Domicile of Da' KRUsader's Mind Crafts…

Anugerah Day One Auditions…


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The Anugerah auditions are underway as I speak, today being Day 2 of the auditions. For those of you still living on a different planet, Anugerah is back this year, in the process, celebrating a decade of talent spotting in our local entertainment industry and this year, the champion will win prizes worth $250,000, which includes a recording contract with Suria Records Sdn Bhd (SRC), $10,000 cash and an Artiste Management contract with Mediacorp. The first runner up will take home $120,000 worth of prizes, comprising of a recording contract with local music label Gumbira and an Artiste Management contract with Mediacorp.

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The crowd spilled over to the upper levels to get a clear view of the proceedings…

Yesterday I was over at East Point Mall to experience the atmosphere of the Anugerah auditions, between 11:50am-3:50pm. Knowing that registrations would only begin at 9am, I decided to go a wee bit later. As I was turning into the multi-storey carpark of the shopping centre, I could see that the queue to register their applications was simply overwhelming, spilling over to the field behind the building. And to think the weather was blistering hot!!! I gotta take my hat off to these wannabes for braving the heat, some I could see, dressed to the nines. My goodness, even if I still qualify to enter the competition, I would never dream of wasting my time queueing up just to sing for 30 seconds or so on stage, especially since I’m very much a stickler for time and have no patience at waiting for someone / something.

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The main registration area…

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The long queue…

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That stretched all the way to the field behind the shopping centre…

Initially I thought the auditions would be held outside the shopping centre, so it was a bit of a surprise to see that it was held indoors instead. At first I could feel the coolness from the air-conditioner in the building, but as time ticked by and more people thronged the venue, not to mention the temperature outside getting hotter, the place grew more and more stuffy. This was made worse by the building’s architecture which has a skylight directly above the stage area, allowing the sun’s rays and heat to engulf everyone inside. I could see that quite a few people were complaining of the heat and saying how stuffy it was. But I cannot complain much, since I had good access inside the stage area, thanks to the kind media invite by Suria.

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An overhead view of the stage area…

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The contestants patiently await their turns…

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The distinguished panel of judges – Imran Ajmain, Eddy Ali, Ann Hussein and Gani Karim

The contestants were being judged by the resident judges of the competition – Ann Hussein, Eddy Ali and Gani Karim. The guest judge to round off the panel of judges was singer and director of GumbiraImran Ajmain. I dunno if the mood changed after I left, since the auditions stretched all the way past dinnertime, but the judges were more or less keeping their cool and dispensing valuable advice to the contestants wherever possible. From their choice of clothing to their presentation style, right down to how they sounded (nasal, diction, pitching, going off-key etc), I sincerely hope that all these wannabes would learn from their mistakes and strive to do better in future competitions. I certainly learnt something in that when you wear something vibrant, your choice of song should not be mundane and melancholic.

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The two resident hosts – Fiza O & Fauzie Laily

From the four hours spent at the auditions, so far, I could not see anyone that has the “wow” factor, even though they showed glimpses of raw diamonds needing lots of polishing. Perhaps after I had left and also during today’s second round of auditions, there were / will be some that perhaps have got the potential to go far. However, I have to say that I was quite bored at the auditions, simply because a large majority of the contestants preferred to sing songs before 2005 and sappy, old rock hits. I think it is quite lost on most of these contestants that they have to keep up with the times and sing current songs that suit the mass audience and consumers. And most of these wannabes, I dare say 90% of them, sang sappy ballad tunes. It’s ok if they could sing, but what happens when they can’t??? I can only sympathise with the jury, having to sit down the whole day having to endure everything being presented to them.

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The roving host – Lina Farhana

Another reason why I was bored at the auditions was because these contestants have limited repertoire in their arsenal. For the guys, I observed that they simply loved singing Mawi‘s “Kian“, B8‘s “Bidadari Hatiku“, Didicazli‘s “Dambaan“, Irwansyah‘s “Camelia” and Aizat‘s “Hanya Kau Yang Mampu“. For the ladies, Siti Sarah‘s “Kesetiaan“, Rossa‘s “Tegar” and Agnes Monica‘s “Matahariku” seemed to be their favourites. This is on top of those 80s rock hits which are quite irrelevant in this day and age. Granted some of them could carry these tunes, but they have to come out from their comfort zones and show that they are also versatile in singing other genres. What I could not understand was why did the girls sing “Kesetiaan“, when they jolly well could not maintain the execution of the R&B style that goes along with the song??? None of them actually progressed singing that song, throughout my four hours there.

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Then there is that problem of replicating the original singer’s voice and funnily enough, those who replicated were mostly females. You had the Ziana Zain wannabes, the Mazleela pretenders, the Elly Mazlein impersonators and of course you’ll definitely have a like-for-like voice clone of Siti Nurhaliza. How I wish they would be more original in their delivery of songs, rather than keep to the original state. They have to remember that people would want to remember them as them, not another wannabe. Some of them, even when they were singing the very first word of the song, you could easily guess whether they would progress or not. I was constantly shaking my head when I felt a contestant wasn’t good enough and nodding when he / she deserved to go through. More often than not, the jury’s decisions coincided with mine.

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As for style-wise, the contestants were well-dressed in general though I kinda frowned on guys wearing bermuda slacks and those who came wearing slippers / flip-flops. Hello, where is your respect towards the competition??? Where is your respect towards something you dream of and hope to achieve??? Where is your self-respect for all that mattered??? This kind of laid-back attitude should not be glaring for all to see and I really have to applaud Eddy Ali (for once) for telling off one of the female contestants who was wearing something as though she was off to her nearby convenience store. If you do not show some self-worth, then please do not expect the audience to root for you in time to come and I hope that those who progress in the competition would learn from this.

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He had style, from his haircut to his dressing. A pity that PSP holder spoilt his overall outlook. He did not progress simply because his diction was not good and he had no sense of rhythm when he sang Scan‘s “Kau Dipaksa Aku Terpaksa“. However, I applaud George for being brave enough to enter a Malay singing competition.

Another thing I would like to touch on is homework and research. Just because singing only requires you to open your mouth and tune the words doesn’t mean you can get away with lack of initiative to expand your knowledge. Too many songs were sung from years gone by and when the judges asked to sing songs from the present, more often than not, they would be lost and trying to find the words to the lyrics of the songs that flashed in their heads. They should have at least prepared three songs they are comfortable with, of which two should be current. All they needed to do was surf around the region’s music charts and find out which songs are in. Or listen to the radio on a daily basis. Is that too much to ask for??? And please do your homework on the true origins of a song. “Kau Pergi Jua” was made famous by Adam Ahmad, not Dinodi or even Dayang Nurfaizah and even though Innuendo gave “Belaian Jiwa” a more soothing tune to the original, it is still widely known as Carefree‘s. Even if you wanted to sing the way the more present singers do, you’re not up to scratch, sorry to say.

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He progressed to the next round…

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And so did she…

Then, we have those who tried to be original but ended up sounding fake. I’m referring to those who when singing Indonesian songs, also following the style of the original singer. For example, the letter “S” should not be pronounced as “Sh”. The simple word “siapa” can end up sounding “shiapa” and that’s not music to the ears. It’s a bloody turn off I tell you!!! And some of them could cut down on the slang during singing. Not only that, one should also move / prance / dance according to the mood of the song. I just don’t understand why there should be a lot of movement when the song is a downright sappy ballad. I still remember one contestant was labelled “Over” by Eddy Ali and again, he was right. For a song as slow as what he sang, he was dancing as though the song was injected a faster tempo to it.

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The guy who was “over”…

For the record, the auditions and subsequent weekly rounds will be hosted by resident hosts Fauzie Laily and Fiza O. At yesterday’s event, they were ably assisted by RIA 897FM deejay KC, who acted as the time filler host during the intermissions as well as Lina Farhana, one of the Anugerah Skrin finalists who acts as a roving host. I’m not sure if the latter is in this temporarily or throughout the competition, but if it’s a permanent one for the whole event, then it should be a good platform for her to spread her wings in this industry. From my observations of her recorded segment outside the building, reporting on the registration process, her vibrancy and zest needs to come from within. But she can be forgiven as she is regarded as a newbie and would do well to improve as she goes along. She just needs to look at how Fiza O started off and how she has improved over the years.

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A familiar face spotted in the crowd, none other than our national footballer, Khairul Amri

The event was not complete without the airing of the latest Anugerah theme song entitled “Bintang Anugerahku“, sung by Aliff Aziz, Eka Mairina & Hyrul Anuar. I think it is apt that they chose the past three winners of the competition to sing this song, giving positive hope to those entering the competition this year that they too could possibly record a similar-themed tune in time to come. The song was composed by Sleeq and the lyrics were penned by the combined efforts of both Sleeq and Zaharian Osman. Naturally the song sounded a bit like their hit single “Cun Saja“, especially the introductory part of it.

I met two familiar people who entered the competition…

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Eddy, who works at the California Fitness outlet that I frequent, was unlucky not to go through…

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But Emelya who is a big fan of local talents, progressed through her excellent rendition of Agnes Monica‘s “Matahariku“, the best amongst all the female contestants who sang the same song througout my four hours at the event…

Next weekend, the numbers will dwindle down and by the end of next Sunday 10 May 2009, we will get to know who would be in the Top 20 and duke it out in the weekly rounds, starting from 9 June 2009 onwards. So for those of you who have some spare time and would like to see the next big thing in the local entertainment industry, come on down to East Point Mall today and next weekend. Oh lest I forget, Suria is also selling the official Anugerah t-shirts and a pair of wristbands at $15.00 and $4.50 respectively. If you buy two t-shirts, you will get the pair of wristbands free. Hurry!!! While stocks last!!!

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P.S. Thank you to Siti Zalinah of Mediacorp Suria for the kind assistance and information rendered.

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Our hosts say, “See you in the upcoming auditions!!!”…

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5 responses

  1. Moe

    Kita perlukan tenaga pengadil yang muda dan baharu dan fresh iye tak?!
    Anyway all the best to the contestants!

    Monday, 4 May 2009 at 11:44

    • I’m all for old and experienced hands but at least be firm and harsh when u need to, not be nice and giving the wrong signals till your target becomes complacent.

      Kalau nak pengadil yang muda, biarlah yang berfikiran matang dan ada pengalaman dalam industri muzik tempatan & seberang Tambak, kalau setakat dimentor oleh orang lama tapi dah mula nak menunjuk2 & mahu mengajar org lama in the proses, tak payahlah.

      I have heard of such a case that someone still new in the industry, tried to teach old hands during a judging competition on how it shud be done and ended up being told off by one of the old heads…

      Monday, 4 May 2009 at 14:07

      • Moe

        oh iye k? sapa tu eh?
        I Setuju, kalau yg lama tu biarlah kasi komen yg lebih detail sikit…kalau kasi komen one liner je boring jugak. kalau dapat jemput guest judge dari pun best jugak kan..panggil Paul Moss ke barulah gempak!!

        Monday, 4 May 2009 at 15:20

  2. ita

    Hello PM,

    I was there on first day of the audition….Wah PM…I saw you got special entry inside the audition area lagi eh.Nak bertegur sapa awak tapi segan ah!

    All the judges have their own expertise area in judging,they are experience n are well known in the industries.,no problem at all with the judges.Just hoping that wen anugerah are on TV they will give critics and comments which can give contestants valuable n motivated tips to improve on the next next rounds.

    But it’s a waste n pity to see almost all the contestant came unprepared.They do not really make use of the 3mins of the time on stage.They came in slippers & bermudas…for goodness sake la…you are coming for a singing competition audition not going for picnic or wet market.Nevertheless there are few contestants came in full gear,well done n congratz to them…but so sad ah to see some are not up to the standard to continue to the next round.Amazing!there are so many talent in spore!

    To those who are selected to next round…pls pls pls la dress appropriately n prepare up to date songs to win the judges heart.At least have 2songs fast n slow,to show that you are versatile.

    I’m excited to see who is the next Eka Mairina,Hyrul Anuar n Aliff Aziz!

    Salam,
    Ita

    Monday, 4 May 2009 at 16:49

  3. hmmm dah malas ahh nk tgk anugerah…hopefully yg menang nanti will be someone who can REALLY sing :)

    anyway Encik A, saya add awak tau!

    Thursday, 7 May 2009 at 19:27

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