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Big break for Asian singers

/ 12:10 AM September 26, 2017

Bailey May

For some weeks now, we’ve been watching “Bolt of Talent,” a singing tilt that has taken veteran singing star Michael Bolton to different Asian countries, in search of outstanding new performers who will eventually join him on his next Asian concert tour.

Sponsored by Subaru, the competition has been to the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan, and has chosen two semifinalists per country, one of whom goes on to the final round, where the champion will be picked and hailed.

Early on, the tilt focused on the Philippines, perhaps due to the fact that our “national” singing prowess is well-known in the region.


We caught that particular leg of the competition in full and saw two promising male singers, Lance Busa and Hans Dimayuga, performing one of Bolton’s signature songs. The singing star himself decided who was the better performer.

Fact is, the two singers were not that easy to tell apart in terms of looks, projection, verve and charisma in performance—so, when Bolton said he had a hard time making his choice (Lance), we believed him.

In Malaysia, the two semifinalists who performed for Bolton were easier to tell apart in terms of style and gender, so we participated in the vetting process more proactively.

The weakest pair of semifinalists performed in the Thai leg of the search. They were both female and relatively shy, and one of them even had an attack of nerves that made us wonder how the tilt’s initial vetting process had been conducted.

If a “semifinalist” could be so unprepared for the “big break” that the competition was offering, it definitely was cause for concern.

In any case, all of these momentary glitches won’t really be that worrisome, as long as the “country winners” all put up a good fight in the finals, and do well during Bolton’s Asian tour.

The hope is that some of them will attain greater cachet and success regionally as a result of their participation in “Bolt of Talent.”

Bolton should be cited for his faith in Asian singing talent, and his significant effort to give it a bigger and wider showcase and platform on the regional stage, and on TV, as well.


Ylona Garcia

‘Now United’

Another chance to shine for young singers on the international show biz circuit is being given by Simon Fuller, by way of his own talent search, “Now United.”

It seeks to choose the best teen singers from 11 different countries and form a pop group slated to perform all over the world.

From aspirants in the Philippines, Fuller has chosen four young finalists—Bailey May, Ylona Garcia, AC Bonifacio and Jane de Leon—and they are slated to compete with promising picks from other countries for the privilege and pleasure of being part of “Now United.”

All of the Filipino bets have had some show biz honing and experience, but it’s expected that the ones who do make it to Fuller’s new tween and teen “global” pop group will be given much more intense training—to bring out the very best in them!

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