'I Am Pogay' debut draws shrieks, trends worldwide

Posted at 01/18/14 5:34 PM

'Showtime' launches 2nd LGBT-themed segment

MANILA -- The new "It's Showtime" segment for gay men was an instant hit among the studio audience and netizens who were tuned in to the noontime program on Saturday, when the contest was launched with two hopefuls taking the stage.

Joining as the first candidates of "I Am Pogay," billed as a contest for "handsome gay men," were 29-year-old Erimar Ortigas and 23-year-old Dennishon Bryan Reyes-Javier.

In a move that surprised the "It's Showtime" hosts, including openly gay comedian Vice Ganda, Javier used the program to reveal his sexual orientation to his parents for the first time during the introduction portion.

Aside from this round, where contestants get to share a pick-up line, "I Am Pogay" hopefuls also perform a talent of their choice, and are subsequently asked to relate a mystery object to life in the question-and-answer portion.

Similar to other contests on "It's Showtime," the audience get to rate the candidates, this time with placards saying "Confirmed" to signify approval, or "Confused" for otherwise.

Sitting in as judges on Saturday were "It's Showtime" co-hosts Jhong Hilario and Karylle, along with celebrity stylist Liz Uy, who all rated both Ortigas and Javier "Confirmed" resulting in a tie. Both took home P20,000.

No. 1 topic on Twitter

During the contest, co-host Billy Crawford announced that "I Am Pogay" was already a trending topic on micro-blogging site Twitter.

At one point, "#IAmPogay" topped the worldwide trends on the site, with "POGAY" and "Liz Uy" ranking fifth and seventh in the same list, respectively.

"I Am Pogay" is the second LGBT-themed segment of "It's Showtime" after the highly successful "That's My Tomboy." Launched in October last year with its grand finals nearing, the talent showcase for lesbians who look masculine also includes a question-and-answer portion.

Aside from the two contests, "It's Showtime" recently scored hits with segments like "Stars on 45," a singing contest for those aged 45 and above; and "Kalokalike," a competition among impersonators of celebrities.