• John Rabelas

THIRD GENERAL ELECTION: Can Jem Caldejon spark her way up to the top?

Jem Caldejon (Team NIV)

1st GE rank: 11th | 2nd GE rank: 13th

Ever since the conception of MNL48, Jem Caldejon is one of its original members that left a mark in the local idol scene. Ever since being a member of the first senbatsu line-up for the idol group’s maiden single “Aitakatta Gustong Makita” after nabbing the 11th place in the First General Election, Caldejon became one of the faces of the idol group as she consistently featured in the group's next two singles.

Apart from that, she also lent her voice for Team NIV in their two team songs, “Palusot ko’y Maybe” for the second single “Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie” which has gained wide mainstream recognition and also became part of the delegation that represented MNL48 during the AKB48 Group Asia Festival in Bangkok, Thailand last year.

After grabbing the 13th rank in the Second General Election last year, Caldejon looked forward to play a big role inside MNL48 in her second year and it's safe to say that it has been a treat for "PikaJem" and her fanbase.

Power surge

Caldejon continued her streak of senbatsu appearances as she participated in the group's fourth single "Ikaw ang Melody". The run ended during the "High Tension" era as she didn't make the cut for the senbatsu, but she linked up with Team NIV for their second team song "1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku!".

But her patience was rewarded when she was given the center spot for “10nen Zakura,” the coupling song for the group's upcoming single “RIVER”. This milestone added her to a prestigious list of members who has centered an MNL48 song and left the usually composed 21-year-old Caldejon in tears when it was announced at the MNL48 First Generation Festival last March.

Caldejon also got a fair share of achievements in other various aspects. She and her team (composed of Dana Brual, Sela Guia and Jamie Alberto) won a trip to Singapore to tour the Pokemon Center there after winning a Battle Tournament in the Pokemon Sword and Shield launch event last November.

Furthermore, she also unleashed her actress side when she nabbed the lead role for the GL-themed MNL48 Presents series "Bye, Us” last August alongside Brual. Her acting performance in the said series was praised by many fans and observers.

Inspired to make a spark

Outside of the idol stage, Caldejon became a darling of the digital platform. Aside from giving fan service in her social media pages, she also posts song covers and self-composed songs either in her Facebook page or in her YouTube channel.

Throughout her years of staying in MNL48, Caldejon had an evident growth both in her abilities and her personality as well as her ways making her fans happy, either being part of the senbatsu for a single or not. In an online interview with PAKSA MNL, the administrators of Team PikaJems noticed this especially after the fan polls last year. They said that despite her exposure being limited after the Second General Election, her way of doing fan service did never changed.

They added that their kami-oshi is still the same person that they know. “Her fan service did not change whether she’s in the senbatsu or not. She still kept her smile and did her best to make her fans happy. Overall, Jem (Caldejon) is still Jem. Being herself is more than enough for her to keep her fans and to gather new ones as well,” they said.

The people leading Caldejon’s fan club also recalled the time where she was not called to be a part of the senbatsu lineup for the following singles after “Ikaw ang Melody,” saying that they felt uneasy and did not support her enough. However, they said that Caldejon being the center for the sixth single’s coupling song was a challenge for her by the management and that they still believed in her. “That’s why we should promote her more and make her become part of the senbatsu. The best solution for us is to really push her upwards. We should make the management know that Jem can bring them profits,” they added.

Asked if how it could help her in the nearing fan polls, they said that it would add exposure for her, especially for those who wanted to see her. “The exposure can help her be seen by everyone. We believe that this is a major chance for her to prove herself. We believe that with this exposure, people will notice her and will see how deserving she is,” they said.

Charging up

In preparation for the nearing Third General Election, Team Pikajems are building up their finances by selling limited edition merchandise like face masks, spray-on alcohol, and t-shirts. “We believe it’s one of the ways for us to help her,” the fan club administrators said.

Aside from that, they also have their activities online. Just recently, they launched a contest for their fans to create a fan-made music video in order to promote Caldejon. Apart from the said contest, they also posted their own fan-made campaign video for her on their social media pages.

“JemBatsu” for the third time?

In the last two General Elections MNL48 made, Caldejon became a consistent member of the main senbatsu. Dubbed as “JemBatsu” by its fans, the Team PikaJems administrators said that they will do a repeat of that for her for the third time this year, predicting either returning to the senbatsu seats or even beyond that. “We believe she can reach senbatsu or the top 10. We believe in Jem,” they said.

Asked on why she deserves the votes for the fan polls, they said that she is one of the idols that appreciates the efforts of many and one of the best in terms of giving out fan-service. “Jem is one of those idols who will appreciate all of your efforts and support. She is one of the best idols out there in terms of fan-service and so on. She deserves to be in MNL48,“ they said.

They also left a message for their fellow Jem kami-oshis, telling them to put her in the ranking that she deserves. “Jem knows how much we love and support her. As for the team, I believe they know the capabilities of Jem. Let’s put Jem to a rank where she belongs. Let’s vote for her,” they said.

With her versatility, never-changing optimism, and fans that are loyal to her, it won’t be a surprise that Jem Caldejon might return again as part of the senbatsu. But will she “thundershock” us with a surprise uprising in the ranks and “volt tackle” her way to the top? It will all be revealed once the results are in.

(with additional reports from Reggie Abang)

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