The concept of love teams has always been powerful in Philippine showbiz. Known for being romantic and kilig-hungry, Pinoys have given rise to several celebrity pairings through the years. Some of the most succcessful ones we’ve known are the tandems of Gloria Romero and Juancho Gutierrez, Nida Blanca and Nestor de Villa, Vilma Santos and Bobot Mortiz, Maricel Soriano and William Martinez, Sheryl Cruz and Romnick Sarmienta, Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin, and Kristine Hermosa and Jericho Rosales. I guess it’s safe to say many of us are really suckers for love stories, whether they happen in our lives or simply see them in others.
These days, love teams (or LTs as the new generation would call them) just crop up everywhere. Portmanteaus of the couple’s names a la Brangelina (for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) are so common. Names are automatically combined the moment signs of chemistry are observed between a male and a female star. If many have observed the spark, expect the LT name to turn into a hashtag and spread like wildfire.
Officially, AlDub, JaDine, KathNiel, and LizQuen (that’s in alphabetical order!) are the most popular celebrity teamups of GMA and ABS-CBN today. AlDub stands for Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza, JaDine for James Reid and Nadine Lustre, KathNiel for Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, and LizQuen for Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. These four onscreen couples dominate the advertising scene, influence the networks’ ratings, and rake in box-office sales. With the advent of social media, fans of these teamups have been more expressive and protective (and obsessive) than ever. Their support cements a loveteam’s showbiz status.
A lot of loveteam fans want their favorite pairs to work exclusively with each other. They invest so much emotion that reality and fiction are often blurred. There’s an unspoken expectation that loveteam partners end up together in real life. Any third party who’s a possible threat to the reel or real tandem may soon be the subject of online bashing. Getting linked to half of a popular loveteam is a risk to one’s career. Others may find it crazy but we’ve gotten so used to it. Exclusivity of artists’ contracts with networks is something that will be hard to change.
As many have observed, this is something we don’t see in Hollywood and Korean entertainment because actors and actresses are more flexible. Yes, there may be usual teamups but the pairings are not limited. Viewers are not easily fed up with repetitive combinations. The stars get to work with different artists for TV and movie projects and there is so much room for their growth as actors and actresses. This leads us to wonder, what if we become more open as an audience and less possessive of favorite tandems? We’ve seen the success in the surprising teamup of Xian Lim and Angel Locsin (Thank God, KimXi fans were open-minded about that one!) and there’s the interesting John Lloyd Cruz* and Jennylyn Mercado project coming soon. Good signs of progress.
What do you think it would be like if the currently popular love teams can simply swap partners? My guess, networks will have more creative freedom and we will have more interesting projects to watch out for.
Look, here are imaginary love team combinations from the four most popular ones. Who do you think could also have chemistry?