Meet the first Expat Duets champions

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Ryan Mayor and Angelo Bernal are the first Expat Duets champs. EXPAT MEDIA

After wowing judges with a Broadway song in the auditions, Abu Dhabi-based Angelo Bernal and Ryan Mayor ended their six-week run in Expat Duets with another Broadway hit that made them the first ever champions.

Bernal, 36, and Mayor, 43, bested four other pairs of finalists in the duets competition that put them through weekly showdowns featuring varying genres, which put their musical versatility to the test.

The duo married pop rock with classical in their opening song “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, and closed with “Impossible Dream” from the 1965 Broadway musical “Man of La Mancha”, drawing loud cheers and applause from the crowd at the packed Vegas Dubai on March 10 (Friday).


“Ryan and I are of different musical genres. We struggled with the music selection as we are not really the rocker-type. But we compromised with “Bring Me To Life as it showcases classical and pop harmonies together. We’ve been singing Impossible Dream in the UK but we thought of adding an array of twists to make it slightly modern and unique,” Bernal told

“But both of us totally agreed on both songs… we wanted our whole hearts into it rather than being half-hearted in delivering it,” Mayor said.

The two said that for their final performance, they “prepared the usual way and that is, practising every day”.

“We also asked for friends’ comments, and a peer review of sorts from Gigi [Yulo] and Sherwin [Itac]… It really helps I guess when your fellow singers listen and give an objective comment,” Bernal said. Yulo and Itac ended up as first runners-up, while Kitty Barrocan and Mheelo Trinidad were second runners-up.

“Thanks to Expat Media for producing and organizing the event and the sponsors for providing a platform to singers out there,” Bernal said.

The crowd support has been unbelievable, Bernal and Mayor said.

“We barely had friends since we arrived in the UAE four months ago, but our network grew over the last few weeks. It also helped that we have relatives here and last night was a testament of how powerful social media is. Friends of our dear friends showed up and it was amazing. We were extremely pleased with the support,” Bernal said.

UAE-based Filipino designer Harvey Cenit designed the duo’s “eye-popping” jackets—one bedecked with glittering stones and chains, and the other with a flamboyant peacock feather design.

“We have this idea that singing is not just trying to appeal to the auditory faculty. It is also visual if not multi-sensual. We approached Harvey Cenit and asked a massive favour to design and create an eye-popping jackets,” Mayor said.

What’s next for them after Expat Duets?

“I will keep on singing… It’s my passion and whatever happens in the future, I’d be doing it for as long as I get to entertain people. I have a few singing competitions coming up and hopefully I’d be just as lucky as last night,” Bernal said.

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