CJ Villavicencio, the winner of an online contest accused of plagiarizing Ang Huling El Bimbo, defended himself from his critics today by saying it was not his intention to copy the hit musical.
It was on Sunday when musical director Myke Salomon tweeted that someone “copied/ripped-off our musical arrangements for #AngHulingElbimboMusical (musical treatment, concept) without permission [and] won in that pop stage contest for his final round. He won 1million and an artist contract.”
A guy copied/ripped-off our musical arrangements for #AngHulingElbimboMusical (musical treatment, concept) without permission won in that pop stage contest for his final round. He won 1million and an artist contract. I feel bad for the other contestants. 👎
— Myke Salomon (@DJMYKEsalomon) August 2, 2020
The public immediately knew that he was referring to Villavicencio, who won the online contest “The Pop Stage,” where he was awarded a PHP1 million prize (US$30,383) and a contract with Viva Artists Agency. Villavicencio performed a medley of songs that were used in the musical, which borrows heavily from the rockband Eraserheads’ catalog.
As a consequence of Salomon’s accusation, Villavicencio’s Facebook page was swarmed by critics, who called him out for being a copycat.
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, Villavicencio said he did not expect his win to “trigger so much negative comments and hate online.”
“There was no intention whatsoever on my part to plagiarize. I am sorry if I caused undue distress, seemed disrespectful or if I have hurt the theater community. Honestly, the things that I’ve read slightly affected my mental health,” he said.
“Clearly, as an amateur and aspiring artist, I still have so many things to learn. I humbly ask for everyone’s understanding as I navigate this new world that I have recently entered. I am not a bad person. My intentions were far different from what people think,” the singer added.
Aside from the song’s arrangement, Villavicencio was also accused of copying the musical’s choreography, specifically the musical’s ROTC scene.
Ang Huling El Bimbo has attracted both positive and negative reactions from theater fans. Some have praised it for its use of the Eraserheads songs, but critics said that its portrayal of women appears problematic.
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