MANILA, Philippines – The three grand finalists of "The X Factor Philippines" had their last performance night on Saturday at the Pagcor Theater as the talent search enters its final weekend.
It was a close race for the three remaining contestants--Gabriel Maturan, KZ Tandingan and Daddy's Home--as each gave passionate performances, backed up by the XFP Band and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.
The three hopefuls opened the show with a mash-up of Pink's "Raise Your Glass" and Taio's "Dynamite," with special guest, comebacking singer Lani Misalucha, who returned to the Philippines from Hawaii last Friday.
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The ABS-CBN talent search also had live remote spots from the finalists' hometowns. Maturan's supporters from his home province of Zamboanga del Norte went all the way to Cagayan de Oro to cheer him on, while Tandingan's kababayans from Digos gathered at Davao City and Daddy's Home's fans watched the show live from Marikina City.
The male quartet Daddy's Home started the final showdown with an inspirational rendition of their mentor Gary Valenciano's religious hit, "Gaya ng Dati," with each member taking solo turns on the song's verses and bridge, while also showing off their trademark harmonies.
One member of the group became emotional after the performance and cried onstage as the judges praised them.
"What a way to start the night," Martin Nievera said, which was echoed by Pilita Corrales.
"What are you doing to me? Isa 'yan sa pinaka-gusto kong kanta. Feeling ko right now, tapos na tayo, let's go. Ang galing," Charice said.
"Kayo ang perfect opening ng show," Valenciano told his group. "It's a celebration of music, it's a celebration of life and what better way to start it than Daddy's Home."
Maturan was up next, choosing Fantasia Barrino's coronation song on "American Idol," the soulful "I Believe." Maturan started the song slowly until he reached the chorus and then showed off his powerful voice and solid falsetto. He also added an extended adlib at the end before ending the song again on a soft note.
"He has done so much for you. He has given you so much more confidence," Corrales told Maturan, praising the contestant as well as his mentor Nievera.
"I told you backstage that you're going to shine and you did just that," Valenciano told the Dapitan native.
"Sometimes when a performer comes out on stage, at ang ginagawa niya heart and soul lang, it doesn't matter at 'yan ang ginawa mo."
"With that performance, you showed us why we believe in you. You did great, hindi ko ine-expect 'yon. Ngayon na-realize ko ang galing mo," Charice said.
"Ito 'yung pinakamagandang performance mo. You pulled it off and I could not be prouder," Nievera told his ward.
Tandingan was the last one to perform and she chose The Carpenters' "Superstar," giving it her usual jazzy touch and also extended adlibs.
"What else can we say about KZ? What a performance! You sang like it was your comeback," Nievera said.
Corrales admitted that she has been hard on Tandingan because she doesn't want her to become too complacent with the competition. She also praised Tandingan for being the most consistent. "You're still very good," she said.
"Pinipiga mo pa 'yung ginagawa mo and it's not too impress kasi ikaw talaga 'yun. You're on the right stage and you have the right heart and you showed it tonight," Valenciano said.
"Kinakabahan ako, kanina pa," Charice confessed. "Tinulungan ka talaga ni Lord at nakita ko 'yon."
After a Jennifer Lopez medley by Vina Morales, the three grand finalists returned performing with guest artists.
Daddy's Home sang "Through the Fire" with soul singer Nina, while Tandingan did "The Way We Were" with OPM legend Rico J. Puno.
Closing the show was Maturan who performed with Bamboo on "The Man Who Can't Be Moved."
The first grand winner of "The X Factor Philippines" will be announced on the results show on Sunday after "Sarah G Live."