Focus on the Philippines: Amy Vachal gives NSYNC hit a twist on The Voice

Plus: True Faith and Cueshe performing in Dubai; Cyrus Villanueva tops Australian charts; Maria Taniguchi wins Hugo Boss Art Award; and Filipino singer triumphs in Euro Pop Contest.

Amy Vachal sang a soulful rendition of NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye. Trae Patton / NBC
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Filipino-American singer Amy Vachal continues to impress on the American edition of reality-­TV singing competition The Voice.

On this week's top-10 show, the 26-year-old put her own soulful spin on boy band NSYNC's 2000 hit Bye Bye Bye, which was picked by her coach Adam Levine.

"The last few weeks working with Adam has been incredible," Vachal said before her performance. "We've been taking these twists and turns, flipping musical genres, so I'm excited."

Her rendition earned a standing ovation from Levine, the lead singer of pop-rock band Maroon 5.

“I think that what we have figured out together is the ability to maximise the creative capacity on the show with songs that are not your own,” he said. “That’s a really valuable tool for anyone that is writing songs or singing songs.

“With you, Amy, we’ve been really able to maximise that and show people that there are a million different ways a great song can be a great song. And you’re so good at it – the way you sing them, the way you approach them. They’re infectious and popular and also just a good display of your artistry. That should be commended and rewarded on this show.”

Vachal's Bye Bye Bye cover peaked at No 10 on the iTunes Top 100 Chart after the show.

Fellow judge Gwen Stefani told her: "I was fantasising about the tour that you can go on after this. You can just take a bunch of top songs and flip them. Everybody wants to see that. Who wouldn't go to that? You're set up. It's perfect."

The competition’s front-­runners are 21-year-old pop vocalist Jordan Smith and teenage country singer Emily Ann Roberts.

Vachal, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, is the niece of Gwendolyn Garcia, who serves in the Philippine Congress as a representative for the province of Cebu.

True Faith and Cueshe performing in Dubai

Two popular Filipino bands will be entertaining the Emi­rates on Friday, December 4, when True Faith and Cueshe perform at Al Nasr Leisureland in Dubai.

Formed in 1992, True Faith are known for their folk-rock sound. While it has been five years since the veterans released an album, they signed a new deal with major studio Star Music in July.

Meanwhile, pop rockers Cueshe have just released a new single, titled Ikaw Lamang (Just You), and revealed that a new album is on its way.

Opening for the bands is DJ Martin Porta, who will be spinning Filipino hits from the 1980s and 90s.

The event will also feature a shopping bazaar selling Filipino goods and food.

Tickets, priced at Dh110, are available at www.platinumlist.net. Gates open at 3pm and the bands are due on stage from 8pm.

Cyrus Villanueva tops Australian charts

The X Factor Australia's newly crowned champion, Cyrus Villanueva, topped this week's ARIA Australian Artist Singles Chart with his song Stone, an original track he performed during the recent finale of the singing competition.

"My very first song ever recorded in a studio," the 19-year-old Filipino-Australian singer posted on Twitter. "Can't believe this track is at #1."

Villanueva's cover versions of his X Factor mentor Chris Isaak's Wicked Game and the Phil Collins song In the Air Tonight also charted this week at sixth and 10th place, respectively.

His debut album, Cyrus, is scheduled for release on December 11.

Maria Taniguchi wins Hugo Boss Award

Manila-based artist Maria Taniguchi has won the second edition of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists.

The 34-year-old, who paints, sculpts and creates multimedia art, will receive a prize of 300,000 Chinese yuan (Dh172,000) to continue developing her practice.

“Taniguchi solidly positions her work, without any compromise, into the context of Asia and international contemporary art,” said Larys Frogier, chair of the award’s jury.

“Her very singular, humble, but extremely focused practice of painting and video enriches the realm of media.”

A longlist of 40 artists from the Asian region were whittled down to six before the jury selected her as the winner.

An exhibition featuring Taniguchi’s work, and that of the other five finalists, is at the Rockbound Art Museum in Shanghai, China, until January 3.

Filipino singer wins Euro Pop Contest

Filipino contestant Ryan Richard Tamondong was crowned champion at the Euro Pop Contest, an annual singing competition in Berlin, Germany.

He beat contestants from 17 countries for the top prize and is set to record his winning original song, Be Strong, in the German capital.

"Everything is just little-by-little dawning on me that, yes, I won the Grand Prix at the Euro Pop," Tamondong, a university student, wrote on Facebook. "This is just the start."

Last year, the Philippines became the first country outside of Europe to take part in the competition.

artslife@thenational.ae