MANILA - A seven-year-old girl from Cebu was the first hopeful of the third season of "The Voice Kids" to turn all three chairs in the reality show's much-anticipated television return on Saturday.
Yessha Hilkiah dela Calzada, who hails from the coastal town of Liloan in Cebu, sang Raymond Lauchengco's "Saan Darating Ang Umaga" during the first blind auditions episode of the show.
Dela Calzada's soaring voice impressed Broadway star and coach Lea Salonga, who was the first to turn her chair.
Megastar Sharon Cuneta, who replaced pop star Sarah Geronimo as one of the mentors, followed suit. Bamboo Mañalac pressed his button as Dela Calzada delivered the final note of the Lauchengco ballad.
"A voice like that, ayaw ko masyadong galawin kasi iyon ang pinaka-natural mo. Ang ganda ng napili mong kanta and you are such a beautiful little girl," Salonga told Dela Calzada.
"As a loving mother to children who love to sing also, I'm really impressed by you. Hindi ko kayang tamaan iyong mga nota mong iyon pero kaya kitang tulungan na lagyan pa ng emosyon iyong mga kanta mo," added Cuneta.
The megastar's comments, however, did not sit well with Salonga, who reminded Cuneta that she was not the only person capable of teaching Dela Calzada acting skills.
The Tony-winner also playfully called Esang De Torres, a member of her team during the second season of "The Voice Kids," to the stage to convince Dela Calzada to pick her as her coach.
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"Dapat piliin mo si coach Lea kasi hindi lang siya mabait, magaling siya kumanta, magaling siya magturo at sexy pa," De Torres told the Cebu lass.
The move proved effective as Dela Calzada became the first recruit of Salonga. By the end of the episode, she would also welcome young theater actor and Batangas native Noel Comia Jr. to her team.
Cuneta and Manalac, meanwhile, each scored one recruit. Twelve-year-old Xylein Herera joined Team Bamboo, while 9-year-old John Paul Gumandoy became the first ever mentee of Cuneta.
"The Voice Kids," which is hosted by Luis Manzano, Robi Domingo, and Kim Chiu, airs Saturdays after "Home Sweetie Home" and on Sundays after "Wansapanataym."