|Voice of the nation: Nguyen Quang Anh fromThanh Hoa City won the top prize in the singing contest The Voice Kids of Viet Nam 2013. — Photo www.thethaovanhoa.vn
HCM City (VNS)— Thirteen-year-old Nguyen Quang Anh, hailing from central Thanh Hoa City, was crowned the winner of TV singing contest The Voice Kids at the end of an emotional and close-run final on Saturday night in HCM City.
Anh finished ahead of Phuong My Chi and Tran Ngoc Duy after receiving 215,903 public votes, equivalent to 43.37 per cent of the total. This saw him overcome runner-up Chi by a mere two per cent margin.
Anh, who was coached by star musical couple Ho Hoai Anh and Luu Huong Giang during the three-month contest, won the hearts of viewers with his pure voice, diverse musical style, infectious confidence and charisma.
With the top prize, he won VND300 million (US$15,000) in cash, a VND200 million-scholarship to study music and VND100 million for a trip with his family.
In the final, he impressed with three songs. Alone, he sang Da Trong Chong (A Woman Waiting for her Husband); with his coaches, he performed Que Nha (Homeland); and with four other outstanding ex-contestants from his team, he gave a rendition of Giu Lay Niem Tin (Keeping the Belief).
While the night ultimately belonged to Anh, fellow finalists Chi and Duy received rapturous support from the studio audience, praise from the public and prize money of VND50 million (US$2,400).
During the contest, Chi (who was mentored by singer Hien Thuc) touched the hearts of audiences with her sweet and authentic performance of folk songs. The 10-year-old has been hailed a "phenomenon" by many for her ability to successfully sing the type of deep folk music that is normally the domain of well-practised adults. Her success has re-popularised the rare musical genre among the younger generation.
Duy also impressed with his stunning voice, beautiful dancing and an innocent charm.
A new life begins
Anh is about to see his young life change completely. He comes from a poor family in Thanh Hoa City, where his mother works as a waste collector. After winning, he said he would give her all of his prize money to help build a more comfortable house.
"Each time when she comes back from work, I am sad to see that she is very tired. I am ready to help her with housework every day like cleaning, cooking, washing dishes," he said.
Shortly before competing in the contest, Quang Anh suffered from the meningitis and was treated in hospital. However, his passion for singing motivated him to pursue his dream of taking part in the contest.
"I am determined to pursue my singing career. I love singing and I sing everywhere I go," he said.
"I am happy that that my family has always supported my love for music."
Quang Anh said he inherited this love from his mother, who was once a traditional cheo actress.
"My mother reminded me that I started singing at the age of three. Even before I could read, I could sing with the correct melody and lyrics."
The Voice Kids 2013
The first episode of the Vietnamese version of The Voice Kids was broadcast on VTV3 on June 1.
Closely following the format of the original Dutch version, the show was open for children aged 9 to 15 and included a blind audition round, a battle round, a live show and then the final.
The first qualifying round attracted around 4,000 children across the country.
This year, the coaches were the singers Thanh Bui, Hien Thuc, Luu Huong Giang and Ho Hoai Anh. Doctor of psychology Huynh Van Son was a consultant on the show to help the young contestants overcome the stress of the competition.
Bui, himself once a contestant on Australian Idol said that the talent on show in this year's series surprised him.
"I was impressed to see that the kids were confident enough to sing English songs on stage. I think with the support of the coaches, these little talents will grow and shine in our music industry."
However, some people criticised the show for its preference for English songs over Vietnamese ones. Others complained that the children chose to perform songs which could be considered "too mature" for their age. VNS