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Going blind anew for ‘The Voice 2’

By: - Columnist
/ 01:18 AM September 18, 2014

LONDON—And here we go again!

My fellow coaches—Apl.de.ap, Bamboo, and Sarah Geronimo—and I just concluded another round of Blind Auditions for “The Voice of the Philippines.” For four grueling days, we listened to over 140 singers hoping for a spot on the show. Male and female; pop, rock, blues, jazz, reggae, R & B—in English and Tagalog; slow, fast, everything in between. Name it, we probably heard it.

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Our seating arrangement was exactly like it was for the entire first season (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), so returning to that felt like riding a bike. It was, at once, comfortable and familiar.

The set is similar to that of “The Voice Kids,” with a few cosmetic tweaks that will be made apparent once the series begins airing on

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Nov. 15 on ABS-CBN.

Because this is our second season, the rules have slightly changed. Just as before, our backs are turned before each prospect opens his or her mouth to sing. If someone likes what is being sung, his/her chair turns. At times, only one will spin; at others, all four. We do have a multitude of doubles and triples, but any time that more than one chair makes that magical rotation, the competition between coaches begins.

Sometimes, the agawan is quiet and chill; at others, it’s fierce and downright aggressive. If a coach really wants a singer to join his/her team, the sales pitch can get very passionate, and the banter very lively. It can be one heck of a mental exercise for the coaches, figuring out exactly what we should say to grab the artist’s attention and allegiance. It’s also a lot of fun, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. It’s all in good humor, and no one gets hurt (well, except maybe for fans who are not familiar with some of the overseas versions of “The Voice”… the banter and teasing are part and parcel of the franchise, and we are encouraged to engage in those).

No matter how many “yeses” we do say, at the end of it all, we end up saying plenty of “nos,” and not all of them will be seen on television. Some of them are great (those are the ones that usually end up on TV), others not so great. For the sake of the artists, we keep all the footage in the proverbial vault.

This time around was far more grueling than our two previous seasons (TVOP Season One, and The Voice Kids). It tested our patience and stamina much more than before. At the end of each day we all found ourselves physically and mentally spent. We leave the studio extremely fatigued,

especially on the last day, when we had to film our opening number, too.

In any case, despite that hectic four-day stretch, the late nights and whatever else, it was all worth it. I believe we have put together a good collection of 56 artists that you will all enjoy in the Battle Round.

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Speaking of which, for this season, we have incorporated the Steal during Battles, and the Knockout Round. Each coach currently has 14 artists. There will therefore be seven Battles per team. When a coach decides to say goodbye to a team member, the other three will have the option to steal that artist. There are two steals available for each coach, and once the steals have all been employed, each team will now consist of nine members (seven from the one-on-one battles, and two from steals).

In the Knockout Round, each artist gets to sing, in order to convince his/her coach to keep them alive for the Live Shows. From this round, each team is reduced from nine members to six. Those six advance to the Live Shows, which begin the weekend of Jan. 24. The winner of the second season will be crowned on March 1.

To everyone who made it to the show, congratulations! Get ready for some hard work, camaraderie, and lots of singing. We shall all see you in November… until then, get your stamina levels up, you’re going to need as much of it as you can get.

‘Saigon’ turns silver

Well, it’s official: “Miss Saigon” is celebrating its 25th year since opening in the West End on Sept. 20, 1989. For this momentous occasion, on Sept. 22 at the Prince Edward Theatre, following the regular performance of the show, a special gala will be performed. Participants will include various alumni of the West End production, including members of the original London cast… that will include Jonathan Pryce, Simon Bowman and myself.

I am not at liberty to say exactly what we’ll be doing next Monday evening. Heck, at this moment, even I don’t know. But truth is, I am only too happy to be here in London to say “Happy birthday!” to the show that truly changed my life.

Thank you, PMPC!

Thanks to the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) for giving me the Female Concert Artist of the Year Award (for “Playlist”), and the very first Pilita Corrales Lifetime Achievement Award. It is truly an honor, and it was wonderful to see many of you whom I haven’t seen in a very long time.

To all the other awardees, congratulations !

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TAGS: Apl.de.ap, Bamboo, Miss Saigon, Music, Musical, Sarah Geronimo, Television, The Voice 2
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