Pen’s lounge singer search down to 7 hopefuls


Posted at Oct 11 2012 04:44 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2012 06:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The competition to become the next lounge singer of The Peninsula Manila’s Salon de Ning is now down to three males and four females.

The Makati hotel held the second live performance night of its "[email protected]" contest on Tuesday night, with seven of the 12 contestants moving on to the next round.

The search started last month with 21 contestants vying for the top prize, which includes a three-month contract to perform at the hotel’s posh Salon de Ning and perhaps launch a singing career.

All three male contestants drew the loudest applause in last Tuesday’s round which saw the contestants take on OPM ballads.

Garett Bolden Jr. of the Lyceum of Subic Bay SBMA. Photo by GR Rodis

Rafael Gutierrez of the University of the Philippines impressed guest judge, singer Nyoy Volante, who praised the 19-year-old’s version of “Giliw,” calling it “a wonderful performance.”

“Yung pagkakanta mo, ‘yung walang hanggan pagpasok ng different vocal styles, it was there. I think he deserves a warm round of applause,” Volante said.

Guest judge singer-actress Rachel Alejandro also had kind words for Renz Robosa, 20, who took on Gary Valenciano’s “Ikaw Lamang.”

Just like in the first round, the boyish-looking Robosa surprised audiences with his powerful voice. “When I first saw you, naisip ko pwede na kitang maging anak,” said Alejandro, fresh from the successful run of the Broadway musical “Avenue Q” in Singapore.

“There’s only one word I can think of: masterful,” she continued. “It reminds me of David Archuleta in a way. You know that kind of voice that can do no wrong. It’s just so pure and it’s like it’s coming from heaven. And it just got better and better. Wow! You’re going place,” she added.

Volante was also all praises for 20-year-old Garett Bolden Jr., who sang Roselle Nava’s “Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita.”

“The thing that made your performance shine was that you did it flawlessly. Ang linis,” Volante said of the contestant from the Lyceum of Subic Bay SBMA.

The girls

Joselle Feliciano of the Ateneo de Manila University. Photo by GR Rodis

Initially, only six contestants were supposed to move on to the next round. But because of a tie, seven were selected to perform on the third performance night on October 23.

Among them is Paula Portillo, 24, who gave a restrained performance of the biritera favorite, “Bituing Walang Ningning.”

“When you belt, it’s not painful. It’s not matinis, it’s very warm,” said guest judge, composer and actor Vince de Jesus of the Mapua Insititue of Technology coed.

De Jesus also praised the vocal quality of 23-year-old April delos Santos of the University of the Philippines. “Ang ganda ng brilyo. It’s hard to explain but it’s very solid,” he told the contestant after she performed her version of “Ikaw.”

Lynly Lacdang of St. Scholastica’s College also left her mark on the audience with her version of Jessa Zaragoza’s “Kahit Ako’y Nag-iisa.”

“You have a very dark tone and I like dark tones, especially sa babae, kasi hindi siya predictable,” de Jesus told the 24-year-old. “

Early favorite Joselle Feliciano of the Ateneo de Manila University again wowed the crowd with her performance of Joey Albert’s “Memories.”

“Your singing style is a delight to the ears. I think everyone in the audience appreciated it. Your voice is like from a different era. You’re very different from everyone else in the competition and that’s always an edge,” Alejandro told the 21-year-old Atenean. “I would actually like to sit here in Salon de Ning and listen to you all night.”