Well, here we are… As promised, here I am giving you a lowdown on how I felt about this year’s event. Last year, I started off by saying the event was a “Major Disappointment” followed by a critical review that might have burnt some bridges between me and the good people at Mediacorp Radio unknowingly. But as I’ve always maintained, Anugerah Planet Muzik is our local product and being a staunch supporter of the event for a good 7 years now, I’d love to see it grow and improve or at least maintaining a high standard it has set especially between 2001-2005.
I had actually planned to snap a few photographs and film a few clips of the event but somehow I had forgotten to charge my handphone battery so the number of clips I managed to get were few. As for photographs, I only managed to snap just one. Luckily I had my cousin-in-law Julie and her sis Kila, to count on. By the way I went to the event with my beloved wife, the two ladies mentioned earlier and my cousin Ezaad. We were dressed to the nines. Well, when else can we don our best and immerse ourselves in the glitz and glamour of such an extolled event???
I’m sure many of you know the results by now and how badly I fared with my predictions last week, as I only got about a quarter or a third right. Last year, my review began with many negative points followed by the positive ones. I’ll be fairer this time round and start off with the positive ones first. You guys must be wondering, what is my take on the whole event this time round and whether it was any better or worse than the previous year, which I dubbed “The Worst APM Ever“. Well, wait no more as I spin my yarn and dissect the various aspects pertaining to the show.
The Opening Act: Altimet Featuring Mawar Berduri & the Sriwana Dancers…
Venue – A prestigious event to honour the best in the region deserves an arena of international repute and the choice for this year’s event as I had pointed out earlier, could not be any better than the Singapore Indoor Stadium (SIS). If there is one place that could have topped it off, it would have been the Esplanade Theatre. The SIS with a capacity of 11000 people at any one time, had about a quarter of its area marked out for the stage to be set. With a few more tiers closed to the public, this pegged back the capacity to about 6000 people which was still a good number for people to attend the event. Boasting an intimate closed proximity between the stage and the audience, the sound system and acoustics also have a reputation for being crystal clear. Many international acts have graced the stadium in the past, so it was considered a coup by the organisers to have gotten the grand arena for such a reputable event.
Sound System – Compared to last year’s debacle, this year was generally good and clear from where I sat. It was really a far cry from last year, whereby I totally did not enjoy the booming sounds that drained most of the vocals almost throughout. The only times the music got a bit too loud this time and drowned the artistes’ vocals were during the groups’ segments i.e. Estranged & Malex. This was understandable as their music is naturally loud and on the rock-ish side.
Security – Unlike last year, the security I should say was bloody excellent this time round. From the start where they cordoned off the main seating area to accomodate the artistes, the record company representatives, local and foreign media, sponsors and distinguished guests, it was designed to avoid a repeat of last year’s fiasco whereby the paying audience surged forward whenever there was a break in transmission to take photographs with the artistes. There was none of that this time round and the artistes surely had enough privacy to enjoy the night’s proceedings. However, I heard that there were quite a few gatecrashers at the post-event party so perhaps that might be a minus point somewhat but generally overall I felt it was commendable.
Hosts – There’s a positive and negative tune to this particular section. I’ll point out the positives first. Replacing Adi Rahman with madcap Suhaimi Yusoff was a breath of fresh air as Adi had been host for the past 5 years (2003 was an exception as Najip Ali and Syah Ibrahim carried the local flag). Bringing Fika Rosemary up from the hidden realms of Radio Singapore International (RSI) showed that we’re not short of talents from the local scene to carry such a heavy responsibility. But what I’m most pleased about is seeing the continuing improvement made by Fiza Osman. I’m sure some of you remembered my less-than-favourable review of her hosting last year, even though to be fair to her, it was her first major assignment on television. She has definitely grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. Co-hosting the current season of Anugerah has also made her more relaxed in front of the camera. What I like most about her is her confidence. If there was an award for Most Improved Artiste over the past year, I’ll give it to her hands down. Let’s hope she continues to grow and do well for future assignments.
Letto singing their hits “Sandaran Hati” and “Ruang Rindu“…
Award Presenters – They kept it simple and when they had a few witty lines to deliver, they delivered them with enough punch to make the audience laugh along with them. I think the best of them all was AB Shaik and Adi Rahman, who had us all in stitches with their antics. Even a person as serious-looking as Datuk Khalid was caught on camera laughing and grinning away when Shaik made references about Adi looking after Siti Nurhaliza for the past few years before making way this year.
Performances – This is another double-edged category. I personally enjoyed the performances by Letto (“Sandaran Hati” & “Ruang Rindu“), Syed Azmir & Taufik Batisah (“Lagu Tidurku” & “Usah Lepaskan“), Gita Gutawa (“Bukan Permainan“), Siti Nurhaliza, Gita & Taufik (“Biarlah Rahsia“, “Cinta Terakhir“, “Kenangan Terindah“, “Hapus Aku“, “Juwita Citra Terindah” & “Demi Waktu“), Hady Mirza & Zainal Abidin (“Hijau“) and Diddy & Yanie (“Saling Terpesona“). Gita Gutawa showed at such a tender age (she’ll turn 14 in August), with a sweet and pretty face plus a voice trained to sing in a classical tone, she is one star to look out for in years to come. Diddy & Yanie, the two newbies in the entertainment scene, were certainly not overawed by the occasion. Their performance was polished and oozed confidence throughout. Even if Hady & Kris had not performed with them, they’d still look good. As for Hady and Zainal‘s segment, I had goosebumps listening to how Hady sang the song with ease and his own style. Before that, Adi Rahman‘s poetry recital entitled “Bhoomi” was also heart-rendering, recited with gusto and full of emotions. Simply an excellent tribute to Zainal Abidin, winner of the inaugural Anugerah Cinta Planet Muzik (“Love for the Music Planet” award).
Local Artistes – All the local artistes who performed that night gave a good account of themselves. Compared to previous years when they either got cold feet, overawed by the occasion or simply not good enough to share a stage with the regional artistes, this time they were the talk of the regional audience. Syed Azmir for one has improved tremendously since last year, Taufik stamped his authority further and Hady earned himself a few converts to his ever-growing fan club. Sleeq showed they were no pushovers, Imran displayed confidence and Malex was just spell-binding. The time has definitely come for our local acts and it is up to the rest to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by these guys and step up on the plate. I really hope to see more quality acts from our local scene in time to come.
Audience Ethics – The audience were generally well-behaved, save for a few wisecracks being thrown about as the evening wore on. They knew when to cheer and when to stop themselves from going overboard with the incessant comments about the night’s proceedings. From where I sat, that looked the case. I dunno about other sections of the stadium. Cos I did hear one person saying, “Ok I better not say anything further, afraid to be commented upon.” I had a feeling he was referring to yours truly, who has a history of lambasting overzealous audience and their over-reactions in the past.
Noryn Aziz accepting her Best New Female Artiste Award… Her beauty is astounding…
Post-Event Reception – Granted, I was not invited to the reception and I did not want to gatecrash it as I know my stand. Did not want to look as though I’m kinda hard up about meeting the celebrities. Last year, the foreign media slammed the organisers for the food served after the awards show. I thought, this time surely the food could not be any worse. As I surfed and bloghopped around, I saw that these same people who had done the criticising last year, painted a rosy picture of the food served. Their only complaint was the reception being stuffy with people who are not involved in the entertainment scene and for the fact that the major stars especially the Indonesian artistes, skipped it. So in that sense I guess this particular portion was a resounding success for the organisers.
Not bad… That’s nine positive points so far that I have pointed out. Last year, there was only about four good ones. Certainly we saw noticeable improvements being made and it was very much welcome by me. But of course, it is easy to be lulled into complacency when you receive praises. So henceforth I am about to point out some of the negative points I noticed about the night and also include those that I read in foreign media and feedback from others who attended the event…
Ticket Pricing – Personally I felt that the ticket prices were fair value, especially for a prestigious place like the Singapore Indoor Stadium. In fact I thought it was one of the cheapest concerts / shows one could enjoy. Siti Nurhaliza‘s concert 2 years ago at the same arena was even more expensive. But you see, not many people would want to fork out money for such an event when they can meet a few of these artistes at a free concert or in conjunction with some exhibition at the Singapore Expo for a minimal price of $2-$5. Blame it on these exhibitions and free concerts like Jom Heboh in Malaysia for spoiling the market value.
Crowd Attendance – Which of course leads us to the attendance of the people who thronged the stadium. For two straight years, APM was not a sell-out event. Even when its total capacity was reduced to about 6000, the stadium was only 1/2 full. Can we blame it on the ticket pricing??? Can we blame it on the so-called “market spoilers” (exhibitions, free shows etc)??? Personally I don’t think so. But come to think of it, even if Siti‘s concert 2 years ago was more expensive, the stadium was still filled to the brim. How come then when we have a star-studded list in the line-up, including one Datuk Siti Nurhaliza in the ranks, the stadium was half-filled??? Is it a question of wrong timing as it was done on a weekday??? I doubt so cos the only previous APMs that were done on a Saturday were in 2001 and 2003 as far as I can remember. Has APM lost its zest then??? This is a question that I’ve been asking myself of late.
Imran singing “Seribu Tahun“, the best I’ve heard from watching him countless time. Seemed that he saved his best version for the big stage.
Seating Arrangement – It’s no fun having to turn 45 degrees to your right or left just to look at the stage or 90 degrees to view the giant screens. I heard a few grumbles from where I sat on having to shift one’s body. I think since its inception, we have been spoilt by having to watch the whole event by facing the stage, without the need to turn our bodies. The only other time I remembered the same scenario was in 2003 when it was done at Stadium Tertutup Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. But back then I was lucky to be sitting in the artistes’ area so I had a good view. Not that I’m not used to it but here I’m just reflecting what others around me were grumbling about.
Venue – Actually, I’ve also heard grumblings with regards to the venue as well. Those in the foreign media were complaining about the sound system which was too blaring. Perhaps they were sitting close to the speakers for them to be saying that. I thought it was much better than last year save for the performances by Estranged and Malex, which I agreed was a little too loud and drowned the vocals of the lead singers. Then there is also the issue of limited public transportation leading to the venue. I’m not complaining as I drove to the event. There is also the issue of the air-conditioning not being cool enough. Coupled with the earlier pointers I brought up above, it brings me to wonder whether the Indoor Stadium was a right venue after all??? If there is a better place, the Esplanade is still the one for me. Yes the price tickets won’t come cheap and the capacity is only about 1600 (for the concert hall) and 1942 (for the theatre), but at least there would be a minimal number of empty seats, provided the ticket prices are fair of course. But I doubt so, cos the rental price is too exhorbitant from what I checked (http://www.esplanade.com/download/web/at_centre/venues/theatre.pdf). A big sponsor is needed in this case. In times like these, I sometimes wished I was a billionaire and can afford to donate a substantial amount just to see an event like this prosper. The Singapore Indoor Stadium was still good enough for me, but I guess not for others.
Red Carpet Event – Again they went without this pre-show event for the second year running. Instead we had TG and Zan Sofian, the pre-show emcees, introducing the artistes who were walking towards their seats. Surely a prestigious awards show that honour the regional artistes deserves an event as glamourous as the Red Carpet Event???
Stage & Pyrotechnics – The stage was considered plain by standards, save for the hanging screens that alternate between showing the sky and other elements. For such a big event, I was at least expecting pyrotechnics to appear at the beginning and grand finale. There was not even a sign of confetti. As a result, the opening was bland and the finale felt like an anti-climax.
Siti Nurhaliza receiving the Most Popular Regional Female Artiste from Ajai and Nana, a DJ from ERA…
Pre-Show Event – This has been the talking point since the day itself and spilt over to reports in the local media. I came to know about it a week before APM but no further details were disclosed. I preferred to keep an open mind about it till I watched it for myself. Honestly speaking, I was very disappointed with the whole thing. Yes, people were complaining about why was it not televised live on Suria??? For me, the live televised thingy did not matter. What mattered was our local acts were not given the opportunity to be introduced to the regional audience, even if they did not perform. I accept the fact that the Singapore awards had no relevance to the regional audience but even a mere mention wouldn’t hurt a bit. I surfed around and found out that Malaysian viewers don’t even know who Hady is. How sad is that??? If by performing and people still dunno you, what more if your performances and receiving of awards were not shown for people to have a rough idea of who you are??? I’m sure the regional audience will be asking on what merit did Imran deserve to be crowned Best New Male Artiste???
Hosts – People were complaining why is it always Adi Rahman and Aznil Nawawi who are the mainstays as hosts year in and out. So when they replaced Adi with Suhaimi Yusoff, people were expecting the banter to be more punchy and the jokes more funny. Granted, the regional audience are not used to Suhaimi, so they might have found him entertaining, but I felt the hair jokes have been done before in the past and sounded a bit stale. Aznil for once, I felt was not connecting well with his co-hosts and the audience. He seemed as though he was on his own personal agenda to promote Visit Malaysia 2007 with all the fancy get-up. And I kinda pitied Fika Rosemary as she looked kinda lost listening to Suhaimi‘s jokes. So come to think of it, I kinda appreciated Adi‘s presence in the past as only he could counter Aznil with his own dose of medicine, no disrespect to Suhaimi, who I still have great respect for.
Recycled Performers / Presenters – We saw Gita Gutawa, Hady, Taufik, Irwansyah and Kris Dayanti appearing twice to perform their own songs or / and medleys. Running through the list of nominated popular local singers (and there were about twenty of them), I thought that these guys should have been given the opportunity to shine. If you want to talk about budgeting, I’m sure some of them would not mind not being paid, so long as they get to show off their talents. Like what a local singer told me of his fears for the Anugerah Boyz once the new winners from the current season are announced, I too share that sentiment. Cos right now, only Syed Azmir is making inroads in Malaysia. And why is that so??? Cos he performed at last year’s APM, which was a good ticket for him to be picked and groomed by a renowned producer like Ajai. Imagine if the likes of Didicazli, Hyrul Anwar, Khairil Yusoff and Fauzie Laily were given opportunities like these, they would probably be knocking at the record companies abroad soon. As for the performers who also backed up as presenters, what can I say??? It has been there since 2001. I was amazed people like Ezlynn and Cheryl Samad who were part of the audience, or even Mawi for that matter, were not presenting any awards. Maybe their attendance were not confirmed till much later.
Quality of Performers / Performances – We had the good ones which I mentioned earlier but what about the bad ones??? Irwansyah and his beau Acha Septriasa stuck out like sore thumbs and were top of the list for bad performances. They really proved what I had said in my earlier entry, in that they cannot sing live at all. I was cringing and feeling restless when I heard them sing. Even Taufik and Syed Azmir had to make Irwansyah look good when they performed “Pencinta Wanita“. And to think they were nominated in the Best New Artiste category. It would have been a mockery had they won. I salute the jury for picking the best talents to win those categories. Another one I felt was a bit of a bore was Jaclyn Victor‘s and Noryn Aziz‘s performances. I don’t deny they have excellent vocals but the songs they sang were too melancholic and slow, and since their style is almost the same, hearing them sing was a bit of a drag. Maybe it’s because the songs they sang have not been heard before. The opening act by Altimet and Mawar Berduri, while looking classy with the props and dancers, killed the anticipation I had for the show with its moderate and slow tempo. Rewind previous APMs and I can remember great opening acts with pomp and splendour (2001 – KRU, 2003 – Zubir Abdullah, Zainal Abidin, Thaqif, Datuk SM Salim, Duta S07 & Siti Nurhaliza, 2005 – Gerhana Ska Cinta and 2006 – V.E. & AhliFiqir). I also felt that the show was a bit draggy and bland during the first hour. It lacked that aura and punch which I find difficult to explain. The pace only picked up when Gita Gutawa and Estranged came on stage with something catchy (“Bukan Permainan” & “Itu Kamu“).
The best performance of the night – Hady and Zainal Abidin performing “Hijau“…
Delayed Telecast – Those of you who had watched the delayed telecast of the show would have noticed the botched-up editing done to it. Jokes made between Adi Rahman and AB Shaik during the pre-show were pre-empted and kept to a minimum. With no head or tail, they suddenly cut to the main opening act. The banter between the hosts were also kept to a minimum and all those Visit Malaysia 2007 promotions by Aznil were edited out as well. In short, it was extremely untidy piece of editing.
So there you have it, eleven negative pointers against nine positive ones, even though some of them were not of the organiser’s direct shortcomings. Still did not look that good but at least there were distinctive improvements made and noted as compared to last year. I felt that this year was slightly better than the last and I have to credit Mediacorp Radio‘s Warna 94.2FM & RIA 89.7FM for putting up a credible show. The awards given out were justified to the deserving ones. It was also a good advertisement for up-and-coming acts from the local and regional fronts to be known. I was especially proud that the Singaporean guys for the first time, carried the flag high and proved once and for all that our local scene is not dead but instead, staging a revolution. So for those of you who are still sceptical about our local scene, please wake up from your slumber and start supporting them…
Predictions & Final Outcome
Throughout the night, I was basically proved wrong almost time and time again when each result was announced. Goes to show how unpredictable the results can be but I’m not one to complain as like I had mentioned earlier, the recipients truly deserved their accolades and rewards for a good job done over the past year in their respective careers. Let’s do a short recap on how I fared over the predictions and the final outcome.
Artis Lelaki Baru Terbaik / Best New Male Artiste
Initial Predictions: Irwansyah
Eventual Winner: Imran Ajmain
Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik / Best New Male Artiste
Initial Predictions: Acha Septriasa
Eventual Winner: Noryn Aziz
Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik / Best New Duo / Group
Initial Predictions: Samsons
Eventual Winner: Letto
I was especially elated to have been proved wrong over the first two categories. Even though I did not hit the targets, just seeing them performed that night, I felt it would have been a travesty and a mockery to the industry if the awards had been given to them. I did mention that Imran deserved the award more and this was rightly so just looking at his CV over the past year. Noryn Aziz??? Big voice, big talent and some say big boobs… LOL!!! Seriously she deserved it, though the only complaint I have is that she already had an album recorded eight years ago so she does not qualify technically to be a new artiste.
Kris Dayanti singing her latest hit “I’m Sorry, Goodbye“…
Artis Lelaki Terbaik / Best Male Artiste
Initial Predictions: Iwan Fals
Eventual Winner: M. Nasir
Artis Wanita Terbaik / Best Female Artiste
Initial Predictions: Siti Nurhaliza
Eventual Winner: Siti Nurhaliza
Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik / Best Duo / Group
Initial Predictions: Samsons
Eventual Winner: Dewa 19
Looking at the winners, they truly are deserving and in the case of M. Nasir, he does have that Midas touch. Practically all his albums have been acclaimed. I could have gotten all of them right had I gone for the heart, instead of the head. My initial picks were based on logic and current trends. Felt as though I was predicting the stock market and I made quite a few losses. Pathetic huh??? Only one right guess out of six so far.
Lagu Terbaik (Serantau) / Best Song (Regional)
Initial Predictions: Kenangan Terindah – Samsons
Eventual Winner: Biarlah Rahsia – Siti Nurhaliza
Album Terbaik (Serantau) / Best Album (Regional)
Initial Predictions: Transkripsi – Siti Nurhaliza
Eventual Winner: Naluri Lelaki – Samsons
I got it all mixed up with these two categories. It was a case of switching one over the other. I had put in a lot of predictions on Samsons winning a large slice of the pie, seeing how they have fared in Indonesia and at Anugerah Industri Muzik 14. But it was not to be as the jury that picked the winners saw them fit only to win the Best Album category. Still I’m not complaining as it’s always healthy to have an equal share all around. If one person or group wins a major slice, it would only show how weak the industry would be with one dominating over the rest.
Artis Terbaik Singapura / Best Singapore Artiste
Initial Predictions: Imran Ajmain
Eventual Winner: Imran Ajmain
Lagu Terbaik Singapura / Best Singapore Song
Initial Predictions: Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
Eventual Winner: Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
Album Terbaik Singapura / Best Singapore Album
Initial Predictions: Dengan Secara Kebetulan – Imran Ajmain
Eventual Winners: Konspirasi Dunia – Bhumiband
I fared better in this round with only one guess wrong, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Those of you who are older readers of my blog would know how much I was keen on promoting Bhumiband in the past. No, my interest in the group has not waned, just that ever since my distant cousin Ard and former colleague Kief left the group, the interest level kinda dropped a bit. Coupled with the fact that 2006 was a year in hiatus and when they had shows, I could not find time to lend my support as my schedule did not allow me to do so. I still support them and I always know they are one of the best groups we have in Singapore. Their win proved that their quality have not dropped a notch. In fact if you compare their first album and “Konspirasi Dunia“, the latter sounds better, edgier and less melancholic. As for Imran, I guess I’ve said enough good things about him lately and Taufik‘s win was expected, what more can I say???
Artis Singapura Paling Popular / Most Popular Singapore Artiste
Initial Predictions: Taufik Batisah
Eventual Winners: Taufik Batisah, Hady Mirza & Sleeq
Lagu Singapura Paling Popular / Most Popular Singapore Song
Initial Predictions: Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah
Eventual Winners: Usah Lepaskan – Taufik Batisah, Merpati – Hady Mirza & Dambaan Cinta – Didicazli
Artis Lelaki Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Male Artiste
Initial Predictions: Taufik Batisah
Eventual Winner: Mawi
Artis Wanita Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Female Artiste
Initial Predictions: Siti Nurhaliza
Eventual Winner: Siti Nurhaliza
Duo / Kumpulan Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Duo / Group
Initial Predictions: Samsons
Eventual Winner: Sofaz
Lagu Serantau Paling Popular / Most Popular Regional Song
Initial Predictions: My Heart – Irwansyah & Acha Septriasa
Eventual Winner: Kian – Mawi
Looking at the winners of the popular regional categories, I can only conclude that Malaysians and Singaporeans bothered to send out their votes. Cos really, save for Siti, Indonesians don’t really know Taufik, Mawi and Sofaz. Since the fans had voted, I cannot see any grounds to protest as majority votes won. The winners themselves are deserved, save for Mawi, who I felt was being arrogant with his speech and cocky facial expressions, but it was his fans who picked him so I cannot complain more about that.
Another one of my favourite performances of the night. Taufik, Gita and Siti singing the nominees of the Best Regional Song Award. Notice the “Sh” pronunciation of Gita, which prompted the people around me, and even myself to repeat after her…
Thus ends my APM 2007 review. Hope you guys had enjoyed reading my analysis and how I looked at the different angles of discussion. The delay in releasing this review was deliberate as I had wanted to surf around to see what other people thought of the show and watching the delayed telecast and reviewing it from a couch potato’s perspective. It’s always nice to read the views of overseas viewers, just to see how they perceived the show and how they judge our local acts. It’s from these kind of views that I learnt where things were lacking on a more technical aspect.
However, there were also other nonsensical whims by foreign reporters in their articles, complaining about how they had expected the organisers to be organising trips to interesting places in Singapore as well as provide them with airline tickets rather than having to travel here by coach. What do they take the organisers for and who the hell are they to be wanting that kind of first-class treatment??? Have they ever done the same thing to our media people??? As far as I know, if you want to report on something, you take the initiative and go to the scene yourself, and not hope to be treated like royalty. People who report at warzones don’t expect the country to dish out red-carpet treatment for them either.
Views from fellow Singaporean bloggers generally have that feel-good factor and how they enjoyed the show since it’s their first or second time attending the event. At the end of the day, it all depends on the individuals and how they enjoyed the show. To some extent, I enjoyed it and to another, I had my grievances. It’s all to be expected anyway. The organisers can’t please everyone at the same time, but I hope that some of the negative pointers could be improved in years to come as they build on its prestige as a show that the region could be proud of and look forward to year in and out.
P.S. I’d like to thank my outfit sponsor for the night – Datuk Jatt Abdullah from Jatt’s Collezione – for the kind sponsorship. The outfit was excellent and certainly made me receive positive praises from friends who met me that night and commenting that my weight had gone down. 😛 All the hard work at the gym seems to have paid off but I’m not resting on my laurels. I still have a long way to go to slimming down to my desired weight but it’s nice to know that people acknowledged your hard work all these while… 😛
The glamour couple: Julie & Ezaad…
We did not get to meet the artistes live for us to take photographs with them so we just had to make do with this giant poster…