After a non-elimination night held last September 20, the excitement and pressure went on as Celebrity Duets 2's Sensational Six who were all dreading the time when one of them would get the boot. Last week, the six remaining contestants—comedian Joey Marquez, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando, beauty queen Carlene Aguilar, celebrity chef JL Cang, soccer player Phil Younghusband, and fashion designer JC Buendia—gave their all in exciting performances worthy of the concert stage.
But as in the true nature of reality singing competitions, farewells always have to be said. And this week, it was chef JL Cang who bid goodbye to the show. Joining him in the bottom group last week were Joey Marquez and Phil Younghusband.
However, prior to the dreaded announcement of the next casualty, the Sensational Six first rendered their respective performances. First was Bb. Pilipinas-World title holder Carlene Aguilar, who followed the judges' advice weeks before and opted once again for a daring number. Carlene wore a sexy sequined dress as she sang and danced with duet partner, Karylle. They sang Beyonce and Shakira's popular duet, "Beautiful Liar."
Carlene, who has to deal with the pressure of being the only girl left in the show, received good comments from this season's panel of judges: musical director Danny Tan, stage director Freddie Santos, and season one grand winner Tessa Prieto-Valdes.
"Carlene, this is one of your best performances," praised Danny Tan. "What I liked was the fact na habang nagso-solo si Karylle, nasa character ka pa rin. Iwasan mo lang tumingin sa floor madalas," he advised. "Mas mag-connect ka pa sa audience...[you were] very good."
"Girl, you are so hot there right now! You're like ready for the championship!" Tessa exclaimed. "I'm gonna look at you, and I'm gonna see you in the end. This is the best yet...like Danny said. Awesome. A little less clothes, kailangan pa," she laughed.
"Hindi lang yun one of the best duets," Freddie Santos told the beauty queen. "The whole number was one of the best numbers we have had on this show."
JC Buendia went next with a duet partner he described as "super big sa concert scene." Joining him was Side A frontman Joey Generoso, with whom he sang "Tuloy Pa Rin Ako." For his props, JC used a motorbike yesterday, September 27, as opposed to a simple bicycle last week.
"Your voice, doesn't seem like you're nervous na," observed Tessa. "Nag-e-enjoy ka na diyan. And Joey G. is like my favorite. He sang with me in my finals and he's lucky for me," she recalled. "I hope he's gonna be lucky for you also."
But Freddie Santos wasn't as convinced as Tessa. "Bitin lang ako sa duet," he said. "Alam mo JC, tulad nung sinabi ni Tessa, nagre-relax ka na, ‘e. ‘Wag kang matakot lumapit dun sa ka-duet mo, kasi ang layo ninyong dalawa talaga. But otherwise, you're getting more confident...more relaxed. Good for you," he added.
"Yung umpisa mo, medyo nine-nerbyos ka. Medyo shaky," remarked Danny. "But the energy was there."
Next was comedian Joey Marquez singing Hagibis' "Katawan" with his duet partner, the legendary Mike Hanopol. This time, Joey went for the Southern look and wore a checkered polo complemented by a cowboy hat.
"Na-distract ka nga, kasi nakalimutan mo yung lyrics," said Danny, referring to the sexy back-up dancers in the background. "Nakatigin ka dun sa mga sexy, ‘e," he laughed, "pero nakabawi ka. Tsaka yung rapport mo with your ka-duet, always maganda."
"Grabe yung combination ng boses ninyo," Tessa told Joey. "Machong-macho. I love the production. And you know, Celebrity Duets is really singing and performance. Awesome."
But Freddie Santos was once again laden with not-so-good comments. "Di ko kasi maintindihan yung octave difference nila, ‘e," he said, referring to Mike's high notes and Joey's low ones. "Pag sinabay mo, medyo weird."
Crowd favorite Bayani Fernando described his performance as "a little tame because I'll be singing a very serious number...medyo operatic ng onti." Along with flowers strewn across the floor and a petal-embellished swing in the background, he sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow" with Sugar Pop's Julie Ann.
"Medyo maraming maling u-turn," said Danny. "Nawawala sa tiyempo, ‘e. Pero what's so nice with this number is yung range and quality ng boses mo, lumabas ng maganda. And then, this is the first time sa show na mag nag-duet na magkaiba ng tono, at nasa tono, at magka-sabay. Very good."
"I know how the feeling is," empathized Tessa. "I could see your voice coach here getting mad at you kasi mali yung timing mo. At least in the end, you reached that high note," she consoled.
"Kasalanan ng banda," agreed Freddie, after Bayani jokingly attributed his wrong timing to the band.
Next was soccer heartthrob Phil Younghusband who sang The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" with the equally handsome Dr. Hayden Kho. The two used motorbikes as props and wore matching biker jackets and dark aviator shades.
"The two of you together...the two hunks of my life," Tessa said dreamily. "Vicky, you gotta share," she joked, as she referred to celebrity doctor and Hayden's sweetheart Vicky Belo, who was seated in the audience to witness the performance. The singing was pretty okay," she added.
"It was better than I thought it would be," complimented Freddie. "I tell you, I was not expecting much. From last week...tumabingi. This week...much better."
"Phil, I think you've already embraced this competition," said Maestro Danny Tan. "You're more relaxed and you have good facial expressions. Just concentrate more on your singing and do better," he advised.
Last was JL Cang, who went kenkoy once again and sang Parokya ni Edgar's "Mr. Suave" with SOP mainstay Gian Magdangal. JL and Gian wore matching geeky costumes complete with round glasses, suspenders, tight printed long-sleeved polos, and a curly mustache.
"Ang saya nung number," praised Freddie. "May toyo ka sa ulo, at nagamit mo sa iyong cooking. Good for you," he joked.
"Ang maganda kay JL, nag-e-effort talaga siya sa pagbihis, sa production," said Danny Tan. "Surprisingly, umpisa niya nasa tono siya. Malaking improvement. Talagang ‘yan ang niche mo...'yang ganyang kenkoy. Bagay na bagay sa'yo."
It was Tessa who gave criticisms this time. "Parang I got confused kasi. Buti nalang Gian was there to make you salo," she remarked. "And this is duets naman, diba? Parang as a stand-alone, yung boses mo...okay lang. But at least the duet part, maganda na. [It] saved you, thanks to your duet partner," she added.
Although JL Cang gave funny and entertaining numbers for two consecutive weeks, the celebrity chef still received the lowest number of votes from audiences nationwide.
Who will get to be eliminated next week? Find out next Saturday in Celebrity Duets 2, airing after Pinoy Records on GMA-7.