The Voice PH – 1×09 – Blind Auditions Part 9 Recap Plus VIDEOS

Marissa Saroca, MJ Podolig, and Janice Javier try out for The Voice PH

It’s Week 5 of the Blind Auditions and honestly, it’s starting to get draggy. The audition phase has been stretched for too long that the whole aesthetic (if there is any) has thinned out too much. I can barely remember half of the artists who made it through to the Battle Rounds. This horrendously slow pacing is not only grating on my nerves but also my patience. An ideal Blind Auditions phase only lasts for three weeks. And here we are at our fifth week and still two more weeks to go. But anyway, let’s dive into tonight’s set of artists. Let’s begin with:

Sherin Ashtrid Hidayat, 18.
The Boyfriends’ “Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal” (Lea Salonga version)

She’s a big fan of one of our coaches. Who might it be? She’s in her 2nd year in college and played Kim in their school play adaptation of Miss Saigon. Hmm. It’s pretty clear which coach she’s idolizing at this point (Clue: it’s Lea). Oh. She’s singing a song that Lea did before. Pretty ballsy. Let’s see if it’s any good. Hmm. Nah. Her voice is huge (and so is her mouth), not in the sense that it’s overwhelmingly powerful but in a ‘bloated’ kind of way. She’s projecting each line too much that it sounds like an exaggerated operatic delivery. This is not to say she doesn’t have a great voice. She actually has a sweet voice reminiscent of Lea, but the delivery is too forced and too mechanical. Lea is thinking of pushing her button, but says “Patience is a virtue she possesses”. Not on so many occasions, Ms. L. Oopsie! Girl missed the key change and altogether lost any chance of a button push. Of course, Lea heard it and internally thanking the fact that she waited for her to mess up, which was bound to happen from the get-go. None of the coaches turned. Apl says “[she needs] more experience and more practice”. Bamboo pretty much says the same thing as Apl. Lea says (almost narcissistically but not really) that there is an “influence of [Lea’s] voice in hers” but that she needs to find her own voice. She needs to widen her musical knowledge, Lea hints. Slow-mo? Really. When are we getting over that silly editing? Meh. || GRADE: C

Marissa Saroca, 29.
Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love

She’s from Australia. Her father’s Filipino and her mother’s Australian. She’s a full-time musician back in Australia. She sings in a band, in weddings, functions, recording for different artists and of course, her own original music. She joined The Voice to continue her career in music and learn about the Filipino culture at the same time. She’s beginning the song in a slower tempo, probably ramping up to break out into a more dance-y vibe. Her voice is okay. It’s not bad, but not particularly great either. I mean it’s powerful, but not very contained. And with me, it always has to be: ‘with great power, should come controllability‘. Her vocal runs are kind of a 50/50 shot. Some of it are a hit, some of them a miss. Inconsistent is the term. She hits 7-8 out of 10 notes. I don’t know. I’m not completely sold. That quick high note she nailed made Lea push her button. After that, some more wobbles along the way. Oooh! That run is fantastic. She kinda redeemed herself in the last minute. But Lea has her for herself alone. A very Aussie add to #TeamLea. Bamboo says her voice is powerful, but… But what? Apl enjoyed it but it’s not what he’s looking for at the moment, as with several other moments before. I never really understood what it is that Apl is looking for. His picks are too sporadic to really find a pattern. Sarah borrows one of Lea’s famous quips, “libog”, to point out that girl’s performance lacked that certain “libog” in her vocals. Lea points out the wobbles in her performance. She admits she found the “beginning a little bit rough”. She says she can help her a lot in those specific gray areas. There’s a bit of a duet happening, but I decline on commenting. LOL!” || GRADE: C+

More half-bloods try to audition but unlike Marissa, they failed to make a team. Here’s a girl who grew up in England, Marianne Kilroy, muttering a flat-filled version of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” all to herself, like a baby mumbling in her sleep. We also have a New Jersey girl, Tori Ingram, uncontrollably moaning the heck out of Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been“. She took it to a horribly deep place, forever out of sight and which I’m forcibly plucking out of my mind. Creepy.

John Philip Duka, 28.
One Republic’s “Secrets

Hello Silhouette McCrap. We meet again. By now, my annoyance with you has subsided, but I still hate you. Anyway, John is currently working as a radio DJ and as well as singing in a band in Davao. Of course, the V-reporters had to make him do something of utmost irrelevance to this show. Just stay back, Robi and Alex. I don’t need any of your grating antics. He starts singing and I can barely hear him. I’m not sure if the band is amplified too or his voice is just an inaudible mess. Oh, finally I can hear him. His voice has a bit of grit. He’s mostly in tune, except when he goes down to his lower register. Ouch, was that a missed transition or just a weird dismantling of the song? Either way, the performance is a little middle of the road. Bamboo pushes his button (on the part where he’s ahead of the beat?). I’m stumped but I guess he liked the barely noticeable rasp in his voice. Apl pushes his button (on the part where he hit an apparent flat?!) Now I’m confused. They’re turning around at the exact moments where they should be discouraged to push their buttons. Baffling. He continues singing, and my opinion still isn’t changing. I’m glad Lea’s agreeing with what I’m hearing. The look on her face speaks so loud. As he ended his song, it’s becoming transparent how shaky his voice gets when he finishes a phrase. Nevertheless, Bamboo and Apl will be fighting over him. Lea says there were “intonation problems” and “pitch problems” and that he can’t reach certain notes. Exactamente! Sarah says she didn’t turn around because she feels Bamboo is the right fit for him. Apl is not happy. LOL! Apl says “[he] enjoyed his performance” and although his genre is hip hop and RnB, he feels he can “bring in something unique for [him]”. Bamboo cuts in and says the genre of the song that he sang is in his wheelhouse. And because of that, he feels he can help him “every step of the way”. Apl snarks back and says he needs to try something different, sometimes “[he] needs to get out of the house”. Nice strike Apl. It’s time for John to choose. He starts out saying he’s a fan of Apl and Black Eyed Peas. Uh-oh. This feels like a bad news for Apl. And it is. He chooses to be part of #TeamBamboo. Not a very impressive addition to Camp Kawayan, but maybe, just maybe, Bamboo can help him iron out the wrinkles in his vocals. || GRADE: C+

Mel John “MJ” Podolig, 34.
Florante’s “Handog

He’s a solo performer in bars. He answers the worn-out query to every artists in this show and says “the hardest thing he overcame” is when he had to leave home to complete his four-year college course. He’s a student by day and a singer by night. He joined the show hoping for his voice to be heard by the world. His voice is a bit interesting. His phrasing is good although a little bit whiny at certain spots. He has great control over his runs and that makes Lea push her button. His arrangement feels a little bit over-embellished at times, but the overall feel of the performance is pleasant. Ooh, that falsetto feels good. The arrangement is well-thought out actually. The problem is that it feels too manic as opposed to being spontaneous, which is not necessarily a big drawback, but still a weakness he should start working on. Bamboo and Apl almost pushed their buttons, but hesitates. With that, MJ automatically becomes part of #TeamLea. Sarah says he deserves to be on the show. Bamboo can relate with MJ’s connection with his guitar. Lea is confused why the other coaches didn’t turn their chairs. She says she heard Nora Aunor (huh?) in her voice. His performance of is the “most soulful and heartfelt version of Handog” that Lea has ever heard in her life. Wow. She must’ve really liked the performance. I wonder if he turns out to be one of the surprises this season. || GRADE: B-

Genesis Butil, 25.
Craeons’ “Grabe

She’s a student and works part-time in their city hall. She also sings in their city government band, and I wonder how that sort of thing works. She was offered a job as a professional singer abroad, but turns out it’s bogus. She’s trying to rock out this song, and although her voice is powerful enough to do so, it’s not as controlled as it should be. It actually sounds like she’s shouting the entire song to my face rather than singing it. And even more troubling is that she’s hitting a lot of bum notes. The growls she’s trying to infuse within the song sounds too forced. Plus, she doesn’t let the song breathe. At all. It was like an unending series of jabs and the song is already crying “J’enough!“. She needs to learn when to rein in her vocals and when to amplify it. Take a few lessons in Dynamics 101, and come back a better vocalist. None of the coaches turned around. Sarah appreciates the powerful vocals and the growling, but says there should be “more to it”  for her to fit in rock music. She adds that she’s not holding on the ends of her phrases that well. Bamboo says she’s in “fourth gear” the entire length of the performance. He says he’s waiting to hear her tone. Lea says it’s unpleasant hearing an arrangement that stays on the same register all throughout. Dynamics is what she’s looking for, in simpler terms. Apl felt the energy in the performance but says she should have picked a different song. Sarah tells her to continue pursuing her dreams. || GRADE: C

Ooh, another slideshow of failed auditions flashes on the screen. This time, we witness Christian Bautista’s cousin Jennifer Bautista try to break into the Philippine music industry by half-singing half-shouting Alicia Keys worn-out hit “If I Ain’t Got You“. She’s nailing a lot of her higher register and sings half of the song in Spanish (I guess), so I’m not sure why not a single coach turned around when there have been more awful performers that have made it through. Curious. Anyway, here’s Its Saludo breathlessly screeching her way through Mariah Carey’s “Vision Of Love“, leaving the song wounded and incapable of replenishing.

Janice Javier, 38. 
Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

She’s a professional singer who tried out her luck in Bangkok, Thailand.  She’s in a live band with mostly Thais in it. Her father is also a musician and says he is one of her biggest musical influences. Although she found success in the neighboring Asian country, she still wants to be known in her own land and The Voice is the avenue she chose to do just that. She thinks the show is the most appropriate venue for someone like her who has a lot of insecurities in what they look like, her words. “I’m not here to conquer the world, I’m just here to show that I’m worth it na panoorin, na pakinggan”, she says. Damn! One note and I have goosebumps all over my body. Wow. She’s doing Queen Aretha’s song with a whole lot of justice. And Apl is as excited as I am pushing his button mere seconds into the performance. It didn’t take long for Bamboo to feel the same, and turns his goddamn red chair. Her voice is powerful and finally f*cking controlled. Lea pushes her button too. This is easily a four-chair turn. The phrasing is wonderful. The coaches are on their feet and they should be. She’s attacking the song aggressively but still let’s it breathe. And what’s more, she’s doing this effortlessly. She’s into the song, she feels it, she breathes it, she effin’ crushes it. The coaches are freaking out. That was outstanding. She took the time with the song, and when it’s time to let it all out, she slays it with her full-blast vocals. Sarah says she “sounds like a black woman”, to which Apl, of course, responds to saying it’s the reason why she needs to be in his team. Sarah adds she’s a “seasoned performer”. Oh, her dad’s one of the third gen Hotdog. Sarah tries to critique her adlibs, but the coaches cut her almost immediately. Let her speak! I might actually agree. A few of her runs felt a little bit. Just a tiny little bit. Bamboo says she’s the real deal. He tells her if he’s on his team, she won’t need to go back to Bangkok. Apl says the performance was a “slam dunk” (to near perfection, might I add). He says there’s so much to do, not working on her vocals, but making her known internationally. Uh-oh other coaches. Apl is pulling out ‘that’ card, and he’s throwing it really well. Lea says “[she] blew [Lea] away”. The performance was perfection, she adds. Lea goes on to say “[she] won’t change anything about [her]”. After all the banter has subsided (or not), Janice has to choose. But before doing so, she says she’s hoping that whoever she picks will stick with her and prove she can win the whole thing. Oh dearie, you have a HUGE chance of winning the entire enchilada. Finally, she decides to be part of #TeamApl. Wow, Apl wins another 4-chair turn. The named coach is all kinds of excited and attempts lifting the massive power belter. Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we just found another real threat to the Voice trophy! || GRADE: A+

And that ends the 9th (wow) night of the Blind Auditions! We found someone worth noting for tonight,  and she is Janice Javier. With a powerful and controlled vocals, it’s almost impossible to get it wrong with her. But one scenario might not play out too great, it might be her downfall: the tendency to give her old and tired power ballads under the What-Not-To-Sing songbook (e.g “I Will Always Love You” and “I Have Nothing“). Although she can pull this off, she needs to stay away from building that kind of repertoire. Being old-fashioned and irrelevant will only get you so far. She needs to make she picks the right song at the right time. She needs to be unpredictable as I have a horrible feeling Apl might give her songs that people will expect her to sing. Stay away from that, for the love of God.

So far, here’s where the teams stand:

#TeamBamboo: 10
#TeamSarah: 8
#TeamLea: 9
#TeamApl: 9


What do you think of tonight’s Blind Auditions? Are you getting tired of the slow pace of the audition phase? Is Janice Javier the one to beat? Sound off in the comments section below. Also, don’t forget to share you voice and take the polls below!

About The Author

Raven is a highly opinionated Computer Management and Accountancy graduate from *bleep*. Yes. I bleeped that out on purpose. But if you want to learn more about him, go ahead and visit his profile and/or his Twitter account, not necessarily in that order.


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