Must-Watch: ‘The Voice’ Contestant Lee Grane Stuns with 'Angel' – After apl.de.ap and Lea Salonga Said ‘No’ [VIDEO, PHOTOS]
The Voice of the Philippines 2013 is still in its early stages of Blind Auditions, and the judges are being scrutinized and compared to their 'The Voice' counterparts overseas. Watch as two international award-winning artists grieve in regret after skipping a vocal gem.
For the first season of the TV franchise, Philippines' ABS-CBN network carefully picked the four Filipino judges to man the swirling read seats. Filipino-American R&B artist apl.de.ap and Tony Award-winning Actress Lea Salonga join popular local acts Sarah Geronimo and Bamboo in the judging panel.
Allan Pineda, known internationally as Black Eyed Peas' apl.de.ap, is glad to be a part of his home country's talent search. Coming from humble beginnings before moving to the United States, apl.de.ap shows a soft spot for contestants hoping to build a career in the music industry.
"I'm surprised to see so many talented Filipinos," apl.de.ap said in Filipino. (Translated for the readers.) This successful international artist has wowed the world, but stays grounded and maintains an appreciation of his roots, his home country and its people.
apl.de.ap does not hold back when he really wants a contestant to be on his team. He would jokingly drop U.S. R&B names to get the contestant's attention. He'd say something like, "Hello, Will" and gesture a phone conversation to tell the contestants he could take them on a bigger, international path. (William Adams aka will.i.am and apl.de.ap became friends in high school after the latter had been officially adopted by a U.S. family through a program for young abandoned or orphaned American children.)
"Aren't all Filipino singers amazing?" Lea Salonga shares with ABS-CBN news what a "Tony-nominated" friend had once asked her. "So the expectation outside of this country is that Filipino talent is amazing," she added. "So, pressure!"
The third judge, Bamboo, used to be a frontman for a 90's popular band called "Rivermaya." Known for his appeal and rockstar vibe, the cool performer is just as sharp and smart as the international artists in scoring a contestant's voice. The same goes for reality-show alum Sarah Geronimo. In a remarkable case, Bamboo and Sarah had both turned for a contestant that had put apl.de.ap and Lea on the fence.
The contestant, Lee Grane Maranan, first sang a modernized version of a Filipino classic folk song. Both Lea and apl.de.ap thought something was missing. When asked to sing an English song, Maranan brilliantly took on Angel by Sarah McLachlan.
Lea and apl.de.ap could cry in regret. Sarah was nearly tearing up, too, because Maranan chose Bamboo over her. Incidentally, Sarah Geronimo will be touring Australia in August for a birthday concert series. (Scroll down to play the video. Conversations are in English and Filipino.)
VIDEO: apl.de.ap and Lea Salonga lose out to local performer Bamboo
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The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas
'The Voice' Judge Sarah Geronimo Tours Australia
'The Voice' Judge Sarah Geronimo Tours Australia. The Philippine pop star is joined in this photo by L.A. media personality Janelle So. (Photo: Sarah G via Twitter)
Lea Salonga (Telecast Judge)
Lea Salonga is a singer and actress who is best known for her Tony Award winning role in Miss Saigon. She is recognized for having won, in addition to the Tony, the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards, in the field of musical theatre. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival.