I HAVE lost contact with some of the artists who have championed Vispop as an alternative to the conservative Cebu Pop Music Festival. I wanted to know from them how the contest was going, now on its third year.

But using keyword “Vispop 3” in my search, I came across the dedicated Facebook page promoting the six finalists in 2015.

A further improvement this year is that, not only are there lyric videos for each of the songs, the organizers have provided brief background of the songwriters.

This is my take on each of the entries:

--“Bok Love” or ‘Tambok Love” is a comedic look at two people who love each other and have a common craving for food. Written by Felipe Anjelo Calinawan and Therese Marie Villarante, this novelty number takes on the familiar format of the first bonafide hit of the contest, “Balay ni Mayang.”

--“Buwa’g Balik” is a brilliant tune written and performed by Lourdes May Maglinte. Totally refreshing rhythm ‘n blues, the song is further enhanced by Maglinte’s creative delivery.

--“Pangandoy” has lyrics written by Sakdap member Irving Guazon and music by Agusan del Sur native John Cadelina. It has all the elements of a great pop song with fine vocals courtesy of Daryl Leong.

--“LQ (Sige La’g Away)” by Adam Corvera is a nice and funny novelty item with the typical “Mayang” approach.

--“Tug Ta Tug” (short for “Tulog ‘ta Tulog”) by Earnest Hope Tinambacan and Jerry Angelo Catarata reminds me of Emil Sanglay’s “Anting-Anting” and Joseph Olfindo’s “Insomnia.” Tinambacan’s interpretation is pretty interesting.

--“Brgy Blues” composed by Andy Calope isn’t actually a blues number rather it is soul and funky, in the likes of James Brown and the Advisors’ “Yugyugan Na.”

If I were to judge the contest, I’d vote for “Buwa’g Balik” or “Tug Ta Tug” as the Top 2. But then I could be wrong. In the past contests, I chose the quirky and experimental entries such as Marie Maureen Salvaleon’s “Papictura Ko Nimo Gwapo,” Alphecca Perpetua’s “Historias,” and Gasser Perez’s “Habak.”

All the songs in Vispop 3.0 are superbly arranged and professionally produced. The organizers are on the right track. If I’m not wrong, they’ve tied up with some of the local broadcast stations, and that should give a chance for any of the songs to become hits. Even if we count Luzon out of the equation, Visayan songs can still become popular with the combined population of the Visayas and Mindanao.