MANILA -- (UPDATED) A nine-year-old girl who used to scavenge junk in her native Cavite was named the first-ever winner of "The Voice Kids" in the Philippines on Sunday at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila.
Lyca Gairanod, one of Team Sarah's two bets in the "Final Showdown" of the hit talent search, clinched the title after getting the highest percentage of public votes.
Teammate Darren Espanto finished second, while Team Bamboo's Juan Karlos Labajo and Team Lea's Darlene Vibares finished third and fourth, respectively.
A tearful finish
After the announcement, tears quickly ran down the faces of the finalists. Gairanod's parents, likewise, broke down as they rushed to congratulate their daughter onstage.
Gairanod won a recording contract with MCA Universal, a P1-million cash prize, a house and lot from Camella Homes, a musical instrument package, and a home appliance package, among other prizes.
Clutching her trophy, Gairanod continued to bawl out her emotions but had to compose herself, as she was asked to give her final performance for the season.
Gairanod obliged, singing an encore of her ballad round performance of Regine Velasquez's "Narito Ako" as if she wasn't covered in tears mere seconds ago.
A trio of winning performances
On Saturday, Gairanod impressed the coaches with her performance of the Velasquez classic and the Carly Rae Jepsen hit "Call Me Maybe."
"You are our superstar. Ipinakita mo ang iyong...napakalaki ng potensyal mong bata ka eh, 'yung galing mo sa pagkanta, 'yung galing mo sa pagkonekta sa meaning ng kinakanta mo, 'yung kwento ng awitin na 'yun," Geronimo said.
Gairanod, however, saved her best for last.
Wearing a leather jacket and a pair of black boots, the nine-year-old sang "Basang Basa Ang Ulan" with iconic OPM band, Aegis, during the competition's final live show on Sunday.
The performance drew a standing ovation from coach Bamboo Manalac, and tears from her parents, who were part of the crowd of thousands.
"Lyca, hindi lang pang-grand finals ang performance mo, kung 'di pang-concert mo!" exclaimed Geronimo afterwards.
Asked what it was like performing with her idols, she said: Masaya, kasi ngayon ko lang po [sila] nakita."
Gairanod has been likened to screen veteran Nora Aunor, herself a singing champion, because of her humble background and talent.
In Tanza, she helped her mother, Maria Nessel, scavenge junk to sell. She would also perform for her neighbors for extra cash. Her father's earnings as a fisherman, along with what they got from scavenging, were enough to send her to school.
Sunday's results show was a star-studded affair, with performances from several guests, including Martin Nievera, Lani Misalucha, Gary Valenciano and Aegis.
This was on top of special numbers from coaches Geronimo, Bamboo Manalac, and Lea Salonga.
Dominated social media
As the "Final Showdown" aired on Sunday, viewers took to Twitter to air their reactions, dominating social conversations on the micro-blogging site.
The phrase "Congrats Lyca" quickly shot to the top of the worldwide trends, along with other terms and phrases such as #TheVoiceKidsChampions, #TVKDarrenForTheChampion and #WowAngGwapoNiLuis.
The strong buzz surrounding the "The Voice Kids" online -- it consistently topped trending topics during its weekend telecasts -- was also reflected in its viewership over the last two months since its May premiere.
In June, "The Voice Kids" averaged a national TV rating of 35.6%, according to multi-national market research group Kantar Media, making it the No. 1 program in the Philippines for the month. Last June 15, it registed an audience share of 37.5%, the season's highest.
ABS-CBN's "The Voice Kids" is one of over 50 international versions of the talent search, including the format for adults.
The second season of "The Voice of the Philippines," the Kapamilya network's adults edition, is expected to premiere later this year.