MANILA - Filipino-Canadian Darren Espanto left a packed Resorts World Manila in awe Saturday night as he performed a Whitney Houston hit for his semi-final performance on "The Voice Kids."
"Oh my gosh," exclaimed coach Lea Salonga, who was at a loss for words shortly afterwards.
"The word phenomenal is the only word I can think of for you right now. That trip from Calgary to the Philippines was absolutely worth it for all of us watching you going from strength to strength," she added.
Espanto, who came all the way from Canada to join the competition, sang "One Moment in Time" in a performance which brought tears to his father's eyes.
"You're a winner. With that performance, parang pang-grand finals na," said coach and mentor Sarah Geronimo.
"You seized that moment. At naniniwala ako na forever mong yayakapin ang stage na tutungtungan mo. Talagang handang handa handa ka na," the pop star added.
Geronimo also praised the 14-year-old's humility and labeled him as a "complete package."
"Ramdam na ramdam ko na you are a good boy. A pure heart. At alam mo naman ang batang may talento at mabait ay bini-bless talaga ng Diyos. Congratulations!" she said.
Tops worldwide trends
Moments after his performance, netizens expressed support for Espanto. The term #TVKDarrenForFinal shot to the top of the worldwide trends on micro-blogging site Twitter, along with other terms such as "The Voice Darren."