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Batangueñas Bid The Voice Goodbye

It was always bound to happen, given that so many have already been culled from The Voice of the Philippines, that competition would come to that stage when there would be little to choose from between competitors. As it was last night in the third live show of the competition, when I would not have wanted to be sitting on the chair of any of the four coaches.

It was only Lea Salonga’s decision that I more or less disagreed with; although I thought Sarah G could have gone either way. Which means that I also more or less agreed with apl.de.ap’s and Bamboo’s decision to go for Thor Dulay and Paolo Onesa, respectively.

At the expense, regrettably, of the two Batangueñas that provincial pride dictated I rah-rahed for, Penelope Matanguihan and Lee Grane.

I did say in the previous article I wrote about the Voice that I rather suspected that the voting public prefers the more upbeat and vocally challenging songs. That Daryl Shy outdid Mitoy Yonting whilst having done a bland folksy song is, perhaps, not surprising because Shy seems to have an established fan base. But more on this later.

I tried imagining her with her guitar with her naturally sad face and ability to convey profound emotions; and felt reasonably certain that this way would have been better than the way she chose to perform last night.
Young Penelope was technically perfect as Salonga herself pointed out. However, she looked more nervous than she had ever been in the competition and consequently came across as sterile; i.e. clean and precise but somewhat lacking in charm.

‘Superstar’ is the sort of song you listen to late at night to put yourself to sleep. It is also the sort of song that anyone can sing comfortably inside the bathroom and thus did not bring out young Penelope’s vocal range.

At this stage in the competition, I felt she could have done better with something more upbeat and had more energy, if just to woo the voting public.

Dulay was as technically strong as young Penelope; but had this extra oomph that the latter failed to deliver with her performance. I do not think that it was as hard a decision to make as apl.de.ap made it out to be for theatrical effect.

As for Lee Grane, applause for her wanting to get out of her comfort zone. However, bravery is always best accompanied by superior armour or fighting technique; else you die anyway. As they say, what do you need bravery for when you are dead?

Seems to have been the case last night. In trying to be brave by showing that she was capable of being more than just an acoustic guitar strumming queen of soul, she fought the ogre without her sword and got eaten up.

REM’s ‘My Religion’ was, perhaps, not all that bad a song choice for Lee Grane; even if it is as bland and late night as young Penelope’s piece. Strutting around the stage, Lee Grane looked regrettably like fish out of water.

I tried imagining her with her guitar and her naturally sad face and ability to convey profound emotions; and felt reasonably certain that this way would have been better than the way she chose to perform last night.

To be perfectly fair to Paolo Onesa, he continues to be a revelation. The theme from ‘Skyfall’ is not exactly among everyone’s greatest hits collection; yet, he pulled the song off magnificently. At the end of the day, Lee Grane was simply outsung.

Mitoy Yonting, like Lee Grane, tried to be different last night by holding back on the power vocals. I thought that was plain silly because when you get to the crucial stage of the war, it is just folly not to bring your big guns along.

Yonting is not really your best technical singer but gets away with the pitch issues when he reaches for the testicle-busting notes. In contrast, while Daryl Shy was as bland as the folksy singer that he will always be, he also stayed true to himself and sung marginally better than Yonting.

The voting public thought so, too. Considering that Yonting raked in a phenomenal 82% of votes last weekend, it was good to know that the public can also be discriminate. Unfortunately, Salonga’s percentages were heavily in favour of Yonting.

For the record, this was the only instance last night when a coach’s vote went against that of the public.

The remaining match-up last night was that between Morisette Amon and Maki Ricafort. This was, in my opinion, almost impossible to call.

Sarah G gave 60 points to Amon and 40 to Ricafort; but I thought a straight 50-50 would have been fairer and the decision left to the voting public. Both were nothing sort of sensational and I would not have minded either one going through.

I myself went for Ricafort but more for the song choice than the overall performance. Even then, I was not fully comfortable with my choice because Amon was just as brilliant, the song choice notwithstanding.

But the best performance of the night?

Without a doubt, that of Lea Salonga with Patti Austin. For a jaded old rocker like me, that I had goosebumps from start to finish spoke a lot about the quality of the performance. Bravo!

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

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