MANILA, Philippines - As the competition heightened, so did the caliber of performances in “The Voice of the Philippines.”
Two contestants had the crowd up on their feet in a chorus of cheers at the September 1 live show in Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater.
Team apl’s Janice Javier and Team Lea’s Mitoy Yonting drew a standing ovation from the audience for their respective renditions of the classic anthems, “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen.
“I will take you high with me,” promised Janice, whose powerhouse vocals “took the crowd to a different place,” said proud coach apl.de.ap.
Her “big vocals and big arrangement,” as per Coach Sarah Geronimo, wowed not only the audience, but also Coach Sarah and the other 3 coaches, who all rose from their seats to honor her performance.
It was no surprise the public granted her a save, with 42.82% of text votes. What went beyond expectations, perhaps, was Mitoy Yonting's theatrical performance, which, despite his slight concern over people "running out of load," gathered a whopping 82.29% of votes.
Unstoppable was one word to describe Mitoy's performance, as if he were truly a "shooting star leaping through the sky," as the Queen song goes. Less than a minute into his number, his intense energy had already infected the theater and the crowd was up on their feet, jumping and cheering him on.
Coaches Sarah and Lea both agreed that the crowd and the house had become Mitoy's, and this stayed true to his plan to own the show.
Watch Mitoy's 'Don't Stop Me Now' here:
Soul, emotion, power
The other performances were captivating emotional ballads.
The show kicked off with Team Bamboo, whose coach, Bamboo Mañalac, described Angelique Alcantara's smooth rendition of Join the Club's "Nobela" as "peaceful and zen." But Coach Sarah said she was hoping for a more "vocally challenging" piece.
While Angelique sang of heartache, Paolo Onesa's "You Give Me Something" by James Morrison had the ladies swooning.
His slow and steady start soon geared up to an upbeat chorus that the audience, not to mention Coach Bamboo, went clapping and swaying along to.
Paolo's growth was praised by Coach Lea and Coach Bamboo, who likened him to "crooners" Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.
Isabella Fabregas closed the set with James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend."
Donning a white gown and wearing her heart on her sleeve, Isabella was, as Coach apl put it, "an angel, whose performance was heaven-sent."
Come judgement time, Paolo did not fail in capturing the viewers' hearts with 46.37% of the votes. Isabella, who coach Bamboo thought performed better, was given his save.
Watch Paolo Onesa's 'You Give Me Something':
Team Sarah bets were all lauded by their coach.
It seemed that Yuki Ito exceeded Sarah's expectations with his version of Leon Russell's "A Song for You."
Klarisse de Guzman was deemed a "superstar" with her performance of Madcon's "Beggin.'"
Coach Lea commented on Maki Ricafort's enunciation, but his rendition of "Without You" by Charlie Wilson had his coach's heart in tears.
The audience saved Maki with 36.75% of votes, and Coach Sarah saved Klarisse.
"Sobra mo akong napa-amaze," said the coach. (You really amazed me)
Watch Yuki, Klarisse, and Maki's performances:
Team Apl's Penelope Matanguihan and Stan Perfecto performed heartwrenching ballads "Ordinary People" by John Legend and "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars.
Coach Lea found Penelope's rendition "heaven" and "perfect," but Stan's performance was quite lacking for Coach Bamboo, who felt a "disconnect between the vocals and music." Water and sleep were Bamboo's advice to the young man, who was nursing a strained throat.
Janice Javier was saved by the public, which left the two vying for Coach Apl's approval. In the end, Penelope, who Coach apl said went beyond his expectations, was saved.
Watch Penelope, Stan, and Janice:
Team Lea elicited both lukewarm and frenzied reactions from the audience. Mitoy's "Don't Stop Me Now" was perfect for his spunky attitude. But Adele's "Rumor Has It" was perhaps too big for Diday Garcellano, who, according to Coach Bamboo, was overpowered by the song.
In contrast, Kimpoy Mainit's powerful vocals in Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" was warmly applauded by the audience. Coach Lea was also impressed.
As a "birthday gift" to the 17-year-old contestant, she decided on saving Kimpoy, highlighting his "well-crafted" performance, which she said went way over what was expected.
Watch Kimpoy Mainit's 'Hallelujah':
Behind the scenes
About a hundred or so were granted seats in Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater.
In the comfort of their homes, television viewers might have complained about the interminable ads, which might have given them enough time to drop by a convenience store and return without missing anything.
But in this live-audience context, time seemed to fly fast, amid the bantering between the production and the audience.
Watching the live show is a feast for the senses, with all its sights and sounds and the spontaneity of emotions.
The whole viewing experience is heightened. It's truly one worth waiting in line for.
Planning on watching a live telecast? Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Be punctual
So-called "Filipino time" will not be tolerated by the production staff tasked to ensure the smooth flow of the program. The closed-door policy is strictly followed. Good seats also depend on good timing.
2. Avoid bathroom breaks
Audience may only leave their seats during commercial breaks, which isn't much time to brave the toilet lines. Do your business before the show to avoid the unnecessary hassle of being isolated at the side of the theater until the next break.
3. Be an active audience member
It's important to note how the crowd's reaction was truly genuine - no signboards cuing applause, just a witty production head keeping the energy high. Laugh, join games, cheer, sing along! You determine how the experience goes. - Rappler.com
‘The Voice on the Philippines’ airs on ABS-CBN and The Filipino Channel. Its published PHL schedule is 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 8:15 p.m. on Sundays.