Spotlight on Stardom: Rundown on highlights in the showbiz industry in 2023
Spotlight on Stardom: Rundown on highlights in the showbiz industry in 2023
Spotlight on Stardom: Rundown on highlights in the showbiz industry in 2023
by Ellicia Del Mundo26 December 2023

As we stand at the threshold of a new calendar, it is time to flick the spotlight and look back on the breakthroughs and the captivating dramas that unfolded both on and off the screen.

In this article, DZRH News Online will make a quick rundown of the stories that made headlines and defined the showbiz landscape this 2023. From the historic transfer of ABS-CBN’s noontime to its long-time rival’s channel to the heartbreaking split of the well-known love team in the Philippines.

This year has been a whirlwind of emotions and a tale of change.

1. “It’s Showtime!” leaves TV5, and transfers to rival GMA's channel

In June, millions of Kapamilyas and Kapusos were taken aback by the unexpected announcement that ABS-CBN’s noontime show "It's Showtime!” would be aired on its rival GMA Network's GTV channel. A cross-over that everyone did not see coming.


ABS-CBN said in a statement that "It's Showtime!" would no longer be aired on TV5 channel following its respectful denial of the offered 4:30 PM time slot.

But a month after “It’s Showtime!” found its new home, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) summoned the noon-time show’s producers over a complaint against “indecent acts” allegedly committed by two show hosts.

By September, the MTRCB handed down a 12-day preventive suspension order against “It’s Showtime!”. ABS-CBN filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was later turned down by the board. The network then decided not to appeal the imposed suspension, but it "humbly" maintained that the noontime show "did not break any pertinent law."

“It’s Showtime!” was able to make a grand comeback to the television screen after two weeks of suspension.


2. Dolly de Leon makes name abroad

Dolly de Leon raised the Philippine flag high this year for being the first Filipina actress to be nominated in the Golden Globe Awards.

The 53-year-old actress was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role in Ruben Östlund's highly-acclaimed film "Triangle of Sadness." However, she lost the trophy to Angela Bassett, who played Queen Ramona in Marvel’s film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

But de Leon emerged victorious in the Swedish Film Institute’s 2023 Guldbaggen Awards, bagging the Best Female in a Supporting Actress for her outstanding role in "Triangle of Sadness."


Alongside her win internationally, the actress also gained local recognition. In February, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts bestowed de Leon with Ani ng Dangal award.

In June, another blessing was poured on de Leon as she was among the 398 international artists and professionals invited to become a member of the Oscars Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

3. Herlene Budol’s drew flak over Q&A answer during Miss Grand International Philippines 2023

Comedian-turned-beauty queen Herlene Budol became one of the hot topics this year due to her performance in the Miss Grand International Philippines 2023.


Many netizens raised their eyebrows at Budol’s playfulness during the question-and-answer portion of the competition’s press presentation. When she was asked what else she got to win aside from being a social media sensation, she answered humorously: "Thank you for that looong question for me… chariz.. I have a big followers because I have a big heart… O English yon, ha? Nakapag-compose po ako kaagad."

After the backlash, the beauty queen crashed the claims that she "dog-showed" the Q&A or she made fun of the serious matter. Budol then apologized to the public and vowed to do better in her performance in the actual pageant.

She then took home the coveted crown of Miss Tourism Philippines 2023 during the Miss Grand International Philippines 2023. But even though she won, the pageant organizer clarified that Budol would not represent the country and not compete in the Miss Tourism World 2023 event.

4. Pura Luka Vega jailed after dressing up as Black Nazarene in a drag show


Drag artist Pura Luka Vega, whose real name is Amadeus Fernando Pagente, became a headliner for quite some time this year for their controversial detention.

They first drew controversy after their video went viral online, in which they performed “The Lord’s Prayer” or “Ama Namin” while clad in a Black Nazarene outfit.

Even though many people, particularly the Catholic faithfuls, called her out, Pura Luka said she did not feel any remorse as they said that they intended to express queerness and not to mock any religion.

Several local government units then declared them persona non grata, and religious groups — The Philippines for Jesus Movement and Hijos Del Nazareno - Central — filed criminal cases against Pura Luka.


In October, the Manila Police District arrested the drag artist in their residence due to their alleged failure to attend the preliminary investigations. She was released from police custody after posting bail which was donated by their fellow queers.

5. Ricci Rivero and Andrea Brillantes' breakup

In June, the breakup rumor between Ricci Rivero and Andrea Brillantes surfaced after Ricci appeared in the Instagram story of beauty-queen-turned-politician Leren Mae Bautista.

Weeks after, the basketball player confirmed that he parted ways with Andrea in the first week of May. They were in a relationship for one year and over.


The basketball star denied that he cheated which was why they broke up. Bautista also falsified the accusation that she was the third party.

TV host DJ JhaiHo then revealed in a YouTube vlog that Andrea personally caught Ricci cheating on her.

When the break-up news and third-party speculation toned down in October, Ricci finally confirmed his relationship with Bautista. He proudly flaunted the former beauty in an Instagram post, calling her the real “Queen”.

6. Francis Magalona’s alleged love child

The showbiz world was shaken after a former flight attendant appeared to the public, claiming that she and late ‘Master Rapper’ Francis Magalona have a child.

Abegail Rait and the alleged daughter, Gaile Francesca, made the revelation in a YouTube vlog of rapper and content creator Boss Toyo, also known as Pinoy Pawnstars.

Abegail showed a photo of her and Magalona as well as a signed t-shirt that the latter gifted her. The former flight attendant emotionally lamented that she and their daughter had been hiding for 15 years and said they wanted the public to know that they existed.

With the revelation of their identities, she bared that Francesa would be joining the music industry, as she can also sing, dance, and rap just like his alleged father.

Amidst the height of the controversy, there was a deafening silence from Pia Magalona, the wife of Francis, and their children.

7. Neri Miranda’s controversial ₱1,000 palengke challenge


Actress and businesswoman Neri Naig-Miranda, the wife of Parokya ni Edgar frontman Chito Miranda, earned the ire of many netizens after she posted what they called a “problematic” weekly meal plan and palengke list on Facebook.

In the sample weekly meal plan, Neri outlined the meals that a family could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from Monday to Sunday. However, many netizens pointed out that the plan was impossible since she suggested that a family could eat the leftovers of breakfast and lunch meals for their dinner.

Neri also advised that a family could try to budget a ₱1,000 allowance for a week.

“Kung may sukli pa yan, pwede pangdagdag merienda o baon ng mga bata. Good night!” she said.


The actress quickly removed the Facebook post after receiving heavy criticism. Chito then defended his wife, saying that she posted the plan for fun and thought that it could be useful.

8. Michelle Dee fails to enter Miss Universe 2023's Top 5

Philippines’ bet Michelle Dee failed to take home the highly-coveted Miss Universe 2023 title and crown last Nov. 19. Michelle finished her Miss Universe 2023 journey on Top 10.


But despite the saddened defeat, she did not go home empty-handed as she proudly bagged four special awards. These include the Spirit of Carnival Award, the Miss Universe's fan vote, the Voice for Change’s gold medalist, and Best in National Costume.

The 28-year-old beauty queen is the third Filipino candidate to take home the Best in National Costume.

Her evening gown, which was inspired by Apo Whang-Od, a 106-year-old mambabatok or traditional tattoo artist from Kalinga, left many speechless and in awe.


9. TVJ wins 'Eat Bulaga' trademark case vs. TAPE Inc.

Earlier this month, Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey De Leon, collectively called TVJ, won the “Eat Bulaga” trademark case against Television and Production Exponents (TAPE) Inc.

In a statement, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines confirmed the cancellation of TAPE Inc.’s "Eat Bulaga" and "EB" trademark registration. The decision attested that TVJ was the rightful owner and originator of the trademarks.

TVJ welcomed the decision with an elated heart. Tito said in a speech that TAPE Inc. failed to prove that they conceptualized "EAT Bulaga" and "EB", and stated that it was Joey who created these while inside his kitchen in 1979.


The trademark case was filed after TAPE Inc. announced the departure of Tito, Vic, Joey, and the rest of the Dabarkads from the long-standing noontime show “Eat Bulaga!”.

Following their departure, the noontime show introduced a new set of hosts, consisting of Cassy and Mavy Legaspi, Buboy Villar, Paolo Contis, Betong Sumaya, and Alexa Miro.

TVJ and the other prominent “Eat Bulaga!” hosts found their home on TV5.

10. KathNiel confirms breakup after 11 years

Reel-to-real-life couple Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla broke the internet in end-November after they both confirmed that they ended their 11-year-old relationship.

Kathryn first issued the official statement on her Instagram account, putting to rest all the circulating rumors between her and Daniel.

"Chapter closed. I hope this finally helps all of us move forward. I won’t be entertaining questions regarding this anymore. Thank you for understanding," the 27-year-old captioned.

While the real reason behind their split was not disclosed, Kathryn assured that their relationship finished with respect.

Daniel followed suit and released his statement.

Two weeks later, the former couple reunited on stage for "Forever Grateful: ABS-CBN Christmas Special 2023”, singing and dancing to The Rembrandts's “I’ll Be There For You”.

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