By: Joseph Peter R. Gonzales

In contemporary ‘biz, they are the top male stars, the cream of the crop, so to speak. They get the best roles and meatiest of projects, as well as the opportunity to work with top-notch directors and A-1 leading ladies. Undoubtedly, they are in an enviable position in today’s showbiz hierarchy.

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Of course, these six male leads (Piolo Pascual, Derek Ramsey, Dingdong Dantes, John Lloyd Cruz, Jericho Rosales and Dennis Trillo), didn’t have things instantly. Stardom wasn’t given to them in a silver platter. They also started from scratch and had to toil hard in order to reach their current stature. It’s not really that easy considering the pressing challenges they faced along the way. Obviously, these actors were able to clear the hurdles that led them to the pinnacle of success.

Proving to all and sundry that they’re not just flash-in-the-pans was simply a tall order for the six actors. Over the years, they evolved into fine performers which is a requisite for an enduring and durable career. Considering the constant emergence of new faces in the scene, it’s already a major feat for Piolo, Derek, Dingdong, John Lloyd, Jericho and Dennis to stay on top of the heap no matter what.

Now, let’s try to analyze and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of these six premiere stars. Some may have the advantage over the others in some departments and vice-versa, which makes their rivalry more exciting.

PIOLO PASCUAL

Piolo_Pascual_at_the_Star_Magic_Concert_Tour_in_Ontario,_CA,_June_2009

PJ’s career is well-chartered by mother studio ABS-CBN. His soaps are carefully-paced to always keep the fans wanting for more. He gets paired with almost all the hottest Kapamilya actresses as proof of his royal stature. His weekly exposure in ASAP also helps to further exhibit his musical gifts which shows his versatility.

Strengths: Acting ability, handsome and sexy features, natural charm with the fans, multi-talented, marketability as product endorser, good communication skills, independence from a love team, versatility
Weaknesses: Still has to appear convincingly in a totally offbeat role that’s a complete opposite of what he usually does on screen, there’s the risk of his acting getting monotonous already because of his successive potboilers’ lack of variety and predictability

DEREK RAMSAY

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Derek can really turn the heat on screen. He combines sexiness and artistry with ease. He also excels in the action genre and proves to be an able program host. He tries his hand on comedy as well. Truly, TV 5 found a goldmine in him. He just sizzles in every project he appears in.

Strengths: Ruggedly handsome features, sexy build, articulateness, acting skill, marketability as product endorser, independence from a love team
Weaknesses: There’s the risk of getting typecast as the male lead in sexy dramas, still has to excel in other genres like comedy or musical, might not be convincing anymore as the leading man of younger sexy stars in a few years’ time

DINGDONG DANTES

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As GMA’s prime time king, Dong is simply in a very safe position. His projects are well-conceptualized, giving him all the chances to exploit and exhibit his artistic capabilities. When it comes to films, he also chooses vehicles that challenge his acting range. Clearly, there is variety in what he does. His marriage to Marian Rivera is also well-loved by the public, which further propelled his popularity to greater heights. People see him now as more well-rounded, being a responsible and successful family man.

Strengths: Strong back-up by home studio, handsome looks, acting mettle, popularity with the fans, marketability as brand model, clean public image, intelligence, can do movies with rival network, versatility
Weaknesses: Predictability of his TV shows which limits his considerable acting skill, must still prove his marketability if paired with new or younger actresses

JOHN LLOYD CRUZ

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Considered as one of the best actors of his generation, there’s no stopping Lloydie from churning in one outstanding performance to another. His depth is incomparable. ABS-CBN knows perfectly what vehicles to give him to continue honing his artistry while pleasing the fans at the same time. All of today’s hottest young actresses want to do a movie with him. It is indeed a wonderful journey so far for one of the original members of Koolits.

Strengths: Acting depth, marketability as a product endorser, long list of box-office hits, can be paired with any female star in a potentially hit flick, charm with the fans
Weaknesses: Underdeveloped physique, predictability of roles in his soaps, still very much into formulaic films

JERICHO ROSALES

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Highly-competent, critically-acclaimed and a genuine leading man. These can best describe Echo. Many of today’s established actresses want to do a movie with him because they say he’s a fine thespian who could bring out the best in them. Jericho just won Best Actor in last year’s MMFF for his sensitive portrayal of a dying lover in Walang Forever. The acting he exhibited in the said potboiler is simply moving. No doubt, he’s one prime actor in his generation.

Strengths: Acting chops, singing talent, strong charm with the fans, versatility
Weaknesses: Inconsistent box-office clout, acting has the tendency to be one-dimensional at times

DENNIS TRILLO

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The “Other King” at the Kapuso lot. Over the years, Dennis has established himself as one reliable screen performer. Whether it’s a boy-next-door character, Mr. Nice Guy or even a gay one (which he did superbly in My Husband’s Lover), he always renders a sterling performance. Dennis continuously experiments with the roles he breathes life to. He is the type who is able to inject complexity even into a flat role.

Strengths: Versatility, oozing screen machismo, strong sex appeal, acting and singing prowess, support from mother network
Weaknesses: Has still to come up with a major solo hit flick, not a sure box-office draw

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