Swift Stealing The Show?

Taylor Swift will play Manila, The Philippines, Feb. 19, a situation that has upset a number of local artists who have had to reschedule or otherwise change plans leading up to Valentine’s day.

Popular singer Lani Misalucha, dubbed “Asia’s nightingale,” told reporters she decided not to perform on Valentine’s Day because she believed “people would save up to watch Taylor Swift and skip all the concerts before hers.”

Another regional star, Kuh Ledesma, whose Valentine’s Day shows are a tradition, actually urged the government to show more support for local artists by giving tax breaks to producers.

Ledesma, who has shows Feb. 12-13 at the Philippine International Convention Center, asked authorities to prohibit foreign acts from staging concerts during the Valentine’s Day season. There is already a ban on foreign films during the Christmas season in order to help out the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.

Swift’s concert at the Araneta Coliseum sold out in less than two weeks, and with ticket prices higher than they would be for Philippine artists, the impact is thought to be considerable.

Piolo Pascual, a popular actor-singer, is playing the PICC Feb. 14. The slower than expected ticket sales are said to be behind a statement the actor made Jan. 30 revealing he was in a romantic relationship with a famous TV host.

The unsolicited admission was seen as a bid to attract attention to the concert.

However, show biz insiders say that the accusations against Swift are merely cover for the declining popularity of some artists. Pascual’s show was originally set to take place at the Araneta but was moved to the smaller PICC when interest supposedly flagged. Pascual’s management denies the rumor, saying that the show was always scheduled for PICC, which holds 3,000.

Nevertheless, there was no show at the Araneta on Feb. 14, the biggest concert day of the year, traditionally.

An entertainment journalist told Business World that the real reason behind the gap in ticket sales is that Philippine artists can be seen on television almost all the time, while an international star like Taylor Swift passes through only once every several years.