MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!!! These two words best summed up what I felt and still feel as I type. I felt kinda shortchanged by the event as a whole. Since it first began in 2001, when I was still serving my National Service, right up till 2006, the show seemed to have evolved for the better but at the same time experiencing drops in standards here and there. This was my sixth straight year that I’ve been to the event which I am proud of – locally produced, yet honouring the works of those in the region. However I have to say that this was, in my own personal opinion, the most disappointing Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) I’ve been to. Why??? Read on…
Venue – At first glance, the event venue looked to be just across the road from the MRT station and carpark. However, I was appalled to have spent almost 15 minutes walking towards my seat. As I walked towards the entrance, I heard grumblings from the people around me, wondering why was the entrance so far away from the carpark and MRT station. Had we walked along an air-conditioned mall like the one at the Singapore Expo main building, perhaps it would not have mattered, but a lot of people were seen dressed for the occasion and you can imagine the number of perspiring people when they got to their seats and also when they departed for home.
The view from where I sat, 8 rows from the front…
Red Carpet Event – In any award shows around the world, the prelude to the main event is always the Red Carpet Event, whereby fans get to throng the sidelines to cheer and take photographs of the artistes in their full regalia, walking to the auditorium. Unlike previous years save for the inaugural event in 2001, there was none this time around, which definitely robbed the essence of glamour etched to it.
Attendance – Though the $68 seats were sold out, the same could not be said of the $48 & $28 seats. When I entered the auditorium, I was surprised to see a lot of empty seats over at the $48 block and during the breaks, when I turned around to look at the back and saw the upper tiers empty. I wondered if the event has lost its appeal amongst the audience or if the seating arrangement was a turn-off, cos really, even if I was them, I’d rather watch at home than sit at the back and pay $28 or $48 and having to rely on the giant screen to see who’s performing or on stage.
AhliFiqir performing “Inilah Barisan Kita“…
Lax in Security – During the breaks, fans were seen rushing forward to snap photographs with the artistes sitting in front. They could have caused a stampede by rushing forward and the artistes would have felt uncomfortable not being able to move around in peace or enjoying a quiet conversation with their fellow artistes. I can’t totally blame the fans cos no matter how dumb they can be at times without thinking of safety nor the artistes’ privacy, the euphoria and excitement of meeting their idols were not something they could miss. That’s where security or the ushers come in. There should have been some common sense in their heads to control the surging crowd. Sadly, they didn’t do their job and it was left to the Floor Manager who already had his hands full with what he was doing.
Sound System – Half the show, the audience was treated to loud music and the artistes’ vocals were inaudible. Too bassy , too booming and too blaring, the show was such a stop-start affair. I received feedback from those watching at home, some also experienced the same thing. You can have so many sound checks done prior to the event but if things did not work out during the event proper, you tend to question the quality of sound equipment used.
Vince, Adam, Nikki & Eka Mairina belting out “Caraku“…
Hosts – I found the incessant insinuations about Siti Nurhaliza‘s apparent relationship with “Datuk K” a little bit out of order as the show went on. Give the gal a break for Heaven’s sake!!! Adi Rahman‘s profession of his feelings towards her is also getting stale year in year out till even Aznil complained about it. There’s also a difference between being genuinely exaggerating or trying too hard to please. Granted this was her virgin role as host of such a prestigious event, but I felt that Fiza Osman‘s antics were over the top at times and her jokes fell flat. I wasn’t the only one who felt the same way. Try going to the AnakMelayu website and see the comments made by the people there about her. Not forgetting the deathly silence or groans from the audience that greeted her whenever they felt she went overboard. I think Hazz (Hazlina Abdul Halim / DJ Fairlady) would have done some justice to the show. Ok I know I’m being biased since I love her hosting talent. But to be fair, it was Fiza‘s first assignment so she would do well to learn from her experience, which was definitely memorable and valuable to her.
Award Presenters – I was generally pleased with the line-up of presenters. Just that one instance irked me. The part where RIA 89.7FM‘s Burhan (Brader Bo), Radio ERA‘s Linda Onn and Warna 94.2FM‘s Riz Sunawan presented the award for Best Male Vocal in an Album which went to Marcell. When the three deejays were having their banter, Riz was seen being touchy-feely towards Linda. He just couldn’t keep his hands off her. What was that all about man??? There was also a time when Linda felt kinda uncomfortable and adjusted her shoulders. Oh and speaking of Linda Onn, I dunno why whenever she hosts or presents an award in Singapore, she’ll speak in an exaggerating way, eg “Singaaa-purrraaa“. I wonder if she’s mocking the Bahasa Baku system which I think has already been taken away from the schools’ syllabus (correct me if I’m wrong, any of you teachers out there). Cos certainly as far as I’m concerned, Singaporean Malays don’t speak like that. Linda should know better since she grew up here in Singapore.
The great man himself, M. Nasir, crooning his current single “Juita Citra Terindah“…
Songs Performed – The first hour or first half of the show for that matter, was kinda lacklustre and the show only picked up as the minutes progressed, even though V.E. and Ahli Fiqir did a credible job as the opening act. Even though a majority of the songs were popular songs we’ve heard on radio, sadly the incessant performances of ballad and feel-good songs kinda killed the mood and lacked the punch which APM has come to be known. Perhaps the lack of quality in the sound system played a part as well.
An Artiste Manager’s Role – The job of an artiste manager is to manage your artiste and remain behind the spotlight. Thanking certain individuals and groups for their undying support was extremely alright, but to steal the thunder away from the group when they were giving their acceptance speech by promoting your own upcoming album was something which was just not right and reeks of selfishness. The moment belonged to the group and their brilliant album which was given recognition, not to promote your album. Stealing a group’s thunder to me smacks of rudeness, moreso since it was done at such a prestigious event, watched by millions in the region.
Mawi bagging Most Popular Song for “Aduh Saliha“…
Transmission Glitch – For the first time in the history of APM, viewers experienced a glitch in transmission when their television screens went blank during Dayang Nurfaizah‘s segment. A pity they missed a large chunk of Dayang‘s excellent performance.Not only that, viewers were made to guess who were the singers performing and what were the title of the songs sung as there were no promptings on the screen. And I thought we the audience had to suffer the same thing when we focus our attention to the giant screens.
Anti-Climax Finale – The show ended so abruptly without any closing performances. Normally we’ll have closing acts topped with pyrotechnics and other paraphernalias associated with grand finales but this time, the show ended on a whimper when the hosts announced that we’ve come to the end of the show. Really spoilt my mood, not to mention having to think of the long walk back to the carpark.
Post-Party – When the hosts announced non-stop throughout the night on who the caterers were, I thought, “Not bad, everyone’s eating Nasi Briyani tonight“. But then I read in one of the articles in last Sunday’s Malay Mail, those who attended the post-party event were only served bread and chicken curry. I did not attend the post-party as I am neither a celebrity nor was I invited, to acknowledge the proof. However, if the newspaper was bold enough to publish it, then there could be some element of truths attached to it, though I’m not gonna agree totally with it. From a host’s perspective it was a major blow and bad advertisement to our foreign guests, with regards to budgeting and quality of food served, had it really happened. In truth, I had doubts when I first heard the name of the caterers since two good friends of mine had bad experiences with them when one of them got married, and the other, his brother. Personally I would not have complained about it. Maybe cos I love chicken curry. But then again, I doubt the organisers would be so tightfisted as to just serve the post-party guests with just bread and chicken curry. I’m sure they have more class than that!!!
The majority’s favourite item… Not mine though…
However, not all was doom and gloom about the event. There were a few face-saving performances and instances that soothed me a bit.
Hosts – Aznil proved once again when it comes to hosting and being crazy, no one can match his nonchalance. The decision to introduce Nirina Zubir was also a correct one. I think the audience really warmed to her as she was so natural on the mic and her antics came off naturally even if she wanted to exaggerate the things she wanted to say or did.
Performances – I was particularly pleased with the performances from the local artistes. They showed they were on par with their Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts. Eka Mairina‘s vocals and Syed Azmir‘s in particular had the audience whooping and cheering when they went for the high notes. Other performances that caught my eye were Dayang Nurfaizah‘s medley during the tribute to Loloq‘s career achievements, the combined efforts of Anuar Zain, Siti Nurhaliza, Marcell & Rossa when they sang “Kangen“, Nikki & Adam performing “Caraku“, Gigi, Ratu and the segment where Jaclyn Victor, Ferhad & Syed Azmir sang the songs nominated in the Best Song category. I could be wrong since listening live, what with the loud music and fans cheering around you, can sound different from what you hear on television…
Upsetting the odds, so much for Mawi‘s loyal fans…
Award Winners – Even though I had predicted that Mawi was going to win the Most Popular Male Artiste, I was elated that Taufik Batisah won instead. Cos seriously I feel Mawi‘s over-rated and it’s only because of his fans that he’s so popular across the Causeway. Hah!!! What happened to his so-called fans when he needed them the most??? Kudos to those who had voted for Taufik though I myself am not exactly his fan…
Audience Ethics – Unlike last year, the audience was generally well-behaved. Who can forget last year when a certain section of the audience could not stop shouting even when the artistes were presenting the awards or giving their acceptance speech??? This year, the audience deserved a full thumbs up for cheering when the time was appropriate to do so and kept their peace as a sign of respect whenever the artistes went up on stage to give their acceptance speech.
Now that’s four good things about the event as opposed to the twelve pointers / grievances I pointed out, ok sorry it should be eleven. I don’t count the Post-Party event as one of my grievances but just commenting from what I read. It is not fair to include it in as I did not see it with my own eyes, first hand. For all you know, the Malaysian media were just adding fuel to fire on what they were already unhappy about the whole event. With eleven strong points to rant about, maybe you can understand why in my own personal capacity, I dubbed this year’s edition of the event as the most disappointing that I’ve been to. I was also surprised to read in last Sunday’s Berita Minggu that the event was “relatively enjoyable”. I’m next gonna analyse my initial predictions I made in my last entry and see how I’ve fared against the eventual winners. Here goes…
No prizes for guessing the Most Popular Female Artiste…
BEST NEW ARTISTE (MALE) / ARTIS LELAKI BARU TERBAIK
Initial Predictions: Ello / Mike
Eventual Winner: Ello
My thoughts: Not bad… Kinda expected it since Ello seems to get a lot of airplay lately on radio a month or so before the event…
BEST NEW ARTISTE (FEMALE) / ARTIS WANITA BARU TERBAIK
ADIBAH NOOR (Malaysia)
EKA MAIRINA (Singapore)
SHARIFAH ZARINA (Malaysia)
Initial Predictions: Adibah Noor / Eka Mairina / Nikki
Eventual Winner: Nikki
My thoughts: I was not surprised either cos I did mention in my last entry that her songs and vocals reminds me of an Indonesian singer. Nikki was the dark horse in this category and she stamped her authority with a magnificent performance that night.
BEST NEW DUO / GROUP DUO / KUMPULAN BARU TERBAIK
MALIQ & D’ESSENTIALS (Indonesia)
Initial Predictions: AhliFiqir
Eventual Winner: Maliq & D’Essentials
My thoughts: I underestimated this group even after hearing a few of their songs. Cos I was not sure if their jazz and R&B fusion would sway the jury into picking them over the hot favourites in this category.
The husband and wife team of Ajai & Nurul singing “Serasi“…
BEST MALE ARTISTE / ARTIS LELAKI TERBAIK
Initial Predictions: Marcell
Eventual Winner: Marcell
My thoughts: No disrespect to the rest who were nominated in the category but I felt that they were there just to make up the numbers. How else do you explain only four nominees??? If Mawi had been nominated, it would have proved my findings even more blatantly spot-on. Ok, ok I’m being mean, but really there were quite a few male artistes who released albums last year, how come only four made the grade??? Were the rest of the albums not good enough or lacked the necessary quality to be included??? The wise judges have the answers…
BEST FEMALE ARTISTE / ARTIS WANITA TERBAIK
JACLYN VICTOR (Malaysia)
KRIS DAYANTI (Indonesia)
TITI DJ (Indonesia)
Initial Predictions: Jaclyn Victor
Eventual Winner: Jaclyn Victor
My thoughts: Spot on again!!! I knew she would win it and she proved it with her flawless performance that night… There shouldn’t be any disputes whatsoever. Imagine if Siti was nominated, it would have been an interesting competition, not to mention the headache I’ll be experiencing in choosing between heart and head…
BEST DUO / GROUP DUO / KUMPULAN TERBAIK
Initial Predictions: Dewa
Eventual Winner: PeterPan
My thoughts: No disputes. They proved over the past year or so that their songs are of a credible quality. Not just their popularity.
Hot Mamas of Ratu…
BEST SONG / LAGU TERBAIK
CINTA – MELLY FEAT. KRIS DAYANTI
DEALOVA – ONCE DEWA
GEMILANG – JACLYN VICTOR
MENANTI SEBUAH JAWABAN – PADI
YANG TERBAIK BAGIMU – ADA BAND FEAT. GITA GUTAWA
Initial Predictions: Dealova – Once Dewa
Eventual Winner: Dealova – Once Dewa
My thoughts: I could not have loved a better song than this. Simple, yet the message of true love from the song almost brings tears to my eyes each time I listen to it.
BEST ALBUM / ALBUM TERBAIK
DAYANG SAYANG KAMU – DAYANG NURFAIZAH
1ST – MALIQ & D’ESSENTIALS
GEMILANG – JACLYN VICTOR
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALEXANDRIA – PETERPAN
SENYAWA CHRISYE – CHRISYE
Initial Predictions: Gemilang – Jaclyn Victor
Eventual Winner: Senyawa Chrisye – Chrisye
My thoughts: The old warrior still has fire in his belly and it shows in his current fight against cancer. A win no one can deny knowing what a genius he is in the regional entertainment circle.
BEST LOCAL ACT (SOLO/DUO/GROUP) / ARTIS SINGAPURA TERBAIK
Initial Predictions: AhliFiqir
Eventual Winner: Ahlifiqir
My thoughts: They deserved it!!! Full stop!!!
Powerful performance from Siti, Rossa, Marcell & Anuar Zain singing Dewa‘s hit “Kangen“…
BEST LOCAL SONG / LAGU TERBAIK SINGAPURA
ANGGUK-ANGGUK GELENG-GELENG – AHLIFIQIR FEAT. MIA
CINTA ABADI – EKA MAIRINA FEAT. ISKANDAR
IRAMA RINDU – SALMA
LADIDADIDA – EKA MAIRINA
TERBONGKAR RAHSIA – AZYZA
Initial Predictions: Angguk-Angguk Geleng-Geleng – AhliFiqir Feat. Mia
Eventual Winner: Cinta Abadi – Eka Mairina Feat. Iskandar
My thoughts: I think the song won because of the beautiful execution by Eka and Iskandar, both who are known exponents of lung-busting vocals. The theme of Love is still the order of the day.
BEST LOCAL ALBUM / ALBUM TERBAIK SINGAPURA
ATAS DASAR CINTA – JAI WAHAB
HARI INI DALAM SEJARAH – AHLIFIQIR
IRAMA RINDU – SALMA
UNTUKMU SELAMANYA – EKA MAIRINA
ZOUL – ZOUL
Initial Predictions: Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah – AhliFiqir
Eventual Winner: Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah – AhliFiqir
My thoughts: No contest, by a long mile…
POPULAR CATEGORIES / KATEGORI POPULAR
FEMALE: SITI NURHALIZA
I knew I missed out on predicting the Most Popular Song when I did the last entry but I had initially thought PeterPan would win it since “Mungkin Nanti” & “Ada Apa Dengan Mu?” had a headstart against Mawi‘s “Aduh Saliha“.
Male: Taufik Batisah
Female: Siti Nurhaliza
Song: Aduh Saliha – Mawi
My thoughts: Getting two out of four correct is not bad. Based on the sudden sweeping phenomenon across the Causeway, Mawi was the unanimous favourite to grab that Most Popular Male Artiste award. But the local fans would have none of it and thanks to the large amount of support from the Fiknatics (fans of Taufik Batisah), Mawi was swept away. I found it ridiculous that some of the Malaysian media allegedly reported that the voting system was flawed, that Taufik was slated to win right from the start. That is a serious allegation made, a slap to the organisers and also Suhaimi Salleh & Associates, the official auditors who have done an extremely good job at auditing awards shows in Singapore and have an excellent track record. I think they just could not accept the fact that Mawi is over-rated.
A pity viewers at home all over the region missed out on Dayang‘s excellent performance…
Ok enough of ranting, time to give the organisers a little reprieve. A very reliable source informed me of the goings-on behind the scenes on why certain things were done and executed. The choice to do the event at Singapore Expo was made after what happened at last year’s event which was held at Suntec City Convention Centre. We can’t deny that artistes just love shopping especially when they roll into town. They would want to shop at the slightest opportunity. But I guess last year, a few of them went a bit too far by going AWOL during the rehearsals. So to play it safe, Singapore Expo was chosen since it is away from town and the major retail outlets. This was a decision which I totally supported as in any rehearsals, time check is very important to simulate the actual event and for the soundmen to check on the quality of sound. By delaying and disrupting, you’re not only wasting other people’s time but testing their patience as well. Work is work, there’s always a time for play. If time is not on your side, then please come earlier or spend the time here a bit longer. You’re paid to do a job so please be professional when it’s time to do your job.
Tam Spider mesmerising the audience with his performance…
Now for the venue itself. The Max Pavilion was chosen as it was newly built for big-scale events. With a bigger space for more people to enjoy the event and boasting a supposedly “better quality” sound system, it was perhaps a win-win situation for everyone. But as those who had gone would have noted, it wasn’t a sell-out like last year, and the poor sound system spoilt the stellar performances and drowned even the excellent vocals of the best singers. Security was also supposedly provided by the Singapore Expo authorities but they were nowhere to be found when the fans swarmed the front, each time there was an interval.
Food-wise (the one allegedly served during the post-party event), I can only defend this much for the organisers with my own brand of theory, if what was reported by Malay Mail was really true. Singapore is well known as a food paradise and since we have many food outlets and joints that open well into the night, I’m sure the artistes would want to hit these places and sample our food fare, which for some of them, they can’t get in their own countries. So it could be that the food served during the post-party event was meant as a filler of sorts before they go out and have a good feast elsewhere. I hope my angle is spot-on rather than just blatantly blame the organisers for serving “budget” food cos I’m sure the organisers would not want to shoot themselves on the foot that way.
For such a prestigious event, with all its pomp and pageantry, I felt very disappointed that things turned out in such a negative way. Knowing how cynical the media across the Causeway can be, they’ll be having a field day lashing out at what happened. Already the voting system has been questioned. More followed suit in the weekend papers regarding the sound system, technical glitches, how “cheap” the show has turned into and so on and so forth. Even our artistes were not spared either with regards to their performances. I hope whichever Mediacorp staff reading this would not take my comments as a way of hitting out at them. I love APM and I am proud that it is produced locally for people in the region. I only want to see it grow in stature and having standards higher than the likes of Malaysia‘s Anugerah Industri Muzik, Anugerah ERA, Anugerah Juara Lagu, Anugerah Bintang Popular, Anugerah Sri Angkasa or Indonesia‘s Anugerah Muzik Indonesia, Anugerah MTV Indonesia and the similar likes of it.
Ferhad, Jaclyn Victor & Syed Azmir singing “Cinta“…
I know even without me pointing out, the management and organising committee would have noted the shortcomings of the event and strive to improve on the following year’s edition. I still rate the event higher than any other shows in the region and will continue to support it in years to come. Maybe this year was a blip which I’m sure the organisers did not want to experience either. They will do well to learn and make it a better one next year. That I am very confident of. So here’s looking forward to APM2007, but first stop is next month’s Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) at Putra World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, the 13th edition of the series and my 5th time attending it (God willing, if our General Elections does not fall on that particular weekend)…