There had been a few hopefuls who made all three judges turn in the The Voice (of the Philippines) Kids blind auditions in previous editions but no one caught the fancy of viewers until 12-year-old Darren Espanto performed Domino by Jessie J last Sunday.
Pinoy singing sensation Darren Espanto is Philippine TV’s newest darling
Sarah Geronimo turned flashing I Want You after the first few lines and Bamboo did towards the end of the song. Lea Salonga must have been waiting for a spark in the boy’s voice that she did not turn.
Sarah and Bamboo literally courted Darren to be in their team. Asked by Bamboo if he already had gigs and where he is from because he heard something in his voice, Darren said he’s from Calgary, Alberta, Canada but 100% Filipino, came back to Manila just to audition for the show and, in fact, front acted for Bamboo in his concert there.
‘The Voice Kids’ judges: Lea Salonga, Bamboo and Sarah Geronimo
Got impressed belatedly, Lea told Sarah and Darren to dance together. The boy reprised a few verses of his audition song and the Broadway star commented he even sounded better this time. His dance moves had the whole venue clapping so hard. Those at home also clapped along and most said they see Darren as the winner.
Darren’s Facebook cover photo
Saying that his chosen coach can help him grow in the music industry, Sarah was so happy of the choice, saying that they will just enjoy together as Darren is already so good in singing, dancing, with strong stage presence and very goodlooking.
Immediately, social media – particularly Twitter and Facebook – was afire with Darren’s outstanding performance. #Darren became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter and the video of his audition posted by ABS-CBN generated 82,000 views in no time at all. It’s now nearing 200,000 views. The Facebook feed also generated the most Likes.
Click link to watch the video
Another hopeful that made an impact making all three judges turn was Arianna Ocampo with her rendition of Tattooed Heart.
Lea turned first, then Sarah. Arianna must have been waiting for Bamboo to turn because when the rock icon turned her focus was on him. It made Lea say, “Wala na, kay Bamboo na lang nakatingin (It’s all gone, she’s all eyes on Bamboo).”
Click link to watch clip
Darren’s Twitter followers grew from 3K to 13K in a matter of hours on Sunday, making him say it was impossible to follow everyone back.
Darren was the youngest of the Top 6 finalists in YTV’s ‘The Next Star’
Many of those new followers scrounged the Net to know more about this newest darling on Philippine TV:
- He started singing at age 2, taught by his father
- He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada but speaks Tagalog fluently
- He was Canada’s Pinoy Singing Sensation grand champion in 2011
- He auditioned for YTV’s The Next Star Season 5 with Bruno Mars’ Grenade at age 10 in 2012 impressing the two female judges but the lone male judge was not but got the golden ticket nevertheless
- He lists his musical influences as Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson
- He was the youngest among the Top 13 contestants
- He was the judges’ first selection for Top 6
- Vocal coach Jasmine wondered why he always chooses female singer songs over male singer songs and he said his voice is not deep enough and that he couldn’t hit low notes
- He performed Domino on the 7th episode of The Next Star. Although he did not win (it was Brooklyn) he still got an offer to record 5 song covers in Toronto
- His father Don and mother Marinel (nee Gonzales), originally from Isabela, are fully supportive of his singing career
- He has a little sister, Lynelle
- Hosts Luis Manzano and Alex Gonzaga
The Voice Kids is hosted by Luis Manzano and Alex Gonzaga, airing 6:45 p.m. Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. Sundays.
Photos from www.abs-cbn.com, Yahoo search and Darren’s Facebook page