Copycat? ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’ musical director calls out contest winner for ‘ripping off’ arrangement

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2020 10:13 PM | Updated as of Aug 04 2020 12:36 AM

Resorts World Manila’s ‘Ang Huling El Bimbo’ staged over a 100 shows in 2018 and 2019. Erickson dela Cruz/file

MANILA — The musical director of “Ang Huling El Bimbo” on Sunday called out the results of an online competition, saying the winner copied arrangements from the hit musical adapting the tunes of the Eraserheads.

Musical director and stage artist Myke Salomon wrote on Twitter: “A guy copied/ripped-off our musical arrangements for #AngHulingElbimboMusical (musical treatment, concept) without permission won in that pop stage contest for his final round.”

Salomon was referring to The Pop Stage, a talent show wherein the champion is awarded P1 million and a contract with Viva Artists Agency.

The winner of The Pop Stage — singer CJ Villavicencio — was announced on Sunday. Villavicencio’s final performance was a music video featuring a medley of Eraserheads songs.

Noting the prizes, Salomon said, “I feel bad for the other contestants.”

“And para sa mga productions and judges. You are judging concept and originality… You tolerate ripping off.”

 

Among the criteria shown in the finale of The Pop Stage were creativity and originality, which account for 40% of the score, along with quality of performance (40%), and entertainment value (20%).

Spotting the similarities, theater artists Stephen Viñas and Jef Flores compiled and compared segments from Villavicencio’s final video and numbers from “Ang Huling El Bimbo.”

Villavicencio’s Facebook post showing his The Pop Stage video originally did not include any credit to “Ang Huling El Bimbo” last July 27. A subsequent edit on July 31, however, mentioned the Resorts World Manila as his “inspiration.”

 
On Monday, Eraserheads’ Ely Buendia weighed in on the issue, saying he hopes it will be “resolved soon” and that “credit is given to those who deserve it.”

Buendia referred to the ROTC reimagining of “Pare Ko” in the musical as one of the “most striking and original” renditions he has heard and seen, one that “easily became my favorite.”

“It took something old and was INSPIRED to make it NEW and FRESH. Therein lies the difference,” he said.

“Which is why it is disheartening that there is still a culture out there, not just in entertainment, that somehow makes it okay to take credit, and be rewarded, for someone else’s work.”

Buendia’s statement included the compilation by Flores that illustrates the similarities between Villavicencio’s work and “Ang Huling El Bimbo.”

“I am disappointed for all the AHEB crew because I know for a fact that they poured all their hearts and souls into creating something that was true to the material and their craft,” he wrote.

“In our day to day struggles against this oppressive life, the temptation is always there to take the fast route, the shortcut, the easy way to success. But we are human. I hope this matter is resolved soon and credit is given to those who deserve it.”

As of writing, Villavicencio and The Pop Stage have yet to issue a statement regarding the issue.