MANILA - The charming Cebuano Juan Karlos Labajo won over the judges again -- this time with his "much-improved" voice -- and advanced to the next round of "The Voice Kids" during the episode aired on Saturday.
The 13-year-old was the first member of Bamboo Manalac's team to move on to the Sing-Offs, beating other contestants Maite Zubiri and Julienne Echavez.
The three performed Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" -- a song which coach Sarah Geronimo described as a very difficult song to sing -- for the night's first round of The Battles.
Coach Lea Salonga praised Labajo's vastly improved voice, picking him the winner among the three. "I gotta give it to the guy in the middle," she said, pointing to the kid from Cebu.
"Alam mo talagang pinapanuod pa lang kita, talagang nakangiti na talaga ako eh. 'Yung connection mo sa amin ibang iba at yes, nag-improve ka din sa singing mo," Geronimo added.
But the decision was left to Manalac, who choose Labajo because he thought the budding singer "proved" his spot on the team with his performance.
"Gusto natin ipakita na it is not just charisma or personality kaya ka nandiyan. You are a real singer, a real vocalist, and that you deserve to be up there," he said.
Throughout The Battles, Manalac had to judge five more performances, trimming his group of young artists from 18 to 6.
Next up for Labajo will be the Sing-Offs, where -- along with five others -- 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.