How 'The Voice Kids PH' coaches help kids cope with pressure
The show is now in the days leading up to the grand finale – one that's promising to be quite a showdown between the kids on Team Lea and Team Bamboo. The final 4 have made it through a rigorous series of eliminations, competing against fellow teammates and friends. The youngest kid at this point of the competition is just 8 years old. (READ: FULL LIST: 'Voice Kids PH' Battle Rounds results: Who's in, who's out?)
And just when it couldn't get any tougher, the kids have to perform on a huge stage in front of a live audience – and face the daunting results announcement onstage, too.
Singer-actress, entertainment icon, and Voice Kids mentor Lea Salonga recently spoke to Rappler about helping the children deal with disappointment, her style of mentorship on The Voice, and star quality. (READ: LIST: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' Sing-offs eliminations round)
“The parents are helpful – that’s when we need the parents there. It’s fantastic when the support systems that are built in for each child – even if it’s a single parent household, or if it’s a grandmother who’s raising the kid – when the support system is very strong for the child, then it seems to be a little easier to manage,” said Lea, who recently put Reynan Dal-Anay and Telesa "Esang" del Torres through to the live show rounds.
Still, she said the kids are often very resilient. “The kids get over it so fast, which is quite a thing. You see us, we carry them, even in our high heels. I feel bad, but I can’t feel guilty because that’s what we’re there to do.”
Lea emphasized that this is a competition – and in the arts and especially in the entertainment industry, heartbreak is inevitable. For people of all ages hoping to make it in various fields, the pursuit of excellence also means preparing to take bad news or criticism with grace.
“One of the things I’m kind of allergic to is when everybody gets an award for showing up – no! That’s not real life.”
“I’m hoping that the parents are already training their kids to hear bad news. One of the things I’m kind of allergic to is when everybody gets an award for showing up – no! That’s not real life. You’re gonna hear bad news. It’s good that they have a show like this where the eliminations are very, very – they are intense, and you have 11-, 12-year-old getting rejected, and getting over it really, really quickly.”
Though the parents play a huge role in helping the kids recover from their disappointments, Lea says the coaches do make the effort to encourage the kids, pointing out their unique skills despite a loss.
“We will be there – I mean, we go to the waiting rooms also after each show is taped, and we give hugs to these kids, and we tell them. We’re honest. It’s like, ‘You have something special. Do not let this experience take that away from you,’” she said.
Because the kids are so young, all 3 coaches make it a priority to maintain a positive tone when providing feedback following a performance. And during the rehearsal periods while each kid’s solo or group number is being developed, the coaches really pay attention to the unique challenges faced by each child.
It helps greatly that in the semifinal round, judges proudly and personally asked audiences to vote for their kids, doing their best to boost their confidence and supporting them along the way. And in the final top 4 announcement, coaches stood onstage, gently holding the kids and silently supporting them as they heard the results together.
A few more examples: in the Battle number for Bamboo’s team, including Altair Aguelo, Prinz Espino, and brothers from Bohol Eman and Sandy Tanio, the brothers expressed difficulty with their English lines. So Bamboo and the team created a new arrangement for the number, allowing all of the singers to perform evenly, leveling the playing field and giving everyone a chance to shine.
When the performance given is less than the kids’ best, the coaches continue to praise and encourage – but still remind the kids that they can do better. “You can still improve,” “Let’s keep practicing,” “We need to work on this,” the coaches can be heard saying at any given time.
For instance, after a not-so-stellar performance of “Hold On” from 3 ladies on Bamboo’s team, Bamboo gently made his point, saying that he expected more from the singers.
“We’ve done this better, right? Each of you, 'yung expectations sa kanta na 'to, nung binigyan ko kayo ng specific lines, may gagawin kayo sa kanta na 'yon. And to be honest, hindi niyo na'bigay sa akin 'yon. (My expectations for this song, when I gave you specific lines, each of you must do something with that song. And to be honest, you didn’t quite give me that.)
“I wanted more. I’m a hard guy to please. But then, I was happy on some level. Pinag-usapan natin, hindi maiiwan yung isa. (We talked about this, that no one would be left behind.) The song only works when that happens,” he said, going on to praise individual traits in each singer.
Another example: after a stellar performance of “Iduyan Mo” from 3 strong singers, coach Sarah Geronimo carefully outlined what made each little lady special before making her choice.
“Patawarin 'nyo ako, mga kids, kung kailangan kong pumili, pero huwag kayo titigil sa pagkanta, okay? Ang pipiliin kong artist…. Gusto ko 'yung galing sa puso kumanta,” she said, naming Kristel as the winner.
(Forgive me kids, if I have to choose, but don't stop singing, ok? The artist I choose.... I like a singer who sings from the heart.)
“Okay ka lang? Gusto ko 'yung ganyang ugali, ha? Sport ka,” she told Mandy, a viewer favorite well known for her powerful growl and larger-than-life voice. (Are you all right? I like that attitude, you’re a great sport.)
“Practice ka nang practice…’yung papa mo, sobrang proud para sa iyo,” she told Kenshley, whose dad has passed away but is the inspiration behind some of her emotional numbers in the past. (Keep practicing…your dad, he is so proud of you.)
And sometimes, results bloom when the kids are given a little (or big) push. In her earlier Battle Round, little Jhyleanne Arwen Rington, under team Lea, was brought to tears from the stress and pressure of being given a high note to deliver in the group number. Come performance night, she hit the note – and Lea selected her to move on to the Sing-Offs, where she lost out to Reynan and Esang. (WATCH: 'Voice Kids PH' coaches turn for young contestant singing 'On My Own')
“So I’m stressing out, while she’s stressing out, and the performance is happening…and she did it! It really boosted her confidence,” Lea recalled.
“She’s really, really shy. But at her sing-off everything just connected, and she was beautiful – but I can only bring two.”
So what pushed Lea to choose Reynan and Esang, the two kids from her team who will go head to head with the others in the live shows?
These two were standouts from the beginning, with Reynan impressing at the blind auditions with a powerful cover of “Tagumpay Nating Lahat,” performed in traditional Manobo dress. He stunned in the Sing-Off with a rendition of "Amazing Grace":
Esang, on the other hand, is Lea’s self-described “mini-me,” who’s already appeared on It’s Showtime and had all 3 judges campaigning for her to join their team following her Blind Audition, a stunning cover of “Home” from The Wiz. Here's her Sing-Off number:
“It’s kind of multi-level, I think, I could not forget either one of them from their blind auditions. I guess for me, if it’s somebody that stays in my mind, and it’s not just the one performance, but it’s kind of like a longevity test – if I can remember you after your blind audition…and weeks and weeks and weeks after – because the taping for all of this is weeks apart,” said Lea. (WATCH: 10 amazing 'Voice Kids PH 2' blind auditions)
“For example, we had our blind auditions in April, and our sing-offs and battles in May, and now we’re in August. If I cannot forget who they are, what they sang, what their names are, how tall they are, their ages, it’s something. It’s kind of a star quality thing.” (WATCH: The 5 best Battle Rounds from 'The Voice Kids Philippines 2')
With different coaching styles, Lea, Sarah, and Bamboo are all currently prepping their kids for the ultimate showdown – the grand finale, which will crown the successor of Lyca Gairanod, last year’s winner.
Who are you rooting for in the grand finals?
Tell us who you think should win in the poll below.
Note: The poll is unofficial and has no bearing on the results of the competition.
More The Voice Kids PH 2 below:
- One year after 'The Voice Kids PH,' catch up with season 1's final 4
- 'The Voice Kids PH 2' final 4: Who will win it all at the grand finals?
- 'The Voice Kids PH 2': Final 4 revealed
- FULL RECAP: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' semifinal round
- READ: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' coaches prep Top 6 for semi-finals
- WATCH: 'The Voice Kids PH 2' Top 6 on their biggest competition, semifinal round
- Meet the 'The Voice Kids PH 2' top 6
- How 'The Voice Kids PH' coaches help kids cope with pressure
- WATCH: The 5 best Battle Rounds from 'The Voice Kids Philippines 2'
- FULL LIST: 'Voice Kids PH' Battle Rounds results: Who's in, who's out?
- 10 amazing 'Voice Kids PH 2' blind auditions
- WATCH: Lea Salonga 'mini-me' stuns in 'Voice Kids PH' audition
- WATCH: Brothers from Bohol impress with unique 'Voice Kids PH 2' blind audition
- WATCH: 'Voice Kids PH' coaches turn for young contestant singing 'On My Own'
- Bamboo to this young 'Voice Kids PH' contestant: 'I'm so in awe of you'
- WATCH: Darren Espanto performs 'Moves like Jagger' with contestant on 'The Voice Kids PH 2'
- WATCH: Sarah G, Jason Dy, Bamboo serenade young contestant in ‘Voice Kids PH 2’