Spiral pole dancer Kristel De Catalina withstood a couple of headline-grabbing misogynistic comments and Top 3-worthy performances from her fellow finalists to be hailed as grand winner of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 6.
The single mother from Antipolo delivered a breathtaking display of aerial acrobatics to garner an average of 99.67% from viewer and judges votes, dominating wheelchair dance duo Julius Obrero and Rhea Marquez (84.6) and comedian Joven Olvido (79.05). Aside from the distinction of being the second dancer to go all the way in the reality talent competition, De Catalina also received P2 million as its newest champion.
The video of her Finals performance shot up to the top spot of YouTube's "Trending" list, having already tallied 2,720,589 views as of writing. Those numbers won't be suprising once you witness her flawlessly pulling off the gravity-defying feat, to the tune of Celine Dion's "All By Myself."
De Catalina has been nothing but awe-insipiring since her audition, which prompted judge Vice Ganda to use the Golden Buzzer and automatically qualify her for the semifinal round. Despite being the target of what many perceived as sexist remarks from judge Robin Padilla, she shrugged it off and advanced to the Grand Finals, where she also bested DWC Aeon Flex, Bardilleranz, Nocturnal Dance Company, Jonacris Bandillo, CEBECO II Blue Knights, Xtreme Dancers, and Orville Tonido.
This isn't the first time the Interior Design graduate has tasted victory on such a grand stage. In fact, she came out on top of the 2017 Air Stars 2nd Asian Aerial Dance Art Competition solo professional women's category, beating foreign counterparts in the art of pole dancing. Although De Catalina has acknowledged that PGT is a different animal compared to previous contests she was part of in the past.
In a post-interview with Kalad Karen for PGT Exclusives, she explained, "Sa lahat ng competition na nasalihan ko, ito yung masasabi kong pinakakakaiba. At talagang mahabang proseso siya dahil kailangan hindi lang isang routine ang gagawin ko. Normally pag sumasali ako sa competition, isang routine tapos sabak na, tapos tapos na. Ito, tuwing papasok ka kailangan laging magle-level up ka."
De Catalina, who has both a face and figure to die for, feels gratification from serving as an inspiration to those who believed in and voted for her: "Sa pamamagitan ng pagsasayaw, naitaguyod ko ang aking anak at bukod dun, ito ang aking hobby talaga at gusto ko po yung ginagawa ko. "At bukod dun, nagbibigay ako ng karangalan sa ating bansa sa pamamagitan ng sining na ito."
Congratulations and hope to see you more on TV, Kristel!