'Pop Stage' champ CJ Villavencio airs side on plagiarism accusations

CJ Villavicencio in a scene from the video

Embattled "The Pop Stage" champion CJ Villavicencio has broken his silence over plagiarism and copyright infringement allegations thrown at him by several theater actors. 

In a statement sent through media, Villavicencio reiterated he had no intention to plagiarize.

"Over the weekend, my life has changed in an instant. I did not expect my victory to trigger so much negative comments and hate online. I was hurt and it also aches my heart to unintentionally hurt some people as well, especially the production team of 'Ang Huling El Bimbo The Musical,"' he said.

“My final performance during the finals of 'The Pop Stage' is an Eraserheads medley and was meant to be a tribute to my favorite artists and musical while also incorporating my own story and experiences. It is a piece that reflects my relationship with my friends, my role as a student, and my passion for music. It was also dedicated to all the students who endlessly strive in life."

The whole brouhaha began when he won the grand prize in “The Pop Stage,” an online talent show with a P1-million cash prize and a one-year contract with Viva Artists Agency. CJ's winning entry was composed of a medley of Eraserheads songs  which was accused to have copied the musical arrangements from selected scenes of “Ang Huling El Bimbo” (AHEB) the musical. 

“AHEB’s” musical director-composer and one of its lead actors, Myke Salomon, expressed his disgust over the alleged copyright infringement  He addressed members of the production team and the judges, saying in a tweet: “You are judging concept and originality. You tolerate ripping off.”

That being said, CJ apologized for causing "undue distress."

“There was no intention whatsoever on my part to plagiarize. I am sorry if I caused undue distress, seemed disrespectful or if I have hurt the theater community. Honestly, the things that I’ve read slightly affected my mental health. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who messaged just to check up on me. 

“Clearly, as an amateur and aspiring artist, I still have so many things to learn. I humbly ask for everyone’s understanding as I navigate this new world that I have recently entered. I am not a bad person. My intentions were far different from what people think.

“I am grateful for the support of my new management and the people behind 'The Pop Stage.' I am also deeply thankful to 'The Pop Stage' judges, Popeyes and my supporters for this life-changing opportunity. In this time of uncertainty, may we all have the heart to spread love among humanity.”