Anugerah 2011 Auditions Afterthoughts…

I left out some pointers in my last entry on the Anugerah 2011 auditions which has finally kicked off in earnest. I knew some things were missing the moment I clicked on the “Publish” button. After going through my entry and subsequently getting wind of some negative reactions from a certain group of people on Twitter who might be new to this blog and my style of commenting, I think it is best that I come out early to defend some of my words and what people can expect from this blog during the competition period.

For the newbies to this blog, I have been reviewing past Anugerah / Anugerah Skrin competitions since 2007 in this humble domain of mine, on top of  reviewing numerous awards shows, concerts, showcases, gigs, performances that I attended and media conferences that I was invited to go to. With the upcoming competition beginning on 26 April 2011, it will be no different. Regular readers of this blog would note that through the years, I’ve mellowed down quite a lot in terms of commenting style, being less brazen and giving people as much benefit of doubt as possible. I noted a few scathing remarks from Twitter about how ignorant I am based on my last entry and how I act like a know-it-all. Some even went as far as to say that this blog should be shut down. I’ve forgiven these people for the fact that they do not know my commenting style and perhaps being new to constructive criticisms / passing remarks, cos if I do not say it now, then others / the judges / mainstream media might highlight them in time to come.

For a start, I hate to blow my own trumpet but to my detractors and haters, it is not easy being an entertainment blogger who is not paid to do this and doing it on my own accord and time, even to the point of investing on high-end video cameras and DSLRs just to give my readers extra value on the contents that I put up. It took me five years of consistent and giving rational views to get me proper accreditation from the mainstream media to cover some of their events. All these is because they acknowledge the passion that I exude and they know that I will always be honest, analytical and sincere in my views. I have no hidden agendas other than to see our local Malay entertainment industry be as big or at least try to be on par in standards with our regional counterparts. If you think you can give better analysis and comments, I welcome you as part of the alternative media brigade cos it is always refreshing to read differing opinions without undermining one another or without getting personal, as I always believe and say again and again that we complement one another through our respective contents and strengths.

So what can readers expect when Anugerah 2011 hits our television screens??? As usual they will get my usual no-holds-barred views and just to let people out there know, I am ready for their brickbats and backlash again when they go all out to defend and protect their personal favourites. I’ve gotten stick from hardcore fans of a few artistes before in their own personal forums calling me a “know-all“, “macam faham” and what-nots. It will be no different this time around. More often than not, I was proven correct as time goes by. A case in point was during the Anugerah Band competition three years ago. I had pointed out the shortcomings of a particular group and I was slammed right, left and centre henceforth by their ardent followers. Within a fortnight, the group was booted out. No, I did not derive any form of extreme pleasure from their elimination other than shutting a few mouths, but I felt a sense of justification that at least my analysis did not fail me and I wasn’t sprouting nonsense. It is also because I think with my head instead of my heart, that I am able to rationalise my thoughts without getting personal.

Followers of any particular contestant need to broaden their mindsets and widen their perspectives when they hear comments from the judges, the mainstream media as well as the alternative ones like myself and my fellow peers, not to mention the viewers who would be sms-ing their thoughts to the programme. When you hear your particular favourites getting criticised or commented upon, don’t be too quick to jump and hurl abuse without thinking through what was being said. Your own friends, family members and fans will always say the nice things that you want to hear to make you feel good and to ease your minds.  In their eyes and based on what they hear, you can do no wrong. But these are the things that can lull a contestant into complacency and think he or she has done enough when there are actually lots of things that could be improved upon. Neutrals like us have your interests at heart too and we also want to see you succeed by first eradicating the mistakes and polishing the rough edges.

Take for example the issue of comparisons with an already established artiste. I’m sure for those who are about 25 years of age and above, we’ve all heard how artistes like Elly Mazlein and Intan Sarafina sound a lot like Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza when they first appeared in the scene in the late 90s / early 2000. Down the years and with the advent of so many reality shows here and across the Causeway, I am sure the issue of comparing or noting similarities with established artistes are bound to appear. If my mind still serves me well, during the last Anugerah 2009 competition, there were voices from the masses and from within the industry who pointed out Sarah Aqilah‘s similarities in terms of singing style and even outfits during the auditions to Ziana Zain. Did she falter and wallowed into self-pity from all the criticisms??? I’m sure we all know what happened next and how she went on to prove the doubters wrong by excelling in the competition.

During the auditions last Saturday, I observed the guys were trying to emulate and copy the likes and styles of Aliff Aziz, Hyrul Anuar and even Anuar Zain, from the voice, the fashion styling right down to breathing techniques. It was extremely glaring when they sang the songs of the original artistes. It is ok if this is an impersonation competition but one has to create your own identity so as not to draw any comparisons to already established artistes. When I say identity, it is not only about one’s physical outlook, fashion sense or singing style per se. It is also through how you want people to remember you by and your music, the soul that defines you as an entertainer or artiste. If someone like Didicazli is known as the “Prince of Ballads” on these shores or if you hear a particular song and you instantly know that it is composed by SleeQ for instance, how are you going to create an identity of your own that when people listen, they know it is you or your own composition???

We look at successful Singaporeans who have done well in Malaysia without giving up their nationalities and passports and you will note that there are not many of them. For those who have done well in recent times like Imran Ajmain and AhliFiqir, you can most definitely learn a thing or two from them and how they have managed to win over the critical and quite demanding fans over there. AhliFiqir for instance, is still revered as the group who have made the art of rapping in poetic Malay hip over there, with no disrespect to groups like4U2C, Nico and even my own personal favourite, KRU, who were in the scene a decade earlier than them. It is a lasting legacy to their credit, even though the group members have gone their separate ways.

To the contestants, I hope when the competition proper kicks in, you will not be distracted or feel disheartened by comments made by the judges, by the unofficial ones from people like myself or even criticisms from other viewers. Comments and criticisms given are meant for your betterment. We want to see you succeed or at least go as far as possible in the competition. As such, take them in with as much positivity as possible and turn whatever weaknesses into your own personal strengths. I do not wish to hear that contestants are affected by comments made by alternative media like us bloggers like how it happened during last year’s Anugerah Skrin competition. In fact criticisms are part and parcel of what this industry is all about. If you are not able to take it in during this infantile stages, then how are you going to cope when you become a star???

If I have to hit out, I will hit out and if I feel there is cause to defend a particular artiste or contestant, I would not hesitate to do so. All these I do because I care for our local industry and I want to see it grow and eventually succeed like our regional counterparts.  I really do not want to blog and having to apologise afterwards to each and every contestant if I know they have misunderstood my words or if they feel downhearted with comments I’ve made. Whatever I say in my blog is meant in good stead and never meant to bring down anyone. Of course there will be times that I will give reality checks but I’ve never attacked anyone personally or assassinate their characters. I hope newbies to this blog reading this would understand what lies ahead in a reality competition like Anugerah. If you are brave enough to want to be in this industry, then you need to put up some firewalls to deflect criticisms and work on your respective flaws. It is all and truly well if you want to rest on your laurels with the fanbase that you have, but the name of the game is to win the hearts of the masses and beyond.

I might just be a small-time entertainment blogger, a minor voice on cyberspace, but I have observed and immersed myself in this industry for 13 years now. It is easy for people to praise and build you up when things are going all rosy. But when things do not go well, they are going to bring you down for the slightest mistake or things you do. In front of you, people are going to say nice things but behind who knows they might not. I take great pains to blog and explain my views in a long-winded way,  explaining my rationale, giving examples and will always give people the benefit of doubt as much as possible. I’m sure my regular readers can testify to that. At the end of the day the mainstream media and fellow entertainment bloggers like myself have the responsibility to dispense information and tips to help raise the standards of the local entertainment industry. I’ve said enough for now. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be a broken record and let you read again two previous entries I did on what it takes to become a star and how to carry yourself well. Just click on the links here and here

Author: Pujangga Malam™

Well-known on RIA 89.7FM as a controversial and sensational critic able to invoke thought-provoking and sometimes, fiery responses from fellow listeners. Have since evolved into a distinguished blogger of reputable claim with takes on the Malay entertainment industry and football-related matters. Brutally honest and believes in only reporting the truth as I see, hear or experience it. Self-styled critic who does not mince his words and is definitely a non-conformist.

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