I’ve just returned from Mediacorp‘s TV Theatre and I must say my hairs are still standing from what I’ve seen and heard so far this evening. The night was a far cry from last week where all the male contestants could be judged according to their various flaws and strengths but tonight, whatever flaws there were on display, it was quite difficult to detect unless one is really analytical and diligent enough to watch the taped programme again or very experienced in this industry.
For those who religiously follow this reality show, I’m sure you would agree with me that tonight, the ladies did much, much better than their male counterparts, so much so that I’m finding it tough to predict who would remain and who would be unfortunate enough to be eliminated. Even the judges admitted towards the end of the programme that they would be having a difficult time to tabulate the results and giving the scores to the respective young ladies.
Continuing from last week’s theme of “Rentak Kita“, the female contestants tonight sang songs by mostly female Singaporean artistes, save for Hafizah Naser who sang Fuad Rahman‘s cover of “Bila Rindu“, but even then, that song is a duet with Mira. For those who have been crying out for female talents to come forward, tonight was a good night to immerse yourselves on the songs sung by our local female artistes. Thank you Suria for giving our female artistes due recognition by having the contestants sing their songs.
Personally I felt that overall, besides the performances, the night was a great one for me and the majority in the audience. I must put it on record that I salute and thank all the supporters of the female contestants for not repeating what we experienced last week with some of the rowdy and boisterous supporters of their male counterparts, which I had mentioned in the previous entry. If only future weeks will be this good. We can hope but it’s all up to them in the end.
I know this particular paragraph is very much irrelevant to this review, but another reason why I said it was a good night for me was also because I met my old schoolmates in secondary school, Shikin, and her brother Rizal after the show. They happen to be Nora Baharom‘s elder siblings and it has been 15 long years since I last met them. I still remember Rizal who was so scrawny back then and now he’s already a father of two. God how time flies. Anyway Nora was also an ex-student of Beatty Secondary School like us, but she entered about four years after I graduated, so I didn’t know her like I knew her elder siblings.
The judging panel remained the same as last week, which meant the guest judge, Mr. Hassan Salleh, was given the opportunity to balance his comments for the boys last week, with the girls this week. His comments are short, concise and to the points with no frills. Gani??? Well I think I’ve said enough about him last week. Suria needs to find a better judge with a better command of Malay on their judging panel in future. This week was no different and no better.
Awaiting their respective fates…
And so, let’s touch on the two eliminated male contestants tonight. Ize Suliman and Izam ended their journeys tonight, period, as there might be a slim chance for them to return in the Wildcard rounds. Ize‘s elimination wasn’t a surprise to me and I had expected him and Sein to be eliminated based on their performances alone last week. However, Sein has his fanbase to thank for and Ize lost out due to perhaps not having the former’s rub of green. Which was what I had mentioned last week when I commented on Ize in that he was in danger of elimination unless his fans have their way.
The looks on their faces summed it up for them…
Izam I felt was a tad unlucky. Compared to Chirul and Sein who were toying with their luck, I thought he did nothing much wrong last week. Even when I watched the repeat show on Friday night, I felt Izam has one of the clearest voices and tones amongst the male contestants. Again the fanbase factor could have been a probable unkind factor to him. If looks are the basis of supporting your favourites, then I think we can just make Sein and Hydir the finalists already. Be smart voters, be smart!!!
Relief written on their faces…
Anyway did anybody notice Fauzie Laily‘s slightly nasal voice or even his pale outlook??? Yes, the young man has not been feeling well for the past week and I felt he should be given recognition for having the courage and professionalism to carry on with the show. My utmost salute to you bro for a job well done in your current state. You even provided comic relief by mispronouncing the female contestants’ names, which literally brought the house down.
Before I dissect the ladies’ performances, the following are the voting formats for the contestants:
- SMS to 73388: ANU Contestant Code
- Telepoll: 1900-112-770_ (Last digit being contestant’s number)
Each vote via SMS or Telepoll costs $0.60 each and those with prepaid cards are not able to cast your votes. Voters who are 18 years and below should seek parental permission. This service is brought to you by MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Tel: 6877 7132.
Voting for contestants appearing in Episode 4 began on Tuesday, 23 June 2009, 8.30pm till Tuesday, 30 June 2009, 6pm. These are the following codes you should vote for this week, along with my individual reviews of their performances:
SMS to 73388: ANU 1 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7701
How ironical this week when the first contestant in the previous round (Sarah Aqilah) ended up playing musical chairs with the last contestant in that round (Nora) this week. It was interesting to see how both would fare tonight since the pressure of being first and last is quite different. Whilst Sarah did very well in the last round being the first contestant, Nora set the benchmark for the night with a controlled display of Azyza‘s “Pengharapan Ini“. So much so that my hairs stood for the first time tonight.
Her only downside in my opinion is that she tends not to smile as much as we all would like her to. Nora has the most natural beauty amongst the female contestants and she would do well to enhance it by smiling more. An sms from a viewer called upon ex-Beattrites (that’s what Beatty Secondary School students are called) to vote for Nora and I am very much inclined to do that after seeing her backing up her good looks with a good performance worthy of advancing to the next round.
HAIRANI HASSAN (YANIE)
SMS to 73388: ANU 2 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7702
A lot has been said about Yanie over the past fortnight in online scribes and the public sms system, with regards to the uncanny resemblance in name with Hariani Hassan Bakri, another Anugerah alumnus. I wonder if people ever bothered to do their homework before shooting their mouths off or having short memories as to whether the two of them actually looked alike or not. Even their styles of singing are very much different with the more experienced Hariani more polished especially when singing traditional tunes.
Yanie sang Nurun Nuwarrah‘s haunting hit “Kau Ingin Ku Miliki“. While the fast tempos in the song was a bit challenging to her, especially when it came to stealing inhales of air, I thought she did the song some justice by singing it in her own style. I especially loved the end bits when she gave them a more R&B feel as compared to the original’s more straightforward style. She could do well to inject a bit of feel and emotions to the song to land more credence.
SMS to 73388: ANU 3 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7703
Asila reminds me of Ning Baizura at certain angles or my eyes could be playing tricks on me. But there’s no resemblance whatsoever to the Malaysian songbird in terms of vocal prowess. While Asila did not impress me much in the previous round, she was a different package altogether tonight. She even captured my attention singing Eka Mairina‘s “Sesungguhnya Cinta” with nonchalance and ease, pulling off the high notes as though she was snapping her fingers. She was another who made my hairs stood tonight.
SMS to 73388: ANU 4 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7704
I did say a fortnight ago that I preferred Hafizah with long hair as she looks more like a doll that way. I think inadvertently she heard my pleas so it was back to wearing a wig tonight and how the audience too loved it as I could hear the people around me saying how adorable she looked, especially since she is the shortest amongst the girls. Her sense of style tonight reminded me of Avril Lavigne – spunky and feisty. No wonder the judges labeled her a “Cili Padi“.
During the introductory video montage, she said that her favourite local singer is Fuad Rahman. Naturally she chose to sing Fuad‘s hit duet with Mira entitled “Bila Rindu“, a cover from an original Indonesian song sung by Inka Christie (correct me if I’m wrong please). She started off well actually but when it came to the high notes, she suddenly sounded a bit suspect. She has to have better control of high notes as she also did not come across as confident in the previous round when it came to hitting them.
SURIANI SULAIMAN (NANI)
SMS to 73388: ANU 5 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7705
Nani was a big surprise in my opinion. Right from the audition rounds, I thought she only has her seductive looks to help sway the votes in her direction, but lo was I made to eat humble pie tonight!!! She sang Nurun Nuwarrah‘s “Bila Kasih Menyepi” from the official soundtrack of “Jeritan Sepi 3” with aplomb. I could not detect much wrong other than the fact that she played it safe by sticking to the same style as Nurun and going slightly pitchy towards the end. Even then, one cannot detect unless you listen to it again.
KHATIJAH ABDUL RAHMAN (CATTY)
SMS to 73388: ANU 6 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7706
Catty just goes from strength to strength with each episode that I feel she’s getting too comfortable in her zone sometimes. Like what judge Eddy commented, this is her forte and strength. It would do her a world of good if she breaks away from that zone and sing a song of a faster tempo. That way, we can then get a better gauge of how she is as a singer, whether she can be versatile or not. Catty by the way, sang Eka Mairina‘s “Cipta Kasih“.
KUNJUNG WIDE WHITAKER
SMS to 73388: ANU 7 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7707
Kunjung continued where she left off in the previous round and that was by showing the masses how an entertainer controls the stage with excellent showmanship. When I look at her, I am reminded of how Anita Sarawak performs on stage. Kunjung made Salma‘s alternative-rock song “Irama Rindu” into a laidback, cabaret-styled piece. It was risky but one that definitely paid off in the end. The only thing that could be a downside is her wavy or shivering voice, whichever way you look at it. There is also the fact that there could be a possible conspiracy theory cooking up with regards to the public wanting a pure Singaporean to win this competition.
NUR SARAH AQILAH
SMS to 73388: ANU 8 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7708
Sarah rounded off the night by keeping my hairs firmly standing with an immaculate performance of Nana‘s “Lafaz“. It was slightly shaky at the start if one was able to notice, perhaps due to jitters, but she grew as the song went on. She nailed it on the head when she pulled off the high notes in the chorus, earning the tag as “Best Performer of the Night” by the judges. I stop short of giving her that tag as I felt that at least four or five of them deserved to share that award together tonight.
As for the group performances, Group 1 which consisted of Nora, Yanie, Asila and Hafizah sang Maiya Rahman‘s “Nongkrong” while Group 2 which had Nani, Catty, Kunjung and Sarah in it sang Norazela Rosli‘s “Bisanya Amnesia“. In Group 1, Nora caught the eye, continuing where she left off and being extremely confident with her dance steps. Hafizah was a standout, especially since she forgot her steps, but she made up for it with her vocals. The group was good in harmony as well.
Group 2 had arguably the better vocal powerhouses in Catty, Kunjung and Sarah. Somehow their performance was a bit short in my opinion. Sarah forgot her lyrics while their group harmonising went a bit off, perhaps each one wanting to show off her vocal strengths to impress the voters. Trust me, this isn’t new as I have seen more experienced singers than what we saw tonight, fighting it out while sharing the same stage, wanting to be the more dominant voice.
You know after tonight, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that our country is not short of female talents. They have, all these while, been crying out for your support and tonight I thank all eight young ladies for proving that there is no dearth of female talents in our small industry with their performances. They proved that they are so much stronger than the guys, who we can see the good ones and who are mediocre. But the young ladies are different, all of them were good and deserve to go to the next round.
Given a choice, I would just crown the most deserving female as our Anugerah 2009 winner, bearing in mind someone like Hydir or Azhar Raz have what it takes to succeed as well. I think as of tonight, the guys have to up their ante ten-fold if they want to achieve something from this competition. Your votes would be a lot meaningful to each and every contestant competing in Anugerah 2009. Remember to vote smartly and wisely!!!