Gold rush in the city

MANILA, Philippines—In droves they came. For the Manila leg of the “Pinoy Idol” tryouts, the GMA 7 staff was again pleasantly “surprised” by the turnout.

“It’s more than double the Cebu crowd,” program manager Hazel Abonita said. Cebu had peaked at 1,500; the three-day Manila audition, held at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia compound, attracted 10,000 on the first day, Thursday.

“SM made that crowd estimate,” Abonita said. “We expect double that figure on the second day.”

While chatting with judge Ogie Alcasid, Fotini Paraskakis, senior executive producer of franchise holder FremantleMedia, quipped: “The Philippines has a lot of wonderful singers.”

Segment producer David Baki recalled that long queues stretched from the hall to the Manila Bay on day one.

“People started lining up at 6 a.m.,” Baki recounted. “We had to end registration at 9 p.m. But most of the staff finished work at 10 to 11:30 p.m.”



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