MANILA - "Tumindig lahat ng balahibo ko!"
These were Lea Salonga's words in explaining why she picked 11-year-old Tonton Cabile, Jr. as the first Battles winner of "The Voice Kids," as shown in the ABS-CBN show's episode aired on Saturday.
Cabile was pitted against Echo Claridad, 8, and Genmarie Guiao, 9.
The three young artists performed Rico J. Puno's "May Bukas Pa," a rendition likened by Coach Bamboo Manalac to "angels singing."
The rock icon chose Cabile as the stand-out in the Battle, while Coach Sarah Geronimo picked Guiao as her favorite, citing her consistency throughout the number.
The decision, however, ultimately rested with Salonga, who, earlier in the episode, said her main criterion for choosing a winner was "the heart in singing."
Explaining her decision to declare Cabile the Battle's winner, Salonga said: "Number one, siya 'yung pinaka improved sa tatlo. Number two, talagang tumindig lahat ng balahibo ko, e! Nakakaiyak siya."
"He was the most effective storyteller for this song," she added.
Throughout The Battles, Salonga had to judge five more performances, trimming her stable of young artists from 18 to six.
The six victors from Team Lea will move on to The Sing-Offs, which will air on Sunday. Here, each artist will perform solo with a song of his or her choice. The coach will have to pick only two who will get a slot each in the semi-finals.
"The Voice Kids," hosted by Luis Manzano and Alex Gonzaga, airs Saturdays at 6:45 p.m. and on Sundays at 7:30 p.m.