PROTEGE UPDATE: Apple Vega, Glenn Roy, Mykel Ong, Kelly D & Mitch Capili Eliminated!

 In the words of protege judge Joey de Leon, Sunday's showdown of talents among the bottom 10 proteges of GMA-7's artista search "Protege: The Battle for the Big Artista Break" was "mentor anguish."

The bottom two proteges from each of the five protege teams were given their last chance to prove to their mentors that they deserve to retain their places in the competition. In the end, five proteges were saved, while the other five left the competition for good.

Japs de Luna (N. and C. Luzon), Zandra Summer (Visayas), Vien Alen King (Mega Manila), Arny Ross (South Luzon) and Ruru Madrid (Mindanao) have another reason to thank their mentors because they were the ones saved this week, while Glenn Roy (N. and C. Luzon), Mitch Capili (Visayas), Kelly D (Mega Manila), Mykel Ong (Southern Luzon) and Apple Vega (Mindanao) will have to face the bitter truth of being evicted from the competition.

The showdown

It was the first elimination week in the competition and the mentors were given the daunting task of saving one protege and eliminating the other based on both the bottom proteges' performance in the showdown and the mentors' gut feel as to which ones have more potential to become stars.

The first ones to compete head-on were mentor Jolina Magdangal's bottom two proteges, Mitch Capili (Bohol) and Zandra Summer (Cebu). Mitch rendered a song number, while Zandra did a tribal dance number. At the end of their back-to-back performances, judge Cherie Gil said it was hard for her to determine which one did better since they showed different talents. She added that although Zandra has a very pretty face, she is "just another pretty face" and there's nothing really new about that. She also praised the change in Mitch's styling, which improved her stage presence.

In the end, it was up to Jolina to decide which between Mitch and Zandra should move on in the competition.

While Cherie took the "safer" route, her fellow judge Joey de Leon was more straightforward in recommending Ruru Madrid, one of the two Mindanao proteges of mentor Phillip Salvador, to be saved. Ruru showcased his acting skill by doing a short pre-recorded drama scene with actor Gardo Versoza and fellow Mindanao protege David John Llanas, while Apple Vega did a dance number.

Phillip Salvador said that he has become so attached to all his proteges that he didn't want to send anyone of them home if he only had a choice. "Nakita ko yung kanilang hunger, but I have to make a decision," he added.

The performances of Roderick Paulate's bottom two proteges from Mega Manila, Vien Alen King and Kelly D., didn't make it hard for their mentor -- and everyone -- to make a choice. It was clear from the start that Kelly D. was the more laid-back, less confident and less likely to survive long in the competition.

Although Vien and Kelly both didn't impress judge Bert de Leon with their song numbers, between the two, de Leon vouched for Vien.

Judge Anna Teresa Gozon-Abrogar was also not impressed by the performances of the bottom two proteges from North and Central Luzon, Glenn Roy and Japs de Luna.

"Nakulangan ako sa kanilang dalawa," she commented. "Malamyang umarte si Glenn, parang kulang pa sa confidence, while si Japs naman baliktad: he has the confidence pero medyo kailangan pang i-define yung personality niya."

Glenn reenacted a scene in the movie "Just One Summer," portraying the role of Nyel (Elmo Magalona) with no less than the real Julie Anne San Jose portraying the role of Nyel's childhood sweetheart, "Beto." Japs on the other hand showed off his dancing talent.

Atty. Abrogar ultimately recommended to mentor Ricky Davao that Japs be saved.

The last two bottom proteges to perform were Mykel Ong and Arny Ross from South Luzon. Mykel did a reenactment of a scene from the now defunct GMA top-rater "Munting Heredera," while Arny Ross danced Latin ballroom.

Judge Cherie Gil was not as impressed with Mykel's performance as she was for Arny. "As for me, the one who gets it is Arny, kasi she's a possible all-arounder," she said.

South Luzon mentor Gina Alajar seemed to agree with Cherie, since she ultimately chose to save Arny. She asked for a chance to give a brief message to her bottom two before she announced her decision.

Meanwhile, the lead stars of GMA's latest movie offering, "Just One Summer," Julie Anne San Jose and Elmo Magalona broke the tension, so to speak, when they did a live performance of "We Are Young" together with the proteges who belonged to the top half of the group.

The brief interlude, however, was not enough to calm down the bottom proteges and their fans as they anxiously awaited the decision of their respective mentors.

In the end, mentor Ricky Davao chose Japs over Glenn, while Jolina Magdangal chose Zandra over Mitch. Roderick Paulate decided to save Vien and let go of Kelly, while Gina Alajar chose to let go of Mykel in favor of Arny. Phillip Salvador decided to save Ruru and sent home Apple Vega.

As with the other mentors, Phillip's decision to eliminate one of his proteges is something that he dreaded the most.

"Apple, Ruru alam niyong mahal na mahal ko kayo, mga anak," he said to his bottom proteges before announcing his decision. "Sa akin importante ang attitude lalo na ng mga beginners. Nag-usap-usap tayo noon kung natatandaan ninyo. Ang unang sinabi ko sa inyo ay pagkatiwalaan niyo ako dahil ibubuhos ko ang lahat ng natutunan ko na maaari kong ipasa sa inyo. I needed that trust. It just so happened na isang babae at isang lalaki lang ang mananalo sa competition na ito. Ang ganda ng performance ninyo pareho and I'm proud of both of you."

"It's not the end of your showbiz career. It's only the end of your stay in the competition," said Atty. Abrogar. "The mere fact the you made it to the Top 20, you have already entered the showbiz industry."

Now that the number of proteges remaining in the competition is down to 15, viewers can expect the battle for the big artista break to be a lot tougher. Also, the next gala night will be the start of the weekly eliminations wherein viewers' votes will be factored in the final score along with the scores given by the judges.

At the end of the road, only two proteges -- one male and one female -- will emerge as the Ultimate Proteges. Who will they be? Only time -- and fate -- could tell.

Watch the daily updates on the progress of each protege on Inside Protege, which airs from Monday to Friday evenings and witness the weekly gala night every Sunday after iBilib on GMA-7