After over five months of fierce sing-offs, five women are in it to win it at the first-ever Wishcovery grand finals.
(From left): Princess Sevillena, Louie Anne Culala, Kimberly Baluzo, Carmela Ariola, and Hazel Bartolome
Wishcovery is Wish 107.5’s online singing competition launched in September last year. Tagged as first of its kind, the aim is to discover musical talents with exceptional voices and star quality.
From 20 singing hopefuls – collectively known as the Wishful 20 --- the number of contestants are down to five finalists: Carmela Ariola, Hacel Bartolome, Kimberly Baluzo, Louie Ann Culala and Princess Sevillana.
At a press presentation, Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI) Vice President for Radio Bong Etorma cleared their choice of finalists has nothing to do with the International Women’s Month this March.
“I think nagkataon lang po na timing (sa International Women’s Month). But we’re happy with our choice of finalists because I know they are the best ones,” he explained. “Nagkaroon ng all-female lineup because of the fairness of the judging. Kitang-kita naman how talented they are."
Carmela or Carmi is Israel-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalists. She grew up listening to the music of Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Regine Velasquez-Alcasid. She believes her purpose as musician is to “touch hearts and souls.”
Hacel is band vocalist from Cavite. She hopes to perform a duet with Aiza “Ice” Seguerra someday. Her ultimate wish is “to gain respect in spite of her sexual orientation and receive undying support not only from the LGBT community but from all the listeners who believes in her God-given talent.”
A senior high school student in Camarines Norte, Kimberly’s musical heroes and dream future collaborators are British pop star Jessie J and OPM artists Sarah Geronimo, KZ Tandingan and Julie Ann San Jose.
Louie Ann also looks up to Sarah and Regine, as well as Morissette Amon. Hailing from San Ildefonso, Bulacan, she is a graduating student taking up Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Management.
Princess, a supply chain coordinator from Makati, is driven to become a living testament that “waiting patiently and praying fervently will lead you to the best that you can be.”
The five admitted having an all-girl battle is challenging.
“Kasi po ‘yung genre namin almost the same so talagang mas nakaka-challenge kasi kumbaga ‘yung kaya ko pong gawin, kaya din nilang gawin. So kailangan po talaga i-double namin ‘yung efforts na mas galingan at kung kinakailangan ay gumawa po ng something bago na mai-ooffer sa audience at sa mga judges,” Princess said.
Throughout the weekly battles, renowned hitmaker Jungee Marcelo, The Company’s Annie Quintos and the country’s King of R&B Jay-R served as resident reactors.
Jungee said they are confident the five finalists will make it big in the industry after the competition. He cited the Wish 107.5 YouTube channel, which currently has over two million-strong subscribers, as good platform for them.
“Kung ang tanong eh, kung sisikat ba sila after the competition, yes we are confident. Lalo na mayroong two million millennial communities ‘yung channel, kumbaga mayroon kaming power viewing content na kitang-kita naman, this early, na bumebenta,” he shared. “Para sa amin, hindi na kailangang mag-worry sa part na ‘yun kasi from the very start pa lang, nakita na namin ‘yung star quality sa kanila.”
The first-ever Wishcovery grand winner will win Php 2 million worth of cash and contract, a house and lot, a brand-new car, a makeover package, and a round-trip ticket to New York plus a two-week extensive musical training.
The BMPI Vice President for Radio proudly shared the five finalists are all guaranteed Star Music Artists after the competition. They also have a five-year contract with Wish 107.5.
Apart from the prizes, the Wishful five are given the opportunity to grant the wishes of their chosen beneficiaries.
Wish 107.5’s Wishcovery is hosted by Kris Lawrence, his first try at it 12 years into the industry.
In a separate interview with Bulletin Entertainment, Kris said he feels great to have been given the opportunity.
“I think it’s God’s plan talaga kasi there’s tons of celebrity singing on the Wish bus but still ako ‘yung napili nila for this job,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge for me. Though I would say naman I started with scratch kasi if I do have concerts, may mga spiels din naman sa gitna, may connection na rin naman sa mga tao. I’m in the process of learning pa.”
He added: “This opportunity really widened my horizon. So may mga offers na hosting job na after this so I’m very thankful because this is another venue for income.”
The finals night of Wishcovery is on March 27 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.