"It gets tougher every season.”
Ganito kung ilarawan ni Coach Lea Salonga ang kanyang experience sa The Voice Kids at maging sa regular season din nito for adults.
“I mean if you look at season 1 of the regular season and then 1 of the kids and then 2 of the regular season and now we're here… it’s like it goes like a blur but when we’re in the middle of things it feels like it’s just going on forever,” pahayag niya sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at iba pang miyembro ng media sa presscon para sa TOP 6 ng The Voice Kids na ginanap sa Cocoon Hotel, Sct. Tobias, Quezon City noong August 19.
“And then we listen to so many people. And then there’s these people that makes us turn when we hear potential singers during the blind auditions.
“So it’s like… in every turn going to the Top 6, it’s like we’re kind of guided by not just their talents but their sensibility. And what we think they would be able to be in the future.
“And it’s tough. It’s tough.
“It’s very tough on everybody. It’s tough on all of the kids, it’s tough on us.
“And getting to choose for example in the battle ground or in the Sing-Off is extremely difficult. And there’s nothing that comes easy because everybody gives their best for the competition.
“And it becomes a very big goal for us what selection we could make.”
Kahit na “very stiff” ang competition among the kids, sa isang banda raw ay masaya naman daw sila sa show.
Lahad niya, “We have a lot of fun. In fairness, we do.”
GETTING TO KNOW HER PROTEGES. Lea got the chance to go out and spend time kasama ang dalawang proteges niya para sa Team Lea na sina Reynan Del-anay at Esang De Torres.
Kuwento niya, “I got to visit Esang sa bahay niya. And I took this young man [Reynan] to Kidzania.
“So… visiting Esang, parang she’s equal part a child and an old woman. It’s a funny thing about her, e.
“Kasi when I coach her, she’s very focused. Focused on me, looks at me in the eye.
“When I tell her, 'You got to memorize this,' by the time I see her again it’s done. If I assign her homework, she’s done.
“It’s done. I know that it will get done.
“I visit her at home, she takes me to the bedroom where she has four dolls. And then she shows me how each work.
“Na… 'This is how I feed this one.' And there’s one that she even named Lea which made me laugh.
“I see how the family interacts with one another. That music is very prevalent in the household.
“There’s a piano, there’s a guitar. Laging may kantahan, laging may jamming.
“So this young girl is constantly surrounded with music. It’s something that I can relate to ‘coz I’ve always been surrounded by it even if I was a young kid.
“So parang… seeing her and getting to know her family, I get a better idea of the kind of person that she is. That she’s very makulit.
“Uhm… that’s when the kid comes out. And that’s when I realized… 'Oh, she’s not a 15, she’s actually 8!'” sabay tawa ni Lea.
“With Reynan naman, what you see onstage is pretty much what you get. And there is a maturity.
“Because I mean… the kind of life that he lives doon sa… as a member of the Manobo tribe. There’s a lot of hard work, there’s a lot of body-breaking work, and he has to do his share.
“And there’s a maturity to him because of the responsibility. But what we unleashed him in Kidzania, lumabas yung pagkabata niya na… your only responsibility right now is to have fun.
“And he did. And he got to… quite a lot on that day.
“Because he has very specific dream. He wants to bring formal education back to the tribe.
“So ayan… punta ka sa Centro Escolar University for however long that you can stay.
“And then he wants to be a nurse so we took him also to the hospital. And I think he’s also interested in being a pilot so… go!
“So he got to experience these things for the first time.”
PREPARATIONS. Paano niya inihahanda sina Reynan at Esang sa darating na semi-finals at sa grand finals kung papalaring makapasok ang mga ito sa Top 4?
Ayon kay Lea, “As for me, isa lang naman ang magagawa namin bilang mga coach, e.
“I-coach sila na lahat ng mga magiging performance nila ay pulido at sila ay handing-handa na sa pagharap sa audience doon sa Resorts World [na venue ng competition] at saka sa mga manonood din sa TV.
“Ang nakakatakot kasi which makes The Voice regular season different form The Voice Kids is… wala na kasi kaming impluwensiya do’n sa magiging resulta ng pagboto.
“It’s all public voting. It’s all text votes.
“We don’t have a say. Wala kaming puwedeng i-save to get to the next round.
“So really it’s the voice of the people at this point. So the only thing we can do is to prepare them as best as we can.
“Make sure that we pick good songs. And the picking is always a collaboration na we pick the best song for the kids.
“Na… tama sa abilidad nila. Tama din sa edad nila.
“And just… cross our fingers. Pray.”
CHOICE OF SONGS. Paano siya namili ng songs na kakantahin ng kids?
“The kids will submit the list to us what they would like to sing. And the I have to look at it.
“Minsan it’s from 10 to 15 songs. And so I’m looking.
“And my style is like this… not appropriate, too old, okay this one I like. Until I get the list.
“And then from that short list of maybe two or three, that’s when I start to pick. And this is in the presence of our executive producer and the writers.
“So it’s not just me. It’s a full team effort picking out just the right song,” paliwanag niya.
SHARING THEIR LIFE STORIES. Bukod sa talent sa pagkanta, ibinahagi rin ng mga contenders ng The Voice Kids ang kuwento ng kani-kanilang buhay. Pero para kay Lea, hindi raw ito para lang sa purpose of gaining public sympathy and more support from the text voters na siyang may power magdesisyon kung sino ang mananalo.
Pahayag pa niya, “The story is important but not to the point of emotional manipulation of the audience. It has to supplement the talent.
“It has to be talent first. Because that’s how we got them in the first place.
“Yung kuwento nila, parang nagiging supplementary na it help the audience get to know who they are as human beings aside from who they are as artists.
“And as a viewer, I don’t feel na… 'You are toying with my emotions rights now.' I still impose on that talent because at the end of the day it’s still talent.”
Kung may mga natutunan daw ang mga bata sa kanilang tatlo nina Sarah at Bamboo as their coaches, may mga natutunan din daw sila sa mga ito.
“You discover how much motivation you actually have. Really.
“And here’s the irony of doing the regular season versus kids. I find that I require more patience with the adults which is weird.
“I’ll speak for Reynan and Esang because I don’t know what happens with the coaching sessions of the others.
“When these two walk in, they know what they’re doing. And the adjustments I have to make are slim to none… very, very slight.
“The funny thing… kids are easy to mold. They’re so easy to teach and they’re so open to suggestions.
“Which is wonderful. Which makes doing The Voice Kids such a pleasure for us.
“And when we have grown-ups in front of us with their emotional baggage and stubborn habits, trying to undo all of that, it’s very, very difficult.”
ON LUIS AND ROBI'S HOSTING STYLES. Nakaaaliw at nakakatawa ang banter nilang tatlong coaches at maging sa hosts ng show na sina Luis Manzano at Robi Domingo. Nag-uusap ba sila tungkol dito dahil kung minsan ay may mga props pa silang inilalabas?
“A lot of the banter that you see, a lot of it is unscripted. Spontaneous.
“Whatever comes out of Luis has nothing to do with giving the rules or… Meron din talagang mga nakasulat.
“But when he [Luis] host kasi, there’s a certain degree of unpredictability na minsan hindi mo alam kung ano ang sasabihin na patawa.
“But it works. It comes out organically.
“Parang… nobody tells him na ito ang dapat na joke mo o patawa mo. If it lands, great.
“If it doesn’t land, to some degree it’s still funny.
“And as of the props, as of the stuff that we bring out… that is per team. And within each team kasi we have a staff of writers… like I have three.
“And we brainstorm. And we all start thinking… 'Okay, ano yung puwede nating ibato na props or ano ang puwede nating ipakita para ikumbinsi yung mga bata na mapunta sa mga team natin?'
“And I’ll bring something out… like I brought out a story book and I was successful. And another kid, I brought out a bench… I brushed her hair, I did not win her.
“So… iba-iba. And it’s hit and miss.
“But regardless of the result, ang saya lang. Masaya lang siyang gawin.
“We do it because we know that the TV audience will have fun. And we know we’re gonna have a good time doing it.
“Regardless of kung saan man mapunta yung bata. Kung saang team man,” panghuling nasabi ni Lea.