ROCKY ROAD: 2nd night of The Voice of the Philippines (with updates/comments)

four-coaches-1So 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 judges coaches.

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,, 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.

night 2 - leafeb20_lea night 2 - leafeb20_leaMany of those who tried fell hard: the handsome Edward Benosa; Miriam, the secretary who started really nice and then “went Shrek,” as a niece put it; two guys who were nothing but fillers.

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.”

On Twitter@youghpcornejo8h “Not her usual self. She was too nervous to do her thing.”

‏@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.”
@cristallebelo9h “Aby Asistio has such a courageous soul… She truly is on fire! Glad she tried out for #thevoiceofthephilippines. She will have her moment😊

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?

On Facebook:

Luis Matias : too many commercials. longer than the main show.

Brian Pena Cruz :I cant believe. LIBOG is the term for Lea.

@GaryValenciano14h “Having fun watching The Voice of the Philippines.”
@mjfelipe9h “We’re gonna cook something up for all you followers of #thevoiceofthephilippines for the BATTLEROUNDS!!!! This is BIG! Trust me!”
@augustbenitez9h “Dang it! This new show called #TheVoiceofthePhilippines is flooding my timeline like nothing I’ve ever experienced! hmph!”
The last line says it all. It’s a hit, folks 🙂

9 thoughts on “ROCKY ROAD: 2nd night of The Voice of the Philippines (with updates/comments)

  1. I chose to watch The Voice because I was enthralled with the US version. But seeing the line-up of judges plus their so-called “standards”, esp. regarding the “talent” of those whom they chose, I say it’s far from the US version. I just don’t know if I would still watch it in the future.


  2. Lea is out of place and exaggerated. what a turn off. i thought it would be nice to have a filipino blake version-rico j type perhaps to add humor and chemistry. Further, The voice philippines does not compare at all to the us version, it failed to rise up to its franchise and pool of talents. I think it boils down again to lea being out of control, i can tolerate the unpolished talents, or lack thereof but not the wild coach we never thought she was. She should be the most picky granted her experience and world class, but then sarah is the more classy and sincere and mature one as it seems.


    • Rael, I’m not a Lea Salonga fan but Sarah was waaaaaayyyyy too exaggerated than Lea. Running to the stage, grabbing the microphone to mimic the contestant’s singing, the garland, the massage, and the perennial pa-cute while talking. Lea knows what she’s looking for, so don’t you be judging her coz you don’t have The Voice!


  3. Habang binabasa ko yung review mo feeling ko tuloy ang babaw babaw kong tao dahil karamihan naman nagustuhan ko sa show. I was amazed with the singers who got through because I thought they are different. They have good voices….. but then hindi naman ako singer so hindi ako sure kung nasa tono sila. Siguro kaya nagustuhan ko rin xa kasi hindi ko naman nasubaybayan yung international versions. ^_^


  4. I was never an avid fan of the voice US. However, I was really excited upon hearing that a network acquired the rights to show it in the country. Particularly, hearing that Lea will be part of it. I’ve seen her perform and literally got me to tears. I remember being so young and reading her in books which was taught in school and finally seeing and hearing her live and sing songs which was very much part of my childhood. Seeing her judge on tv and the way she does it, I do not see anything wrong with it. More than anything, she’s very entertaining. Understandably, not everyone will get her humour but having her on a show where they would judge you basically on your voice quality, tone and everything that comes with it, I can’t think of anyone else better to coach. Arguably, there may be some people who would prefer this or that over her, but I have yet to read another singer who would be included in children’s textbooks because of their amazing singing talent which is well acknowledged internationally. She was so hyped ever since to be world class, achieving countless awards, respected in her field that we visioned her as someone who would be prim, proper and well, a little bit of a diva that its such a surprise to see her being jolly, loud, sassy and fun. I would rather watch a lea who would throw jokes and laugh on tv, very much human, rather than a stiff and very self absorbed diva whose standards are so high no human would ever be able to reach them aside from herself.


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