So there we were, Facebook and Twitter friends, hoping for a revved up The Voice of the Philippines. The show’s tepid pilot was, after all, spiced up by 2nd night-plugs showing cute faces and overwhelmed
Turns out, the
judges coaches were bowled over by … the judges coaches. Themselves.
You’d think after the disaster of Mariah and Nikki in American Idol, Apl.de.ap, Lea Salonga, Bamboo Manalac and Sarah Geronimo would train their considerable charms into drawing out a very subdued audience.
Instead, they filled up dead air with deadly wit, the kind that elicits groans and enough rolling of eyeballs to trigger seizure alarms.
I have no idea how The Voice PH chooses its contestants; I haven’t seen the kind of audition crowds that make for fascinating Idol train wrecks. God knows what formula they used for determining the blind audition line-up – chronological, by lots, tossed coins or eeny-meeny style. I only know the result: Boring, disappointing. And this was billed as a rocker’s night.
They did have a mildly interesting opening: Cora de la Cruz, the raspy-voiced gal who sells belts, likes mabango guys and probably harbors a dream of becoming a circus acrobat.
Cora, who comes on like the stepdaughter of a reformed Mystica – decked out in Salvation Army from the ’70s bin. Cora, who gifted primetime viewers with the word “libog” (lust), courtesy of Lea. (The household broke into cheers there. Attagirl, Lea. Yes, perfectly acceptable since she wasn’t describing anything the MTRCB would ban.)
Libog there was, but Cora’s body language couldn’t match the smoke in her voice. Plus, there was very little nuance in her singing. We don’t know if the Kapampangan Apl – who later shows an impressive command of that language — can teach her that.
Cora and everyone else was pretty much karaoke level. A little curl of the notes here and there does not make one an original.
The gorgeous (and gracious loser) Abby Assistio didn’t exactly self-destruct. But all the promise of that sculptured face, and the molten heat her many fans swear on, fizzled out midway through “Girl on Fire.”
@tetalimcangco adds, “oo nga eh, sayang…baka na pressure”.
Rey Balneg Jr. (on Facebook): “Sayang…i saw her performance in the past…poor choice of song”
Jose Norman Lo (Facebook) halos walang arrive talaga ang boses and performance nya.
Orly J. Cajegas (Facebook) Before – I have heard her sing: she’s awesome! Like a softer Adele with the swag of Jessie J.! After – Kakainis yung build-up nila. Wala namang nangyayari so far…
@ChiliMedley9h “What she lacked in singing power, @AbbyAsistio more than made up for in principle and personality. Keep it up.”
Three acts went through. Aside from Cora, Sawsan Sammie Muhammad, called Taw, can do a little jazz, a little R&B and sailed through Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic.” The English teacher from Iloilo impressed Sarah (though why a vocal coach would peddle massage expertise, beats me).
But Taw chose Lea, who then gloated and skidded into mean-girl territory. Which the sly Sarah, in full goody-two-shoes mode, exploited to the hilt. (I don’t think Lea was being mean. In her sophisticated world, it would have been pure jest; friends sass each other. On TV, ayayayay, it just came too close to sneering.)
Speaking of Lea, I finally get why she seemed so awkward in the opening show’s grand performance or even when she’s trying to show us she’s a gal who can jive. She ain’t got rhythm. It’s as simple as that. She can’t dance to save her life. She’s a musical genius, a singer with a voice of exceptional purity and an a theater artist idolized in West End and Broadway. But Lea sways and grinds to a count only she can hear.
A singing contest that becomes all about the judges is in dangerous territory. But you can’t really blame them. It’s like basketball. When your team plays so badly there can be no salvaging the situation, a little brawl could offer some returns on ticket prices. Yeah, it was almost that bad.
The third survivor, Junji Arias, gave me hope for some fireworks, given his recent escape from the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
He has sad eyes, a beautiful French wife and sang Bon Jovi’s “I’ll be There for You” in a so-so voice, never mind that Sarah pretended it was infused with the blues. In our Bacolod City village, in the very early 80s, all the idols of my youth were also into sex, drugs and singing. Half a dozen of them performed in folk joints and could have wiped their feet on Junji.
He’s not bad. Just a long way from wonderful. His performance was a little desperate, understandably so. Sarah is surprisingly sharp with her criticism and seems to know her musical values, so there may be promise there. Besides, Junji chose her for “sincerity” so let’s hope for a happy ending.
There’s something about Sarah, and I’m saying that in a nice way even if she doesn’t quite realize it’s confusing to have her flirt one minute, then apply for a masahista job and then become a garland-bearing fan — in less than an hour. But she must promise never again to quote Twilight. This is not an audition for some vampire flick.
All in all, a bummer of a night.
Some thoughts from our readers below. How do you gauge the first two nights of The Voice of the Philippines?
Luis Matias : too many commercials. longer than the main show.
Brian Pena Cruz :I cant believe. LIBOG is the term for Lea.