MANILA - Barely three weeks since "I Love OPM" crowned a Korean student singing a Gary Valenciano ballad as its first winner, the popular singing contest premiered its celebrity spin-off on Saturday with a tribute to rival balladeer Martin Nievera.
"I Love OPM" captivated audiences by featuring pure-blooded foreigners singing in impeccable Tagalog. The finale, wherein Yohan Hwang sang the theme to ABS-CBN's primetime hit "Ang Probinsyano," rated twice as much as the competition, according to Kantar media
The show's success spawned the spin-off "We Love OPM," wherein local singers are asked give a fresh take on Filipino hits under the guidance of KZ Tandingan, Richard Poon, and Nyoy Volante.
Emmanuelle Vera, Liezel Garcia, and Klarisse de Guzman from Tandingan's team kicked off Saturday's pilot with a Destiny's Child spin on Nievera's "Ikaw Ang Pangarap."
"All I can say is iyong ginawa ninyo, parang hit song na. That song belongs to you," Nievera, one of the judges of "I Love OPM," told the trio afterwards.
For the second performance of the night, Volante's team of Kaye Cal, Marion (formerly Marion Aunor) and Marlo Mortel was assigned to modernize one of Nievera's other hits, "Kahit Isang Saglit."
Their group gave the song a more R&B feel while retaining the "heart" of the song, explained Mortel. "Gusto ko lang na hindi mawala iyung puso kasi iyun ang pinaka-importante sa song na ito, sobrang heartfelt siya," he said.
Poon's team composed of Kyle Echarri, Bailey May and Juan Karlos Labajo came on last with a jazzy rendition of Nievera's "Sa Kanya."
Poon, who shot to fame with big band arrangements, said he wanted viewers to see that his team was more than just handsome faces.
"Gusto ko i-prove nila sa lahat na ang gaganda ng mga boses nila at they know how to work as a team," Poon said.
The episode concluded with Tandingan's team on top with 90 votes from the studio audience. Poon's team got 88, while Volante's got 84. The team with the most votes will be declared the winner for the week.
Three other teams mentored by Erik Santos, Jay R, and Yeng Constantino will perform on Sunday.
Hosted by Anne Curtis and Eric Nicolas, "We Love OPM" airs Saturdays after "Maalaala Mo Kaya" and Sundays after "Rated K."