And then there were nine.
Following the elimination of Melbelline Caluag, Mika Gorospe and Danielle Ozaraga, only nine out of the Top 12 contenders in GMA Network’s weekly primetime talent search series, The Clash, remain in the competition.
They are Anthony Rosaldo (dubbed as “Matinik na Heartthrob ng Valenzuela”), Mirriam Manalo (“Fierce Diva ng Pampanga”) Garrett Bolden (“Power of Tower ng Olongapo”), Kyryll Ugdiman (“Millennial Chick ng Iloilo”) Lyra Micolob, (“Soul Sistah ng Davao”), Esterlina Olmedo, (“Mommy Tiger ng Cebu”), Golden Cañedo (“Golden Voice ng Cebu”), Jong Madaliday, (“Trending R&B Star ng North Cotabato”) and Josh Adornado (“Cute Crooner ng Cagayan de Oro”).
Of the remaining nine Clashers, 50-year-old Esterlina Olmedo and 26-year-old pregnant biritera (belter) Mirriam Manalo have emerged as sentimental favorites.
Not to be overlooked, however, are two teenage contestants who have developed a strong following of their own.
There’s 16-year-old Golden Cañedo from Cebu who has left a big impression on host Regine Velasquez and judges Christian Bautista, Lani Misalucha and Ai-Ai delas Alas with her powerhouse performances.
Whether it’s her reading of Joey Albert’s “Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin” or Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” Golden’s soaring performances never fail to bring the house down.
Golden has an equally strong presence on social media, with several Facebook fan pages and a group of followers called Goldenatics who has dubbed her as “Little Sarah G” after her idol, Sarah Geronimo.
“The fans who handle my pages were the ones who called me that,” Golden told this writer in mostly Filipino. “They’re also the ones who defend me from bashers. But I really admire Sarah. I hope to emulate her stage presence, the way she sings and dances when she performs.”
Golden added that she has been singing even when she was young but had to adjust when puberty started to set and her voice started to change to a slightly lower pitch when she was 14.
“I did not sing for two months and had to make adjustments when it comes to some songs that used to be so easy for me to sing.”
Even as The Clash is literally a golden opportunity for her, Golden says that landing in the Top 12 of the competition alone has already been a rewarding experience for her, with no less than Asia’s Songbird herself giving her invaluable advice.
“Ms. Regine told me that judging from her experience, control is the best that I can do for my voice as I still have a long way to go,” she noted.
Finding her niche
Another 16-year-old finalist, Kyryll Queen Ugdiman from Iloilo, is taking a totally different path towards singing stardom.
Instead of being known as a power belter like many of the other contenders, Kyryll has opted to showcase her versatility not only with her eclectic song choices like The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” Noel Cabangon’s “Tatsulok,” Bon Jovi’s “Thank You for Loving Me” and Lauryn Hill’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” but also with her ability to rap and play the guitar.
“I love singing old songs,” she said in explaining her selection for the show. “And among the local singers, I admire KZ Tandingan because she stands out with her individuality and unique style.”
Kyryll, whose growing followers are called Team Queenatics said it was not easy for her to find and develop her own musical niche as her mom is also a singer and a biritera at that.
“When I was 8 to 10 years old, my mom would enter me in singing contests and asks me to sing birit songs with high notes that I mostly could not reach. It wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 that I found my own style,” she said in mostly Filipino.
While her mom remains supportive of her musical dream, Kyryll said she’s happy that The Clash has afforded her a chance to stand out in her own way and that regardless of what happens, she hopes the competition would open more doors for her in the future.
The Clash airs every Saturday after Pepito Manaloto and every Sunday after Daig Kayo Ng Lola Ko on GMA. Up for grabs for the grand winner is P1 million in cold cash, a new car, a Bria house and lot and an exclusive management contract with GMA Network.