Ever since the first time she stepped on the It’s Showtime stage as one of the contestants of Tawag ng Tanghalan, Elaine Duran has indeed never failed to fascinate and strike us with her every performance, most especially during the grand finals held on September 28 at the Caloocan City Sports Complex.
Showcasing her rapping chops as she chose Shanti Dope’s “Nadarang” as the anthem of her journey, she absolutely got everyone mind-blown and the hurados jump off their seats. She was able to keep her exceptional performance in the second round of Huling Tapatan, wherein she belted out a medley of Basil Valdez hits, namely, “Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan”, “Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga”, and “Ngayon At Kailanman”.
Thus, there’s no wonder that she has been among the top favorites and the eventual grand champion in the prestigious on-air singing competition.
With the gruelling and challenging journey she went through in order to get wherever she is right now, the young diva from Butuan City was nothing but grateful for what she has achieved.
WINNING MOMENTS: Elaine Duran triumphs as Tawag Ng Tanghalan Season 3 Grand Champion
On being the grand champion and her journey
“Talagang ‘di pa rin po siya nagsisink-in sa utak ko na ako ‘yong natanghal na grand champion. Dati lang po nanonood ako sa TV, tapos minsan ‘pag naaalala ko ‘yong mga moment na ‘di ako natatanggap, parang naiiyak ako for that specific contender kasi parang nafe-feel mo talaga na ‘Ay sana ako rin makatuntong sa Tawag ng Tanghalan. Ngayon po na nahirang ako na Tawag ng Tanghalan grand champion, parang ang layo po ng journey na tinahak ko for this season po. Pasalamat po talaga ako sa Panginoon po for giving me this opportunity po,” she told Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com in an exclusive interview.
Actually, she didn’t have any expectation that she would be the winner nor she would make it until the very last since, according to her, she’d been repeatedly rejected in her auditions in this same season. But those didn’t discourage her from pursuing her ambitions, so she’s very thankful to God for finally bestowing this awe-inspiring opportunity and her ‘right moment’.
“Sabi ko kay Lord, kahit ano pong place na ma-achieve ko ngayon, okay lang po sa akin kasi nakaabot ako ng Top 3. Sa dami-dami pong nag-audition po sa Tawag ng Tanghalan, very blessed na po ako na makapasok dito, even maging semi-finalist, maging finalist. ‘Yong Top 6 parang ‘di ko ‘yon ineexpect na mangyayari,” the Season 3 winner shared to the media people who flocked around her after the show.
On the challenges she encountered
In every contest, it’s indeed inevitable to not be intimidated and highly tested with at least one of your opponents to the title you’re coveting for. Although they have considered them already as friends, Elaine revealed that it would be her fellow Quarter 1 semi-finalist Ranillo Manrique and her runner-up John Mark Saga.
“Personally po, sa quarter ko po, si Kuya Ranillo. Pero sad to say po, nauna na po siyang na-eliminate, which in fact po, sobrang galing po talaga ni Kuya Ranillo. Kaming dalawa ni Kuya John Mark and lahat po ng mga contenders, bilib na bilib po sa kanya lalong-lalo na sa creativity niya when it comes sa pagbali ng mga songs. Hands down po kami,” she said.
Apart from the great challenge put by the other contestants to her, she, unbeknownst to us, also had to confront a more personal struggle just on her first days in the competition.
“Ang pinakamahirap po talaga ay no’ng lumalaban ako simula third day ng TNT dailies po, as in wala na akong boses. Talagang may medication na lang po ako and after that, nalaman ko pong may nodules po ako. So talagang no’ng dati na bago ko palang nalaman na mayroon ako no’n, para naisip ko lang na sumuko kasi madali akong mamaos, parang wala ng way para maibalik din,” she revealed.
On the preparations she did
When asked regarding the preparations she did, she divulged that she spent a portion of her time resting and researching for songs.
“Of course, ‘yong rest po, and then ‘yong pagre-research ng song. Kasi ‘yong naging isa sa mga inisip ko, gusto ko na may kakaiba rin sa akin. So nag-research ako, naging experimental din ako sa pagpili ng songs. Sa pagbali, pinag-isipan ko rin po ‘yong bali ng songs, and of course, with the guidance of my vocal teacher po, Sir Marvin Gairamon po and Ms. Lindy po, na-push through po ‘yong mga planong ‘yon and na-perform ko po siya na kaya po ng capabilities ko. And of course, nagpapasalamat po ako kay Lord kasi ginabayan niya ako para ibigay ‘yong best ko,” she said.
On her song choice
Everyone who watched the Huling Tapatan were surely surprised upon hearing her belt out the popular Shanti Dope rap track “Nadarang”, which was relatively far from the soulful and heart-wrenching songs that she chose as her piece in her previous stints – a decision that apparently came to her advantage. She might have refused to think that she had a greater edge versus her contenders, but she told Entertainment.ABS-CBN.com that it’s her mindset and her own artistry that she poured in that performance.
“‘Yong “Nadarang” po kasi, na-cover ko na po ‘yon dati, and sabi ko, ano ‘yong pwede kong maibigay na bago para sa madlang people kasi siguro known ako for doing runs, kulot, ballad, and may part sa semi-finals na nagpakita ako ng opera side ko. So ngayon, isa ‘to sa skills ko rin, ‘di naman skills pero marunong lang,” Elaine said when quizzed about the reason behind opting for that piece.
Then she added, “About po sa arrangement, personally po, isa po ako sa mga nag-arrange po sa “Nadarang” kasi naisip ko pong gawin siyang ethnic kasi uso ngayon ‘yong ballad, so parang may bagong twist naman sa kanta, so naisip ko po ‘yong ethnic pop rock. Since rap po siya, kailangan po talagang lagyan ng mga tono and all. Nagpapasalamat din po ako do’n sa student ng teacher ko po na isa rin po sa nakipag-collaborate ng ideas – si Kuya Jim Tan – at sa teacher ko rin po, maraming-maraming salamat po.”
On what she’s looking forward on after TNT
As the grand champion, one of the prizes she received was the whopping 2 million pesos. When asked what she’s going to do with it, the proud Butuanon disclosed that she would allot a large portion of it to help her family in their finances and in sending her siblings to school. Besides, she will also donate to their church to aid in its expansion.
She also told the press and bloggers that it’s also a dream of hers to lend her voice to a teleserye official soundtrack and to have a duet or collaboration with her Season 3 fellow Top 3 John Mark Saga and with OPM icons Kyla, Jaya, and Sarah Geronimo.
On her inspiration
Certainly, Elaine’s unmistakable talent is not enough for her to keep going in the contention. But the unwavering love and support she got from her loved ones also truly contributed to her success. It is also to them to whom she dedicates her victory.
“Of course my family po, Elainatics fam, relatives po, and my friends po na talagang simula pa no’ng high school, elementary, college, talagang sila ‘yong mga nagsasabi sa akin na ‘huwag kang mawalan ng pag-asa, darating din ‘yong right moment for you’,” she enthused.
Besides, she feels blessed as well to for having fans all over the Philippines and the world that consistently believed in and appreciated her, which have definitely encouraged her to keep going.
“Thank you very much po for watching Tawag ng Tanghalan, and of course po, sa hindi pag-iwan sa akin since Day 1 up to grand finals po. Maraming maraming salamat po kasi di ko po ‘to maa-achieve kung wala po kayo,” she said.