At 70, It’s Showtime’s Tawag ng Tanghalan grand finalist Violeta Bayawa from Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte is presumably the oldest contestant to make it to the last stage of the competition ever since it was re-launched in 2016.
However, despite her age, this never hindered her to keep pace with and even beat much younger contenders throughout her five-day reign as the defending champion and her impressive stint in the week-long semifinal round.
Her journey on TNT might be relatively shorter than how the other aspirants have undergone, yet it was still sweet for she was able to make it this far. But behind that is a long and bitter story of patiently waiting for her ‘one great love’ to hopefully come back home to complete their family, which she was able to impart to us through her enthralling performances of classic hits.
It was definitely a love at first sight for everyone who witnessed Violeta’s debut on the It’s Showtime stage as she glowed while belting out Shirley Bassey’s “This Is My Life”. That earned her a round of applause from the hurados and the madlang people, as well as the Daily Winner title for that day.
Her stimulating and teasing rendition of the famed actress-singer’s “Diamonds Are Forever” indeed kept her luster as she was able to dethrone two-time defending champion Jan Carlos Libanan, who delivered his interpretation of the classic OPM love song “Ikaw”, after garnering the higher score of 95.2 versus his 90.4.
Negros Occidental pride Joseph Escalaña tried to topple down the “Senior Citi-singer of Dipolog City” with his patriotic piece “Dakilang Lahi”, but the latter was able captivate us more with her soulful take on Barbra Streisand’s “People” and kept the golden microphone in her possession. She got 93.8 while the former only had 88.2.
Since she ‘never lost control’ throughout her performance of another Shirley Bassey hit “The Greatest Performance Of My Life”, Violeta received the mark of 88.4%, versus the 85% of Daily Winner Dona Lyn Capangpangan who also amazed the hurados as well with her version of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason”.
On her fourth day as the defending champion, she had remained unfazed on top as her version of Shirley Bassey’s “Never, Never, Never” that earned 92.8% defeated the powerful performance of daily winner Joan Del Rosario of Aegis’ “Dukha”, which only got 86.8%.
Painting a smile onto the faces of the hurados via her astounding take on Tom Jones’ “I Who Have Nothing”, Violeta was indeed the obvious winner, garnering 94.6%, over the challenger Gio Levi, who impressed by putting a twist on Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”
As she marked her fifth consecutive win, she decided to end her defending champion run to take a rest and prepare for the Quarter 4 semifinals wherein she’s already among the semifinalists.
During the week-long semi-finals, the fervent aspirant from Dipolog consistently astounded the hurados and the madlang people with her heartwarming and stirring performances of The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody”, The Beatles “Something”, Leah Navarro’s “Kailangan Kita”, Roy Clark’s “Yesterday When I Was Young”, and Andy Williams’ “Love Story”.
But what tugged our heartstrings the most was her soulful rendition of the classic OPM love song “Saan Ka Man Naroroon”, which she dedicated to her estranged husband and one-and-only “Ga” Zacharias Bayawa. After not seeing him for more than 50 years, they had the wonderful chance to see him at least via the video message he sent that truly brought kilig not only to her, but to everyone who saw that magical moment.
In the end, Violeta will not only go home with the hope of reconciling with her “Ga”, but with the huge chance of being the third Tawag ng Tanghalan Grand Winner, as well, as she heads on to the grand finals alongside batchmate Julius Cawaling.
Her journey only attests that age will never matter when it comes to pursuing and attaining our dreams, regardless of how far-flung it will be. Good luck, Mommy Violeta!