Source: Interaksyon.com – By Edwin P. Sallan | All Things Michael
In a word: spectacular.
That’s how the first Grand Finals night of TV5’s “Celebrity Dance Battle” went down at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila last Sunday in a show marked by unforgettable performances from each of the top 5 celebrity finalists.
Basketball superstar Gary David displayed the explosive form that earned him the moniker “El Granada” in the PBA as he and partner Stephanie Sabalo walked away with the P1 million cash prize while also bagging the Texter’s Choice award for a winner-take-all overall performance.
As a a four-time PBA scoring champion and as a member of Team Gilas Pilipinas that won the gold in the 2003 Southeast Asian Games and the 2012 William Jones Cup, Gary certainly knows what it takes to win. He proved that the dance floor is not much different from the playing court with his standout performance.
On a night when each contending pair brought their A-game and delivered their contemporary interpretations of traditional dances, Gary and Stephanie presented a high octane reading of the Latin Salsa as they gyrated to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good”.
What made their number extra special was Gary’s breathtaking tribute to the King of Pop and the impeccable precision in which he and Stephanie delivered one highlight moment after another. As a result, their number earned the only standing ovation of the night from judges G. Toengi, Edna Ledesma, Jose Javier Reyes and Regine Tolentino.
Douglas Nierras, who judged and commented via online video conference live from Italy, said he was also at a loss for words upon seeing Gary and Stephanie’s stellar performance. Seated among the audience, Coach Chot Reyes also gave his Gilas player the thumbs-up.
Even as the night belonged to the winning pair, the other grand finalists also impressed the judges with their own hot numbers. Former beauty queen Priscilla Merielles and partner Rommel Olson kicked off the contest proper with their sexy interpretation of the Brazilian Samba that ended with Priscilla being suspended up in the air in a trapeze-like contraption.
The sultry Iwa Moto and partner Paul Nuñez did a sizzling, slow Rhumba number to the tune of Bonnie Tyler’s classic ballad “Total Eclipse of the Night” with supportive partner Pampi Lacson applauding in the audience.
Despite a misstep, Rafa Siguion-Reyna and partner Olivia Cui infused their Cha-Cha dance with hip-hop elements in a performance with an auto mechanic theme most likely inspired by the musical “Grease”.
And Ciara Sotto made use good use of the ropes as a stand-in for her usual pole dancing highlights as she and partner Ian Buentolo took on the Jive in a Cowboy-themed number to the tune of Ike and Tina Turner’s signature soul hit “River Deep, Mountain High”.
Many in the audience actually believed that Ciara and Ian had the contest in the bag. That was until Gary and Stephanie saved the best for last when they stepped in as the final contestants.
Aside from the performers, the finale of “Celebrity Dance Battle” was further spiced up by the equally exhilarating opening dance number from the five finalists plus judges G. Toengi and Edna Ledesma as well as hosts Lucy Torres-Gomez and Anthony and David Semerad.
A special number was also presented by Regine Tolentino and Diabolo master Spyro Marco, the fourth Ultimate Talentado of TV5’s returning talent search show “Talentadong Pinoy”.
All told, it was indeed a spectacular first season of “Celebrity Dance Battle”. Even though a second season is yet to be announced, the solid enough following that the show earned in its three-month run should merit consideration for a return engagement very soon.