Why I rooted for Lyca
It was 2011 when I first wrote how much I miss the old-fashioned singing contests on TV, where contestants were judged solely by their singing talent and where us viewers were not distracted with details like the contestant’s personal lives. When Regine Velasquez was competing in “Ang Bagong Kampeon”, the audience had no idea of her humble background. It was only after she won and when she started singing professionally that the audience learned of it.
But that was a long time ago. In 2011 I was watching “Star Power” and as what was in fashion, it was reality TV Pinoy-style. On a weekly basis, we were bombarded by clips and sound bytes on the reasons why each contender deserved to win and how the host ‘nurtured’ each competing lady in an irritating and condescending manner. If that competition was judged solely on singing talent alone, I don’t think Angeline Quinto would’ve have won. In my opinion her runner-up was a better singer and a more original performer. In terms of back story, however, Angeline’s was better and subsequently appealed more to the voting audience.
Now, my social media news feeds are awash with people who say the same thing about Lyca Gairanod, the 9 y/o girl who was recently crowned Champion of “The Voice Kids”, a reality TV-style singing competition. That if the contestants were judged solely by singing talent alone, she wouldn’t have won.
This is where I beg to disagree. I will sound biased, of course. After all, for the first time ever, I spent a few pesos and voted for Lyca in the last two stages of the competition. She caught my eye right from the first time I saw her in the audition but not because I felt for her very humble status in life. It was her performance of a difficult song that grabbed my attention, not the fact that they are so poor that her parents cannot afford to send her to school.
And in the following rounds of competition, she showed determination and resilience even if things appeared to work against her favor. Her lack of English language skills, which some people equate to performing well, didn’t diminish her obvious raw talent. Sure, some of her competitors had awesome vocal range, but Lyca was the only one who connected and moved the audience with her singing alone. Imagine what she can do with the right training and coaching. In terms of raw talent and ability to connect to the audience, Lyca was peer-less in the contest.
If “The Voice Kids” shed its reality TV roots and was formatted like “Ang Bagong Kampeon”, Lyca would have still won and this victory will not be tainted by people’s doubts that she deserved it.