MANILA - Cebu-native Juan Karlos Labajo proved that he is more than just a charming kid, as he made a strong case for "The Voice Kids" title with 2 great performances on Saturday.
During the competition's penultimate live show held at Resorts World Manila, Labajo was tasked to take on both The Beatle's classic, "Yesterday," and Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby."
The 14-year-old, known for his more energetic and quirky song choices, surprised everyone when he almost brought coach Lea Salonga to tears with his rendition of the slow 1960s ballad.
"That is the one thing that makes you so special," Salonga said, commending how the teen manages to "sing from [his] heart."
"You have the looks, the charm, and the heart. With those three, you're guaranteed a future in this business," she added.
The praises were echoed by his coach and mentor Bamboo Manalac, who went on record early on to declare Labajo as the winner of the competition.
"I see a singer, an artist, and possibly an actor. I see someone who has the charisma to do it all," he said.
Labajo also drew similar reviews with his second performance of the night, where the kids were tasked to take on a more "upbeat" song.
He was handed a Bruno Mars hit, which he quickly took advantage of, echoing the Grammy-winning artist known for his highly-energetic performances.
Labajo's take, which saw him dancing around the stage, prompted Broadway star Salonga to predict that he will be bigger than teen star Daniel Padilla.
"I'm actually looking at you as a 13-year-old and seeing what you will be like 5 years from now. 'Yung mga DJ na yan, wala. Their names are going to be erased once you get to that age because ang charm mo nagamit sa number na ito," she said.
He was then lauded by his coach Manalac, saying that although there were clear similarities, he managed to make the song his own.
"Yun ang nagustuhan ko sa performance na iyon. Narinig ko si Juan Karlos. Hindi ko narinig si Bruno Mars. You made it your own. You do what you do. Napaka-natural mo kasi, even yung gestures mo, ikaw na ikaw 'yan eh," he said.
"That's what makes you special. There's only one Juan Karlos Labajo and he is standing right here in front of me right there," he added.