Groups rebound strongly on 'X Factor' Final 9
|Daddy's Home bounces back after landing on the bottom two last week on "The X Factor Philippines"|
MANILA, Philippines -- Judge-mentor Gary Valenciano and his group contestants on "The X Factor Philippines" dedicated their performances last Saturday to the girl group A.K.A. Jam, who were eliminated from the contest last week.
The boy band Take Off, who found themselves at the bottom two during the Final 10 elimination night, was in top fighting form with their version of Selena's "Dreaming of You," with the guys alternating on the solos and harmonizing on some parts.
Although Valenciano pointed out some sharps and flats in the blending, he said it was not an easy song to do.
Still judge Charice said it was her favorite, while judge Martin Nievera called it a "knockout" performance. "You took harmony to the fifth level," he said.
Judge Pilita Corrales also praised the group for focusing more on their vocals, referring to the previous choreography-heavy performances of the group.
Valenciano's other group, Daddy's Home, who battled it out with A.K.A. Jam at the bottom two last week, also focused on their smooth R&B vocals last Saturday with Whitney Houston's "All At Once"
Nievera proclaimed the group's mentor Valenciano a "genius" for the surprising song choice for Saturday's theme of songs from artists who have passed away.
"That's what I call singing. That's what I call blending. That's what I call harmony. That's what I call singing with the heart," said Corrales.
Charice admitted that she initially had doubts about Houston's song, which is among her favorites. "Pero 'yung version n'yo na 'yung favorite ko. Napakagaling," she said.
Valenciano praised the group for their consistent performance. He also said the group's middle-aged members proved that "it's never too late to fulfill your dreams."
That could also be said for the show's oldest contestant, Modesto Taran, who kicked off Saturday's Final 9 performance night with Lou Rawls' "Pure Imagination," taking advantage of his natural booming baritone.
Taran, however, fumbled on his diction and was called about it by Valenciano. However, Corrales, who mentors the over-25s, attributed it to their Visayan accent.
Corrales' other contestant, Joan Da, chose Aaliyah's jazzy number, "Let Me Know," which Charice and Valenciano noted wasn't popular. "You did a very good job but I don't know if people know that song," Valenciano said.
However, Charice also said Da's performance of the song was "unforgettable"
Nievera praised the quality of Da's voice, predicting the best is yet to come for the contestant, while Corrales, acknowledging Da's stubborness, said, "I hope she can stay long."
Da already has been in the bottom two during the Top 12 round, although it was Jerianne Templo who went home, leaving only two of Charice's girls in the competition.
On Saturday, the two girls received positive comments from the judges.
Allen Sta. Maria did TLC's "Waterfall," allowing her to show some of her urban swag, which her mentor has always been mentioning. Sta. Maria did some raps as she performed with hip-hop dancers.
Corrales said it was the first time she saw the contestant smile. "Parang confident na confident ka ngayon," she said.
"This is the Allen I've been waiting for. Good job," said Valenciano.
Early favorite KZ Tandingan performed Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" complete with the late British singer's makeup and retro hairdo.
Valenciano criticized the song's message but praised Tandingan's stage presence. "Because of who you are, ang entablado ay parang bahay mo," he said.
"I can't find one (flaw) in you. You are 15 feet tall when you are on that stage," Nievera told the petite contestant.
Corrales, however, warned Tandingan that while many expect her to win "X Factor," there are also some comments on social media accusing Tandingan of being "mayabang" -- a comment that obviously hurt the contestant.
As far as dealing with online comments, Tandingan should ask for tips from contestant Kedebon Colim, a favorite target in Twitter and Facebook.
But Colim seems unfazed and on Saturday he gamely performed Karl Roy's "Yugyugan Na," even pleading to be given a chance.
Valenciano and Charice both advised Colim not to get carried away by his excitement. "Nawawala ka sa tono and 'yung mic mo nawawala (rin)," Charice said.
Corrales, however, didn't mince words when she said she wants to see Colim be serious for a change.
Nievera, the boys' mentor, however, defended his ward, saying Colim has "more character than any one I have ever met with a never say die attitude -- which are the qualities of a superstar. The voice can be fixed."
Nievera's other contestants, on the other hand, need little fixing. Gabriel Maturan closed the show with Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father," which he started off a capella.
"'Yung mga tao umiiyak dahil sa pagkanta mo," Corrales remarked.
Charice, who just recently lost her father, was also moved. "Napakaespesyal ng kantang ito for me," she said. "I love this song plus your singing, perfection."
Jeric Medina also received positive comments for his version of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love," which he started off by accompanying himself on the guitar.
Valenciano said he wished Medina did the entire song while playing the guitar because "your soul is heard."
Corrales and Charice were won over entirely.
"You have everything that can make you win this contest," Corrales said.
"'Yon na 'yon," Charice said.