DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 April) — On Thursday’s episode of Asia’s Got Talent (AGT), young Mindanawon beatboxer Neil Rey Garcia Llanes was shown to receive four “yeses” from the show’s judges after he showed them his audition piece.
“My name is Neil and I’m from Davao City, Philippines,” he responded when asked by Melanie C (singer, song-writer, and former Spice Girl) to introduce himself.
He said that he joined AGT because he is “chasing a dream”: to create a house for his family who, right now, is having financial struggles.
His performance, which ran for about two full minutes, impressed the judges, the hosts, and the crowd.
AGT hosts Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez could be seen dancing in the backstage as Neil was performing; judge Vanness Wu (music artist and former boy band F4 member) also danced in his seat with Melanie.
The crowd roared as Neil’s performance peaked.
“That is the best beatboxing I’ve ever seen,” said Marc after the performance.
“That was a radio in his voice,” added Rovilson; Neil showcased a piece with five different sounds, all coming from his vocal chords.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that,” said judge David Foster. The Canadian musician, record producer, composer showed his delight and amazement at Neil. “I know that David Guetta and DJ Tiesto make half a million bucks a night doing that without using their voice.”
“They could not do what you do,” David emphasized. “It’s so original. It’s so amazing.”
Meanwhile, judge Anggun Cipta Sasmi (Indonesian performer) said, “I’m extremely impressed with your breathing and the management of all of that together in your mouth. That’s really impressive! You have such a talent.”
“Asia’s Got Talent. Neil’s Got Talent!” said Vanness.
All three judges gave Neil a yes.
“I’ve never seen [beatboxing] made that entertaining,” said Melanie. “You’re gonna go back to the Philippines and you’re gonna tell everybody that you’re on Asia’s Got Talent and you went home with four yeses!”
The episode was shot in Malaysia last January 2015; in the same episode Neil told the audience that the AGT audition was his first time to travel outside the Philippines. Since then, Neil has also traveled to Russia to contribute to the Philippines’ Department of Tourism efforts to promote the country as a destination.
In an online interview, Neil told MindaNews that after that episode (which was a judge audition), a semi-final round is to follow. The semi-finals comprise 24 acts from 15 Asian countries—his was one of those two dozen qualifying performances. The semi-finals will be held in Singapore.
“I was very happy! Akalain mo yun nakapasok ako sa dami namin na nag audition sa buong Asia,” Neil posted in Facebook.
But after Neil was given the schedules for preparation, rehearsals, and video shoots, he saw that these were in conflict with his college exams.
He raised his concern and was told that, “Neil, in order for you to go further in the competition we are going to need you to commit to ALL of the dates. Please let us know if you are able to put the competition first before your school and exams. Otherwise we may have to drop you from the competition.”
The business administration student from Holy Cross of Davao College had to make a choice: “AGT is also one of my dreams. But I can’t sacrifice my studies.”
Neil chose to pursue and finish his college degree and was dropped out of the competition, as decided by the executive producer. “We really hope that you can come back and try out next year or after you finish your studies,” a message from AGT told Neil.
“NEVER EXIT IN LIFE pa rin!” Neil wrote in Facebook. He confessed that he did feel sad to let go of his the opportunity, but he remains optimistic. “Ang main reason ko talaga is to share and to inspire more people around the world.”
Neil believes that his craft is not just an ordinary talent. “It is a medicine – it can cure loneliness, sadness, and it can make people happy,” he said. He said that he discovered his talent back when he was 12 years-old, and in the bathroom, listening to their neighbor play Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean.
Last December Neil also became the grand winner of TV 5’s reality talent show, Talentadong Pinoy.
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