Cotabato singer earns standing ovation in triumphant return
MANILA - Lalaine Araña was a picture of determination as she returned Thursday to the noontime talent search "Tawag ng Tanghalan," five months after the dreaded gong signaled her bitter exit.
It was in August 2017 when Araña, then a semifinalist of "Tanghalan," took the stage with fellow hopeful Gidget dela Llana, performing "Waray Waray."
Midway through the number, Araña's unease became increasingly apparent as she skipped lyrics altogether. This prompted Louie Ocampo, then the judge panel leader, to signal the striking of the gong, which meant ending Araña's semifinals bid.
"Sa sobrang tensyon at kaba, nakalimutan ko ang lyrics," Araña recalled in a taped interview shown before her live performance Thursday.
She returned with the same song that aborted her "Tanghalan" bid last year; this time, a more confident Araña embodied the message of "Waray Waray" about not backing down from a challenge.
By the end of the number, she had all five judges on their feet, including Ocampo, who quipped that he is "friends again" with Araña.
"You are back with a vengeance!" host Anne Curtis exclaimed as she approached Araña on stage after the performance.
Asked why she opted to perform again her losing song, Araña simply said, "Dito po ako nadapa, dito po ako babangon ulit."
Araña's fighting spirit was not lost on Ocampo, who commended her for "oozing confidence" and "excellent singing."
"It's about how you get up," Ocampo told the singer. "Today, [you proved] to the madlang people, kung paano dapat bumangon."
He added: "It was so nice to hear you sing and finish the whole song! Ang ganda! Your charm was, like, times ten. Bow ako sa'yo."
Araña, who was the Mindanao bet for the day, ended up besting her contenders, and later dethroning defending champion Mara Santos with a soaring rendition of "Narito Ako".
On Friday, Araña inched closer to entering the semifinals, as she did last year, after successfully defending her champion status with Katy Perry's "Dark Horse".