Backstory

Unpredictable

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LEA’S team members who performed last Sunday (from left): Radha, Darryl Shy and RJ de la Fuente. RJ was eliminated. photo: facebook.com

“The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.” —Remy, from Pixar’s “Ratatouille”

The quote is from one of my favorite Pixar films of all time … and it perfectly describes the phenomenon known as reality television. This quote popped in my head the moment the first live show of “The Voice of the Philippines” was completed.

Reality TV, when done right, is quite the compelling thing. Regular viewers of such hit shows as “The Bachelor,” “Man vs Wild,” “Pawn Stars,” as well as local hits like “Pinoy Big Brother” and “Pinoy Dream Academy” find themselves hypnotized by the real-life stories of each show’s participants.

 

Opening number

Our show is no exception, except that the stories are told not only on the Saturday reality episodes, but also via their songs on Sunday nights.

If you saw the show last Sunday, then you have a pretty good idea of how this coming Sunday will go. Three members from each team will perform. Following an artist’s performance, a coach from another team will give a comment, after which that performer’s coach gets to say a few words. All four of us have been encouraged to be honest with each vocalist: If something goes wrong, call it … and if something goes right, praise it. Thankfully, there was much to say hallelujah for last Sunday, and very few missteps—all of which, I’m sure, were caused by an excess of adrenaline, nerves and overall excitement.

Due to the heavy monsoon rains that hit the country last week (displacing thousands and killing about 25 people), our original opening number (a mash-up of The Dawn’s “Salamat” and Sandwich’s “Sugod”) had to be changed. Instead, an arrangement of The Black Eyed Peas’ hit “The Apl Song” mashed up with AfterImage’s “Tag-Ulan” was created (and quite deftly by one of “The Voice’s” resident band members, keyboardist Nikko Rivera). It was most certainly an exciting number to perform, and with the Top 24 finalists, too! It was the first and last time that all 24 would perform together, as the evening would deliver four painful eliminations, one from each team.

As a vocalist who has observed our countrymen’s great admiration for singers with big voices, I didn’t know how the public would take to the members of my team who inherently spoke with a softer touch. Darryl Shy was first up from Team Lea, and he sang a very familiar and comforting tune, “Danny’s Song” by Loggins & Messina. Anyone tuned in daily to an easy-listening radio station will know this song like the back of his or her hand, and this was reflected in the whole audience clapping along with him as he sang. During the Battles many weeks ago, Gerard Salonga (my brother, who acted as my guest adviser) stated that he wasn’t sure how the public would take to Darryl. Well, Darryl’s was the voice that garnered the most public votes from the team, and he was automatically saved.

Coach’s save

This was exciting news for me, as his voice is truly different, and he is the kind of singer that has all but disappeared from the airwaves (if I’m just not listening to the right radio stations, someone give me frequencies to check out!). The voting audience putting him through tells me (and everyone else) that there’s a place for him in the country’s music firmament. I am hopeful for his chances going forward.

The biggest voice on my team that night belonged to Radha, who sang a Tina Turner classic, “River Deep, Mountain High.” It’s one song that I’m personally obsessed with, having watched Celine Dion joyfully perform it on TV, and seeing it covered by Naya Rivera and Amber Riley on “Glee.” I wanted to hear Radha’s powerful voice with this song, and she did not disappoint. She was the Coach’s Save for Sunday, and I can’t wait for her to sing some more. She is a star. I regret not being closely acquainted with her work as a member of Kulay, but at the same time, I’m glad that I’m unfamiliar with it. I’ll be catching up once the competition is over.

RJ de la Fuente picked The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You,” a song that is near and dear to his heart, a song he finds much comfort in, in the lonelier moments of his life. It was inspiring watching him grow from strength to strength as a singer, from one rehearsal to the next, and his rendition on performance night was very special. I felt very proud of him. He’s really a remarkable young man with a bright future ahead of him. It felt awful to say goodbye, but I’m glad that we parted with no regrets. The honor was mine to get to know him. He’d make some lucky girl very happy someday.

Other teams

As for the other teams: From Team Apl, moving on are Thor and Jessica Reynoso; from Team Bamboo, Myk Perez and Lee Grane; and from Team Sarah, Morissette Amon and Eva de los Santos. It was so wonderful seeing all these amazing singers turn out memorable performances. Even the few who were feeling unwell (Thor was nursing a fever; Junji Arias and Cora de la Cruz were having some vocal trouble), were able to rise above their ailments and gave the audience a great show.

This Sunday, for my team, it’s Mitoy Yonting, Diday Garcellano and Kimpoy Mainit; from Team Apl, Tristhan Perfecto, Penelope Matanguihan and Janice Javier; for Team Bamboo, Isa Fabregas, Paolo Onesa and Angelique Alcantara; and for Team Sarah, Klarisse de Guzman, Maki Ricafort and Yuki Ito. Oh, it’s going to be another exciting, nerve-wracking and heartbreaking night.

We’ve got five more weeks to go … I don’t know how much more my constitution can take!

***

To everyone who watched “Jammin’ for HELP” last night, in behalf of the artists, organizers and the Philippine National Red Cross, thank you!

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