Lea Salonga is overjoyed upon hearing that Esang de Torres will join Les Miserables in Singapore.
“Oh, you have no idea how proud I am of that child,” said the award-winning Broadway actress when asked about Esang's other Les Miserables stint.
The nine-year-old singer was part of the Manila run of Les Miserables as Little Cossette.
Prior to her audition, the former The Voice Kids finalist went to Lea's house for some final coaching.
“I asked her to come to the house and I coached her the day before the audition to tell her what she has to do, what she shouldn't do, and what they're gonna look for.
“Now, she's off and heading to Singapore to be part of that Asian tour production.
“It's a wonderful production, same here in Manila,” Coach Lea told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other reporters during a set visit of The Voice Kids.
She added, “I'm still flabbergasted and the production team said she's wonderfully talented, 'We love her. We love her in the company.'
“I was like, 'You have no idea how proud I am of that kid. She's really talented, really special.'”
SETTING THE STANDARDS HIGHER. Does having a trainee like Esang set higher standards for new The Voice Kids aspirants?
“I think, not so much that,” Lea replied.
“It's just a matter of timing and the needing of somebody like her.
“But as far as the standards, it's not just her. I mean, our top four were pretty crazy last season.
“We had Elha [Nympha], Reynan [Dal Anay], Sasa [Dagdag], and her.
“So, it's like where do we go from here. Me and Bamboo were looking at each other, 'We're picky. But picky for the right reasons.'
“We're turning for special kids, where we see immense potential for vast improvement.
“There are kids who are out of the womb who are already ready, and there are some that need a little bit more time.”
She also stressed, “The two winners were just single-chair-turner. For Elha, it was only Bamboo. And for Lyka [Gairanod], it's just Sarah [Geronimo].
“So the standards, it's pretty much the same.
“You gotta have something that we can absolutely work with and we have to see that you have the potential to be the champion of this competition.”