MANILA, Philippines – He was teary-eyed during the finals night.
After weeks of rehearsals and consultations with their coaches, the champion of The Voice Kids was about to be announced. When Lyca Gairanod’s name was announced as the winner of the contest, Darren Espanto hugged his teammate and let her have the spotlight.
He would later say in an interview on The Buzz that the reason he cried was because he remembered all the sacrifices his family made just for him to be part of the contest.
Looks like the sacrifices paid off. It’s the beginning of his journey to stardom.
From Calgary to the Philippines
In his blind auditions, Darren spoke of his story. Born in Canada, his family is currently based in Calgary. Unlike other Filipino kids abroad, he can still speak Filipino because his parents made sure that he didn’t forget his roots.
“Iyon po kasi yung ini-enforce po namin sa bahay. So sabi ko it’s better na matuto magsalita ng Tagalog kasi its easy for them to learn,” Darren’s father Lyndon said.
(That is what we enforce in the house. So I said its better that he learns to speak Tagalog because it’s easy for them to learn.)
The 13 year-old Darren was asked why he wanted to be part of The Voice Kids.
“Gusto ko din ma-expose dito sa Pilipinas,” he said, citing singers such as Sarah Geronimo, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, and Bruno Mars as some of his favorites.
(I want to be exposed here in the Philippines.)
And upon stepping on stage to sing the song “Domino,” no less than Sarah Geronimo was the first to press the button, indicating she wanted him on her team.
Darren had a tough decision to make. Sarah wanted him, and so did Bamboo. He eventually picked Sarah.
Sarah said that aside from his voice, he knew how to move.
“Kitang-kita na he was enjoying his performance. At yung boses niya lumalabas lang,” she said.
(It was seen that he was enjoying his performance. And his voice, it was just coming out.)
Singing his way to the top
But prior to entering the Final 4, Darren went through the process to prove that he deserves the spot. He especially made his presence felt when he sang “What Makes You Beautiful” during the battle stage.
“You still had control over your singing kahit sumasayaw-sayaw ka diyan (you were dancing), and it was fun to watch,” Lea Salonga told him.
In the sing-offs stage, he sang “Listen,” by Beyonce, and the judges surely did comply.
In the semi-finals round, he sang “One Moment in Time.” For a song which requires a singer with great vocal range, judges said his voice sounded natural.
“The word phenomenal…phenomenal is the only word I could think for you right now. That trip from Calgary to the Philippines was absolutely worth it for all of us watching you going from strength to strength,” Lea said.
“It’s like the grand finals already, you really seized that and I believe that you will forever take the stage, any stage you’ll be on,” said Sarah in Filipino.
The final round and the aftermath
After making it to the Final 4, it was a week of solid rehearsals for the finals night, that was divided into two days. The kids were to sing three songs, a power ballad, an upbeat song, and a duet with a guest performer.
During the July 26 round, Darren sang “Ngayon” and “Somebody to Love.”
Sarah commended him, saying he was a mixture of Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera.
On the July 27 show, he sang “You Are My Song” with Martin Nievera himself.
During the rehearsals, Martin commended the youngster for being a good performer.
“When you sing this song, dapat galing sa puso,” (It should come from the heart) Martin reminded Darren.
“I hope that this song will make a difference not just for tonight, but to his entire career,” he said.
Relive the moment here:
When Lyca’s victory was announced, many feared that he would leave and go back to Canada immediately. But to fans’ delight (and relief), he said that he will stay in the country to fulfill his singing commitments.
“Hindi na po. Kasi maraming mga offers pagkatapos ng finals. Kaya sabi po ng mga magulang ko na sila muna po ang uuwi for the meantime para makabalik sa trabaho,” he shared during a Bandila interview.
(No, there were many offers after the finals. So my parents said they will go home for the meantime so they can go back to work.)
One of the activities was the charity concert entitled Boses ng Bulilit…Kami Ulit which happened last July 31 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, and various guestings in ABS-CBN. An album and concert tour are also in the works.
For Darren’s fans, he is a winner. Some of them even uploaded videos of him singing during other performances.
Watch some videos of Darren on YouTube:
Darren may have not won The Voice Kids, but it seems his career as a singer is about take off in the right direction. – Rappler.com
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