto-based chef ­Susur Lee, French ­Michelin-starred chef Bruno Ménard and ­Singapore-born Audra Morrice, who competed in MasterChef Australia in 2012.

Produced by the Lifetime network, the series, which is being filmed in Singapore, will run for 15 weeks. The winner will receive a US$50,000 (Dh183,657) cash prize and a deal to publish a cookbook.

StarStruck back on the air in September

The Philippines’ most popular reality-TV talent competition is returning after a five-year ­absence.

Scheduled to debut on September 14, StarStruck will feature aspiring celebrities undertaking weekly acting, singing and dancing challenges. The show has jump-started the careers of stars including Cristine Reyes, Aljur Abrenica and Paulo Avelino.

Megan Young, who won the Miss World pageant in 2013, will co-host with actor Dingdong Dantes. Young appeared on the show’s second season, finishing in sixth place.

Jennylyn Mercado, who won StarStruck’s first season in 2004, will be a judge on the revived show. The other two judges have yet to be named.

Rak of Aegis breaks records

After more than 200 sold-out shows, Rak of Aegis has officially become the longest-running original Filipino musical of the past decade. Produced by the Philippine Educational Theater Association, the production was built around the hit songs of the Filipino pop-rock band Aegis, who were massively popular in the 1990s.

The show’s title was inspired by Rock of Ages, the Broadway musical and Hollywood film that featured classic rock hits from the 1980s.

Headlined by the pop singers Aicelle Santos and Kim Molina, Rak of Aegis tells the story of Aileen, a young woman who dreams of becoming a singing sensation on YouTube, so that she can lift her family out of poverty. The musical’s current season culminates on Sunday with its 207th performance.

Copenhagen hosts Filipino fest

The Danish capital Copenhagen is hosting a festival celebrating contemporary Philippine cinema, art and music from Tuesday until August 30. Titled P-Noise, the programme features screenings of recent Filipino films, including Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra (The Bit Player), Khavn de la Cruz’s Mondomanila and Eduardo Roy Jr’s Quick Change. Musical performers include soul band SinoSikat? and Filipino-Danish singer Andy Roda.

P-Noise will also showcase works from photographer Frank Callaghan, visual artist Rai Cruz and performer Carlos Celdran.

Beauty queen exits Pinoy Big Brother

Only a week after entering the Pinoy Big Brother house, ­Filipino-American Jessica Marasigan left last weekend after being informed of the death of her grandmother. This week’s public vote for eviction was cancelled as a result.

The 21-year-old model and beauty queen, from Los Angeles, California, was one of the two housemates who had been nominated for eviction, along with Filipino-Japanese entertainer Miho Nishida. Marasigan was already thinking about quitting the show to help Nishida, whom she considered more deserving of a longer stay in the house. Last week also saw the departure of actor Enchong Dee ­after his short stint as a celebrity houseguest. He has resumed his co-hosting duties on the show. Pinoy Big ­Brother marks its 10-year anniversary tomorrow. A new twist, rumoured to involve the return of housemates from the previous 11 seasons, is expected to be revealed to celebrate the anniversary.

The Voice Kids reaches the final six

The teams of celebrity coaches Bamboo Mañalac and Sarah Geronimo took centre stage this week on The Voice Kids ­Philippines.

The 12 hopefuls competed in the sing-off round, in which they each performed a two-­minute solo. Each coach then had a tough decision to make, each choosing only two to advance to the next round.

Mañalac selected 11-year-old Elha Nympha and 12-year-old Sassa Dagdag, who stood out for her inspired rendition of The Show by Australian singer Lenka – a refreshing song choice, given most contestants’ fondness for high-decibel power ballads. “I think you’re very special,” Mañalac told Sassa.

Geronimo selected 11-year-old Kyle Echarri and 12-year-old Zephanie Dimaranan, whose dynamic performance of Ariana Grande’s Problem quickly trended on Twitter.

The four contestants will join celebrity coach Lea Salonga’s pair, Esang de Torres and Reynan Dal-Anay, in this weekend’s semi-finals.

The second season of The Voice Kids is the most-watched programme on Philippine ­television.