Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Voice Philippines 2 Wrap-Up: 20 Best Performances

To the usual DAM NATION obligatory count: 35 Episodes. 79 Blind Auditions. 7 Four-chair Turners. 28 Battle Rounds. 36 Knockouts. 6 Live Shows. 1 Lea Salonga. Quite a season! Yes, there were a couple of vast improvements this year compared to the last season, but the format still sucked.

I don't understand why they had to battle it out within their team until the Finale. Look at Bamboo who had the weakest team and yet, he was "allowed" to bring one until the end and see someone more deserving like Daryl Ong or Monique Lualhati not get a chance to win because of this dumb format. But, it's done now. Jason Dy won and that's about it.

So, let me end my "writing season" of The Voice Philippines Season 2, with the blog's usual wrap-up post of the best performances all season.

So, without further ado..


20. Domino
Alisah Bonaobra
[Blind Auditions]
While this was, arguably, a paint-by-the-numbers rendition of Jessie J's hit, I can't deny the fact that Alisah sang it to pitch perfection. Her vocals were crystal clear, her sense of rhythm was on point, and she did look comfortable performing on stage. I would've liked some more attitude than just a consistent smile plastered in her face, but I digress.  

19. Ang Huling El Bimbo
Jason Fernandez
[Blind Auditions]
He may not have the best voice in the competition, but Jason proved to be experienced enough to know what songs work for him as a singer and how to execute it flawlessly. Ang Huling El Bimbo was a smart song choice as it allowed him to navigate the melody with ease and it complemented the quality of his tone.

12. Kamusta, Mga Kaibigan?
Bradley Holmes
I knew from his Blind Auditon that Bradley has no problem performing on stage, but he showed here that there's a natural presence and charisma to him that's hard to ignore. Add to that the fact that his vocals were solid with strong modulation and a texture to his voice that's very distinct. Oh, and did I say he's a natural born performer?

17. You Are My Song
Timmy Pavino
[Blind Auditions]
I've not been a fan of Timmy throughout the whole season as he came off as a bland balladeer who can hit high notes and nothing else. That said, his blind audition was really strong. His diction was fantastic, the transitions were faultless, and while he did not do anything new with the song, his vocals were mostly on point. If he - or his coach, Lea Salonga - had been a little creative with his song choices - My Heart Will Go On? Really? - he could actually rival both Jason Dy and Daryl Ong.

16. I Knew You Were Trouble
Monique Lualhati
Who knew the show can actually come up with a fresh arrangement of a relatively current song? After watching countless of karaoke versions of every song covered on this show, Monique's take on this Taylor Swift ditty was refreshing and shocking - at least, for The Voice Philippines' standard. Some of her runs weren't as precise as I'd like, but that's something I can ignore given the "boldness" of recreating I Knew You Were Trouble.

15. Ang Buhay Ko
Ferns Tosco
[Blind Auditions]
Solid. I didn't know what to expect from Ferns, but she surely made a lasting impression. The rasp in her voice was a perfect fit for the song and her folk sound, some of her melodic choices were informed, and that ending was a nice little touch. No, it's not as showy as some of the other auditions, but it was memorable.

14. Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin
Leah Patricio
I'm NEVER a fan of overdone songs - especially on reality singing competitions - so yes, I did roll my eyes when I heard of the song choice, but that aside, Leah committed well enough to the song to somehow transcend it to something else. Sure, some may see this as an impeccable karaoke cover of the song - the last part was killer! - but at least, it's impeccable.

13. Smile
Daryl Ong
[Top 16]
Was this particularly thrilling? No, but Daryl's Smile was a stellar vocal performance paired with some intricate phrasing and simplistic staging. This was packed with so much subtlety and nuance and the song just rose and fell perfectly.  In short, it was about as strong a performance on The Voice Philippines as you can get.

12. You Give Love A Bad Name
Bradley Holmes
[Top 24]
There was something just so inherently cool about this performance and I found myself really getting into the whole vibe that was radiating from the incredibly comfortable Bradley Holmes. Sure, it was a straight up cover of the song, but there was intensity behind his voice and everything was just completely natural and organic. He was one of a few who didn't show any trace of nerves.

11. Stay With Me
Jason Dy
[Blind Auditions]
As much as I hate unnecessary runs and embellishments in a song, Jason made it sound a lot more palatable. His tone sounded lovely on the song with just the right amount of vibrato, his falsetto was strong, and while Stay With Me was a rather predictable song choice for someone like him, the way he played with the melody and his phrasing gave me an insight of him as an artist.

10. Sirena
Mackie Cao
[Top 12]
Where did this come from? Mackie's version of Sirena was a welcome respite from her earlier performances. I liked that she managed to perfectly blend her fairly on point pitch, her vocal bombast, and that swagger that's completely her own and the way it was performed betrayed a sense of strategy and professionalism that I wasn't aware she possessed. This was, arguably, Mackie's best performance on the show.

09. Maging Sino Ka Man
Monique Lualhati
[Top 24]
Maging Sino Ka Man is a hard song to sing, but she made it look easy. Her vocals really soared to new and interesting heights. The slow build, the escalations, the pullbacks, the dynamic shifts. Everything. This was just delivered with great finesse and it's wonderful.

08. Thinking Out Loud
Jason Dy
[Top 24]
I love this guy's restraint. Jason has the vocal chops to oversing the hell out of this song and yet he chose to hold back. The vocals were strong, honest, and it was fantastic to see a relatively stripped down performance as opposed to a lot of bells and whistles. I just can't help but smile when I listen to him sing.

07. The Greatest Love Of All
Daryl Ong
Daryl has this innate ability to make an incredibly outdated and trite song sound fresh and new. That's a gift. The Greatest Love Of All would've been a total disaster if handled by a less competent artist, but he made some outstanding choices with the melody that gave this Whitney Houston hit a makeover. What's more impressive? He actually didn't need a total rearrangement of the song. All he used was his voice.

06. What About Love
Tanya Diaz
[Blind Auditions]
Tanya impressed me with a wonderful version of What About Love and it definitely set the bar high throughout the entire season and made her a legitimate contender. Her verses were clean, her tone had just the right mix of grit and soul, and when the chorus arrived, everything just exploded, and yet still maintaining some great vocal restraint. Flat out awesome.

05. Butterfly
Monique Lualhati
[Top 12]
Butterfly is an intensely complicated song that relies heavily on unbelievable vocal support, and Monique somehow managed to deliver a nearly faultless vocals. Yes, her pitch wavered a couple of times during the verses, but when she hit the chorus, her vocals just soared. To me, this was so vocally satisfying and had equal parts drama and intensity.

04. Tadhana
Daniel Ombao
[Blind Auditions]
Daniel's voice hit me hard and this song was a beautiful match to his haunting tone. Such a shame that he didn't last longer as I thought his voice has the power to really lift a verse proven by how he made each note of Tadhana a different experience. His voice was like butter, and the subtle quirks he added created a performance that was pretty remarkable. I was transfixed.

03. Bilog Na Naman Ang Buwan
Kokoi Baldo
Kokoi was obviously a one-trick pony, but he's brilliant at that one trick. So, while this was vocally lacking, Bilog Na Naman Ang Buwan was simply inspired. I thoroughly enjoyed Kokoi's weird qualities and watching him ravish that stage like an overly drunk guy was incredibly exciting. I loved the breakdown towards the end, his stage presence and charisma was undeniable, and how he took that song and played it to his strengths was actually pretty clever.

02. Take Me Out of the Dark
Daryl Ong
[Top 8]
I would not have picked this song for Daryl, but that didn’t make this any less impressive. In fact, this was Daryl's best on the show. The vocals were strong and consistent, the performance was well-crafted, the lighting added enough drama to the number, his choices with the melody were informed and tasteful, and his phrasing was sublime. It's such a shame that he went out on his strongest performance. 

01. Banal Na Aso
Tanya Diaz & Shaira Cervencia
Some may complain that the whole thing was just way too much, but Tanya Diaz and Shaira Cervencia's take on Banal Na Aso was nevertheless an impressive display of raw, unrestrained vocal horsepower that certainly blew me away. The dynamics was outstanding, the musical interaction between the two was extraordinary, and it was just simply stellar.


Anonymous said...

This post is shit. Leah had like so much tremendous perfs and you only listed her once. That's not even her greatest one

DAM said...

^^ Dear Anonymous, lists are usually VERY subjective. As for my own taste, I'm just not a fan of overdone diva songs and I've said that over and over again throughout the season. So there. We just have to agree to disagree. :)

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