By Kevin Joshua Rebultan
Out of the 26 talented Filipino kids who vied for the coveted SM Little Stars 2018 crowns, only two emerged victorious. Aleynah Cassedine Redillas (SM Fairview) and Satriani Lancelot Acot (SM Bacoor) were hailed the grand winners in the Grand Finals that took place on August 4, at the Centerstage of Mall of Asia, Pasay.
Hosted by Robi Domingo and SM Little Stars 2013 third runner-up Esang de Torres, the culmination of the annual nationwide search was filled with remarkable performances. But what stood out the most were 6-year-old Aleynah’s interpretation of “Naughty” from Matilda: The Musical, and 7-year-old Satriani’s dancing to the beat of MMJ’s “Haypa.”
Aleynah’s mom Marla Redillas said that it was her daughter’s second time in competing. “I remember her telling me, ‘Mom, if I lose, I can try again next year.’ Sobrang proud kami sa kanya,” Marla declares, right after the coronation.
Incoming grade one student Aleynah delivered the same message, this time to her fellow aspirants. “You all did well. Even though you lost, it’s fine. You can join again. Just do your best every time, and don’t forget to smile,” Aleynah says, while she herself is all smiles.
On the other hand, Francis Acot, father of Satriani says that parents should always be supportive. “Sa akin naman, as long as gusto niya, at kung saan siya magiging masaya, nandoon ang suporta ko. Nandito lang naman ako para gabayan siya, hindi magdesisyon para sa kanya.”
Other highlights of the event include the performances of last year’s winners, Darren Andrei Sungahid (SM Cagayan de Oro) and Gaea Mischa Salipoto (SM City BF Parañaque), and 2014 girl grand winner Filipino-Korean Chun Sa Angella Jung. The winners of SM Little Stars China also graced the event and performed.
For 12 years, SM Little Stars has been a platform for aspiring child superstars to showcase their talents and explore their potential. This year’s edition stays true to its promise: new stars were born.
But their road toward stardom wasn’t a walk in the park. The children went through a series of workshops to boost their confidence and enhance their personalities, guided by the distinguished board of judges. The board was comprised of veteran actor John Arcilla, recording artist Sam Concepcion, dance choreographer Mickey Perz, and international beauty queen Wynwyn Marquez.
“Maniwala kayo sa amin, we want all the kids to win. Nahirapan talaga kami mag-judge,” Arcilla says prior to announcing the winners.
Other shining stars are first runner-up Isabela Espinosa (SM Southmall), second runner-up Rhemaya Ruth Simpson (SM City Iloilo), and third runner-up Sylvannah Jamie Manuelaurice Garcia (SM City Sta. Mesa). Also included in the top 10 are the representatives of SM Cebu, SM Angono, SM Dasmariñas, SM Bicutan, and SM Cauayan.
The winners were determined on Star Quality (40%), Talent (40%), and Personality (20%). The grand winners each received a brand-new Chevrolet Trax, P200,000 worth of cash and shopping money, P15,000 worth of toy gift cards, a trip to China for two (inclusive of round-trip tickets, hotel accommodations and tours), and a four-year scholarship grant from National University.