Anugerah Top 20 Line-Up…

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I know this is already stale news by now as it has already been reported in Berita Minggu yesterday and at the same time, Gumbira.com, ran a real time update as soon as the names were announced on Jus last Monday, a first of its kind in our local Malay entertainment industry, which shows that progression is in the works, and hopefully more to come. Little things like these deserve every bit of mentioning, no matter how trivial it may sound cos it is high time we make use of modern technology to our advantage. But nonetheless, in case you guys still do not know who has qualified for the Top 20 for the upcoming Anugerah competition, here are the names of the elite 20:

Females

1) Kunjung Wide Whitaker

2) Hairani Hassan

3) Melissa Saila Isa

4) Shahirah Jamaludin

5) Hafizah Naser

6) Nur Asilah Mohd Osmera

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7) Nora Baharom (Hope I got the right photo to the name…)

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8)8) Suriani Sulaiman

9) Khatijah Abdul Rahman

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10) Nur Sarah Aqilah Jamil

Males

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1) Ahmad Hairul Md Salleh

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2) Muhd Hussein Ahmad

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3) Muhammad Idris Suliman

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4) Muhamad Safuan Husen

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5) Azhar Amid

6) Muhd Hydir Mohd Idris

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7) Muhammad Afiq Bakry

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8 ) Muhd Hairizam Mohamadan

9) Nohrain Bin Abdul Rasid

10) Kamsani Jumahat

So what do I make of the finalists??? The announcement actually threw up a few surprises for me. Surprise in the sense that a few I thought who were actually more deserving, in terms of vocal strength, were left out and in their place are good-lookers who are relatively ordinary in the voice department. I can more or less understand why some of the better ones were left out, it could have been due to their dressing sense, their attitude on stage or maybe because they lacked the aura to capture one’s imaginations.

The judges had made their picks and it is up to these 20 to now carry the responsibility (I stop short of saying “burden” because they are relatively new to the industry and not fair to heap such a word on) and prove that their selections are not flashes in the pan. I’m happy that at least one of my favourites had been picked and a few I had pinpointed were also in. Now I just cannot wait for the next fortnight to roll over so that we would then be able to witness what they are made of live on national television…

P.S. Thank you to the good people at Suria for sharing the list of Top 20… And apologies if I did not manage to snap the photos of the others who made it to the Top 20 during the 3rd Round Auditions…

Anugerah Round 3 Auditions…

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After attending the first day of the Anugerah first round auditions the Saturday before last, I was interested to see how the contestants would have fared and progressed over the past week, especially those who were selected for Round 2. Did they heed the judges’ advice in the first round to avoid doing this and doing that??? Did they surf around and read the tips given by credible sites namely Gumbira.com, which has been dispensing useful tips over the past week, for them to follow??? Would they bother to polish up their performances and choice of attire or still be defiant with their own style??? There was only one way to find out, and that was to personally head down to East Point Mall to take in the action of the subsequent audition rounds of the Anugerah competition.

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The crowd might have dwindled down a bit compared to the first weekend, but they still filled up at least the first five levels of the shopping complex…

Somehow I had other commitments to attend to the whole day of Saturday, thus I gave that second round of auditions a miss. However, I still made it to East Point Mall later that night to celebrate an advanced Mothers’ Day with my in-laws by having dinner at Han River Restaurant situated on the 4th floor of the shopping centre. We managed to watch a glimpse of what was happening downstairs before proceeding to the restaurant for our dinner. I could not give a fair assessment as I only watched for a mere five minutes. So technically, Round 2 was considered off-limits for me.

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This photo was taken on the first day of auditions. Compare the space taken up with the next photograph…

Something caught my eye during those short five minutes though. If you were to look at the two photographs just before this paragraph and the one after, you would be able to compare the vast difference in space allocated for the actual proceedings on the ground floor. This was something I found quite appalling as it prevented many from watching it from the comfort of the ground floor. As you can see from the next photograph, the sales people had erected the vertical banners and barricades to prevent people from coming into the small shopping space to watch what was happening on stage and those who were over at the stage area had to cramp in and not move as freely as in the previous week.

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Why in the world did they have to have a sale or whatever promotions they were doing, and take up the space when they know bloody well people would not bother about what they were selling and instead concentrate on the auditions??? I just hope that in future when the reality competition is underway proper and the venue is used again for the weekend roadshows, they would jolly well free up the space on the ground floor as the number of people would definitely swell in hope of seeing the next big thing in our local entertainment industry.

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The distinguished panel of judges who do not need anymore introductions, scrutinising the contestants on stage…

I had left the shopping mall close to 11pm on Saturday night, hoping to catch some action or at least the announcement of results right after my dinner. At that point of time, I could see the contestants in that round were already feeling restless after a long day, and they still had to line up and await for the results to be announced as to who would make it to Round 3 the following day. I thought perhaps they might have started late, judging by the over run of the show. That was kinda expected when they had a total of 264 contestants performing from noon. And compared to the previous round where they did not sing with a minus one track, this time they had to, and I believe this was also another factor in the over-running of time.

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Fiza O going solo over the weekend without Fauzie Laily

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Fiza hemming up for the cameras…

It was also during that time that I realised that Fauzie Laily, who is one of the resident hosts of the competition, was not in sight. Instead, KC who was the one in-charge of being the time-filler host during the breaks the previous week, was taking over the main duties and giving out instructions along with Fiza O to the contestants on how they should line up and where they should stand. As it was too late for me to wait and my daughter needed her nappies changed, I left before the results were announced. It was much later that I found out that the whole thing ended close to midnight and the reason for Fauzie‘s no-show on both days, was because he was involved in a Mothers’ Day trip to Port Dickson organised by E-Ventions International & Travel Pte Ltd, along with Hyrul Anuar and Maiya Rahman.

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A sterned-looking Didicazli was spotted in the crowd watching the proceedings…

Initially I had planned to arrive at 12 noon but decided that leaving after Zuhur was much better. So when I arrived on Sunday at about 2 plus, I was expecting at least fifteen to twenty contestants to have finished their turns but once I entered the stage area and chatted with Ms. Manager, I think I only missed the first two or three contestants, which was not that bad as I was able to assess the majority of the 50 who made it to Round 3. As space was kinda limited around the stage area, I stood in front of the technical console along with Ms. Manager and the producer of the show himself, Mr Johari Abdul Aziz. Had a great time exchanging views and opinions on the contestants with both of them throughout the afternoon.

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KC (right) & the technical console guy goofing around in between proceedings…

And so, what did I think of the contestants that day??? I guess I will state the obvious and say it was simply much better than watching it during the first round, since they are after all the Top 50. Most definitely their voices were better stand outs than the previous week, where it was a mish mash of good and bad. I detected quite a few repeat contestants from past competitions and to their credit, their past experiences have helped in making their respective performances more polished as well as giving them the confidence and edge when belting out their tunes on stage. At the same time I admired their courage to give it another shot at stardom. Most of them received good reviews by the judges and I agree that some of them deserved to duke it out as one of the Top 20 in the weeks to come.

Some of the repeat contestants on show:

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Hussein…

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Eidris…

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Harman…

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Hairizam…

If I were to give a general assessment on both the guys and the gals, I would say that the guys are generally much better, have more poise and better control with the microphone, even if they look ordinary in the looks department. Not that I’m being biased towards my gender. There were some of the young ladies who caught my attention with some great performances on stage and I can more or less expect them to be in the Top 20 as well. The ladies would do well however, to run away from the voice similarities of the original singers of the songs they performed that day. Quite a few were still too similar to established singers like Ella and Ziana Zain. I’m sure the judges couldn’t have stressed the term “originality” more than enough for them to remember and digest.

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Waiting patiently for their turns…

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Catching the action from the second level…

There were some who are blessed with smouldering good looks but came up short with their performances. Normally I would not hesitate to put them down but looking at the bigger perspective and what happened the previous night where they finished quite late and had a few hours to prepare for Round 3, I pitied each and every contestant for having to go through the rush, whether they are good looking or simply ordinary, in case people start blaming me for my biasness towards the good-lookers. A lot of them had tired faces and some of their performances clearly showed that they were lethargic and that they need to learn a thing or two about pacing themselves and having the stamina of a seasoned artiste. They also need to run away from cliched introductions. Too many of them were milking the Mothers’ Day hype and giving their greetings to all the mothers who were watching in the building. Like the judges had said, they had to have an original greeting and introduction.

The good lookers according to me, the beholder, in random order:

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Even though in general, most of them were well-dressed and gave off their best on stage, a few of them still gave me a few things to irk about. There were some who still displayed the couldn’t-care-less attitude on stage even though their voices could melt someone’s heart. Some moved a bit too much on stage for a song that is of a slower tempo, and of course, there were some who simply loved to backchat the panel of judges and answering back with unnecessary quips. You might be the best dressed person that day or the best looker on stage, but if your attitude sucked and you answer back with a rude and cocky tone, I’m sorry to say, your dreams and aspirations will end even before you start. It certainly does not reflect a positive outlook on you nor gave you a good account to the watching audience in the shopping centre.

Random thoughts:

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Safuan a.k.a. Wawan of the duo Wan & Eddy, personally rearranged 2D’s hit “Kerna Delylah” on his own. Though the originality was commendable, I just did not like it as I felt it killed the essence of the song and being too draggy…

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You won’t believe me if I said Ezol is 16… I had a shock myself…

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Remember Chico from Anugerah 2005??? This is his younger brother, Cirul, but I was inclined to call him “Chickadees” cos like the titbits of yore that I used to like, his voice is rich and a delight to hear. His confidence was also a joy to watch…

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Raudha (Ms. Manager) and I agreed that Nur Sarah was the best-dressed that day and has to be given top marks for her efforts in looking the most presentable and every bit a star in the making…

I noticed that day, that the most favourite song being sung by the contestants were Jaclyn Victor‘s “Gemilang” as well as songs by Elyana (“Molek“, “Kau Atau Aku” & “Kalis Rindu“). Everyone who sang “Gemilang” drew applause from the audience for being able to execute the song well and the only thorn amongst the roses who sang it, caught my attention for not only singing it well but showing that even a guy could pull it off with such great technique. It was no wonder he got a thumbs up from all the judges and even from me. I did not quite catch his name but I am sure he will be in the Top 20 and he is one that I am confident could be someone to look out for in time to come. He will be given a tough run by the likes of Hussein and Harman, both alumni members of Anugerah 2007, whom I am confident will make it to the Top 20 as well, judging by the judges’ rave reviews.

My personal favourites:

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This was the guy who sang “Gemilang” and passing the goosebumps test on me. I am so inclined to root for him from now on…

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Nazilah reminds me so much of the Ul-Haq sisters (Elfeeza / Elfaeza) that I thought that she was one of their siblings (they have another sister by the way). She sang one of my favourite songs – Sheila Abdul‘s “Mungkinkah” – and she did well enough to get my vote to progress, but of course the judges have the final say on that…

And so, after all that was said and done, the results as to who amongst the 50 who would move on to the next round, were not announced on that day itself. Instead, we will see all 50 contestants in one show this coming Monday 18th May 2009. They will appear in the lifestyle programme “Jus“, which is aired live on Suria at 8:30pm. So for those of you who would want to know who makes it to the weekly knockout rounds and being a part of the elite Top 20, don’t forget to watch “Jus” this coming Monday

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The contestants being debriefed by the producer, Mr Johari Abdul Aziz, after the auditions were over…

Festival Melayu Ada: Babak Terakhir Recap…

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I apologise to those who have been waiting for this entry to go up since the festival ended more than a week ago. I was feeling under the weather the past week and simply had no mood to post this up. You won’t feel the need to type an entry if you’re down with a bad case of influenza, plus coughing and a sore throat to add to the “gloss”. Anyway, since I had posted three entries in three days over the May Day long weekend, I thought the blog and especially its owner, needed a break for awhile.

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The host for the event – Shahrin Azhar

The Sunday before last, 3rd May 2009, saw the closing of the Festival Melayu Ada (FMA) quadrilogy series. Compared to FMA1 & FMA3 that I attended but did not manage to stay all the way till the end, this time I came just before the main acts began their sets and stayed all the way till the end, even though the next day was a working day and it kinda dragged on till close to 11:00pm.

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Tengku Adil relaxed before going on stage…

The reason why I did not attend the day event at the Malay Heritage Centre was because I was already feeling the after-effects of the previous Saturday‘s heat-sapping and energy-draining time spent at East Point Mall shopping centre during the Anugerah auditions. Yes, the unbearable heatwave does have its negative impact in that it completely drains you. So the day was spent resting at home with my family and typing out my thoughts on the auditions.

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When I reached the event venue, I was greeted by the security guards on duty asking if I had taken my temperature. Since I was not running a fever, I just said yes out of convenience. It was then that I noticed that they had a big cooler fan placed right smack in front of their faces whilst the audience sitting under the tentages nearby were busy fanning themselves even though there were fans around, but do not seem to be working as well as they would have liked to. Some kind of royal treatment these guards were getting, I thought.

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I spotted a few friends and joined them and started to make small talk whilst waiting for the show to start. It was here and during one of the conversations that this techie idiot found out that he could make use of the wifi services on his handphone and surf the web without having to worry about paying the extra charges one would associate with surfing via the handphone. The Heritage Centre is wired up for wifi usage in case you don’t already know. Thanks to bro Sulaiman for pointing that out to me. It was heartening to see the crowd that came, was the most they had throughout the whole series. All four sections of the tentages were filled to the brim and from where I was, I could spot Zoul (M. Nasir‘s younger brother) and renowned lyricist Zaidy Nandir sitting somewhere at the back, taking in the proceedings that unfolded.

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East Mode Sanskrit doing their thing…

The last slot of the FMA series (Suara III) was scheduled to be held at the Outdoor Stage of the Heritage Centre at 8:00pm before taking a short break out of respect for the Isyak prayers. Somehow the event only started proper right after the prayers. Looking at my watch and the line-up in store, I was sure the show would not end at 10:00pm as planned. For the record, the programme line-up that were listed to perform were East Mode Sanskrit, No Strings Attached, Konspirazy, Klutz, Tengku Adil, Rafaat Haji Hamzah, Ard (feat. Zakiah), Raven and Zaibaktian. The event was ably hosted by Shahrin Azhar, no stranger to our local entertainment industry.

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No Strings Attached giving us a punchier performance than the previous week…

I don’t think I need to go into detail as to each and every performance that went on that night, as I had already done so in my previous entries on the FMA series I attended in the past. Most of the sets were repeats of previous songs being performed before. The only difference was, with a bigger stage and supposedly better sound system, they could perform without an acoustic setting, which was the standard norm of the past three editions of the series. However the sound system was very much left to be desired as the singers’ vocals were constantly drowned by the music that accompanied them. This was very much evident if the performers had their fellow band members or sessionists accompanying them.

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In the case of Tengku Adil, he was an exception. He sang two songs which he did not perform before and they were “Aku Cinta Kamu” and “Mariam“, of which the latter would soon be heard on our local radio as his new single. The young man took the trouble to relate how the song came about and it all began with the annual The New Paper New Face contest back in 2000, where the winner, Mariam Daskalopoulou, set many hearts aflutter with her astounding beauty, yours truly included. I think it is quite a great tribute to someone you’ve had a crush on and to the guy’s credit, she is currently a part of his friendship circle. I was hoping for his sake, it would be a fairytale come true. But that’s another story to tell altogether.

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Rafaat Hamzah being interviewed by Shahrin before he began his poetry recital…

I quite enjoyed Rafaat Hamzah‘s poetry recital segment. This guy is simply amazing and an absolute genius. I just wondered why it took me so long to actually sit in one of his recital sessions, to listen to the ideas that poured forth his deep, intellectual mind. By the way, he recited his two compositions, that were taken off his book “Yang Bilang“. Correct me please if I err with this piece of information. Behind those cleverly crafted words, one could easily detect the dry wit and sly criticisms towards the respective subjects mentioned, and I’m sure those who listened intently would say, “Yes, he’s right!!!” to every line that was recited. It was made more enjoyable to watch when he was joined on stage by members of Konspirazy, Raven and Ijam from Malaysian group Flop Poppy accompanying him with the backing music.

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Zakiah & Ard performing “Taman Ungu”, a song composed by the talented former…

I was unsure whether it was due to technical glitches or miscommunication or even due to the fact that the show had over-run, but there were no performances by Klutz or Konspirazy as was stated in the programme line-up, which was a pity as I personally did not get enough of their respective performances the week before, in the third edition of the series. As for the finale segment, well, all I could say that it was better, no, best forgotten. I felt quite disappointed after all the waxing lyrical I made throughout the festival, only to be undone by the finale.

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Raven had the audience bobbing their heads to the beats of their sound…

For those of you who were not there, well, the finale segment was made up of the main acts singing one another’s hit single. However it was very much apparent that there were no prior practise before going on stage and they were either off-key, out-of-tune or have no idea how the song goes. I thought it was something well-worth recording but halfway through, I had half the mind to stop the recording as it was very frustrating to see and a very bad end to such a positive event. I just hope in future if they were to have this event again or have a similar segment, the vocalists would have all come prepared. After all the positive talk, unfortunately it had to end on a whimper.

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Zaibaktian performing none other than “Lelaki Baru“…

The finale, however, should not be used as the barometer to gauge the event as a whole. One has to expect mistakes to be made, since this is afterall a new project that was brave enough to have been executed, where few dared to venture. Overall, I should say that the festival has been a commendable success. For one, the idea to have such an event without first thinking of commercial returns, even in this bad economic climate, is in itself something that is worth applauding. Another thing that is worth mentioning is that the festival allows independent / new talents that are have not / have been heard on radio but not / seldom featured on television or print media, the platform to showcase their talents to the watching audience.

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Wan from the duo of Wan & Eddy performing during the finale… Quite a good practice for him as he qualified to be in the Top 50 of the current Anugerah competition…

Through such an interactive event, media and entertainment people would be able to converge and get to know one another, increase their social and working network as well as plan paths to collaborate in future projects / productions. Some might complain and say why make it a non-paying festival??? Most of these artistes are new in the industry, some barely have a proper direction and it is through this event that people would hopefully come to learn of their existence. Perhaps through time, wide media coverage, promotion through word-of-mouth would we then see charges being made and I would not mind paying to watch these new talents cos from what I have see thus far, they deserved to be paid to watch, every single one of them. Singapore is definitely not in dearth of good talent waiting to be unleashed on a mainstream level. The fact is, are we, the consumers, ready for them???

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!!!”…

Why Do You Want To Be An Artiste???

The heat and excitement of Anugerah can be felt for the past week or so when I listen to the local Malay radio stations. Ok granted that RIA 897FM is the official radio station of the said competition, so speaking about it and promoting it on a daily basis is a given responsibility to whoever that anchors their respective daily programmes. But before we embark on this journey to find the next big thing in our local music industry, I have a question to ask these wannabes as well as those that are already well-immersed in their passion.

So why do you want to be an artiste??? Is it because:

  1. You love performing on stage???
  2. You are living the dream???
  3. You love the adulation of fans and supporters???
  4. You are in it for glamour, fame and fortune???
  5. You wanna score with the chicks???
  6. You hope to win awards during awards shows???
  7. You see this as a get-rich-quick scheme???
  8. You want people to appreciate your talents, voice, compositions etc???
  9. You see this as a passport to wining and dining at lavish parties and being invited to it???
  10. You feel this will guarantee you a stable income???
  11. This is your passion and you are sure of it, no matter how measly you earn???

Ok perhaps some of you might be shocked as to why I suddenly come out with this provocative entry. As you all know, there wouldn’t be smoke without fire, or what we like to say “Pohon takkan bergoyang kalau angin tak bertiup“. I was surfing around when I chanced upon a lament made by a local artiste as to why there is no award / award shows specifically for Singaporean artistes.

I believe the reason to postpone the once-publicised Anugerah HitzSG event had already been made in the local media and this is no thanks to the current economic climate the world is facing at the moment. While I have to sympathise with all our local artistes out there for the postponement of the event, I believe that their true intentions in being an artiste should not stray away. Yes it is nice to be acknowledged and you feel that your hard work has paid off with an award or so, but really, does getting an award guarantees your longevity in the industry???

I might be wrong but this is what I personally believe in that:

An award is a temporary recognition, and not the right gauge as to how great an artiste is, or a guarantee that they would last a lifetime in their career, or the decisive factor that their stock would rise, or their albums sales would shoot off the roof. If you are in this career hoping for recognition, awards and praises, then I guess your sincerity has deviated and that you are only in this for the fame and glamour of it all. A true and sincere artiste would go about doing their own thing and not care whether they get an award or not.

It has to be said that this is not a personal attack on the artiste who triggered this entry to be typed. Neither am I accusing him / her of anything. In fact I have to thank the person for igniting something that got me thinking. The paragraph above goes out to all artistes and wannabes out there. It should be a timely reminder to the young upstarts, seeing that we have both the Anugerah and Singapore Idol competitions coming up. Your rightful intentions should be pristine and clear. Only then will you succeed well, even if your path is laced with obstacles and hardships. Oh, plus you need a lot of patience, inner strength, faith and self-belief as well. Apologies if my words rile certain quarters and I come across as a know-all…

Festival Melayu Ada Is Closing With A Bang!!!

FESTIVAL MELAYU ADA
in conjunction with
MALAY ARTS FESTIVAL &
MALAY HERITAGE CENTRE

Sunday, 3 May 2009

BICARA I
11pg -12.30tgh

Sejarah Rakyat:
Pemberdayaan Melawan Cita Bencana
Dr. Azhar Ibrahim Alwee
Jabatan Pengajian Melayu
Universiti Nasional Singapura

Seminar ini cuba merungkai persoalan sejarah dari perspektif alternatif yang menyanggah tafsiran sejarah yang cenderung mendukung idea dominan, baik dalam fasa feudalisme, kolonialisme, orientalisme, dan nasionalisme mundur.

Visi dan peranan sejarah rakyat merangkumi empat segi utama, iaitu:
(1) menyanggah cita bencana dalam sejarah;
(2) mendukung pemberdayaan, dan
(3) menghargai sejarah sebagai visi moral, sambil
(4) mengambil kira kelompok mana yang telah membenarkan peminggiran dan pensenyapan suara, hak dan harkat rakyat.

Yang penting dalam menelurusi sejarah ini, harus dapat kita mengenalpasti dan menghargai terungkapnya resilience rakyat dalam mengharungi dan berhadapan dengan kehidupan.

BICARA II
4.30 – 6ptg

Kritik Sejarah, Sejarah Kritis:
Upaya Merungkai Pendekatan Sejarah Kebudayaan Melayu
Mohamed Imran bin Mohamed Taib
Aktivis Sosial,
The Reading Group, Singapore

Sejarah adalah suatu bidang keilmuan yang menafsir masa lampau supaya membawa makna tertentu kepada kehidupan manusia hari ini. Upaya pensejarahan itu bukan setakat mengkaji, mencatat atau melapor segala hal yang terjadi dalam meriwayat dan menafsirkan kehidupan sesuatu bangsa. Sebaliknya, ia melalui proses pemilihan dan pengasingan dari bahan-bahan sejarah, yang akhirnya merumuskan gambaran atau representasi akan hakikat sesuatu bangsa.

Gambaran dan representasi inilah yang akan dibincangkan di dalam sesi ini. Pada masa yang sama, sesi ini akan mengupas pendekatan-pendekatan dominan dalam proses pensejarahan dunia kebudayaan Melayu. Ini adalah sebahagian dari upaya membangunkan tradisi sejarah yang lebih kritis. Tanpa pemahaman sejarah yang kritis, masyarakat Melayu akan senantiasa dibelenggu corak pemikiran dan orientasi sosial yang merantai potensi bangsa untuk berkembang bebas.

[Apart from the sessions above, following is the full line-up of performances and screenings on the same day, which you are strongly encouraged to attend]

SUARA I
2pm to 3.30pm
Istana Hall (Indoor)

ACT
Hirman
Aqmal
Fadhli Ramlee
Tengku Nurlela
Helmi Zulkarnain
Yunos Erksan
Rowell Sakti

SUARA II
6pm to 7pm
Fountain Stage (Outdoor)

ACT
Sri Mahligai
BIG & Friends
Fyno
Nizamulmuluk

SUARA III
8pm to 10pm
Fountain Stage (Outdoor)

ACT
East Mode Sanskrit
Break for Isyak
No Strings Attached
Konspirazy
Klutz
Tengku Adil
Rafaat Haji Hamzah
Ard (feat. Zakiah)
Raven
Zaibaktian

WAYANG I
12.30pm to 1pm
Istana Hall (Indoor)

Block 46
Ghazi Alqudcy
Block 46 tries to unearth Singapore’s darkest secret about the mass suicide that happened on 6 April 2008

Playground’88
Lyana Irdahwathy
Mat Noor is an over-grown ten year old boy who spends most of his time at the playground in his neighborhood. Set in 1988, hailing from a humble neighborhood in Dakota Cresent, this story unfolds the yearning of a young bully who is neglected by his mother.

Lost Sole
Sanif Olek
Haji Sabtu is in dilemma when his footwear goes missing after Friday noon solat. How far could he go without his sole?

WAYANG II
3pm to 4pm, Seminar Room

Brotherhood
Shahrezza Zuhri
[Rating: NC16 (Violence)]
Territorial disputes are common among gangs in the underworld. When a gang leader dies, the second man takes over. That is the philosophy and mentality in the world of organized crimes. But when another gang leader kills a gang leader, the second man takes charge and plans revenge.

Impian Si Mamat
Zulkifli Salleh
Impian Si Mamat is an inspirational short story about a young boy’s dreams of becoming a professional photographer. Coming from a low-income family, a camera is not within his means. The story revolves around his dad’s sacrifices to support Mamat’s aspirations as well as his journey of discovery pursuing his dream beyond conventional means and realizing his responsibilities as a son.

Bob
Fai Rizal Alias
No girlfriend, no life, no worries. Bob is a simple man who is contented with his life of mundane routines and boring habits. From the moment he wakes up till he rolls back into bed at the end of the day, it seems that Bob is pretty much happy with his amazingly boring life – that is, until his mood changes and his emotions subconsciously get the better of him. The question is: why the sudden change, Bob?

Roman Picisan
Rafaat Haji Hamzah
In life, Man continuously chases love.
Some will fall behind in this quest.
But love exists, not to be chased.
Dalam kehidupan, manusia berlari mengejar cinta.
Dalam berlari, pasti ada yang tertinggal.
Hanya cinta yang tidak berlari apalagi mengejar.

WAYANG III
7.30pm to 8.15pm
Istana Hall (Indoor)

Shadows of the Future
Jon Ramlan
A documentary that investigates the life of Jogjakarta’s street urchins. As the number keeps on growing, will these kids remain hidden under the shadows of their own future?

Rahim
Murni Mastan
A telegraphic conversation between a man and a woman.
A quest for acceptance of his life, and death, from AIDS.

Sunat
M.Raihan Halim
Every guy has a definitive moment when they leave boyhood and graduate into the shoes of a man. For one boy, it is through the journey of the “sunat” (circumcision).

Venue Sponsor: Taman Warisan Melayu
Organised by: Cokelat Events & Production with LeftWriteCenter
Supported by: Hajjah Esah Cafe

Info courtesy of Rafaat Hamzah…