GMA-7's star-studded singing competition, Celebrity Duets 2, announced a non-elimination night last Saturday, September 20, after the remaining six celebrity contenders performed their respective productions numbers with a bang. Duets host Ogie Alcasid carried the suspense over to next week when eliminations will once again take on the musical stage.
These six contestants who are still in the running to become the second Duets champ are Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando, beauty queen Carlene Aguilar, celebrity chef JL Cang, fashion designer JC Buendia, soccer player Phil Younghusband, and comedian and host Joey Marquez.
But prior to the sighs of relief brought about by Ogie's suspenseful announcement by the end of the show, the six celebrity contestants performed their numbers—each equipped with their own musical flavor.
First was crowd favorite Bayani Fernando, who opened the show with comedian John "Sweet" Lapus. The MMDA chairman sang Barry Manilow's "Copacabana."
"Nung una, medyo okay yung pagkanta, tsaka yung choreo, tsaka yung galaw," remarked musical director and Duets judge Danny Tan. "Yung facial expressions talagang enjoy na enjoy ka sa ginawa mo, at nagugustuhan mo ang ginagawa mo. Kaya lang habang tumatagal yung choreo, naliligaw na ng konti. So medyo konting pino pa sa choreo. Ayusin ng husto."
Bayani took the judge's advice to heart and replied, "Pagbubutihin ko pa next time."
Unlike Danny, lone female judge and season one grand winner Tessa Prieto Valdes liked Bayani's number. "Ang cute ng costume mo and ni Sweet," she remarked, praising Bayani's white trousers matched with a colourful Spanish-inspired top. Sweet, on the other hand wore an equally colourful outfit to complement his ka-duet. "Pero okay na rin yung singing introduction, I love it!" Tessa exclaimed.
"Ang comment ko ay para kay Mayora [Bayani's wife]," countered stage director and judge Freddie Santos. "Inakala niyo bang mangyayari ito sa inyong asawa?" the judge asked the Marikina mayor. "Pero ang saya-saya. What a great way to open!"
Next was celebrity chef JL Cang, who sang with 6CycleMind frontman Ney Dimaculangan. They performed VST & Company's "Iskul Bukol" in matching high school uniforms—a very apt way to interpret the song.
Tessa admitted that this is JL's best performance so far. "[You're not] looking at the floor anymore, you're smiling, you're having fun, and may rapport ka na sa ka-duet mo. Galing!" she said.
"Hindi ka lang pumasa, honor roll ka pa!" exclaimed Direk Freddie, giving JL a grade of 92. Danny Tan agreed and gave the chef a 91.9. "Yan ang song na bagay sa'yo. Tsaka nag-effort ka ngayong mag-bihis," he told the chef.
Comedian and host Joey Marquez followed, singing homegrown ballad "Friend of Mine" with R&B Princess Kyla.
Direk Freddie liked Joey's slow take this time around. "Kwela doon kay Keempee, kwela kay Richard," he recalled, "Eto, grabe Joey, mapapa-oo mo ako."
But Danny wasn't impressed. "Medyo shaky ang vocals niya ngayon compared to previous weeks. Baka na-intimidate siya sa ganda ng boses ni Kyla ngayong gabi," he speculated.
"Last season, I sang twice with Kyla," Tessa shared. "She's my favorite. Pero never ballad...di ko kaya ang ballad," the Sea Princess admitted. "Pero kayang-kaya mo ang ballad," she told Joey. "Awesome singing. I like it."
Soccer heartthrob Phil Younghusband took the stage next with a sexy rendition of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred. He performed with Viva Hot Babe Sheree, who wore a black sexy mini-dress.
"You were too conscious about projection, so you forgot the singing," Maestro Danny told Phil. "I thought you were mumbling, and I couldn't understand a word," he said.
Freddie, whose comments do not always seem to mesh with Danny's, agreed with the musical director this time around. "Looking at it from a 20-20 viewpoint, ang weird talaga nung number na ‘yun. It's really weird. It's a tumabingi again, ‘e," he said.
Phil, however, defended himself and said, "I wanted to bring something different."
But Tessa was still in the mood to give praises, especially with Phil's ultra-hot outfit. "If you take off your shirt all the way, I'm gonna make sure these people will say something nice next time. Take it off!" she joked, to which Phil complied.
Fashion designer JC Buendia opted for a feel-good song last week. He sang "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" with GMA-7 talent Yasmien Kurdi. Before the performance, the designer shared that even ex-president Cory Aquino showed her support for JC, whose past performances were also seen by his regular client, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
With his white outfit, a Japanese-inspired bike and a cute melody for a song, JC was able to impress the Sea Princess Tessa. "At least you're not shouting anymore. The last time, talagang nang-gigigil yung voice mo. Cute song," she complimented JC.
"Dahil kay JC, nagkakasama si Cory at si GMA," remarked Freddie. "Para kang United Nations," he told the designer. "[Pero] hanggang doon nalang yung comment. Idadaan ko nalang sa ngiti, kasi nahirapan talaga ako dun sa kantang ‘yun. It didn't make me feel good," shared Direk Freddie, although he commended the wonderful production that JC whipped up. "Maganda," he said.
"Nage-enjoy akong panoorin si JC kasi palagi siyang naka-smile," said Danny. "So pati ako nagsa-smile na rin. Tama si Tessa, ‘pag hindi ka masyadong nang-gigigil, hindi ka nag-sha-sharp. So mas malinis ang pag-kanta mo ngayon compared to the previous weeks."
Last to perform was the lone rose among the thorns, beauty queen Carlene Aguilar. The Bb. Pilipinas-World title holder sang an Aegis belter, "Halik" with the legendary Dulce.
"Drum roll, please," started Direk Freddie. "And the winner of the Most Bonggacious Rocker Chick...Carlene!" he continued, referring to Carlene's rock-inspired costume comprised of a tight pair of black leather pants and a midrib leather top.
"Hindi ako nag-a-agree kay Freddie," said Danny. "Feeling ko parang hindi bagay kay Carlene maging rock singer. Kasi yung boses niya hindi masyadong makapal. Mas gusto ko pag yung kumakanta siya, mga Shakira, yung sexy na may sexy moves," he explained. "[Pero] may confidence siya."
"Ikaw lang ang pwedeng gumawa ng kanta na may kasamang ganyan-ganyan," Tessa told Carlene. "You better last ‘til the end. Rock hard, baby!"
Since it was a non-elimination night, the votes last week will be carried over to the next episode wherein the hosts will announce the name of the eliminated contestant. Find out next Saturday, September 28, on Celebrity Duets 2 after Pinoy Records on GMA-7.