'The Clash' judge Christian Bautista: I look for voice and presence

'The Clash' judge Christian Bautista: I look for voice and presence

CEBU, Philippines — As GMA-7’s survival singing competition “The Clash” rally singers for their second season, Christian Bautista has a clearer idea of what he has to do as a judge.

“Ang mahirap sa judge kasi, you’re determining that person’s future. It’s heartbreaking to see someone wanting that future and you have to tell them not yet, or no, or maybe it’s not for you. Ang sakit niyan,” he said in an interview during “The Clash” Season 2 auditions last June 15 at Robinsons Galleria Cebu where he performed with Season 1 first runner-up Jong Madaliday.

“Sana the direction that we’re moving them, whether showbiz or not, will lead to something better.”

Asia’s Romantic Balladeer, who was fourth runner-up to Erik Santos on ABS-CBN’s “Star in a Million” in 2003, said that he feels for the contestants he gets to face and critique. But with his experience, he now understands where these judges are coming from.

He reassures participants that a judge’s task is not to discourage rookies, but to look far ahead on what they can become, having gone down a similar road themselves.

“I know how they feel during the competition, but more importantly, I know what’s going to happen after. Ang pag-judge ko ngayon, you have to do well in the competition, and I have to see how they will improve pa after – so that combination,” said Christian, who also sat as judge in the 2016 GMA-7 contest “Superstar Duets.”

Despite “The Clash” holding screenings not only all over the country but even abroad, Christian isn’t ruling out the possibility of another Cebuano winner, what with powerhouses like Morissette Amon, Vina Morales, Sheryn Regis, Pilita Corrales, Manilyn Reynes, and even “The Clash” first grand winner Golden Cañedo all coming from Cebu, to name a few.

Last year, six Cebu bets made it as finalists in the tilt. Aside from Golden, Cebuanas Danielle Ozaraga and Esterlina Olmedo became standouts and favorites.

“We’re hoping to find more golden voices, whether male or female na talagang good addition to ‘The Clash’ winners. It’s very, very possible [to have a back-to-back win]. With all the great singers from Cebu, from before up to now, it’s very possible. There’s so much talent here,” he quipped.

Christian, who will sit with Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha and actress-singer Ai-Ai delas Alas in the panel of judges, personally prefers a contestant with both talent and presence.

“Voice,” Christian replied when asked what strikes him first. “Dapat yung voice pa lang, kailangan kontrolado na agad. You have to have stage presence. Kailangan pagdating sa stage, meron kang command agad na wow, what is this X-factor? It doesn’t have to be showbiz friendliness. Sa loob lang, whatever, kung sino ka, i-highlight mo yun. I understand most of these guys are fresh so kailangan ko tignan what they can become.”

For aspiring Clashers and “The Clash” winners, Christian reminds them to never let their guard down and to always be quick on their feet, especially with the show’s format which gives Clashers control over who they would like to sing against.

“The battle is not over yet, it’s just beginning. Talagang you have to fight for you life. Ganun dapat. For your life. Walang moment na magle-let go. Dapat lagi kang ready.”

The past months, Christian, along with Julie Anne San Jose, has been kept busy with a Philippine tour of their “The Sweetheart and the Balladeer: Fun Night Only.”