No free pass for celebrity hopefuls on 'Voice PH'

by Miguel Dumaual,

Posted at Jul 24 2013 01:06 AM | Updated as of Jul 24 2013 09:06 AM

MANILA -- Amateur and professional singers from different backgrounds, whether established or emerging in the music industry, are all on equal footing in "The Voice of the Philippines."

This was the assertion of The Voice PH's MJ Felipe in response to speculations that celebrity artists, or auditionees who have achieved some amount of popularity or success as professional singers, were all admitted past the Blind Auditions.

"One hundred twenty-one ang nag-audition, only 48 to 51 ang pumasa... Umupo ako during the Blind Auditions, merong mga iba pang singers -- may pangalan -- hindi pumasa," said Felipe, who is the AdProm Head of "The Voice of the Philippines."

The matter was discussed in a radio interview last week, a day before the show's Saturday telecast which showed more established performers go through the Blind Auditions.

Showbiz reporter and "Mismo" host Jobert Sucaldito brought up speculations that there are no celebrity artists who failed their audition, as the coaches had been advised in advance to turn their chairs for a specific auditionee.

He noted that the episodes of "The Voice of the Philippines" aired so far, excluding the July 20 and 21 telecast, saw numerous familiar artists earn a spot in the coaches' teams.

Felipe, however, denied that the coaches are made aware of the auditionees' backgrounds.

'Celebrity' hopefuls

Since its June 15 debut, "The Voice of the Philippines" has featured several professional singers in the Blind Auditions.

These include Thor Dulay, who has already released 3 albums; Radha Tinsay, a former member of singing group Kulay; Mitoy Yongting, the lead vocalist of the award-winning band, Draybers; Morisette Amon, a TV actress and the star of Repertory Philippines' "Camp Rock"; and Guji Lorenzana, a Kapamilya actor with an album of his own.

All five were able to pass their Blind Auditions -- a fact, which, Sucaldito said, aroused speculations that all "celebrity" artists would land a spot in the show.

However, as seen in the last two episodes of "The Voice of the Philippines," this is not the case.

While former South Border guitarist Maki Ricafort made it to Team Sarah in last Saturday's episode, ex-"Ang TV" star Nicole Judalena and former Imago vocalist Aia de Leon weren't as fortunate.

The latter's failed audition was especially a heart-breaking case for coaches Lea Salonga, who said she is a fan of the "Taralets" singer, and Bamboo Manalac, who has worked numerous times with de Leon.

Blind Auditions conclude

Former "1DOL" star Emanuelle Vera. Photo from the actress-singer's official Facebook page

Yet to be seen is the fate of former "1DOL" star, Emmanuelle Vera, who co-starred with coach Sarah Geronimo in the 2010 series.

In several previews for episodes of "The Voice of the Philippines," Vera has been shown time and again in what appears to be her Blind Auditions performance.

Vera is expected to appear in the ABS-CBN program's episode this coming Saturday, as it will feature the last batch of Blind Auditions.

The four coaches, including The Black Eyed Peas Allan "" Pineda, are in the final stages of forming their respective teams. Each coach may recruit up to 13 artists each, an apparent deviation from the program's global format.

After completing their teams, the coaches will eliminate members through the Battle Rounds, whose taped episodes will air starting Sunday, July 28.