Celebrity moments in 2023


Going back to the movies

The entertainment industry made a dramatic comeback in 2023, delivering on its promise to keep audiences entertained. As we approach the end of 2023, let's look back at some of the memorable moments in Philippine show business, both happy and sad.

1) The Philippine TV industry is alive!

Who would have thought that popular noontime programs “Eat Bulaga” and “It’s Showtime” would transfer networks? The longest-running noontime show in the world (perhaps) “Eat Bulaga” went to TV5 under the new title “E.A.T.” while “It’s Showtime” transferred to GTV Network, a sister company of rival station GMA Network.  Their shift led to a lively battle of three noontime shows, including the original “Eat Bulaga” with a new set of hosts, on Kapuso Network that started last July 1.

2) Sharon-Gabby reunion concert

After 42 years, fans were thrilled with the much-awaited reunion of former celebrity couple megastar Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion via the concert “Dear Heart” at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last Oct. 29. Fans cried especially when their only daughter KC Concepcion joined them onstage. Sharon and Gabby got married in 1983. The marriage was annulled in 1996. Soon, producers thought of a reunion project for the 80s couple. Initially, the producers wanted a reunion movie, but it didn't work out. Then they thought of a concert. Two more successful concerts were staged in the country. But there are reports that the “Dear Heart” concert series will go on a world tour. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

3) ‘It’s Showtime’ suspended

Last Oct. 13, the popular noontime program “It’s Showtime” temporarily bid goodbye on air to serve a 12-day suspension after viewers lodged complaints before the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) concerning the show’s July 25, 2023 episode where the program's hosts Vice Ganda and Ion Perez allegedly acted indecently during one of its segments, “Isip Bata.” It was temporarily replaced by “It’s Your Lucky Day,” led by Lucky Manzano. Upon “It’s Showtime’s” return, it topped the trending list on Twitter nationwide.

4) 72nd Miss Universe Competition

The 2023 Miss Universe Competition will be one of the most memorable pageant editions in history. For the first time, moms and married women could finally compete in the most prestigious beauty contest. Miss Guatemala Michelle Cohhn and Miss Colombia Camila Avella were the first married women to compete in this year's contest. Avella even managed to make it to the top five. There were also two transgenders in the competition: delegates from Portugal and The Netherlands. Not only was it announced this year that age restrictions for the pageant would be lifted, but also that the pageant would be more inclusive. During the competition in El Salvador last Nov. 18, pageant fans also cheered for Miss Nepal, the first plus-size candidate to enter the semifinals, and Miss Pakistan made a strong statement when she wore a burkini during the pageant's swimsuit competition. It was a bittersweet moment when Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart announced her retirement from the pageant after 25 years.

5) Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’

Billed as the highest-grossing tour ever by a female artist, Taylor Swift’s concert “The Eras Tour” pays homage to all her albums with 15 shows worldwide. As of October 2023, the concert had already grossed US$2 billion, according to Variety. The Wall Street Journal said the tour will be the biggest in concert history. As of Nov. 27, Taylor's concert is fully booked for the show until Dec. 8, 2024. Filipino fans were disappointed when Taylor did not include the Philippines as one of her stops for the Eras Tour. But for fans who cannot join Taylor in concert venues, Taylor has created a concert film entitled “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which opened in cinemas worldwide last Oct. 13. The film grossed US$246.4 million at the box office worldwide, which broke the Guinness Book of World Record for the highest-grossing concert or performance at a global box office.

(Robert R. Requintina is the Entertainment Editor of Manila Bulletin)