The Pinoy Idol stage was filled with the relaxing tunes of the classics last week as the country's premiere balladeer Basil Valdez mentored the reality singing competition's Top Six contestants. The remaining Idol finalists rendered their own interpretations of songs popularized by the legendary music icon, and received professional advice from Basil as well as from Pinoy Idol's very own judging panel—Ogie Alcasid, Jolina Magdangal, Wyngard Tracy.
First on the Idol stage was 21-year old Jayann Bautista who sang "You"-the lone English song for the night. During a one-on-one rehearsal with Basil, she was given pointers on how to improve her performance—advice that she clearly took to heart.
"Maganda nga na you took my word sa first stanza," praised Basil after her performance, referring to his advice on giving extra attention on the first few parts of the song. "Natumbok mo yung notes," he added.
Wyngard seemed to have the same opinion and remarked, "I liked the version. Medyo mababa lang ng onti yung pitch, pero I liked it very much. Ibang-iba. Not the usual version that Mr. Valdez did."
Both Ogie and Jolina, however, thought that there were too much vocal stylings going on. "Dahil nilagyan mo pa ng mga style, parang gumulo lang sa akin ng konti," observed Jolina. Ogie agreed and added, "It started really good. Smooth...and then, kung ano-ano na ginagawa mo," he told Jayann. "Jolina's right," he pointed out. "You should've sung it simply, but from your heart."
Kid Camaya interpreted "Paano Ba Ang Mangarap," a song which the 24-year-old Idol hopeful admitted to have memorized by heart along with other Basil Valdez classics. During rehearsals, Kid was surprised to have been applauded by the music legend himself.
After his performance, all four judges were impressed. "Alam ko na ang dahilan bakit ka pinalakpakan ni Mr. Basil Valdez," observed Wyngard. "That was very, very good." Jolina agreed and added, "Alam mo yung kanta na yan, sobra-sobrang ganda. Pero nung kinanta mo, mas lalo siyang gumanda."
"Ang gusto ko sa 'yo ngayon, nakikita ko lumalaban ka na, e," praised Ogie. "At kumakanta ka na. I have to disagree with Wyngard. I don't think it was just good. I think it was excellent."
As for Basil's comment? "Kaya kita pinalakpakan, talagang mahusay ka," he told Kid.
Pinoy Idol's resident rocker Ram Chaves opted to take a different route this time and sang a reggae-inspired version of "Ngayon at Kailanman." He dedicated the song to his wife and to his Dubai-based father, both of whom were seated in the audience.
Basil liked Ram's interpretation and thought that the rocker's happy reggae approach was very different from all the other recorded versions. "I recorded that song 31 years ago," Basil recalled. "Pero yung [version mo], kakaiba kasi gumaan ‘yung kanta. Nag-enjoy ako."
Like Kid's performance, Ram's performance was also lauded by the three judges who praised the Cagayan de Oro local for injecting a lively energy into the performance.
"Pero next time na mag-perform ka at gawin mo yung song na yun, siguraduhin mo lang na kinakantahan mo rin yung mga nagbayad. ‘Wag lang asawa mo," Wyngard advised. "But that was very good," he added.
Twenty-year-old Gretchen Espina interpreted "Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan." Gretchen clearly sang the song with much heart, and was teary-eyed after her performance.
Ogie lauded her interpretation and said, "I think you're showing maturity in your singing. Ang ganda-ganda. I really liked it. Ngayon hindi na magalaw yung mga kamay mo. I'm so proud of you. That was really well done."
Jolina also praised Gretchen by pointing out the singer's emphasis on the emotional parts of the song. "Nagustuhan ko doon, mga bitaw mo na...yung pagkaka-diin mo sa ibang words na dapat talaga dinidiinan dahil ‘yun ‘yung emotional doon sa kanta na ‘yun. Maganda yung pagkaka-bitaw mo. Very good!"
Even Wyngard, who always seems very hard to please, was impressed. "That was very good. Basta lagi mo lang aalalayan or aalagaan yung papaano mag-teterno yung pagkanta mo at pag-arte. Pero it's okay, you're getting there. Very good."
Basil's comment clinched the night for Gretchen. "Sa akin, it's all right to get carried away sa mga ganyang awitin. Maramdamin yang kantang yan. Bagay sa'yo. Pero congratulations, okay ang interpretation mo."
The 21-year old Daryl Celis sang "Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan" but unlike previous weeks, he seemed to get mixed comments this week.
"Mas kinilig ako last week," remarked Jolina. "Pero hindi pangit yung ginawa mo. Maganda rin ‘yang ginawa mo. ‘Mas nagandahan lang ako ‘yung last week mo na performance.
After praising Daryl for showing emotion and being emphatic in his singing, Ogie also shared his advice for the Idol hopeful. "For you to stay in this contest, you really need to brush up on your singing. Tamaan mo yung mga nota mo lagi. Sana maka-abot ha, sana makahabol ka pa."
Wyngard admitted that the song was a hard piece to sing, and congratulated Daryl for being able to pull it through. "Hindi mo ginaya si Mr. Basil Valdez. You've been very consistent lately. I-improve mo pa at pagpatuloy mo lang."
"Ganun nga, mahirap talaga yung kanta," agreed Basil. "Dahil napaka-simple niya, mahirap. Pero nagawan mo ng sarili mong [version]," he told Daryl. "Ingat lang ng onti," he advised.
The twenty-five-year-old Warren Antig received some of the harshest comments given out that evening. He sang "Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo," a performance that garnered criticisms from the panel.
"I think this is your most nervous performance," observed Ogie. "Nagkawatak-watak lahat ng nota. You were really out of tune. I don't know what you did to that classic," he said gloomily. "Nahirapan ako doon. I really had a hard time listening to you."
"Yung umpisa, natuwa ako kasi naririnig kita, e. Yung style na gusto mo, yung paos, lahat nandoon, yung rocker," Jolina pointed out. "Pero nung tumatagal na, nawawala na. Ayokong isipin na baka hindi mo lang naririnig yung sarili mo. Pero ‘yun ‘yung narinig ko. Nawala na sa tono totally."
Wyngard seemed to agree with his fellow judges and told Warren, "Maging handa ka because mukhang ito magiging dahilan para matanggal ka bukas," he predicted. "Pinaka-hindi magandang performance na ginawa mo ito. Sinira mo yung song. Parang hindi mo pinag-aralan at hindi mo naiintindihan ang lyrics nung kanta. If you get voted out tomorrow, wala kang dapat sisihin kundi ang sarili mo," he said frankly.
"Nakakalungkot lang," added Basil.
During the results night, Warren Antig, indeed, got voted out of the competition just as Wyngard predicted.
Next week, the pressure mounts as it was revealed that two of the remaining five contestants—Ram Chaves, Gretchen Espina, Kid Camaya, Jayann Baustista, and Daryl Celis—will be eliminated.
Pinoy Idol host Raymond Gutierrez also announced that on August 17, the remaining Top 3 contestants will have to go head-to-head in pursuit of the first Pinoy Idol title. This shall serve as the Finals Night for the show.
Don't miss the upcoming episodes—Saturday for the performances and Sunday for the results—as the remaining Top 5 finalists showcase their Greatest Idol Performances with their very own song choices and arrangements.
Catch Pinoy Idol after Pinoy Records on Saturdays, and Kap's Amazing Stories on Sundays, only on GMA-7.