MANILA - "The Voice Kids" coach Sarah Geronimo clarified that she is not playing favorites between Lyca Gairanod and Darren Espanto, her two bets in the highly anticipated finals night of the singing competition.
The pop star took to Twitter on Wednesday to express support for the two finalists, adding that all the remaining hopefuls are equally deserving to win.
"May gusto lang po akong linawin tungkol sa young artists ng Team Sarah sa 'The Voice Kids.' Mahal ko po nang patas sina Darren at Lyca," she said.
Espanto, 12, is no stranger to singing competitions. In Canada, where he was born and raised, Espanto won a 2011 contest for young Filipinos dubbed "Pinoy Singing Sensation." He went on to compete in the grand finals of "The Next Star," a reality talent search which concluded in December 2012.
'The Voice Kids' finalists Lyca Gairanod and Darren Espanto. Photo from the show's official Facebook page
Nine-year-old Gairanod, meanwhile, has been likened to screen veteran Nora Aunor because of her humble background and singing talent. Hailing from Tanza, Cavite, Gairanod helps her mother scavenge junk to send her to school. Her father is a fisherman.
In a series of tweets, Geronimo added: "Naniniwala po ako sa talento at galing nila, pareho po silang deserving na manalo. Deserving po ang Top 4 artists natin na manalo at maibahagi ang galing nila sa buong mundo pero katulad ng kahit anong kompetisyon."
Geronimo is the lone coach to have two artists from her team competing in the finals night. Rock icon Bamboo Manalac will be fielding 13-year-old Juan Karlos Labajo, while Broadway star Lea Salonga is placing her bet on 10-year-old Darlene Vibares.
"The Voice Kids'" last two episodes, dubbed "The Final Showdown," will be held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila. They will be telecast live on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. and on Sunday at 6:15 p.m.