The past three weeks must have been a roller-coaster ride for 2008 American Idol runner-up David Archuleta. During a Christmas concert in his hometown Salt Lake City, Utah last December 20, Archuleta surprised his fans when he announced that he will be leaving the music industry for two years to become a Mormon missionary. Although Archuleta has been eclipsed in popularity in recent years by Justin Bieber, he still has a global fan base (Archie Angels, raise your hands!). Excerpts from his remarks:
“It’s not because someone told me that I was supposed to do it, not because … I no longer want to do music anymore.It’s because (of) the feeling that I felt that I need to do next in my life. It’s just the same feeling that I’ve always followed, tried to follow in my life.”
His unexpected pronouncement was widely reported in the American media, including the Washington Post and ABC News. Britain’s The Daily Mail also had a piece on it. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, ran an op-ed by Allison Pond, a former Mormon missionary. The write-up gives its readers a glimpse of how drastically life would change for the 21-year-old Archuleta:
“He’ll trade a life of stardom for the rigor of waking up at 6:30 every morning, studying scripture for a couple of hours, then working 10-hour days teaching interested people in their homes and taking on other community-service projects before falling into bed exhausted.”
Just 19 days after that, Archuleta announced through his website that he is going to the Philippines “to shoot an upcoming primetime series for local network TV5.” He will be joined in the TV show by showbiz greenhorns Jasmine Curtis-Smith (younger sister of Anne Curtis) and Eula Caballero.
Let me explain some stuff for non-Filipino readers of this blog. Here in the Philippines, we used to have only two major networks, ABS-CBN and GMA. The past two years, TV5 has emerged as a third-force. Now, we already have three broadcast giants, similar to ABC, CBS, and NBC in the United States.
It remains unclear how long Archuleta will stay in the Philippines. The target date for the series’ premiere has not yet been announced as well. Will Archuleta be able to religiously watch his own TV series? According to Washington Post, his religious mission would begin sometime of first-half this year (location still undisclosed). Archuleta’s TV project in the Philippines this month effectively belies Alyssa Newcomb of ABC News’ assumption that his mission might begin “shortly after the 1st of January.”
This would be the fourth visit of Archuleta to the Philippines. The first was in May 2009 with David Cook, the second was for a benefit concert for Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) victims with Katy Perry, while the third was just last July. As to what (or more accurately, how much) convinced an international music star like him to do a TV series in this Southeast Asian nation will certainly be the subject of speculation for the weeks to come.
David Archuleta is obviously very excited for his first lengthy acting gig. In his latest Twitter posts, he talks about participating in acting classes. He also uploaded a three-minute video blog, his first this 2012, for his fans in YouTube. In the description, he wrote: “Headed to the Philippines later today! I’ll be arriving this week to start a new adventure in acting. I’m nervous, but also really excited to try this new experience. I’ll be doing a mini-series for TV5 and will be filming in the Philippines for the next few weeks.” He also promised to do another video blog once he arrives to the Philippines. Hope to see him here!