3 Pinoys make it to karaoke finals

By Edward Lao, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Nov 01 2012 09:26 AM | Updated as of Nov 01 2012 05:26 PM

LONDON -- The last three contestants for the grand finals of a Pinoy karaoke competition in the UK have been confirmed.

Cesar Gerolaga, Ryan Mayor and Joel Miranda were selected by a panel of judges on October 19 after the third and final elimination round of the Unang Hirit Sa Tag-Init Videoke Challenge in Kilburn, north London.

They beat three other hopefuls to qualify for the Grand Final, set for December 2.

Gerolaga, originally from Quezon City in the Philippines, sang 'Ikaw Sana', popularized by Ogie Alcasid.

The 43-year-old, who resides in Colchester, reveals he entered last year's X-Factor but failed to reach the third round.

He joined the videoke challenge to test himself and admits he was shocked when he found out he had qualified.

"A little bit surprised because some of the contestants are really good. I didn't expect to win but fortunately I did," Gerolaga said.

Mayor, on the other hand, was not aware he had been entered. His friends submitted his application without him knowing until days before the competition.

The 39-year-old, who travelled from Norwich, sang "If" by the band Bread. He feels the song helped him to display his vocal range.

Mayor already has something in mind for the grand final.

"My genre is really more musicals. I love musicals like Les Mis[erable], Phantom [of the Opera], so I'll probably do something from one of those musicals," Mayor said.

Joel Miranda, 39, was the final qualifier to be announced.

The Nottingham-based Filipino, originally from Ilocos Sur, performed Broadway classic "This is the Moment."

Miranda, a registered nurse, is no stranger to singing contests. This is his fifth competition and he is feeling confident about the final.

"I think I've got an edge," Miranda told ABS-CBN Europe.

"I've won several singing contests before so I'm going to use that to make me feel more comfortable and confident in the grand final."

The Unang Hirit Sa Tag-Init Videoke Challenge was hosted by non-profit organization Philippine Jury Campaign. The first elimination round was held last May, whilst the second was held in July.

Aside from giving Pinoys a chance to showcase their love of singing, Philippine Jury Executive Director Amy Balliao says the competition was held to raise funds for their cells and outreach programs in the Philippines.

The last elimination round of the competition had a low audience turn-out, which Balliao attributed to the rain and cold. Despite that, she believes it went well and commended those involved.

"Unfortunately the weather played a part, but overall it is a success and I thank the participants, sponsors and obviously ABS-CBN, TFC, with their partnership. Maganda and maraming salamat sa lahat.”

The Grand Final of the competition will be held on December 2 at the Holiday Inn hotel in Bloomsbury, London.

Nine contestants, three from each elimination round, will compete for cash prizes: 1st place will receive £500, 2nd will get £300, whilst 3rd gets £200.

"I'm very, very excited and hopefully there will be a lot of supporters and friends and people, non-Filipinos, who will come and join us," Balliao said.

PhilJury has been operating in the Philippines since 2005 and has cells stretching across the country.

The organization promotes the Trial-by-Jury system, which it believes will empower people in the administration of justice in the Philippines.