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Three Teams Completed in The Voice of the Philippines

As was always bound to happen because in her enthusiasm, Lea Salonga always looked like a rich lady shopping for clothes in a newly opened boutique, Team Lea was the first to be completed over the weekend.

RJ dela Fuente, now based in Parañaque but originally a bank teller in California, completed her ‘mythical 12’ last Saturday after his rendition of “Get Here.’ Good voice, good control and good looks; quite the complete package this one. Albeit, I felt he could have done even better with a better song choice.

That’s just me saying that I did not know the song at all; and my song inventory is not exactly what you can call contemporary.

And because Tony Gonzaga is always explaining obscure little rules that none of us ever heard before, it turned out that Salonga could still turn around even after she had completed her team.

Sagun was Bamboo’s twelfth singer. But since Salonga helped herself to a thirteenth, Bamboo did not think there was anything wrong with him doing the same. So he helped himself to last night’s final performer, 30 year-old Dan Billano from Marikina.
So she did; last night for Kim Mainit, who had such a girlalush little voice that the coaches – and certainly the audience – could not be sure if it was a ladyboy or a boylady singing. Even the name Kim was androgynous. For the record, it’s a boy!

I have been around longer than many, however, and thought he sounded not unlike Neil Sedaka of oh-so-long-ago. You know... ‘Solitaire,’ ‘Put Your Head on my Shoulders,’ ‘Run Samsong Run’ and many more oldies but goldies that you probably never heard of.

As was also bound to happen because she was always choosy to the point that I began to suspect if she at all knew what she was looking for, Sarah G still has to complete her team even now that the second phase called ‘the Battles’ is about to commence.

She did get two singers on Saturday. The first, Maki Ricafort, was a sessionist who had even been with South Border and also worked with Salonga in some gigs. He had a good male voice and his experience showed with his version of “Foolish Heart.” Funnily enough, Sarah G turned only after Bamboo seemingly convinced her to do so.

She also got Klarisse de Guzman, who did “Tulak ng Bibig; Kabig ng Dibdib.” This was something of a reunion because de Guzman had apparently competed against Sarah G in a singing contest somewhere a decade ago.

There is great potential in de Guzman even if I thought her performance was a bit overcooked. You know, the sort you hear of cheap band singers who always rather tend to over-sing. We will see after Sarah G gets some work done on this one.

apl.de.ap completed his team after getting two Jessicas: Tarlac City’s Jessica Corpuz on Saturday and San Pedro’s Jessica Reynoso last night.

Corpuz said she was a singing attendant. That will be singing waiter for you and I. She made Alex Gonzaga’s jaw drop prior to being called onstage by saying that she used to sing at weddings... at ‘pag may mga patay.

She had a good and pleasant voice to listen to in a kundiman sort of way, rather old school as a matter of fact. It was refreshing to hear somebody just sing in a straightforward manner instead of the kulot-kulot style as preferred by many modern singers.

Reynoso was an adopted daughter who had never met her real African-American father. Which meant that she was always bound for apl.de.ap’s team. Her performance of “Fallen” was quite impressive for a 16-year old, although she was nowhere near the same league as some of the performers we had heard in the earlier weeks.

The funny thing was that all coaches turned except for Bamboo. And because Reynoso was quite a goodlooking young lady, Bamboo got teased with “What happened to the eyes?” At the back of his head, the other coaches meant.

But Bamboo also completed his team. He was choosy on Saturday but completed his team last night when Subic’s 34-year old Music teacher Denise Sagun chose him over Sarah G. Sagun’s voice, in my opinion, was the most distinct of the entire lot next to Juvie Pelos, the one who did the excerpt from Uwahig.

The former was controlled and had great technique as can only be expected of a Music teacher. Her voice was also nice but in a boses-poochee sort of way, if you get my drift. You know, the sort that Madonna and Cyndi Lauper used when they were starting out their careers.

Sagun was Bamboo’s twelfth singer. But since Salonga helped herself to a thirteenth, Bamboo did not think there was anything wrong with him doing the same. So he helped himself to last night’s final performer, 30 year-old Dan Billano from Marikina.

Billano had this certain spunk that probably convinced Bamboo to turn around for him; but I thought he rather did better with the higher notes than the lower ones. There were also some pitch problems which Bamboo frankly pointed out.

Probably the extraordinary development of the weekend was that former Imago lead singer Aia de Leon auditioned with “The Way You Make Me Feel” and failed to make anyone turn. Make no mistake about it, her voice was smooth and her control professional.

But there was something sterile about the way she sang, almost like being in the OR. It was technically good but lacking in feeling. Nay, it was a song sung as though the singer was devoid of emotions. I was not surprised that she failed to convince anyone to go for her.

The only other thing that I feel is worth writing about the weekend’s two shows was the audition of the twins Charlene and Charmaine Albino from Quezon City. The two girls started brightly but then just totally disintegrated. Their harmonies just went all over the place. It was horrible to listen to and I felt sorry for the two lovely girls. It must have been the nerves.

Salonga described the performance as ‘painful to listen to,’ and in fact the cameras showed her grimacing at one point. I totally agree with her as I felt the same.

So, with Sarah G still to get one more singer – ho-hum – the team rosters look like this:

Team apl.de.ap: Thor Dulay, Cora dela Cruz, Lorenzana Siblings, Sir Lord Lomibao, Moira dela Torre, Cara Manglapus, Tristhan Perfecto, Lance Fabros, Janice Javier, Penelope Matanguihan, Jessica Corpuz and Jessica Reynoso.

Team Lea: Darryl Shy, Chien Berbana, Taw Muhammad, Radha, Mitoy Yonting, Diday Garcellana, Juvie Pelos, Marissa Saroca, MJ Podolig, Rainier Acosta, Japs Mendoza, RJ dela Fuente and Kim Mainit.

Team Sarah: Junji Arias, Eva delos Santos, Michaellen Temporada, Morisette Amon, Hans Dimayuga, Kat Castro, Gab Ramos, Yuki Ito, Lecelle Trinidad, Klarisse de Guzman and Maki Ricafort.

Team Bamboo: Deb Victa, Lee Grane Maranan, Isa Fabregas, Angelique Alcantara, Myk Perez, Cordovales Father and Son, Paolo Onesa, Angelica Prado, Nicole Parada, John Duka, Talia Reyes, Denise Sagun and Dan Billano.

Acknowledgment: Photos captured from video on http://www.iwantv.com.ph/.

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