Anugerah 2009 has begun in absolute earnest and it has been a lukewarm night by my standards. After a rousing beginning from the likes of Hyrul Anuar, Eka Mairina and Aliff Aziz singing the theme song for this year’s competition “Bintang Anugerahku“, accompanied by the 20 contestants, things suddenly became a little awry when Fiza O twice tripped on her words, probably forgetting the voiceover cue that was supposed to precede her presentation.
Subsequently throughout the whole hour of the programme, both hosts took turns tripping on their words, probably due to the excitement and jitters they felt inside. But in terms of confidence, Fiza who plies her trade as a deejay with RIA 89.7FM, naturally grew as the minutes progressed. But anyway, this wasn’t a show about the hosts, it was about the 20 contestants who are vying to be the next big thing in our local music industry.
Tonight, joining the panel of resident judges Eddy Ali, Ann Hussein and Gani Karim was Adil Hussein. My apologies for not knowing who this guy is but from his various comments throughout the night, the choice of selecting him was commendable as he gave good, constructive views, even if he came across as dead-pan. The judges as a whole, shared almost the same sentiments as myself. Just that I don’t understand why Eddy Ali loves Sheila Abdul so much that he had to mention her name twice, when only one of her songs was sung and that was towards the end.
Looking at all the songs that were performed, sharp-eared viewers would have noted the fact that none of the songs sung were from a Singaporean artiste. This was made deliberate as there will be different themes weekly. Tonight, the theme was an open one, which meant songs by Indonesian and Malaysian artistes were performed. There will be themes solely on Singaporean artistes as the weeks progress so fret not all you local music lovers out there.
However my only complaint was, why were some songs that were performed (eg Sheila Abdul‘s “Lepaskanlah“, Mila‘s “Ilham Di Mataku” and the one sung by Wawan which I have no idea what was the title to it, even after googling the lyrics), seemed alien or have not been aired on local radio??? I think for the viewers to vote how well the contestants perform and sing, they too need to know the song, so that they could judge fairly. More radio-friendly songs need to be performed in future weeks in my opinion.
For the first time this season, there will be 2 formats for viewers to vote. One is via SMS, the other via 1900 call-in number, as opposed to the mandatory sms voting system in the past. More votes are expected to be made with this new system of voting especially those who are not keen on wasting sms-es. So far nothing has been said about how much one is expected to pay if they were to call the voting lines. Or I might have missed it. Please do correct me if I’m wrong. Right, here are my thoughts on all the contestants:
Sarah Aqilah – She sang Ayu‘s “Hanya Di Mercu“. She surprised me big time with her execution of the song as my only memory of her during the auditions was, she was a dead-ringer of Ziana Zain, from the vocal style right down to how she portrayed her presentation on stage.
Hydir – This boy (he’s only 17) is set for the big stage. His voice belies his age. His boyish charm is sure to bring in the votes and with his looks, he backs it up with a deep, controlled voice. Singing Nubhan‘s “Ada Untukmu” was an excellent choice. My bet to go to at least the semi-finals stage.
Mel – She sang Hanya Memuji, a song that challenges a person to go high and low and having to dance to the beat. She came across quite flat, but only because I detected the nervousness and jitters in her. However I think she atoned herself during the group performance where they sang “Let’s Dance Together“, but only just.
Sein Ahmad – This Anugerah “veteran” was good during the audition rounds, but tonight he did not impress me with a low-key performance of Republik‘s “Hanya Ingin Kau Tahu” and especially the group performance where they sang BBB‘s “Let’s Dance Together“. For someone who is experienced in this field of play, I expected more from him. He looked kinda overawed with the occasion.
Kunjung – This sassy lass is a natural product from Indonesia‘s production line of singers. Her rendition of Ratu‘s “Lelaki Buaya Darat” was oozing with confidence and it would be very surprising if she falters early. She needs to work on her crowd interaction though.
Azhar Raz – My favourite from the audition rounds. His vocal gymnastics are a joy to behold. He also made Hazami‘s “Mungkir Bahagia” so easy to execute. He needs to prevent himself from being overconfident cos his facial expressions do hint of that at times. Other than that, I just love the way he puts so much feel into the songs he sang.
Hafizah – I didn’t quite like the short hairdo. I still prefer her with long hair cos she looks like a doll that way. She sang Melly and KD‘s “Cinta“, not an easy song. Though it did not reach the wow levels, her performance overall was commendable. She grew more confident as the minutes progressed.
Wawan – I like this boy’s confidence on stage as his showmanship smacks of a seasoned performer. Somehow he has this knack of making me hate the song he sings. The song he performed was already alien enough to me even after I had googled the words on the Net, but what made it cringing was his slang, which he could do away in future stages, depending on how far he progresses.
Shera – Contrary to what the judges said about her, I think she was one of the top five female contestants tonight. I like her rich voice and I think if she was given a slower tempo song to sing instead of Jaclyn Victor‘s “Di Bawah Pohon Asmara“, she would nail it well. Again, jitters could have hampered her performance tonight.
Ize – Another Anugerah “veteran”. He showed lots of poise, confidence and control singing Marcell‘s “Jangan Pernah Berubah“. I think along with Hydir, this guy has a chance to go far, with looks being his plus points as well.
Asila Osmera – The judges didn’t like her performance. So did I. She was too nervous, too static for one’s liking. For her sake I hope she improves and shed away all those stage-frights she might have been having. I felt it was easy to connect with her cos she sang Ziana Zain‘s song “Menadah Gerimis” which is no stranger to the listening masses.
Afyq – I wasn’t impressed when the top 20 contestants were named and his was in it. Nothing during the audition rounds gave me the impression that he would go far other than the fact that his fate might be down to the young girls out there. Dafi‘s “Bila Terasa Rindu” was easy on the ears, but the performance wasn’t spectacular.
Izam – Amongst the Anugerah “veterans”, he was the one that impressed me the most. Very confident, very rockish performance. I think he’s really dead serious in wanting to go further than the last time round. Nidji‘s “Biarlah” was done well even if he lagged a bit during the start.
Catty – This young lady continues to impress with her performance. She made a difficult song like Agnes Monica‘s “Matahariku” sounded so simple to sing. And to think many others tried but failed during the audition rounds. Her weight might be a mitigating factor but we should all look beyond that and not let a rough diamond slip away. She is definitely one to look out for.
Ain – His was another name I did not expect to make it to the Top 20 and he looks a little too dreamy for my liking. HijauDaun‘s “Suaraku Berharap” was an easy song to sing, without having to challenge his vocals. Commendable effort but doesn’t have the aura of a champion.
Yani – I laughed when I saw a comment made by a viewer who sms-ed about her earlier in the programme. That person said Yani had already recorded an album. I think that person must have mistaken her for Hariani Hassan Bakri, another Anugerah alumnus. However, even Hariani has not gotten the opportunity to record an album yet. This Yani however got her bearings right singing Misha Omar‘s “Ku Seru“. But she still lacks the wow factor.
Chirul – He was one of the few I had earmarked during the audition rounds with his deep voice and stage presence. And it was there for all to see when he sang “Cinta Ini Membunuhku” by D’Masiv. His falsetto however needs some tweaks cos it made his voice become flat.
Nani – I remembered her from the audition rounds because she gave a flirty performance on stage. There was nothing of the sort tonight and I felt she was in danger of elimination as she looked a little unsure when she sang Mila‘s “Ilham Di Mataku“. The choice of song could have been a distraction to her but I thought she made amends when they sang as a group, singing Jaclyn Victor and Rio Febrian‘s “Ceritera Cinta“.
Kamsani – Right from day one, this young man reminds me so much of Anugerah 2005 winner Hyrul Anuar. From the hairstyle to the showmanship, everytime I watch him perform is like watching Hyrul on stage. He would be mindful enough to steer clear from the comparisons if he wants to progress further. But he did no wrong singing Matta Band‘s “Jatuh Cinta Lagi“.
Nora – She was another I did not quite fancy when her name was announced to be in the Top 20. I felt back then that her looks were more her winning factors. But she proved me wrong when she sang Sheila Abdul‘s “Lepaskanlah” without a hint of going flat nor pitchy. Granted I have not heard the song before, but I felt she did nothing wrong. Fair play to her.
Results At A Glance:
And so, Ain, Afyq, Shera and Mel were eliminated tonight. I kinda expected Ain, Afyq and Mel, but not Shera as I felt she was one of the better ones but in this kind of competition, you need to have a solid fanbase and kind remarks from the judges to help you stay in the competition and I felt she didn’t get that.
It was nice to see Rancour in action with their new single “Biarlah” cos I feel that their career paths have stagnated somewhat after winning last year’s Anugerah Band competition. It doesn’t help that some of them have a day job as civil servants, which is preventing them from pursuing their musical careers further.
In summary, the results were fair and justified. The contestants have for the past month been going through different forms of classes, from vocals to styling and it showed on stage the difference between what I saw during the third round auditions and tonight. One thing they should all learn is to let go of their shackles and enjoy themselves on stage. Once all the jitters go away, they would then be able to express themselves better.