‘The Voice, Season 2’–more diversity, less power
The album, “The Voice of the Philippines, Season 2: The Final 16,” is exceedingly instructive. Its “controlled” setting brings out the radio-friendly uniqueness of a singer’s voice and conceals shaky vocals (Kai Honasan’s “Jealous”), but dilutes the impact of an otherwise earnest live performance (Nino Alejandro’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”). The tilt’s second batch has more diversity, but less power (nobody has Mitoy Yonting’s prodigious range) or vocal stamina (Janice Javier).
In a live, talent-search setting, however, more factors come into play—a contestant’s presence, song choice, etc. Last week, runner-up Alisah Bonaobra’s final performance may have occasionally sounded shrill, but hers was clearly better than the polished but ho-hum crooning of winner Jason Dy—who may have benefitted from his coach Sarah Geronimo’s vote-generating capacity.
Shouldn’t a contestant’s singing ability be given more importance above everything else in a singing tilt? We respect the “democratic” process involved in text voting—but, if we adhere to this vote-buying and income-generating aspect of the competition, perhaps the show should field coaches who are as popular as Sarah, to give other competitors a fighting chance at winning. Unfortunately, that’s how the cookie crumbles in most singing contests these days.
In the commemorative album, Alisah and Jason deliver serviceable but disposable covers of Jessie J and David Guetta’s “LaserLight” and Usher and will.i.am’s “OMG,” respectively. Ditto for Rence Lee Rapanot, who effectively harnesses the acoustic, grassroots vibe of the Eraserheads’ “Para Sa Masa.”
With his raspy, reggae-tinged trills, Kokoi Baldo (“Could You Be Loved?”) is a cut above the rest, because he doesn’t sound like anybody else.
Jason Fernandez doesn’t do badly in “Moves Like Jagger”—but, his version of Maroon 5’s dance tune fails to capture the Adam Levine-channeling pop swagger and rock star edge that have made Jason’s live performances exciting.
For her part, Monique Lualhati raps and sings with as much shuttling gusto in the Jessie J-Ariana Grande-Nicki Minaj number, “Bang Bang.”
Vocally, Rita Martinez is neither as powerful nor as versatile as her peers, but she is served well by appropriate song choices (Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”) that bring out the lived-in appeal of her hefty, never-say-die alto.
Leah Patricio’s zestful “Healing” and Mackie Cao’s theatrical “Maghintay Ka Lamang” will attract birit-loving, range-scaling and schmaltz-weaned music lovers.
Suy Galvez (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”), Daryl Ong (“Smile”) and Miro Valera (“Kiss From A Rose”) benefit as much from their interpretive competence as their harmony-tweaking skills.
As his pre-“Voice” album demonstrated, Timmy Pavino (“My Heart Will Go On”) is also partial to songs he can belt—because, his high registers convey more power than his low-to-midrange notes.
The collection’s most compelling number comes from Tanya Diaz, who renders Hozier’s provocative midtempo track, “Take Me To Church,” with bracing clarity and brassy defiance. As she carefully maneuvers the song’s perilous melodic complexity, she assertively rails against sexual discrimination and gender inequality!
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