MANILA, Philippines – Billy Crawford knows hosting like the back of his hand. It’s not surprising to see him as Steve Harvey’s local counterpart for the Kapamilya weekend show, Little Big Shots. What a delight to watch Billy keep up with the kids — and the banter they will have!
“I never thought I would get it,” said Billy of his latest TV assignment — an exciting follow-up to Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 1 — in a media call held early this week. “Sa totoo (lang), hindi ko alam kung bakit napunta sa akin (ito). The best thing I can say is, I’m just really thankful.”
One can’t blame the international singer and actor to feel that way because other big names were also considered as the face of the show.
According to business unit head Lui Andrada, an audition was held for host-aspirants and videos of them were sent to Warner Bros., which had the final say. “This is the first time that we’re working with Warner,” he shared. “They said Billy has the best chemistry with kids.”
His innate rapport with kids could be attributed to Billy’s own baby steps in showbiz when he was a child actor. “Mahilig na po akong mag-perform since I was about three,” said he, who was then discovered by the late German “Kuya Germs” Moreno. Billy recalled that he sang Born in the USA as an audition piece. His knack for singing and dancing, plus that adorable personality, became his ticket to “movielandia,” seeing him perform in shows like GMA Supershow and That’s Entertainment and acting in movies made by Regal Films and Seiko Films.
Little Big Shots shows how versatile Billy as a host — you know, from interviewing adult talents (in Pilipinas Got Talent and Pinoy Boyband Superstar) to very young ones. What’s good about Billy is he knows where to train the spotlight.
“Hindi po yung host ang pinakaimportante dito,” he said. “(It’s already given by the show’s title) Little Big Shots. Kaya ang mga big stars natin dito ay ang mga kabataan.” Billy also congratulated the parents of Little Big Shots kids for the way they have brought them up and nurtured their potentials.
Based on the show preview held at the Dolphy Theater, Billy had fun with the kiddie talents but he said, “it was a challenging role for me to play. I would expect like Steve Harvey and other hosts in other countries are parents themselves. So yun po yung para sa akin. Parang neninerbiyos ako kasi wala pa akong anak. Mahilig ako sa mga bata. Obviously, ang fiancee ko is 10 years younger. Mahilig akong makipaglaro sa mga bata. I guess binigay ito ni Lord sa akin. I couldn’t really ask for more. I’m so happy to have this job.”
The people behind Little Big Shots held auditions for possible kid talents to be featured on the show. Since the public was not familiar with the show, they focused on scouting instead and they are still looking for talents aged two to 12, who have extraordinary skills that go beyond singing and dancing, and who are witty and charming. Little Big Shots premieres tonight.
“It’s not a contest,” clarified Billy, whose show is a hybrid of talent and talk formats. “They (the kids) would be on the show not just to showcase their talents ’coz not all of them have special talents… All is welcome — the cutest kid, the brightest kid, the biggest talent or basta yung bibo. This is a showcase of what Pinoy kids are like. Kung gaano tayo mag-alaga ng bata.”
Asked what the kiddie talents get at the end of their appearances, Lui replied, “Of course, we give them something. (When you asked the kids, they would say) ‘We want to make our family proud. We want our parents to be proud of us…’ It’s not really the monetary thing.”
Little Big Shots is also a platform for kids to showcase and share their talents in other territories. Remember, Elha Nympha? She was tapped to grace the US edition and is set to appear in Little Big Shots Israel and Spain. During the taping of Little Big Shots Ph early episodes, a Warner consultant had identified some kids to be featured in a particular franchise. The Pinoy kids get the chance to represent the Philippines abroad.
“After taping, we’re so drained but we look forward to the next day of taping because we know there’s something new na (bata na) maaliw na naman kami,” Billy shared. “They are our energy pills. So (the show) pushes me to try to do my best and to have fun. Gusto ko lang mag-enjoy na kasama ang mga bata.”
(Little Big Shots has also an online show for netizens to watch the kids’ performances and funny antics. Eric Nicolas hosts. For updates, like www.facebook.com/LBigShotsPh or follow @LBigShotsPh on Twitter.)