MANILA - Hans Christian Andersen, best remembered as the author of some of the classic fairy tales, once famously wrote, "When words fail, music speaks."
On Saturday's episode of "I Love OPM," Michigan-born singer Ryan Gallagher admitted that he turned to Filipino music when his cousin, whom he considers as his best friend, passed away last year.
"Music is a universal language," he said, before performing in front of judges Lani Misalucha, Martin Nievera, and Toni Gonzaga. "Many Filipinos have touched my life. Gusto kong magpasalamat sa kanilang lahat."
Gallagher crooned "Kahit Isang Saglit," a piece Nievera once performed and described as one of the hardest songs to sing.
"Napakahirap kantahin iyan. That's one of the hardest songs to sing emotionally, the diction part. I think you did a very good job for someone who doesn't sing Tagalog every day," the veteran singer told Gallagher.
At the end of the episode, Gallagher received the approval of two of the judges, namely Nievera and Gonzaga. According to Misalucha, Gallagher was "holding back" when he was performing, hence her decision to hand him a failing grade.
Nevertheless, Gallagher will still move on to the next round where he is joined by Pakistan's Harris Dio Smith and German-Irish teen Jeena Dimaandal.
A contestant will only need to get two nods out of the possible three to advance.
Hosted by Anne Curtis and comedian Eric Nicolas, "I Love OPM," which turns the spotlight on Filipinos who can sing local songs fluently, airs Saturdays after "Maalala Mo Kaya" and Sundays after "Rated K."