MANILA — For the first time in over a year, the ABS-CBN noontime program “It’s Showtime” welcomed back the “madlang people” to its live staging, as a virtual audience, on Monday.
The “madlang people,” the show’s term for its live studio audience, had been absent from “It’s Showtime” since the March 2020 onset of the coronavirus lockdown.
In the show’s opening segment on Monday, the mainstays greeted their audience members, who were present virtually via Zoom.
“Iyan ang nakaka-miss!” Vhong Navarro said.
“Nandito na sila! Kumpleto na tayo!” Karylle added.
While not persistently on screen, the virtual audience was shown numerous times throughout the episode on Monday, as the hosts greeted them at the start of certain segments.
The “madlang people” have been an integral part of “It’s Showtime” since its 2009 debut, with most segments including audience participation, from scoring contestants to becoming instant stage performers.
The program’s mission statement, in fact, has been: “Make madlang people happy.”
When “It’s Showtime” resumed its studio production in June 2020 — after holding episodes entirely virtually for a time — the hosts said that the most jarring change was the absence of the “madlang people.”
“For 10 years nasanay kaming may audience,” Navarro said at the time. “Ang ganda kasi pag pagod ka, may pinagdadaanan ka sa buhay, pag nakikita mo silang ngumingiti, tumatawa pag nakikita ka, dahil sa mga ginagawa mo, ang sarap. ‘Yung pinagdaanan mo na ‘yun, nalilimutan mo pansamantala, kasi ‘yung obligasyon mo, ‘yung binigay sa ‘yo ni God na talento na magpasaya ng tao, ay nagagampanan mo.”
“Hindi tulad ng pag walang live audience, hindi mo alam kung nagampanan mo, kasi tatawid ka pa sa TV at walang balik sa ‘yo. Iba ‘yung tawanan nila, ‘yung iniiyak-tawa nila. Pero ngayon dahil sa social distancing at wala kang studio audience, paano? Sa new normal, may malaking pagbabago talaga, at iyon ang hindi ko alam kung kailan maibabalik.”
It remains to be seen to what extent the newly introduced virtual audience will be involved in episodes of “It’s Showtime.”
Another ABS-CBN program, the Sunday concert show “ASAP Natin ‘To,” has had a virtual audience for months, and would tap individuals to answer questions related to their idols, and sometimes, to share their talents.