MANILA, Philippines – It was Team Sarah’s turn on Sunday to set social media on fire after the youngest judge of “The Voice of the Philippines” landed the evening’s most talked-about contestant.
Hidoyuki Ito, the son of a Japanese father and a Filipino mother, took the stage with James Brown’s “It's A Man's Man's Man's World,” and got the two female coaches Sarah Geronimo and Lea Salonga to turn their chairs with his soulful performance.
“Sobra mo ako na-capture …naramdaman ko ‘yung intensity at sincerity, kuha mo ‘ko,” Geronimo told Ito, who was born in Japan but grew up in the Philippines.
“Kahit boses pa lang, ulam na. I want you on my team,” Salonga said.
But it’s not just Ito’s voice that grabbed the viewers’ attention. Ito, who is openly gay, said he once lost his voice and struggled with depression, which led him to try illegal drugs. “Bakla ka na nga, may bisyo ka pa,” he said, adding that he locked himself in a room to get rid of his addictions.
Ito told the judges that he also regularly joins gay beauty contests. “But this is ‘The Voice.’ It’s not about my gender preference; it’s all about my voice,” he said.
Asked to choose between Geronimo and Salonga, Ito admitted that he idolized Salonga before saying, “I’m sorry but I’ll choose Sarah.”
After Sunday’s episode, Team Sarah now has eight contestants, after she also picked 20-year-old student Kathreen Castro from Davao.
Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap also landed two contestants on Sunday – 28-year-old musician Lance Fabros and 19-year-old wedding singer Tristhan Perfecto – bringing his total to eight.
Rocker Bamboo Manalac leads all the coaches with nine contestants on his team, after he selected call center agent Nicole Parada in Sunday’s episode.
Salonga, meanwhile, has seven contestants.