Lea Salonga on dealing with bashers: “You know, there are people who will disagree with whatever anyone of us does. But we’re not there to please the people.”

Lea on being tagged as "The Bitch" coach of The Voice: “I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily unfair because ako na mismo ang magsasabi na medyo outspoken, medyo opinionated yung personality ko. Ganun naman talaga, e. Nung bata pa nga ako tinatawag na akong suplada. Kaya sanay na ako. But my priority at this point is not to please the television audience, e. My job is to help my team. So, it’s really about that more than


Handa na raw ang international singer at Broadway Diva na si Lea Salonga na harapin ang mga basher niya sa Twitter kaugnay ng trabaho niya bilang isa sa mga coach ng bagong singing contest ng ABS-CBN, ang The Voice of the Philippines.

Kasama niya bilang coach dito sina Popstar Princess Sarah Geronimo, Rock Superstar Bamboo, at Black Eyed Peas member Apl.de.Ap. Si Toni Gonzaga naman ang main host ng show habang si Robi Domingo ang social media correspondent.

Ang tungkol sa bashers niya ang kaagad tinanong ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kay Lea nang makausap namin siya sa presscon ng The Voice of the Philippines kahapon, Abril 12, sa 9501 restaurant sa ABS-CBN compound.

Matatandaan kasing ilang kontrobersiya na rin ang kinasangkutan ni Lea dahil sa kanyang pagiging outspoken at paghahayag ng opinyon sa Twitter. Dahil din diyan ay pinutakti siya ng mga basher.

Pihadong magsusulputan na naman ang bashers niya dahil sa magiging mga komento niya bilang coach ng The Voice.

Bago makapag-react si Lea ay pinangunahan muna siya ni Bamboo na nagpahayag ng suporta sa kasamang coach.

Ani Bamboo, “I will handle the bashers. How dare they?! Ako ang bahala sa kanila.”

Natawa tuloy si Lea at saka sinabing, “No, I think it’s gonna be… I mean there’s going to be a lot of differences of opinion. Siyempre… but all we can do is be true to ourselves in the context of the show.

“You know, there are people who will disagree with whatever anyone of us does. But we’re not there to please the people, we’re there to help our team and it’s the team’s job then to please the audience.

“So, hopefully matutulungan namin lahat ng magiging miyembro ng team namin na sana mapapasaya nila lahat ng mga magiging audience at manonood.”

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Responsibilidad kasi nila bilang coach na bumuo ng team mula sa mapipili nilang contestants sa blind auditions ng The Voice.

NO SUGARCOATING. Bilang isang coach, sinabi ni Lea sa audio-visual presentation ng The Voice na hindi niya “aasukalin” o isu-sugarcoat ang kanyang mga opinyon at komento sa mga contestants. Sa halip ay magiging honest daw siya sa mga ito.

“Kasi ganun din ang pagku-coach sa akin nung bata pa nga ako. Lahat ng mga naging teacher-coach ko, they were all just honest. Minsan napapaiyak nga ako sa sobrang honesty nila,” pagbabalik-tanaw niya.

“But I figured that if you can make it through a coach that can be hard on you, then once you actually go out into the real world, you will be strong enough to take whatever tough act you will be in.

“So, I understand the wisdom that a lot of my mentors employed in coaching me.

“I guess the one thing I can contribute kung sino man ang magiging mga miyembro ng team ko ay yung katotohanan.

“I mean, I’m not going to be insulting, I’m not going to purposely hurt somebody’s feelings for effect or for television ratings or anything. But the least I can do for them and what I feel I owe my team would be honesty.

“If something’s off or somebody na medyo hindi yata tama or it’s something going to be weird, then I have to voice out what I think needs improvement.

“Because also it is a competition between four teams and obviously each of us will say, ‘I want my team to win!’

“So, I think each of us is going to have to employ an approach where we could really win. So, I think what I can offer is honesty. I’m not gonna make someone go crazy or hurt somebody’s feelings.”

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THE BITCH.” Lalabas ba sa pagko-coach niya ang kanyang “bitchy side?”

“I’m already calling myself a bitch in a red chair,” biro niya. “But no, no, I don’t think that bitchiness is necessarily the best approach either. I guess it really depends on what each team member needs.

“If somebody’s getting too big—nagiging mayabang, nagiging arogante na wala naman sa lugar—then we’re gonna get into talking and they’re not gonna like what I have to say. They’ll gonna get it unfiltered and real.”

Ano naman ang reaksyon niya sa birong tag sa kanya bilang “The Bitch” coach ng The Voice?

“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily unfair because ako na mismo ang magsasabi na medyo outspoken, medyo opinionated yung personality ko.

“Ganun naman talaga, e. Nung bata pa nga ako tinatawag na akong suplada. Kaya sanay na ako. But my priority at this point is not to please the television audience, e.

“My job is to help my team. So, it’s really about that more than anything else,” dagdag niyang paliwanag.

BIRIT ISSUE. Isa sa mga isyung naugnay noon kay Lea ay tungkol sa opinyon niya sa pagbirit ng mga singer. Tuloy kumalat ang balitang ayaw niya raw sa mga biritera. Naipaliwanag na ni Lea ang side niya tungkol rito pero muli rin siyang nagbigay ng pahayag kaugnay nito.

“The thing is, pag hindi bagay sa iyo ang bumirit huwag kang bumirit.

“I mean, I am one of those people that can not do it. I mean, dudugo ang vocal chords ko. So, it’s really finding what that person’s unique voice is.

“Kung it really falls to them naturally to sang Whitney Houston or Lani Misalucha or Sarah Geronimo, then that’s where you should be. If that’s where your strength is then we have to make that… we have to strengthen that some more.

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“What we’re trying to do is to try and figure out kung ano yung totoong boses nila. My criticisms of birit is not about birit itself, only when if it’s too much of it and if people that obviously can’t do it, do it.

“You have to figure out who you are really and who you are honestly and then that’s what you do. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help people figure that out,” saad ni Lea.

Ano ang maipapayo niya sa team members na iko-coach niya tungkol sa “vocally keeping it simple?”

“Well, in terms of keeping it simple, that’s also deceiving because you can have the adlibs and it’s still be a very simple performance,” muli niyang paliwanag.

“What I wanna try to get my team to try to avoid is the gratuitous adlibs, yung mga adlib na hindi naman kailangan, hindi naman nakakatulong sa kanta, hindi naman nagpapaakyat ng emosyon doon sa awit na iyon.

“So, it’s like we’re trying to figure out the essence of the music. Kasi minsan a song does not require a lot of the kulut-kulot and the belting and whistles.

“Sometimes a song will fall on somehow a direct approach. But there are music that requires a lot of adlibs and a lot of the embellishments and decorations that you can do vocally and if you can do them then great. But it has to be right for the song and for that individual.”

EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT. Gaano kalalim kaya ang magiging attachment niya sa kanyang team?

“We won’t be able to help ourselves [if I’ll not be attached to them]. We will be very attached and very invested in every single member of our team.

“It’s going to really hurt when the time comes for us to cut people down and it’s not gonna be pretty and we’re not going to enjoy it. Kasi syempre may pagmamahal na mapupunta doon sa magiging team members namin. Wala kaming magagawa doon.

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“Syempre may iiyak, it’s going to be very emotional, it’s very heartbreaking, you know. But we have to pick the best and sometimes it means cutting some of the nicest people that might end up on our team.

“It’s not gonna be pretty but at the end of the day we have to do the best by our team and also by the audience that’s gonna watch,” pag-amin niya.

Willing ba siyang i-mentor ang mga ito kahit pagkatapos ng contest?

Aniya, “I should hope so, but it’s not up to me anymore, it will be up to the person who goes through us.

“If they decide na, ‘Can I still call you?’… ‘Can I still be mentored by you even after the contest is over?’ Of course, I mean, once you open the doors to that, there’s no closing it. But it’s no longer up to me.”

UNIQUE PINOY MUSIC. Naniniwala ba siya na meron talagang matatawag na “boses ng Pinoy?”

“Sa akin oo, I mean, you have people like Basil Valdez that can only be identified as Filipino, who is so incredibly unique. People like Nora Aunor or people… I mean, my references obviously are very old because I’m old. Pero yun ang mga parang nagiging peg ko sa isip ko.

“Kasi napakasimple minsan ng pag-deliver nila ng mga awitin pero nararamdaman mo yung emosyon, nararamdaman mo yung nagiging istorya… kung ano yung istorya nila sa kantang yun.

“Parang nararamdaman mo yung pusong tumitibok sa tuwing umaawit sila, sa tuwing bumubuka ang kanilang mga bibig. So, that’s what I’m kinda looking for, someone who can deliver a good story in an amazing song,” pag-amin ni Lea.

BUSY SCHEDULE. Matagal na raw kinukuha ng ABS-CBN si Lea para maging judge o mentor sa nauna nitong mga singing contest pero lagi nga siyang hindi natutuloy.

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Sa wakas nga ay natuloy na siya rito sa The Voice of the Philippines. Pero gustong linawin ni Lea ang isyung tinanggihan niya ang ibang singing contests dahil ayaw niya sa mga ito.

“I couldn’t say yes to the others because my schedule was too crazy. This one [The Voice] I really love the format. I really wanted to be a part of it. And so everybody really moved mountains just to do this thing,” sabi niya.

Natutuwa nga si Lea na sa kabila ng kanyang busy schedule ay nagawa pa rin niyang tanggapin ang The Voice. Kabilang na nga sa haharapin niya pang trabaho ay ang isang musical sa Broadway.

“We did it for this. The thing is the actual Broadway musical itself… it doesn’t start production until early next year. So, actually we will be done with The Voice by the time that [musical] starts,” pangwakas niyang saad.


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