‘Sabong ‘to!’ Close fight of ‘beast-mode’ contenders in Tawag ng Tanghalan leave judges torn

Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2022 06:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2022 07:56 PM

Tawag ng Tanghalan judge Ogie Alcasid reacts to the Face Off between hopefuls Abbey Rivera and Antonetthe Tismo. ABS-CBN

MANILA — Earning nearly tied scores of 94.7% and 94.3%, competing hopefuls of Tawag ng Tanghalan had judges on their feet Thursday with one of the closest fights yet in the singing contest.

In the live episode of “It’s Showtime,” challenger Abbey Rivera attempted to steal the “golden mikropono” from two-day defending champion Antonetthe Tismo.

Facing off in the final round, Rivera showed off her vocal stylings with “Di Na Natuto,” while Tismo defended her title with a soaring rendition of “Narito Ako.”

“Para tayong nagkaroon ng talpakan on live TV! Sabong ‘to talaga ng mahuhusay! Grabe!” host Vice Ganda said after their performances.

Head judge Ogie Alcasid, who was seen giving a standing ovation along with panelists Nyoy Volante and Klarisse de Guzman, quipped they had “so much of a kerfuffle,” a British slang for argument.

Turning serious, he said, “Today was a showdown of two incredible vocal stylists.”

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“Meron kayong angking galing na alam niyong kayo lang ang meron. ‘Pag kumanta kayo, talagang mapapamangha ka,” he added.

Alcasid praised Rivera for her “tasteful adlibs” and “exciting” stage presence, and commended Tismo for her “depth” in singing and her “beast-mode” performance.

“Of course, kailangang may manalo sa inyo. But I have to tell you both — it is very, very close. Very, very close. Congratulations. And thank you,” he told them.

Ultimately, Rivera edged out Tismo by less than one percentage-point, to successfully become the new defending champion.

Rivera will have to defend her title five consecutive times to clinch a quarterfinals slot, or eight times to leap straight to the semifinals.

“It’s Showtime” airs weekdays and Saturdays via Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and iWantTFC.