So there I was in our now-yearly tradition of attending the annual GMMSF, Inc. Boxoffice Entertainment Awards even if Alden Richards is not among the awardees. I was just expecting to see a lot of famous artists mingle with mostly Bulakenyos dressed in our Sunday bests, intending to just take a lot of photos if I get bored. I never expected that I will experience one of the most utterly satisfying moments of my life as a fangirl and music lover.
Juan Karlos ‘JK’ Labajo was awarded the Most Promising Recording Artist of 2018 for his super-trending single Buwan. As one of the music awardees, he is expected to do a spot number. Now remember, this is a strictly formal event with nearly half of the attendees belonging to the middle-aged to senior citizens category. Knowing his style, I’m not sure if JK can pull it off without ‘offending’ the audience.
JK and his band started off with an intro that’s unfamiliar to the general public, thus, it didn’t elicit a favorable reaction. That is, until he finally started with, “Ako’y sayo, ikaw ay akin… It went smoothly from then on.
Then he reached the part before the final chorus that everyone has been waiting for. The band paused, and production people thought it’s over. Two of the emcees, Elisse Joson and Enchong Dee, were already called onstage. But JK and the band continued to sustain their guitar riffs, indicating that they’re not done yet. For a moment there I was afraid that things will get awkward, the band will be asked to stop playing and get off the stage, and JK might pull an undesirable stunt. Can’t blame me for thinking that way with all the issues hounding JK lately.
Then he launched into that viral sensation of a climactic chorus. I got goosebumps all over. I heard screams of adulation from everywhere in the venue. I looked around, and was shocked at the sheer number of cellphones raised up to film his onstage antics, raised hands and fists rockin’ along with him. We’re talking people wearing formal clothes, some of whom are senior citizens. Everyone’s smiling, howling, clapping. At the end of the song, JK was met with a rousing applause.
Omigad, Juan Karlos, what have you done. You wrecked the Boxoffice Entertainment Awards. In a damn good way.
You know what? JK has been criticized for being too frank, too rough and un-mannered. I’m used to his kind of personality, having spent five years of my life being around bands in the Pinoy rock scene. JK is tamed compared to some of them. Also, no offense, but I’ve read and heard some of his statements and I actually don’t find anything wrong with it. Most of the time, he’s perfectly on point. JK is a lot of things, but among those things is that he is one charismatic performer. You can’t teach that kind of thing. It’s inherent. I’ve seen a lot of band frontmen in my lifetime and only a few has that kind of raw stage presence. One of them is his The Voice Kids coach, Bamboo. I’m glad that JK was able to imbibe that quality from his coach.
I just hope that JK Labajo will be able to maintain that path to artistry without losing his way, so to speak. Don’t leave that talent to waste.