MANILA - Winning in The Battles of "The Voice Kids" was a bittersweet moment for 9-year-old Darlene Vibares, whose first reaction to the announcement was to comfort her competitors.
In the episode of the ABS-CBN program on Saturday, Vibares faced off against close friends Karla Cruz, 8, and Marianne Interino, 11. The young artists' coach, Lea Salonga, had them perform Katy Perry's "Firework."
Coaches Bamboo Manalac and Sarah Geronimo both picked Vibares as their favorite. Geronimo noted that Vibares managed a consistent vocal performance despite her energetic presence on-stage.
Even before Salonga announced the Battle's winner, Vibares was already emotional and was even seen hugging Interino. Vibares burst into tears when Salonga pointed at her as the sole artist from the group to advance in the competition.
The Broadway star, apparently moved by her three wards turning emotional, rushed to the stage and hugged each of them.
"This one was hard, this one was difficult, kasi lahat sila madaling turuan," Salonga said in an interview after the Battle. "But Darlene was just so consistent. Ultimately, she won it fair and square."
Backstage, Vibares was shown to still be emotional. Apparently amused by her reaction, her companions quipped, "Natalo ka ba?"
In between sobs, the little girl answered: "Hindi na kami magkikita nila Karla at ni Marianne."
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.