First Idol Philippines Zephanie Dimaranan (third from left) with ABS-CBN COO of Broadcast Cory Vidanes (third from right) and judges (from left) James Reid, Moira dela Torre, Vice Ganda and Regine Velasquez-Alcasid
The stars aligned for Zephanie
Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Voice Kids was not for her, even if she was ready for the big time and competed all the way to the live shows when she joined in 2015. Neither was Tawag ng Tanghalan, which she hurdled twice, even going against eventual winner Janine Berdin.

However, for Idol Philippines, the stars all aligned for Zephanie Dimaranan, the first grand champion, declared last Sunday night at Resorts World Manila. The last woman standing, Zephanie bested two other male finalists to win the P2M grand prize, a house and lot, trip for four to Taiwan, plus a recording contract.

Three was indeed a charm for the 16-year-old young diva of Laguna, who garnered a whopping 100 percent from the combined judges’ score and public votes.

Failures and rejections were the reasons Zephanie became strong. Compared to the Zephanie then and now, the young lady revealed she was no longer afraid at this point in the competition. Even if she was the youngest in the batch, Zephanie knew she could be an inspiration and example to young people who have dreams and aspirations they want to fulfill. She believed there was a right time and she was able to prove it with her victory.

Zephanie, who started singing at the tender age of only three, hails from Laguna. She rendered the powerful original song, Pangarap Kong Pangarap Mo, penned by Jonathan Manalo.

Twenty-year-old Lucas Garcia, the powerful balladeer from Batangas, placed second and got 70.2 percent of the combined score from the judges and votes from the viewers. In third place was Lance Busa, the versatile vocalist from Butuan City, who got 41.89 percent.

Lance was the erstwhile winner of the regional singing contest, Bolt of Talent, held in 2017 in Singapore. For his original song on Idol Philippines, he rendered Kapit Lang, a creative collaboration of Jimmy Antiporda and his daughter, Athena.

Meanwhile, Lucas dished out an original English song, Because You Believed, by Trina Belamide. The latter was the same songwriter of Jamie Rivera’s popular inspirational tune, Tell the World of His Love.

A day before the final showdown, the Top 5 battled it out onstage. Dan Ombao, 23, crooned The Last Time, by Eric Benet. He was the “guy with the strongest sex appeal,” said Idol Philippines judge, Vice Ganda.

Michael Odron, 24, from Butuan City and Indiana, USA, sang Rise Up by Andra Day and even played the piano. He also strummed the guitar in his previous performances.

Zephanie rendered the powerful Lipad ng Pangarap, by Angeline Quinto. Lance sang Lean On Me by Bill Withers, while Lucas crooned Bulag, Pipi at Bingi by Freddie Aguilar.

The three finalists proved they were really deserving that was why they had to be in the final showdown. They were given two rounds to display their best in singing and performing. That also gave the public the chance to choose their top choice.

For the first round, Lucas carried out Hanggan by Wency Cornejo, Zephanie sang Maghintay Ka Lamang by Charice and Lance belted out Akin Ka Na Lang by Morisette Amon.

Special guest in the final showdown of the Top 3 was international singer Jessica Sanchez. She was perhaps the most ideal celebrity to perform in the championship of the first Idol Philippines. She placed runner-up to Philip Philips in the 11th season of American Idol, held in 2012.

The other judges of Idol Philippines were Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, James Reid and Moira de la Torre, with Billy Crawford as host.

ZEPHANIE DIMARANAN
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