It comes quite rarely that pure natural talent takes over and owns the stage, slays a performance so well, and amazes viewers with a presence so cunning, witty, and lively.
And he is merely 12 years old with an “awra” no one can fail to distinguish.
McNeal “Awra” Briguela showed that his being an online sensation and his subsequent discovery and recognition as television’s child phenomenon was no fluke in the premiere weekend of the celebrity impersonation contest Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids.
Awra became the first weekly winner of the competition with an astounding total of 24 stars from the jury composed of Gary Valenciano, Sharon Cuneta, and Ogie Alcasid after wowing the crowd with his impersonation of Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s viral cover of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.”
Watching Mommy Dionisia’s rendition on Gandang Gabi Vice years back, anyone would surely consider Awra’s bit was pure magic. Not only did he looked like the power mom with clever prosthetics and an impressively identical wardrobe plus mimicking distinguishable mannerisms and expressions, Awra truly sounded perfectly like Mommy Dionisia as well in the original video with the same vocal pitch, quality, and, yes, uniqueness.
Everyone who watched, from fellow celebrities to netizens, bawled over in delight. As host Billy Crawford said, “Sorry, ha? Wasak na wasak kami dito dahil sa ‘yo.”
Apart from even mimicking Awra’s look, all the judges were in unison in praising him as an entertainer. Gary V noted he only wrote three letters to describe Awra’s performance: O M G. Sharon said she was excited seeing more of Awra in the next weeks, while a visibly impressed Ogie noted how much he had effectively entertained and made people laugh at the same time.
While Awra did the kid stage performance for the ages, it was quite noteworthy that the other contestants gave mesmerizing performances as well. On the first day of the telecast that featured Awra, Xia Vigor warmed hearts with her Selena Gomez number, “Love You Like a Love Song.” Justin Alva also impressed viewers with his Michael Jackson impression of “Beat It.” Ella Nympha gave a rousing performance of Beyonce’s “Love On Top.”
The second night saw Lyca Gairanod appearing as Katy Perry with her awesome version of “Roar.” Sam Shoaf made everyone see Bruno Mars in the flesh with the catchy “Uptown Funk.” Alonzo Muhlach gave a stirring Harry Styles takeoff of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” And, AC Bonifacio dazzled as Britney Spears in her sendup of “Baby One More Time.”
Production and entertainment value was as impressive as ever with awesome sets, remarkable costume and prosthetic makeup design, and the best jury one could ever imagine, with the masterful direction of the legendary Mr. M, Johnny Manahan. Truly it was a show people will really look forward to each week.