Anugerah 2011 Episodes One & Two Recap…

Anugerah 2011 has finally kicked off in earnest and what a rousing start it was based on the atmosphere at the Mediacorp TV Theatre last Tuesday night. I had initially planned to go to the auditorium, but late release from camp where I had been undergoing reservist training for the past week and with massive traffic congestion happening everywhere, meant I could only watch it from the comfort of home. But at least I was able to listen to the singing and what the judges had to say clearly, as I know it would have all been drowned out by the cacophony of noise being generated by the live audience.

The show kicked off with the previous three winners of the edition – Hyrul Anuar, Aliff Aziz and Sarah Aqilah performing the theme song, “Anugerahku Gemilang“. For those of you who have seen the video clip of the song, you would note that it was composed by Shahridzuan Selamat of Revalina fame, and written by both Shah himself and Zaharian Osman, no stranger to the local entertainment industry. The three previous winners were joined by the Top 18 contestants  on stage dancing to the song. One thing I like about the song is that it is fresh, but there are traces of K-Pop, a sign of the current times, where the type of music is the rage amongst pop fans out there.

The hosts this year, Fauzie Laily, Huda Ali & Nity Baizura of RIA 89.7FM I felt were quite energetic but a bit too excited at times. That is quite natural as this was the first live episode with fans from the different camps creating a party atmosphere. Naturally the good vibes just bounced off them. Of course there were unwanted glitches, like the one where Huda made a mistake of announcing the wrong group performing towards the end, but such things do happen in a live setting. Thankfully Fauzie saved the day. From his past hosting experiences, he is getting good with the technique of ad-libbing. Nity looked a bit nervous and presented more like how she often does on radio. Give her time, she should shed those inhibitions away and be even better in the weeks to come.

This week, the theme for the contestants were songs that were composed from 2005 onwards. But I am still left wondering why evergreen songs like Orkes Nirwana‘s “Tak Mengapa” and Alleycats‘ “Kisah Kau & Aku” were classified as songs from 2005 onwards, even though their arrangements have been tweaked. The resident jury – Eddy Ali, Ann Hussein, Sheikh Haikel and guest judge, Beyond DDB‘s head honcho, Amin Hussen, had the unenviable task of contributing 50% of the contestants’ marks, with the remainder being handed to the voting audience. As this was only the first episode, I can understand if the comments that were passed down were kinda diplomatic, since most of the contestants were nervous themselves.

So what’s my take on each individual contestant’s performance??? Read on…

Solo Performances

Dewi Sulastri – She sang Agnes Monica‘s “Tanpa Kekasihku“. Listening to her, it was clear that she has a rich, husky voice suited to sing songs of a rockish nature. She was composed throughout but I felt she was a bit too expressive for a song of a balladic nature and moved about on stage a wee bit too much. Being the first contestant, she was clearly nervous just by listening to her voice.

Azhar Raz – It was interesting to see what the experience gained from the last competition would have benefited or improved Azhar‘s performance. Indeed his vocal prowess is quite unmatched and I was wondering at first if he had picked the wrong song – Jinbara‘s “Farhana“. He nailed the song and its high notes, with the only awkward moments being his unnecessary dance moves.

Erlina – Agnes Monica‘s “Dan Tak Mungkin” was her choice of song. Began the song with a tinge of uneasiness which I credited to her being nervous. Her low notes were a bit suspect and the transition between the verse and chorus wasn’t smooth thanks to the rearrangement of the song. Though judge Eddy Ali said she was a standout, I felt otherwise and thought she only came into prominence during the chorus, but the level quickly dropped as the song ended. 

 
Faziz – His song choice was Faizal Tahir‘s “Selamat Malam“. He was pitchy in most parts of the song and when he hit the high notes, I felt he wasn’t singing, but more to shouting. He also lacked the much-needed feel and intensity of the song. Definitely a wrong choice of song.

Rahayu Ridwan – This head-turner who seems to be a dead-ringer of Indonesian VJ-turned-singer, Shanty, performed Jaclyn Victor‘s “Bertamu Di Kalbu“. She has looks as her plus factor. What she needs to work on is to smile more to increase her likeability factor and to some extent, minimise the slang when she speaks as it might turn off others who are naturally envious of her package. Her singing did not leave much of an impression on me and I believe she could have done better if she had chosen another song. This song is challenging in certain parts, but Rahayu preferred to stick to her comfort zone.

Ace – Another contestant who sang a Faizal Tahir number, “Sampai Syurga“. But what I observed was not a performance, but an impersonation of the original singer. From the way he dressed right down to the gloves, to the way he postured and mimicked Faizal‘s moves, I doubt it was something that the judges would want to see being emulated, even as the competition progresses. There is always a danger of being sucked into the trap of impersonating original singers, so contestants need to be mindful of their movements on stage and image. Viewers want to see originality, not clones.

Shikin – She sang Ziana Zain‘s “Dingin” with so much aplomb. Her voice control was excellent and she did not need to follow the original singer’s style. In fact her style on its own is already original enough. At this point of time, I thought she was the best performer so far.

Mujaheed – He’s like the Erwin Shah Dawson of this year’s competition in terms of looks, but his manly voice betrays his youth. The way he sang Hazami‘s “Mungkir Bahagia” reminded me of 80s singer Ibnor Riza. Not that it wasn’t good but he seemed to have teleported himself back to those days. The only part I didn’t quite understand was his tendency to look at the floor as though he had dropped something.

Feena – It’s not easy to sing and dance to a catchy tune, especially one like Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza‘s “Ku Mahu“. Granted Feena went pitchy at certain points but she has to be commended for continuing to dance and sing without missing a heartbeat even when she tripped. The only thing I was uncomfortable with was her dressing and the shoes she wore, cos not only the shoes proved a hazard, her dressing only magnified her figure even more.

Didi – There was something about his performance singing Dewa 19‘s “Sedang Ingin Bercinta” that I felt a bit disturbed about, even though his performance, showmanship and confidence that were displayed, showed all the attributes of a budding rock star. I think it had to do with his smug look which he can tone down a bit in weeks to come. And if you want the audience to clap with you, you can’t signal and do it half-heartedly.

Efa Fatimah – Efa played on the safe side by singing a song (Geisha‘s “Takkan Pernah Ada“) which did not require her to stretch her vocals. At times, it went a bit monotonous. Definitely a wrong choice of song. Efa is capable of singing a more challenging song based on what I’ve seen of her in the past.

Firdaus Haridan – He sang Mawi‘s “Langit Biru” with mixed results. At times he was in complete control but his high notes became suspect when he had to sing the chorus. Is it just me or did his hairstyle make him resemble Hazrul Nizam???

Norul – Another strong performer of the night, Norul sang Elyana‘s “Kalis Rindu“. She had everything in her arsenal – showmanship, technique, rapport with the audience –  all brilliantly executed. Yes granted she should have been more flirty but this was only her first performance so I wasn’t expecting it like judge Eddy Ali.

Kim – For someone who has a geeky image, Kim‘s performance was anything but. I was initially fooled by how decent he looks, but he shed his inhibitions when he sang Fiq‘s “Tiga Malam Tanpa Bintang“. His voice is definitely suited to singing rock songs, just that towards the end, he went a little off-key.

Shalyza – I first saw her potential during the auditions and thought that she had it in her to advance further. Nothing has changed after seeing her performed Sharifah Zarina‘s “Langit Ketujuh“. Not an easy song to sing but she pulled it off.

Epul – I was a bit sceptical when I first heard the title of the song (Alleycats’ “Kisah Kau & Aku“), but its arrangement using big bands ensured the song became slightly catchier. And Epul did not disappoint by making full use of the stage with his performance. The only downside was his singing, which I felt was a bit average.

Baby Sulastri – I remember her as a chubby little girl who loved to perform at expo events. How she has grown and what a flawless performance she gave!!! I dare say she even sang “Hanya Di Mercu” much better than its original singer, Ayu.

Syazani – Besides Kim, there’s a likeability factor attached to this young man. Another one whose voice belies his age, I like the fact that he has coolness to go along with his relaxed outlook. I think it’s fair to say that singing Kerispatih‘s “Mengenangmu” made him connect with the audience via the emotions he exuded.

Group Performances

Mujaheed, Kim & Faziz – They sang “Raja Jatuh Cinta” by Numata. It was clear for all to see that all three looked uncomfortable at dancing and singing, with each and everyone calculating their steps. Mujaheed continued to look at the floor for whatever it was that he seemed to have dropped. There was also no harmony nor teamwork whatsoever.

Shikin, Dewi Sulastri & Erlina – The three gals saved the situation from the previous group performance. Singing Liana Jasmay‘s “Aku Tak Percaya Cinta“, their energies were bouncing off each other and they definitely took the cue from Eddy Ali to inject a bit of flirty-ness into their showmanship. I thought it was an enjoyable performance and how a group performance should be like.

Epul, Syazani & Firdaus – I felt as though I was watching some Sinar Lebaran group performance when these three young men were on stage performing Orkes Nirwana‘s “Tak Mengapa” which had been injected a fresh arrangement. For someone who professes to loving evergreen songs, Epul didn’t do the song justice. Only Firdaus and to some extent, Syazani, did well. Firdaus would do well not to overdo his facial expressions, lest it will turn off the voters.

Rahayu Ridwan, Baby Sulastri & Shalyza – The song did not require them to be too energetic as the earlier one by Erlina, Dewi Sulastri and Shikin, so their dance steps were more calculated. Baby Sulastri continued where she left off and showed that she is possibly a force to be reckoned with in this year’s competition. Shalyza looked a bit uncomfortable since her strength is mostly ballads, likewise Rahayu tried to mask her nervousness but her voice was a giveaway.

Ace, Azhar Raz & Didi – Their dance steps at the start seemed cheesy and only highlighted the fact that they were ill at ease with having to dance and sing as a group. Ace seems to be one-dimensional, singing and stretching his hands towards the audience just like how he did during the solo performance. I think only Azhar Raz did well here with Didi again making me feel uneasy with his antics.  

Norul, Efa Fatimah & Feena – The trio performed Alyah‘s “Tak Mungkin Kerna Sayang“. I thought it was a much better performance by Efa this time around. Norul also continued where she left off, showing that she is very much a versatile performer, able to sing both ballads and catchy tunes at ease. Feena was a slight disappointment as I felt her low notes didn’t do herself justice. Collectively, they were good, on par with the previous girl group performance.

Results 

This first episode seemed to be a very harsh one in terms of culling the competition. Only the Top 12 would advance, with three from each male and female category eliminated. It was somewhat of a surprise to me that people like Kim, Azhar Raz, Efa Fatimah and Dewi Sulastri had to say goodbye as early as this stage as their performances did not warrant it. But I guess it all boils down to votes by the voting audience, or lack thereof. I hope for their sake that they would return during the Wildcard round.

So what do I make of this year’s competition so far??? Well if I were to use consistency in performing well as a gauge and barometer, then I would say that the ladies are streets ahead of the gentlemen. Already from this episode, I could see three possible finalists in Shikin, Norul and Baby Sulastri. I hope by coming out to say this, I will not jinx their chances of progressing further or lull any of their voters into complacency. They still have the weeks ahead to prove themselves further and even the others could improve along the way.

This coming Tuesday 3rd May 2011, the male contestants will fight it out amongst themselves with the females resting for another week. With two strong competitors eliminated last week, I hope the guys would up their ante and improve on their singing techniques and showmanship, not overdoing their stage antics and also hopefully keeping the make-up on their faces as light as possible…

Anugerah 2011 Beckons!!!

Anugerah is descending upon us once again and this time the stakes are even higher, the challenges even more daunting. From what I’ve heard, new elements will be introduced and seen in this upcoming edition, with the sole aim of producing an entertainer and not just a performing artiste / singer. I’m not gonna delve too much into it as I have not acquaint myself with the Top 18 who have made it this far, bar two who have had experience being in a reality competition – Azhar Raz in 2009 and Efa Fatimah in 2006 when she was in the same Anugerah Skrin cohort that saw Huda Ali and Shahril Wahid emerged as inaugural winners. I know some of you might have seen these clips on Suria or via any of the social media sites, but in case you haven’t, let’s get to know a little bit about the contestants. All the clips are courtesy of Mediacorp Suria

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. I am currently away on reservist this week and am caught up with urgent work commitments for the next fortnight. So I do not promise any reviews till much later. If I can do it, I’ll definitely post it up, but don’t hope on it. Apologies to anyone expecting them…

SleeQ & Sarah Aqilah @ Konsert Jalinan Mesra…

This is the final instalment of my Konsert Jalinan Mesra series. Seeing as it is time consuming to convert my video file formats, recreating the presentation styles and uploading my video clips no thanks to my slow performance home PC, I’ll just limit it to three – two from SleeQ and the other from Sarah Aqilah – even though they each sang one additional song, “Terima Kasih Sayang” and “Simply The Best” respectively. Hope you guys have enjoyed viewing them…

 

 

 

Hady Mirza @ Konsert Jalinan Mesra…

I’m back with the third instalment of the concert that was held last Saturday16 April 2011 at the Open Court in front of Block 701 Bedok Reservoir Road. I wanted to upload the first performance when Hady performed “Sang Penyanyi” but the clip was distorted. However I’m sure quite a few others have uploaded the same clips as I did from the concert, along with that song. I guess my videos differ from the rest as I was fortunate to have a better view. Hope you like the clips my wife took when Hady performed “Ku Tetapkan Menunggu” and “Angkasa“…

 

 

 

Konsert Jalinan Mesra Revisited…

Last Saturday, 16 April 2011, the wife and I went on a date and we took the opportunity to wind down and relax, being entertained by a line-up of artistes which one would normally associate with a Mediacorp Suria or any of the local Malay radio stations’ events. Held at the Open Court in front of Block 701, Bedok Reservoir Road, the event was organised by the combined efforts of the Punggol CC Malay Activity Executive Committee (MAEC) and Bedok Reservoir – Punggol Rise & Garden Residents’ Committee (RC).

From the initial poster that I had posted earlier when I promoted the event, I thought the line-up was already strong enough but it was kinda one-sided and appealed more to the younger masses. However, on the night itself, I was surprised to learn that evergreen singers Wann and Indonesian songbird, Hetty Koes Endang, were also part of the performing line-up along with comedian Alias Kadir. It goes to show that organisers are willing to set aside a generous amount of budget, an amazing feat considering it was touted as a free concert.

Did I just say “free concert”??? Well it looked that way till we entered to venue and realised some seats had been earmarked with coloured paper on the seats. We also saw several people who had tickets in hand and wondered if we had to pay afterall, cos I thought it seemed a bit unfair that some were made to pay and some did not. Afterwards I realised that those who held tickets were probably those who had come as a group from other constituencies. The fee they paid could have gone to the coaches that ferried them over to and from the concert venue.

The event was in a way, a community event, an opportunity for the residents to meet their Members of Parliament (MP) who would be contesting in the upcoming General Elections. The area falls under the banner of Aljunied GRC, so it was only apt that the Guests-of-Honour were the MPs of the area. Though seven names were slated to come, only four did – Foreign Minister Mr George Yeo, Mr Zainul Abideen Rashid, Ms Cynthia Phua and new People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Mr. Ong Ye Kung. The rest who did not turn up, had their own personal commitments to attend to.

Guests-of-honour (from left): Mr. Ong Ye Kung, Mr. Zainul Abideen Rashid & Mr. George Yeo

Right, I won’t bore you further with comments on what went on during the concert as this is only the first entry of a few parts that I intend to post. But all I would say is that it was good to watch the likes of Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza performing again as I believe it has been quite some time since they last performed in public, correct me please if I’m wrong, all you Fiknatics and Happy Hadys out there. For now hope you enjoy some of the photographs I took at the concert…

Snippets of Konsert Jalinan Mesra

Wann shared a banter with host AB Shaik

Wann personally went down to encourage the audience to sing with her…

SleeQ performed “Untuk Dia“, “Terima Kasih Sayang” & “Kau Buat Aku“…

Just realised Syarif looks a bit like Pasha Ungu from this angle…

Hetty Koes Endang performed “Keroncong Kasih“, “Madu & Racun” as a tribute to the composer of the original song who passed on last week, Allahyarham Ari Wibowo, “Kasih” and even took the time to duet with Mr. George Yeo, singing the classic “Bengawan Solo” song…

Sarah Aqilah performed two songs that night, “Ku Ingin Kamu”, and another, “Simply The Best”, an old classic by Tina Turner…

Hady Mirza began his set with “Sang Penyanyi“…

Ever the romantic, Hady serenaded his cousin who was brought up on stage to sing “Ku Tetapkan Menunggu” with him…

Is it just my ailing eyesight or has Hady been working out???

And what is a Hady Mirza set without the haunting hit, “Angkasa“???

Taufik Batisah began his set with a medley of catchy hits – “Sombong“, “Sesuatu Janji” & “Tiada Dua“…

Emotions were poured forth from the audience when he sang “Usah Lepaskan“…

He ended off his set with “Teman Istimewa“…

Artistes and guests-of-honour waving to the audience during the finale…

The Wedding of Nick Mikhail & Nora…

This weekend marked another milestone in the life of local actor Nick Mikhail when he was betrothed to his sweetheart Noor Ashiqin or affectionately called Nora. For those who have been staying on another planet, this is the actor’s second marriage. I hope no one out there would be quick to judge on what happened to his previous one nor attack his personality as I’ve heard it all before over the years. Like any human being out there, we all crave for happiness, stability and longevity in any kind of relationship we commit ourselves into. Let’s all pray that Mikhail & Nora‘s union will be blessed with happiness, patience and much love and may they last a lifetime with beautiful kids in tow. Congratulations once again you both!!!

Snippets of the Wedding

The lavish spread… It’s whetting my appetite as I type…

Wirama were the performers at the event. One of their group members is none other than Izzat Yusoff of Soldadu fame…

Anugerah 2009 alumnus, Azhar Raz, performing “Gurindam Jiwa” with one of the resident performers of Wirama.

Some of the guests include the recent Pesta Perdana 11‘s Best Supporting Actor recipient, Sani Hussin and wife…

They were joined by his younger sister Rosita

Anugerah Skrin 2010 & 2006 winners, Erwin Shah Dawson and Shahril Wahid

Portrait of a happy family – Nurul Aini with husband Sofian Roslan and son, Shan Ehan

The groom arriving with his entourage…

Bracing himself for what’s to come over at the gal’s side…

The charismatic groom on his way to meet his bride…

The wedded couple with Marina Yusoff and family…

Pesta Perdana 11 Pre & Post-Show Reception Photographs…

After such a heady month of March where this blog had a post at a rate of every other day, it’s back to its normal hiatus stage. For those of you hoping to view photographs of the recent Rock Elektra event or wanting to read the latest happenings during the Anugerah 2011 auditions held at East Point Mall over the weekend before last in this blog, I have to apologise first and foremost cos I did not attend either events due to more pressing issues at work and at home. I would have loved to attend the latter to see the talents and potentials on offer but alas my schedule was a bit too tight for me to bring to you what went on over at East Point Mall. I know the topic of Pesta Perdana 11 is kinda stale by now, but I did plan a three-parter posting on it, with this being the icing on the cake. Since I did not attend Rock Elektra and the Anugerah 2011 auditions this past weekend, I hope this posting would more than make up for it and acts as a filler. The photographs are a selected few I’ve chosen for your viewing, since only my Facebook contacts are able to view the whole collection…

Roving host & Anugerah Skrin 2010 winner, Syirah Jusni looking splendour…

SleeQ and Fauzie Laily with Berita Harian‘s Entertainment Correspondent, Ms Hanim Mohd Saleh

One word to describe Azzah Fariha Samat & Silver Ang: Beautiful…

I will never fail to laugh in the presence of these natural comedians – Sufian Ahmad & Junaidi Sali

Renowned theatre activists, the husband-and-wife team of Haryani Othman & Khairul Famy Kassim…

Anugerah Skrin alumnus Shahril Kahar, Junaidi Sali & Erwin Shah Dawson…

“Slick” is the word to describe Helmindra J. A. Halim, Nick Mikhail & Fauzie Laily

Without them, our comedy scene is a tad poorer. From left: M. Saffri  A. Manaf, B.J. Kadir, Hamzah Adon (striped shirt), Zainal Ihim, Hussin Saaban & Mahadi Shor…

The faceless character in Kopi Bujang, Effandy Idris and wife Sabrina Ali

My uncle, Jasmani Basri, who came alone that night surprisingly…

Nadiah Mohammad with Erwin… They represent the future…

My favourite couple: Den Sabari and Huda Ali

Silver Ang, her chaperone and Sufiyan Safee

Award-winning stylist and director, Azni Samdin (right) with a friend…

Osman Sulaiman and Shahril Wahid did not win anything that night but they were winners in their own rights…

Broadcast journalist Raudha Osman, Shenthy Feliziana and Nadiah Mohammad

The VVIPs of the event…

The star of Delicatessen, Sufiyan Safee

Best Actor Award recipient, Rafaat Hamzah, revel in his win…

Two beautiful ladies – Sharon Ismail & Rilla Melati

The smile says it all… Congrats Fauzie… You definitely earned it…

A face not seen on our local television screens in a long, long while – Nuraliza Osman

Anugerah Skrin 2010 mentors Seri Wahyuni Jaes & Sani Hussin…

Shahridzuan Selamat and his good friend Sabreena

Another deserving winner – Nurul Aini

Mastura Ahmad along with Eaglevision‘s Netty Fiona, an unsung heroine behind the scenes…

Hyrul Anuar and ex-official blogger of the Singapore Idol 3 season, Budi Iskandar… Nice get-up guys…

Nurul posing with beloved husband Sofian Roslan


Another shot of my favourite couple…

Riz Sunawan clowning around with Keatar H M and Hamzah Adon…

The good people at Mediacorp Suria, Siti Zuraidah, Raudaa Razak and Budi Iskandar

The league of winners – Rosita Hussin, Suhaimi Yusof, Sharon Ismail and Sani Hussin

Fauzie and Nurul rounding off the winners’ league…