Broadway diva and 'The Voice of the Philippines' coach Lea Salonga. -- Photo: Handout
MANILA -- Although best known internationally as a Broadway diva, Lea Salonga was only happy to welcome artists of different genres to her team on "The Voice of the Philippines."
The 42-year-old Tony award winner, who has been largely identified with ballads and theatrical performances, was quick to express appreciation for artists from a variety of backgrounds during the talent search's Blind Auditions.
What she proudly ended up with -- a 13-member group ready to offer different styles of music, from indie, R&B, pop, rock to kundiman.
Among the first recruits of Salonga were (1) Darryl Shy, 44, an indie music producer from Baguio; and (2) Chien Berbanda, 31, a Zamboanga-born singer working overseas.
Iloilo's (3) Taw Muhammad, a 25-year-old band vocalist, likewise impressed Salonga to earn a spot in her team; as did Paranaque's (4) Radha Tinsay, a 36-year-old singer known for her part in the '90s R&B band Kulay.
Two four-chair turners are also on Team Lea -- (5) Mitoy Yonting, 44, of the award-winning band Draybers; and Surigao's (6) Juvie Pelos, 21, who impressed all four coaches with her performance of a kundiman song.
The two are in good company, with (7) Diday Garcellano, a 21-year-old college student from Quezon City, and (8) Marissa Saroca, a 30-year-old singer from Australia, earning a spot each in Salonga's team.
Salonga went on a streak in recruiting freelance singers in the latter part of the Blind Auditions -- Sorsogon's (9) MJ Podolig, 34; Bulacan's (10) Rainier Acosta, 30; and Paranaque's (11) RJ dela Fuente, 27.
Completing Team Lea's stable of artists are his youngest members -- (12) Japs Mendoza and (13) Kim Mainit, who are both 16.
Starting Sunday, July 28, Salonga is bringing her multi-genre artists to the Battle Rounds of "The Voice of the Philippines."
Two to three artists from the same team will be pitted against each other by their coach to trim down the number of members by half.
The artist in each pairing or grouping who will best impress Salonga will move on to the Live Shows.