Perfume entrepreneur Joel Cruz was declared the Grand Champion of Celebrity Duets Season 3 held at the GMA Studios yesterday, November 14.
Joel beat some serious competition in actor Jomari Yllana and model-turned-actor Akihiro Sato.
"Hindi ko in-expect ito kasi malalakas din sila," Joel said referring to his fellow finalists. "Hindi talaga ako nakakasigurado na ako ang mananalo."
Joel won a cash prize of P1 million, which he plans to give to 20 charitable institutions and churches nationwide, including the Philippine General Hospital Pediatric Ward, the Hospicio de San Jose, Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, KIDS Foundation, and Kapuso Foundation.
GRAND SHOWDOWN. The three finalists gave it their all in the finale and the audience was not disappointed.
The show opened to the tune of "Fame" with other Season 3 contenders singing along with the finalists, including fashion designer Maxie Cinco, beauty queen Janina San Miguel, actress and director Gina Alajar, and fashion photographer Niccolo Cosme.
Guest stars from previous episodes were also there like Bituin Escalante, Janine Desiderio, Ayen Munji, Sheree and Kris Lawrence. They were backed up by beautiful performers from the Amazing Philippines show.
Joel, dressed in a sailor-girl costume, opened the contest with a funny performance of "In the Navy" by the The Village People. His performance with funnyman Michael V was a comic riot.
Musical director Danny Tan remarked that the businessman has really improved and relaxed since the show began. Ten weeks ago, Joel was described as stiff and very formal in his performance.
Jomari sang "The Way You Look Tonight" with Pop Diva Kuh Ledesma, ably backed up by a four-piece horn ensemble.
Celebrity Duets Season 1 Grand Champion Tessa Prieto-Valdes really liked his voice throughout the Season.
Akihiro Sato gave an upbeat performance of Tom Jones's "Kiss" together with comedian host Arnell Ignacio.
Stage director Freddie Santos said that Akihiro ably showed his love and enjoyment of performing throughout the show. Even Sea Princess Tessa was smitten by the charming smile of the hunky fashion model.
Later on in the show, a more relaxed performance by the finalists came one after the other.
Joel Cruz danced to the '80s hit "Together in Electric Dreams" with Pinoy Idol finalist Mae Flores. Jomari teamed up with another great balladeer in Christian Bautista to croon Jose Mari Chan's "Tell Me Your Name." Akihiro sang the mushy "Way Back into Love" from the soundtrack of the movie Music and Lyrics.
And then came the announcement of the winner by hosts Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid.
The "Lord of Scent" was the Grand Champion of Celebrity Duets Season 3.
Joel was immediately congratulated by his friends, like talent manager Lolit Solis and Pauleen Luna who were watching in the audience. His friends and employees chanted and cheered Joel's name from the audience bleachers.
THANKFUL CONTENDER. The businessman hopes his contest winnings will help further his charitable causes.
He shot down any idea that he will be a recording an album after this.
"Naniniwala naman ako na hindi maganda ang boses ko. Hindi ko ginawa ito para maging sikat ako na singer. It's for charity lang talaga," he said.
But he admits that he has learned a lot from his stint in the show.
"Kapag sinasabihan kasi ako ng judges, 'You know Joel, very stiff ka at masyadong formal,' nagdamit na ako, nagbabae ka na. Tapos, nakita ko na natutuwa pala sila, so ginawa ko na iyon," he said.
He also hopes that he will be given an opportunity to host.
"Okay na sa akin kahit na co-host lang or segment. Kahit once a week na makita ako sa telebisyon. Makita lang ako ng tao na visible pa din. Nakakatuwa din kasi nakikita ka," he said, hoping to share some of his ideas and tips about life.