Why the Philippines is going crazy over I Love OPM

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Heads were turned, minds were opened and TVs across the Philippines was turned on and channels were flipped. This is what happened during the run of Filipino reality music competition I Love OPM on ABS-CBN. I Love OPM premiered on February 13th and has been the talk of the town for having one of its kinds in the Philippines.

The main premise of I Love OPM is that its participants in this reality music competition are 100% non-Filipinos who are challenged to sing OPM (Original Pinoy Music).

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The show started with participants coming from 17 different countries like the US, Korea, Pakistan, India, Russia, Singapore, Nigeria, Australia, Thailand, UK, France, Samoa, Japan, Palau, Tonga, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Twenty-four participants advanced to the next level until one of them wins.

At first, it was interesting to hear the participants stammer upon the lyrics and hear their accents while singing Tagalog songs. I think this is what caught the Filipino viewers at first but after, viewers started taking the participants seriously as how good of a singer they are. Surprisingly, some of them sounded like full-bred Filipinos while they sing their hearts out during the competition.

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Now, you might think, what’s so special about this show when there are also competitions like this on TV in different parts of the world? Well, most Filipinos do listen to Western music more than their own. You’ll hear songs from the US Top 100 chart on the Philippine radio than OPM. But after I Love OPM aired, Filipinos looked at OPM differently and gave it more attention. Check out the announcement of the winner Yohan Hwang from South Korea:

Its not like OPM songs are topping the charts now in the Philippines because something like that isn’t going to happen overnight but more and more people do listen to it now and appreciates it. One of the important things learned during the run of this show too is how a lot of foreigners love the Philippines, its culture and its language. The Philippine Department of Tourism even tweeted about I Love OPM as to how it promotes the Philippines and how this show will help broaden the audience of OPM and possible more tourists to visit the country.

I can see this is the start of a possible wave of the Philippine entertainment industry in other countries.