It was indeed a night full of surprises, epic performances, tears, joy, and laughter for the young stars who have ventured all the way from being hopeful singers to becoming successful and in-demand young artists of the Philippines. The top 4 finalists of The Voice Kids of the Philippines season 1: Lyca, Darren, Juan Karlos, and Darlene together with Edray and Tonton, had their successful first major concert held at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Plenary Hall, on December 6, 2014. Fans from various fandoms where there to witness the big event. Of course, DARRENatics wouldn’t let it pass for anything else! What made it more exciting is that, Darren Espanto’s debut solo album was also available, for the very first time, at the said venue.
As early as 5 PM, there were already few people in green gathered patiently outside the venue bearing their own stories to tell. There were some who shared about how they almost lost their way to venue but managed to successfully come right on time. As the clock continues to tick, more and more individuals, proudly wearing green and holding large banners, arrived at the PICC. In spite of the threat of the then upcoming typhoon, Ruby, nothing really stopped the DARRENatics in finding ways to witness one of the biggest milestone of Darren.
When the doors to the concert hall opened, people hurriedly went in, scared that the album might ran out of stock. The hall was filled with people of varying ages and wearing their fandom’s color. Green was definitely the color of the day, as manifested by the large number of DARRENatics present. People were chattering, catching up, and some were even giving giveaways especially made for the DARRENatics. Certainly, this young artists has been a good influence for the people who already have established friendship out of this fandom.
The Plenary Hall was slowly filled with eager audience. DARRENatics were everywhere in the venue. The balcony area was a great view as it was filled with numerous DARRENatics who held green light sticks and balloons. Plus, there were large banners hanging down the balcony area. Few minutes before the concert started, people were hyped up with videos played on the huge screen. They were shouting the name of their favorites among the finalists. The loud screams became boisterous when the AVR showed a video of how the 6 young artists were during their TVK journey. The ear-splitting voices of the DARRENatics present echoed Darren’s name all over the place. A few seconds after, Lyca came out in her pink sheer glittered dress and voiced out a part of her rendition of Pangarap na Bituin. It was followed by JK, wearing a grey coat, vest and pants, navy blue button down, smoothing his way throughout the song “Sway”. Then Edray showed up in her elegant yellow tube gown, cold-voiced Tulak ng Bibig, Kabig ng Dibdib. Darlene in a red sheer dress, powerfully belted out, “Girl on Fire”. Then after, Lyca came out again continuing her song Pangarap na Bituin. Everyone became restless when Darren came out gorgeously in a three-piece suit. His turquoise green button down long sleeves was topped with a light grey vest and grey coat. It was accentuated by a sparkling silver tie and a pair of shiny black leather shoes. He belted out one of his greatest rendition of all time, which left a remarkable performance to the coaches of The Voice Kids, “One Moment in Time”. He hit the high notes of the song without a show of effort. This time the shrieks roared the concert hall and the visible green light sticks were raised. It was pleasant to see a sea of green waving to support the young belter, Darren. The 6 young stars joined together on stage and continued the song, Pangarap na Bituin. The opening performance was tremendously good. It was a medley of songs they have sang during the TVK and they all ended up with a post.
After the excellent opening number, they introduced themselves one by one. The crowd went wild when JK said that he felt hot and removed his coat. Darren introduced him as a great singer and dancer with a soothing cold voice. Before JK performed, he gave his coat to Darren leaving a playful blank expression in Darren’s face. Darren just smiled and ran to the backstage. He may be surprised and just didn’t see that coming, but with the great friendship between them, it was merely pure fun. JK sang the upbeat and catchy song “Pompeii” originally sang by a British alternative rock band Bastille. Then it was Darlene’s time to impress the audience with her version of Lea Salonga’s, “Tomorrow”. When the voice over announced the next performers, the crowd couldn’t stay put on their seats. Darren, came out without his coat on and shared the stage with The Voice of The Philippines season 1 grand champion Mitoy Yonting. Together they serenaded the lovely audience with the all-time favorite love song, “Foolish Heart”. It was a chills-giver performance from the 2 artists whose voices perfectly blended. Then, it was JKs turn to sing “Don’t Stop Believing,” with Mitoy, followed by Tonton and Mitoy as they belted out “Baby I Love Your Way”. Altogether, Darren, JK, Tonton and Mitoy allured the eager listeners with the popular song “Rude” by Magic. The stage was so lively with the 4 talented artists on the stage. Mitoy introduced the 3 young artists as “One Direction” for the 11, and 13 year-old growing boys will only be heading to one direction and that’s success. The future is ahead of them offers big opportunities. He even joked that if he was their age now, then he wouldn’t have any career.
The dynamic night continued. The audience was fascinated when Lyca once again got on stage with back-up dancers as she sang and danced enthusiastically to the song Ikot-ikot, originally sang by her TVK coach, Sarah Geronimo. Then everyone applauded when they saw a clip of Darren’s Aunt Luz narrating how Darren had been practicing so hard and a video of some DARRENatics making their way in all of Darren’s shows. Louder cheers were heard when the first notes of Darren’s first sinlge In Love Ako Sa’yo played. Darren sang the song with full of emotions which left a sentimental mark on the audience’ hearts. The song is about a guy who is dreamily in love with a beautiful girl and hopes that he’ll have a chance with her. The ever attractive Darren even went down the stage to have close interactions with his fans. Lucky fans had their chance to hug, kiss (beso), and take their pictures with him. There was that genuine and innocent happiness evident on his face. The kind of smile that DARRENatics would always want to see.
Edray and The Voice of the Philippines season 1 runner up, Klarisse, showed their powerful tandem as they sang “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. Klarisse sang “Diamond” by Rihanna followed by “Domino” by Jessie J with The Voice Kids’ Edray, Darlene, and Lyca. They were very charming on their boots, leggings, and printed top. Klarisse was amazed by the girls’ voices and performance. The next performer was described as good looking, talented, and most of all very kind. Together with the Hotlegs as his back-up dancers, Darren appeared wearing a blue hooded jacket with a big neon “D” at the front, with yellow colored sleeves paired with white pants and black sneakers. The plaid polo shirt tied ih his waist made it more hip and stylish. His versatile voice together with his amazing dance moves were distinctively executed when he sang “Animals” by Maroon 5. The back-up dancers looked like wolves with the furry cloth on their shoulders giving justice to the song and its splendid choreography. The crowd was wild during his entire performance. There was an interlude part in the song where he had shown amazing dance moves including that of Michael Jackson. His high notes sent chills to the audience.
Lyca was next as she sang her rendition of the song Halik by Aegis. This was the song that made Sarah Geronimo turn her chair during the blind auditions. It was followed by Darlene’s song and dance performance of “Breakfree” originally sang by American singer and actress, Ariana Grande. JK touched the hearts of the audience as he sang “Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script. He dedicated the song to his mother who passed away last year and shed tears during his performance. The audience became emotional as well. Even so, he was able to sing the song very well. After the quiet and serene mood that surrounded the venue, the crowd got agile. It was said to be the first time to happen and first time for the 6 young stars to experience. Together with the Hotlegs, they showed something new to the people who were present there. They had a dance showdown wherein they have grooved to the rhythm and beat of popular songs remixed. Darren, JK, Tonton and Edray frisked to the song “Bang Bang”. Darren was really energetic as he moved to the music. For a fact, besides singing, dancing is another talent that Darren possesses. The music shifted to the song “Really Don’t Care” as the two younger girls owned the stage. “She Looks So Perfect” by the boy band 5 Seconds of Summer played and together they raised their hands up as they danced to the music. The pop song “Shake It Off” played and they were jumping while shaking their hands up as the chorus played. The loud cheers of the DARRENatics resonated on the hall when Darren did his hip shake dance move. The dance production ended with the last song “Bang Bang” as they jump, grooved, shook their bodies and struck a final pose.
Right after the lively dance production, a video clip was shown in the VTR. It was Darren narrating how he dreamt of being a singer even at his young age. He was really excited when he found out that there would be The Voice Kids of the Philippines and asked his parents to fly back to the Philippines. His dream came true, a life changing milestone in his life. The sea of green became alive again when Darren sang the song he sang during the battle round of TVK, “What Makes You Beautiful”. He was grooving with the song as he moved around the stage and waved at fans.
The lights dimmed and Darren exited the stage. A video clip of him and Lyca was shown in the VTR. They were thanking their loved ones for supporting and loving them including their fans. Then Lyca told the story of how she and his “Kuya Dar” first became close. Though others think they may be competing, the kids said otherwise, and instead they support each other. Lyca is not just a playmate to Darren, but more like a little sister. Lyca and Darren walked on the stage with their dashing red outfits. Darren was dressed up in a red button down shirt covered with a black, red and white checkered coat in which the sleeves were nicely folded up to his elbows, with white pants and black sneakers to top the look. The two shared the stage as they harmoniously belted out the song from the movie Frozen, “Let It Go”. Darren would oftentimes rest his hands on Lyca’s shoulder guiding her while they walk around the stage. Everyone was overwhelmed by this sincere and caring act of Darren. Cheers around the hall were loud and warm.
JK and Darlene then joined Darren and Lyca on stage. They were also dressed in red, Darlene in her red dress and JK also on his red button down shirt, blue checkered coat and khaki pants. The four young stars thanked all the people who helped and made the concert possible. They singled out and mentions special people behind the production, the band, sponsors and everyone who assisted them. It was so cute when Darren addressed Lyca as “Baby Lycs” and asked her who else they were thankful for. It was a heartfelt sight to see how they actually treat each other. One of their major sponsors is one of the country’s biggest food chain, Jollibee. They encouraged everyone to support Jollibee’s “Maaga ang Pasko” campaign wherein people could donate toys and books to the less fortunate kids. Together with the Hotlegs dancers, they sang and danced to the beat of Jollibee’s “Maaga ang Pasko” jingle with few stuffed toys as their props. It was a funny moment for everyone when Darlene was too overwhelmed and she did not noticed that her notes were already too high, she blurted “Parang tumaas.” which made everyone laugh. The crowd’s deafening screams echoed all over the hall when the 4 did the famous Jollibee tail shake dance with Jollibee himself. It was apparent that they all had fun dancing.
When the lights dimmed, another video clip was on. It was a clip where the 6 young artists mentioned their Christmas wishes. To spend Christmas with his family, was Darren’s Christmas wish. They then sang a medley of Christmas songs from the album “My Christmas Album by Various Artists”. First was Lyca, with her song “Miss Kita Kung Christmas”; Darren’s fast-beat version of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”; Darlene’s “Joy to the World; and JK’s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. MCA artist, Basilyo appears as special guest and together with Darren, Lyca, Edray, JK, Darlene and Tonton, they sang the Christmas version of his song Lord Patawad.
Another clip was shown telling their wishes for the country. Darren’s heartily wish is for all kids to be have proper education for a happy and brighter future. As the night slowly came to an end, they were all gathered at the center of the stage, they left a remarkable message to everyone saying, “Kahit na mga bata pa kami, through music we can make the world a better place.” Together with their special guests, Mitoy Yonting, Klarisse de Guzman, and Basilyo they belted out Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” and the revival of John Legend and The Roots “Wake Up Everybody” mash-up. The screen flashed the words “Hope for Humanity”, although they are still young they believe that they could help change the world. White confetti rained and covered the stage. People came near the stage hoping to see their idols up close. The 6 young artists were truly thankful for everyone who came to support them. Everyone thought that was the end of the show. But they ran back to the stage feeling happy and filled with positive vibes as they sang Pharrel William’s “Happy”. They ran around the stage, danced, waved, and shook hands with the audience.
It was a long night for everyone but it didn’t end there. There was a meet and greet after the show and the lobby was filled with people queuing up for the said after-show activity. In their hands were gifts wrapped in Christmas wrappers and bags for the young artists. The line was long but the fans didn’t mind as long as they got to meet their idols. All the DARRENatics brimmed the area in green. Since it has been awhile when Darren had such major activity after he came back to the Philippines from doing concerts in his hometown, Canada, it became a reunion of people, though not blood related, but treat one another as family. Some sat on the stairways, stood by the door, or stationed just anywhere they could be catching up and shared with their stories.
It was an unforgettable night for the in demand young artists. They unveiled who they really are as performers of this new generation. Their journey doesn’t stop for they still have a long way to go.
It was so amusing to see how the DARRENatics painted the PICC Plenary Hall green. The threat of the bad weather didn’t scare the DARRENatics one bit. Nobody thought of the money and time they have spent, instead they were so cheerful that they get to meet Darren up close. The DARRENatics were united once again to give their all-out support to the boy they hold dear. All else doesn’t matter for a true fan, because what matters most, is that Darren triumphantly rocked PICC!