The Green Invasion in the Queen City of the South
Cebu’s much awaited young star have conquered the city with a huge bang!
A WARM WELCOME
All dressed up in green, holding banners and flaglets, this was how things looked like at the Mactan Cebu International Airport as the DARRENatics Cebu warmly welcomed their Total Performer on January 17, 2015.
Manning the airport as early as 3 in the morning just to make sure they wouldn’t miss Darren’s arrival. Fans aging 5 years old to 50 years old were there to greet him. As soon as he came out at the arrival lobby at 5:00AM, fans were screaming out his name as he in turn gave a smile and a wave. He was with the rest of the five other finalists. At the lobby, co-passengers greeted him and had their pictures taken with him. The eager fans lined up outside the arrival area flaunting their props hoping for a photo opportunity with their idol. Darren couldn’t help but notice his fans outside and often times took a peek and waved hello. One by one the six finalists were led to their designated ride. Darren was the last one to leave the lobby and generously granted the fans’ request of a group photo with him. Darren was then led to his ride, but the fans couldn’t just get enough of him so they followed him to the bus. Some took selfies with him through the glass window. Darren, who was very grateful to his fans, took a picture of them while he was inside the bus. After the nerve-wracking moment, everyone went home with a fluttered heart.
PAINTING WATERFRONT CEBU GREEN
The concert was scheduled to start at 8:00 PM but the fans were already there as early as 2:00 PM. Cebu Waterfront Hotel and Casino was swarmed with people who wore green and brought along their props and fan arts for Darren. At around 4:00 PM more DARRENatics arrived at the venue and more props were at hand. Everyone grabbed props for themselves like scarves, flaglets, light sabers, banners, and balloons. Face paints were also available for those who wanted one.
The hotel lobby was a filled with DARRENatics from all walks of life. The diversity of people from the old, the young, the rich, and the poor was unbelievable. Even hotel guests who just dropped by the lobby and learned about Darren’s concert immediately got themselves a ticket. An elderly in his 70s or 80s went to the props distribution area and shared how he felt that Darren should have won the title. It was heart-warming to see a group of families with their masculine head of the family squeezing in to get some light sabers for his 3 kids and wife. It’s either he’s just a supportive father or he’s a DARRENatic too. But whatever it is, he’s there to help paint Waterfront Cebu green. It was pleasant to see two five-year old kids wearing sparkling tutus and DARRENatics shirts who were geared up for the concert.
Some avid DARRENatics came all the way from far provinces and cities like Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, Manila, and Oroqueta. There were people of different nationalities who were also excited to see Darren perform live. The major sponsors, Jollibee and Spinner, had their booths set up at the entrance. They also had meet and greet promotions that gave an opportunity for fans to meet the six kids before the concert.
The doors opened at around 7:30 PM. Fans lined up patiently and headed to the Pacific Grand Ballroom, the hotel’s largest function room. The concert was commenced by MOR DJ Danny Jay with some trivia questions about the six finalists. Prizes were at stake for every question answered correctly. After the mind stimulating trivia, Cebu’s very own talent, Jimmy Marquez entertained the crowd with his good sense of humor and with the songs Insomnia, No One Else Comes Close, and Blurred Lines.
The voice over introduced the kids one by one followed by short clips of their blind auditions. The fans couldn’t stay put as they cheered in anticipation for their favorite kid. Lyca then sang Pangarap na Bituin. JK serenaded the crowd with his version of “Sway.” Edray made the crowd sang along with her as she gave the song Tulak ng Bibig, Kabig ng Dibdib a different touch. Tonton’s angelic voice echoed all over the hall as he sang “Dance with my Father.” The ever energetic Darlene roared “Girl on Fire.” Lyca came back on stage with her version of Basang-basa sa Ulan. The crowd leveled up when Darren greeted them before he belted out his superb rendition of “One Moment in Time.” He looked very elegant in his two-piece suit with sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The high notes were just amazing. Green was very visible everywhere! People were shouting for Darren from all corners of the ballroom. And after the jaw-dropping performance of Darren, all the six kids went out on stage and together they sang Pangarap na Bituin.
The kids welcomed their fans and introduced themselves. They were very thankful to the fans who came all the way to Cebu to watch their show.
To get the party started, JK gave out his version of “Pompeii” by Bastille and Darlene sang Lea Salonga’s “Tomorrow.” The giggles and squeals just heightened as the voice over introduced, “The Voice Boys.” Darren came out first looking very neat, exquisite, classic, smart, and gorgeous. He touched everyone’s heart when he crooned to the audience with his enchanting interpretation of “Foolish Heart.” The fans couldn’t stop yelling as they got enthralled by him. He was wearing a straight cut, semi-skinny slacks paired with a tucked turquoise polo with sleeves rolled up to his elbows. JK followed the performance with the song “Don’t Stop Believing.” Then Tonton once again allured the audience as he sang “Baby I Love Your Way.” The three endearing guys sang “Rude” by Magic. Darren looked dashing as he sang and moved to the beat of the song. Girls were screaming and felt flustered. Then the boys showcased their talents in hosting as the two Cebuano boys, Tonton and JK, taught Darren some Cebuano lines and translations. The lines such as “I Love You,” “Small but terrible,” and Kulit were given translations Gihigugma ko kamo, Gamay pero banggiitan, and Ki-at respectively. Darren was so cute and adorable as he uttered those Cebuano words.
After the boys displayed their wide-range talents, Lyca took the chance to show-off her Ikot-ikot version of her coach Sarah Geronimo.
The crowd became dynamic again when Darren’s Aunt, known to many as Mama Luz, expressed how dedicated and determined Darren is in his chosen field. He then showed up on stage asking the audience to sing along with him. He was very handsome in his red plaid button down shirt still in his signature style (sleeves rolled up to his elbows). Fans were screaming out his name and singing along with him as he sang In Love na Sa’yo, his first single from his album “DARREN.” It isn’t surprising that everyone in the crowd knew the song because it ranked number one in MOR Cebu’s countdown. The crowd even got wilder when he stepped down the stage and shook hands with the audience. He is truly a crowd-drawer.
This time, The Voice Girls showed the audience that they too have what it takes to be called “The Voice Finalists.” Edray started it with her soothing version of “What a Girl Wants.” Darlene brought the spirits high with Adelle’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Lyca did her own rendition of the song “Diamonds” by Rihanna. Together the three girls sang Jessie J’s Domino. Edray introduced the next singer who was dubbed as the TOTAL PERFORMER. The audience went crazy and shouted “DARREN!”
lights turned dim and Darren came out along with four Hotlegs dancers all dressed up in animal fur coats. Darren looked stylish in a black tee underneath a red and black varsity jacket with the word CANADA in front. He was singing and dancing to Maroon 5’s Animals. The crowd couldn’t just behave as he made everyone fall more deeply in love with him and his talents.
Lyca then gave everyone a taste of the blind auditions as she sang Halik by Aegis. Darlene sang and danced Ariana Grande’s “Breakfree.” JK’s comforting performance of The Script’s “Man Who Can’t Be Moved” was also a crowd favorite.
With all emotions Darren sang the most requested “Stuck” from his very own album, composed by Kennard Faraon. Everyone in the audience felt the thrill and the heartfelt message of the song. He was wearing a blue hooded jacket with a big neon green “D” in front. The black semi-skinny jeans perfectly matched the outfit and was accentuated by a red plaid polo shirt tied around his waist. He looked so chic and funky.
The excitement never ceased as the top six amused the crowd with a dance showdown. The kids danced, grooved, and frisked to the upbeat rhythm of the songs; “Bang Bang,” “Really Don’t Care,” “She Looks So Perfect,” and “Shake It Off.” As always Darren was very attractive in his blue hooded jacket without the plaid polo shirt around his waist. Darren is undoubtedly a mixture of good looks, phenomenal voice, and marvelous dancing skills. His every move is perfect to the beat. Everyone got elated as they too danced and jammed with the kids.
Although the dance production was exhausting, it never enervated Darren a single bit. He came back on stage looking so fresh. Darren once again owned the stage as he sang and moved on stage to the beat of the song “What Makes you Beautiful.” His tantalizing and charming dance moves kept the fans shouting with glee and delight. All the girls felt the KILIG factor with this performance as they giggle and applaud for him.
After the heart-stopping number, Lyca gave out her unique rendition of the song Titanium.
Then the big screen showed a short clip of Darren thanking his family, parents, DARRENatics, and friends for their love and support. Lyca and Darren narrated how they started their friendship and how they spent their free time playing. This caring attitude of Darren touched the hearts of the fans watching the clips. This was followed by a duet between Lyca and Darren singing Disney’s popular song, “Let it go.” Darren was geared up in a red tee with red, black, and white plaid overcoat. Darren’s unbeatable ability to strike the perfect timing and hit the high notes is as always impressive.
JK and Darlene joined them on stage and they once again thanked the sponsors and the people behind the success of the TVK Sinulog Concert.
Being the major sponsor, the kids paid tribute to Jollibee as they sang and danced “Dito, Masaya.” It was fun seeing them on stage joined by the Jollibee mascot.
Edray and Tonton then hit the stage and the six kids sang Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” together. Darren was such an excellent performer.
Voice Kids passed on a message to everyone that their being young isn’t a hindrance in making the world a better place to live in. They moved the audience with their beautiful collaboration of the songs “Heal the World” and “Wake up Everybody.” It was a perfect finale as it left a great impact in the hearts and the moral senses of all the people who came to the concert. These kids were not only performers but ambassadors of good faith. The concert was more than just a musical show, it was a call to action to everyone to take part in making the world a better place for the future generations to come. Cebu has become a living witness of this calling.
Darren is undeniably popular in Cebu. After the concert, the meet and greet was conducted at the function room across the ballroom. Fans lined up to have a group photo opportunity with the six kids. The meet and greet was done right on time since Darren will be flying back to Manila to sing for Pope Francis at the University of Santo Tomas the following day. Despite the brief moment with Darren, the DARRENatics in Cebu were very grateful for Darren’s geniality and accommodating personality. Many fans went home happy since they were able to get up close with Darren and took selfies with him. Darren’s mother, Marinel, was also very friendly and appreciative of all the fans’ efforts. The venue was indeed painted with green and the DARRENatics dominated the crowd.
IT ISN’T GOODBYE
It was not a secret that Darren will be taking an early flight back to Manila at around 2:00 AM so some of the fans hurried to the airport after the concert to bid farewell to their idol. Darren and his cohorts arrived at the airport and the avid fans got the chance to take a picture of him. Darren was all smiles seeing his fans sending him off.
For the DARRENatics Team Cebu, Darren was more than just a kid who sings and dances well. He is an exceptional and inspiring kid who deserves all the love and effort. With the help of the DARRENatics from all over the globe, every plan was made into action. Cebu never failed to show how well they love the one and only DARREN ESPANTO and made it a green invasion in the Queen City of the South!