MICappella's Juni Goh among familiar faces to clear auditions in The Voice

MICappella's Juni Goh performed Step By Step Love, originally sung by Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng. Contestant Isaac Ong performed Malaysian singer Gary Chaw's melancholic ballad You Are The Only One In The World.
MICappella's Juni Goh performed Step By Step Love, originally sung by Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng.PHOTO: THE VOICE
Contestant Isaac Ong performed Malaysian singer Gary Chaw's melancholic ballad You Are The Only One In The World.
Contestant Isaac Ong performed Malaysian singer Gary Chaw's melancholic ballad You Are The Only One In The World.PHOTO: THE VOICE

A cappella band MICappella's Juni Goh joins Sky Wu's team while The Final 1 finalist Isaac Ong opts for singer Gary Chaw as his mentor on The Voice

A familiar face has appeared at the blind auditions in the local version of popular reality singing show The Voice - Juni Goh of home-grown vocal band MICappella.

The Singaporean was picked by celebrity mentor Sky Wu on yesterday's episode of the singing contest's Singapore/Malaysia edition.

Goh, 31, says: "My biggest stages were with MICappella, a lot of my professional stages have been with the group. The reason I joined The Voice is because I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could go in the contest."

He was speaking to the local media last Thursday, shortly after returning from South Korea, where they performed at last month's Asia Song Festival in Busan.

The seven years he spent performing with MICappella will be his edge in the singing contest. Next month, the band will stage their largest concert in Singapore at the Capitol Theatre.

The a cappella group gained recognition after competing in televised singing contest The Sing-Off China (2012) and emerged the runners-up.

This time, on The Voice, the pressure is all on him.

He says: "I get nervous and stressed when I perform alone because all eyes are on me. If I go off-key or forget the lyrics, no one can cover for me. When we perform as a group, it is not as obvious when someone slips up."

If he was jittery, it was not apparent on the show. The tenor delivered a rousing rendition of Step By Step Love, originally sung by Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng. It was written by Singaporean singer-songwriter Hanjin Tan, who is also a mentor on the show.

The other mentors are Malaysian singer Gary Chaw and Chinese powerhouse singer Della Ding Dang.

The Voice has been held in various countries since the original, The Voice Of Holland, debuted in Dutch in 2010. Each series kicks off with the coaches holding blind auditions, in which they pick contestants for their teams based solely on vocal performances. They do not get to see who is singing.

When they want a singer on their team, they hit a button to turn their chair around.

On last night's episode, all four mentors turned their chairs for Singaporean Isaac Ong, 29.

The mentors were impressed by his melodious vocals on You Are The Only One In The World, Chaw's melancholic ballad.

The Chinese-Indian contestant admits he was not familiar with the four mentors, so he chose Chaw based on his gut instinct.

"Before I took part in the contest, the truth is, I didn't know who the judges were. I Googled them. I decided whoever it is, I would pick the mentor sitting in the third chair," says Ong , who was a finalist on The Final 1 (2015), the Channel 5 reality singing contest.

His decision was also influenced by Chaw's sincere words.

He says: "Gary said things that were humbling as a singer. 'I may not sing the best, but I know what pain is and I can sing it.' I felt him and believed him."

"He also told me, 'I know that you have made mistakes in the past and you want to do good now,'" says Ong, who is a communications student at Singapore Institute of Management

Once a rebellious teenager, Ong now runs social enterprise Colours Global, which engages Singaporeans to do volunteer work.

The group has gone to Batam to paint schools and rounded up youth volunteers to distribute ice cream to foreign workers in Little India.

Ong is going for the win on The Voice. He feels that winning the title will help to further his causes.

He says: "I want to win because I feel the title is important. It makes it easier to meet with people in the industry and government agencies.

"I could go to brands like Nike or adidas and ask them to donate their old stock to the less privileged."

•The Voice airs on Sundays at 8pm on Hub E City (StarHub TV Channels 111 and 825).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Familiar faces clear blind auditions'. Print Edition | Subscribe