Focus on the Philippines: Another Filipino singer makes waves on The Voice US

Plus: Filipino film selected to screen at Cannes Film Festival, Brillante Mendoza wins Best Director prize in Malaysia; Filipino child stuns Steve Harvey on Little Big Shots.

Gaby Borromeo on The Voice. Courtesy Tyler Golden / NBC
Powered by automated translation

After 16-year-old Anatalia Villaranda turned four chairs on the premiere episode of the 12th season of The Voice US last week, another contestant with a Filipino connection impressed the show's celebrity judging panel this week.

Gaby Borromeo, an 18-year-old child of Filipino immigrants in Seattle, auditioned for the reality talent competition, singing a cover of Leona Lewis's hit 2009 track Happy. Her performance caught the attention of judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, who both turned their chairs for the young contestant.

Immediately after Borromeo’s audition, Levine went onstage to congratulate her with a hug.

“I’m very surprised that this was not a four-chair turn,” Levine said as he turned to his fellow coaches Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani.

"When you started singing, you seemed like you were nervous. But then as the song progressed, you came through in a way that just blew my mind. I think you can win The Voice with no problem. You're unbelievable and you belong to my team," Levine added.

Making his case for Borromeo to join his team, Shelton told her: “That was an incredible performance. You can probably win this thing.”

Borromeo eventually picked Levine as her coach in the competition.

Responding to her fans from the Philippines, Borromeo posted on social media on Wednesday: “Go Philippines! Thank you, I’m so happy I can be someone who inspires you.”

Borromeo said she has been passionate about music since she was a child, singing karaoke at home at the age of eight.

Like Villaranda, Borromeo has advanced to the next stage of the competition on The Voice, in a round called the knockouts, which will air beginning March 20.

Filipino film selected to screen at Cannes Film Festival

The film Nakaw (Stolen) by Filipino directors Noel Escondo and Arvin Belarmino has been selected to screen in the Short Film Corner of this year's Cannes International Film Festival, which is scheduled to be held from May 22 to 28.

Escondo wrote on a social media post: “It is every director’s dream for his film to be screened in the biggest stage in the world, the Cannes Film Festival. I still can’t believe that my first short film with Arvin Belarmino will be participating.”

Nakaw, a crime thriller about the consequences a child faces after he pickpockets an old woman, stars Kristoffer King, Frank Ferguson, Duke San Juan, Angelo Gammas and Sheila Aljunaibi.

At last year's Cannes Film Festival, Filipino star Jaclyn Jose won the Best Actress prize for Ma' Rosa, a family drama by Brilliante Mendoza.

The festival’s complete programme, including the full-length features in competition, will be announced in the coming weeks.


Brillante Mendoza wins Best Director prize in Malaysia

Speaking of Mendoza and Ma' Rosa, the Filipino filmmaker took home the Director trophy at this week's Malaysia Global Awards for his acclaimed movie. Only on its second year, the Malaysia Global Awards honours the best in Asian cinema, arts and culture.

“I am happy and surprised at the same time. I didn’t know that the film was in competition,” Mendoza told reporters in Manila.

Singing in Graveyards, a co-production between the Philippines and Malaysia, was awarded Best Film. Directed by Manila-based Malaysian director Bradley Liew, the movie stars Filipino rock icon Pepe Smith as an ageing singer who makes a living by impersonating a rock star.


Filipino child stuns Steve Harvey on Little Big Shots

Elha Nympha, the 12-year-old singing sensation who won The Voice Kids Philippines in 2015, appeared this week on Little Big Shots, the American children's talent show broadcast on the US network NBC.

Nympha, who used to work as a street food vendor along with her mother, performed a cover of Sia's song Chandelier, impressing host Steve Harvey and the show's live audience.

“One of the great young voices in the world,” Harvey said. After the show aired on Monday, Harvey posted on Twitter: “Everyone on the set was blown away by Elha, she got a standing ovation! This is why I love this show.”

A video of Nympha’s performance has gone viral online, garnering close to 50 million views on Facebook.