Time to step into the ring … again

By: - Columnist
/ 12:20 AM August 15, 2019
Time to step into the ring … again

The author (right) with Jett Pangan

“Sweeney Todd” rehearsals are looming on the horizon, with all of us in the cast getting a head start on that challenging score. I’ve been reading the Facebook statuses of the members of our company, and have been reduced to tears from laughing at how we all have seemingly lost our minds.

There are patterns, motifs, themes, rhyming schemes, all of which will surely make sense once we get the music and lyrics into our bodies. Stephen Sondheim’s shows are like the Sphinx’s riddles, complex puzzles waiting to be solved.


In the meantime, a lot of us have other work with either musicals, concerts or gigs. Or, in my case, a reality TV show featuring some incredibly talented children.

By the time you read this, we’ll have finished recording our Battle Rounds and Sing-offs, and thus whittled down all of our teams to just three members each, all of whom will continue to compete in the semifinals and grand finals until our champion is crowned later this year.


And if there’s anything I’ve re-reminded myself of, it’s that despite all of us in “The Voice” having worked on the show for six seasons (this current season is our seventh overall), is that it never gets easier.

Sure, we get limited time with each of our teams, but we do learn a lot about the kids we get. There are some whose storehouse of kulitis infinite. There are those who are just able to focus like lasers on the job at hand. There are those who are a slower burn, while others learn quicker than quick. Some thrive under pressure, while others are adversely affected by it.

Allow me to be clear though and say that each one of these children who dares to audition for “The Voice Kids” is courageous. During one of our taping sessions, we had a couple of younger celebrities step up there and sing just for the fun of it, as a welcome break in the middle of a long day.

Afterward, I spoke to one of them, who said, “That is so much harder than it looks. My heart was racing, I was so nervous!”

But, however difficult it was for the kids onstage during Blind Auditions (which will continue to air for another six weekends), once we hit the Battle stage, the onus is on the coaches.

It’s up to us to make those Battle Rounds sound great, to ensure that each child gets a chance to shine, and to sit there finally after our team has performed and make those painful cuts. I wish I could keep them all, as they are some of the most wonderful young people I’ve had on my team over the last six years.

Please let me say, to each and every one of you, thank you. You know who you are.


Thanks for taking that leap of faith and auditioning for us. If you were a multiple chair turner, thank you for the privilege of choosing me to be your coach. I am astounded and amazed by your talent, and have only the highest respect for your abundant gifts.

It’s really remarkable … the talent pool in our country is very deep. Is it something in the water? Or maybe in the air? Whatever it is, I’m only too grateful that I get to witness this gathering of little titans every couple of years.

Let the battle begin. I hope you all enjoy them.

“The Voice Kids” airs every Saturday and Sunday night on ABS-CBN.

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TAGS: Backstory, Lea Salonga, Sweeney Todd, The Voice Kids
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