Anyone watching the finale of Vocea Romaniei (or, Romania’s version of The Voice, a singing competition reality show) on Friday night was treated to an impressive host of performances, some better than others, all capped off by two men from Smiley’s team who seemed to far and away outshine the rest of the competition. Except when the votes were tallied and the winners were announced, the same two contestants came in fourth and third place, respectively.

It’s entirely possible that the votes for the show weren’t entirely based on talent and instead on other biases, but regardless of the outcome Smiley and the folks at HaHaHa Production (in collaboration, it seems, with the folks at MediaPro,) who have continued to time and away show what amazing people they are…well, they were prepared. And, in fact, less than a half hour after the winner was declared we got two brand new singles—one each from each of Team Smiley’s finalists, that seemed to have been recorded and produced between episodes of the show, as far as I can guess. And let me tell you, they are great.

(And they are also in English, for those of you who I know were about to click away.)

First up, we have fourth runner-up Michel Kochta, with “Broken Vows” …which is unabashedly my favorite of the two tracks released on Friday night, and has already seen some radio play in Romania. (Can we get it on to our radio here in the US, please? Someone make this happen.)

The other finalist of Team Smiley, who came in third place, is Tobi Ibitoye, who many thought would take home the win (and in my mind, would have been completely deserving if he had!) His first single, “Miss You,” is a little more upbeat than Michel’s, but also has an incredible sound, and if I had heard these songs independently of watching them come in last place, I wouldn’t have believed you that they weren’t already signed artists:

While I think it is a shame that Tobi and Michel came in the place they did, especially when they seemed to be such fan favorites otherwise, I myself was in no position to cast a vote sitting over here in the United States, and Cristina Balan, the overall first place winner, was clearly talented and deserved her place in the finale. Still, I think that it’s absolutely fantastic that Tobi and Michel have proven themselves to be solid representatives of Romania’s music scene, and I really hope that they go far with their music. I also think it’s absolutely wonderful how HaHaHa Production continues to prove that they are not just a production studio, but also a family who cares very deeply for their own, even newcomers who are being mentored by their fearless leader by way of a reality television show.

If you aren’t the kind of person who normally watches music television like The Voice or its many international versions, I highly suggest you check out some of the non-American editions to see what kind of talent is out there in the rest of the world, and you can find a lot of clips on YouTube.

If you want to keep tabs on these two guys, who I am a hundred percent certain are going to become stars to watch in the near future, you can follow Tobi Ibitoye and Michel Kotcha on Facebook.

This post was originally published at 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider becoming a patron of Headphone Couture!