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Despite two power failures, ‘Wowowillie’ dazzles in nearly five-hour maiden telecast

Just like old times.

On the eve of his 52nd birthday, Willie Revillame dug deep into his past and looked to the future as he returned to noontime television with the maiden broadcast of his new TV5 show “Wowowillie”.

The show–which lasted for nearly five hours–kicked off with a lengthy and spectacular dance number that fused modern and traditional elements that at times recalled Cirque Du Soleil and even the Jabbawockeez. It also featured TV5 princesses Eula Caballero, Ritz Azul and Meg Imperial, “Artista Academy” winner Sophie Albert, Regine Angeles, Mocha, the Sex Bomb Dancers as well as the popular dancers of Willie’s past shows Luningning, Milagring, Mariposa, RR Enriquez and April “Congratulations” Gustilo.

Wearing a golden suit and dark glasses that made him look like a hybrid of Elvis Presley and Psy, Willie then took to the stage and performed a song and dance number amid the wild cheers of over 1,100 people in the studio, including Senator Manny Villar, his wife former Las Piñas representative Cynthia Villar and former Surigao Del Norte Governor Ace Barbers.

Not without its share of birth pains, the show went on a long commercial break following the introduction of co-hosts Mariel Rodriguez, Grace Lee, Arci Muñoz, Ethel Booba, Camille Villar, Lovely Abella and Ava Jugueta.

When it went back on the air, Willie acknowledged that a “blackout” had taken place at the brand-new Wowowillie Studio (the former Delta Theater) before calmly addressing the responsible parties, “Huwag n’yo nang uulitin ‘yan ha,” he said.

Unfortunately, another power outage took place some 30 minutes later. Thankfully, power was restored more quickly this time. From then on, it was smooth sailing for “Wowowillie”. Among the special musical numbers, highlights included Gloc 9 featuring a medley of his hits (“Sirena”, “Walang Natira” and “Hari Ng Tondo”) with collaborators Ebe Dancel, Denise and Sheng Belmonte.

There was the band Kamikazee rocking it out in a riveting performance of one of their classic hits, “Martyr Nyebera”, to the crowd’s delight.

Then came a medley of hits by the band Aegis (“Halik”, “Luha”, Basang-Basa Sa Ulan”) featuring Brennan, Nina and the comebacking Lloyd Umali as they introduced a new portion called “Instajam”.

There was another medley of Willie’s favorite love songs, featuring Willie himself, Basil Valdez, Wency Cornejo and the surprise appearance of his old friend Randy Santiago.

After the song, the former estranged buds kissed and made up on air. Willie recalled his showbiz debut some two decade ago as Randy’s sidekick on the GMA noontime show “Lunch Date”.

For all the witty banter and “kulitan” of the two, there was no mention of the conspicuously absent John Estrada. Last November, Willie and John patched up their differences after John’s father passed away and Willie paid his respects when he visited the wake.

Another memorable number in the show, apparently a surprise one, came when Willie’s little son by Liz Almoro, Juamee Revillame, played drums and later jammed with his father on the Eraserheads classic “Ang Huling El Bimbo”.

Of course, no TV show of Willie Revillame would be complete without the expected games and top prizes. And “Wowowillie” did not disappoint with its Cash Salo portion where up to P1.5 million in cash is literally up for grabs.

There was “Putukan Na!”, the fun, balloon-popping game for the celebrity guests where Willie and Randy themselves—just like old times—acted as game masters. And even without games, several members of the audience went home with about P10,000 each as Willie’s birthday gift to them.

As many in media have observed as of late, the “Wowowillie” premiere also saw a kindler, gentler Willie who seems to have no more problem paying tribute to the other two networks that have been part of his career.

He acknowledged that around 3,000 people are still outside the studio waiting for their chance to get a glimpse of him and hopefully win cash in one of his show’s games. He promised that everyone will get a chance to watch “Wowowillie” live in the days to come.

He was also very generous in acknowledging his associates, including choreographer Feliciano as well as songwriters Vehnee Saturno and Lito Camo. He also openly endorsed the election bids of Camo, Barbers and Cynthia Villar when he had the chance.

But his trademark humor and sometimes acerbic wit are still intact as he introduced Ethel Booba by cracking, “Inilibing na lang, hinukay pa namin!” referring to the latter’s dormant career prior to joining “Wowowillie”.

He even played a practical joke on Randy when he took off his shades at one point of the show. Luckily for Randy, Wency was there to lend him another pair.

All of these were of course done in the spirit of fun.

Yes, just like old times.