Pops' judging slot in 'The World's Best' first offered to Martin
For Martin Nievera, his ex-wife, Pops Fernandez, was a “perfect choice” to represent the Philippines in “The World’s Best”—the new reality talent competition on CBS hosted by James Corden—as one of the program’s 50 international experts.
“We have no shortage of amazing performers here in our country. And as a Filipino artist herself, she knows what’s good; how to spot real talent. She has high standards,” he told the Inquirer at a recent press conference for “Timeless Classics,” the Valentine concert he topbills with Lani Misalucha on Feb. 14 at the PICC Plenary Hall (call 891-9999).
“I’m very proud of her,” he said.
The main judging panel of “The World’s Best,” which premiered on Feb. 3, is composed of Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill and RuPaul. Pops, meanwhile, is part of the “Wall of the World”—foreign celebrities, dancers, singers, talent scouts, martial artists—which helps decide which act can stay in the contest.
Martin likewise believes that the project is timely for Pops, who has been focusing on mounting various events, like concerts, and producing films.
“This is fitting for her, because she has been yearning to be more knowledgeable and involved in what goes on behind the scene,” he said.
The 56-year-old balladeer disclosed that the Philippine judging slot for “The World’s Best” was first offered to him in August last year. However, he had to turn it down because of prior commitments.
“Someone from the production staff got in touch with me and I did an audition through FaceTime. After asking me a ton of questions, they told me that they were looking for someone like me,” related Martin, who felt that, more than his music credentials, it was his gift of gab that helped him land the job.
“They also took note of my spontaneity, of my being unscripted,” he added, “and my experience as a talk show host.”
“But when they gave me the taping schedule, which was set in October, I found out that I wouldn’t be able to do it—I had a show booked on each of their taping days. I tried to get out of some of my commitments, but it was too late. I had to let the show go,” Martin said.
After grudgingly turning down the offer, Martin was asked by the team behind “The World’s Best” if he could recommend someone else. The first person that came to mind was Pops.
“I told them that I used to have a cohost in a show (“The Penthouse Live”), and I think she would be very good: Pops Fernandez,” Martin related. “They said that Pops was actually on the list of people they were considering at first … They were curious how I knew about her. I told them, ‘Well, we have two kids!’”
“When they heard that, they asked if we could do the show as a pair. But sadly, I really couldn’t do it.”
Though Martin has always dreamed of having an international break of this kind, he couldn’t be any happier that the opportunity went to Pops.
“I have always wanted to have international exposure, so much so that I lost Pops and the children, because I used to be hungry for international recognition. Now, here it is, and it goes to the person I lost. That’s God!” he said.