This entry nearly did not make it, for the fact that my home PC crashed on Monday night and all my photographs are usually stored in my hard disk. My Twitter and Facebook followers would have noted that I had lamented that I will not be able to make any entries or reviews as a result. Thanks to the wifey’s newly-acquired laptop that I am able to retract my previous status. Since my trademark watermark template has gone as well, I am bending backwards and allowing the photographs I took to be displayed without them. I hope any decent person out there who would be saving the photographs I upload henceforth and displaying on their respective sites, would have the basic courtesy to credit this site for it.
Our ever bubbly hosts Huda Ali, Fauzie Laily & Nity Baizura…
Anugerah 2011‘s sixth episode showcased the girls in the quarter-final round. Continuing from the previous week’s episode whereby the male contestants were required to host as a side challenge and sing songs by local artistes, the female contestants were tasked to do the same. No doubt the girls had the luxury of watching last week’s episode, taking in the tips that were dispensed by the judging panel and noting the mistakes made by the guys, not to mention having an extra week to smoothen the rough edges, but it only served to increase the expectations of the watching audience that the girls should be doing much better than their male counterparts. So did the girls rise to the occasion or did they crumble from the weight of expectancy??? Read on…
Solo Performances & Hosting Segment
Shikin (Hosting) – She dispelled all the negative vibes I had from seeing the male contestants hosting last week by delivering a confident performance to kick start the show proper. Her rich voice tone, allied with her cheery personality, had all the attributes of a radio presenter. Even before guest judge Rilla Melati had pointed out that fact, it was already etched in my head that she would make a good radio presenter if given the opportunity and if the singing line is not meant for her. Heck she can even make a good television presenter with the way she speaks and how she delivered with the correct intonations.
Rahayu Ridwan – I chanced upon the tweet made by local singer, Roze Kasmani, earlier in the day on Tuesday informing that Rahayu would be singing her first single, “Harum“. I thought perhaps this was a song that Rahayu could finally sing without feeling uncomfortable as compared to previous weeks. But when she sang, I could not help but wondered if the song was a bit too easy without the need for her to stretch her vocals too much. As the weeks progress, she should be aiming higher and not sticking to her comfort zone. Though her performance was slightly better than previous weeks’, there were still parts when she went a bit pitchy. Exuding the sex appeal in her showmanship was spot on as the song called for it, but then again, it comes as no surprise as she is already a natural stunner. Whatever she does on stage is already sexy enough to the warm-blooded males out there. She needs to cut down on slouching though.
Norul (Hosting) – If Shikin earlier had given me good vibes watching her host, then Norul just raised the bar a little bit higher. Compared to Shikin, Norul was slightly more confident and just by observing her delivery, it felt as though she has been doing it for ages. She was full of vigour and excitement, that she was going on and on like an express train. Knowing her background being a regular performer at weekend weddings, she definitely has the edge when it comes to interacting with the host as well as the audience and knowing when to pull the right strings when it mattered. Towards the end, her level of energy and enthusiasm seemed to nosedive a little but I doubt it mattered much to the judges.
Erlina – I dunno why, but everytime I watch Erlina perform, I always fear that her voice would crack whenever she attempts the high notes and this was no different especially when she did it towards the end. I have to applaud her though for being brave enough to sing a challenging song as Nurun Nuwarrah‘s “Kau Ingin Ku Miliki“. Though I agree with Ann Hussein that she delivered an “almost perfect performance”, I cannot help but to observe that her nervousness, her calculative steps, her discomfort at having to move in high heels, the various tempos of the song and having to catch her breaths at the right moments were factors that hindered her from getting it “perfect”. I felt the ending when she heaved a huge sigh of relief was a bit too dramatic for my liking.
Rahayu Ridwan (Hosting) – I think she’s quite receptive to advices and tips dispensed by the good people around her. One improvement I observed has been her tendency to smile more, which brings out her personality and ups her likeability factor. Hosting though is still a long way off for her, as she was nervous at the start, judging by the way she held her microphone, a bit like what Ace did and what I had commented on him last week. Watching her host felt like watching someone reading from a teleprompter, her voice intonations were also a bit unnatural. As judge Rilla pointed out, there seemed to be a confusion of identity with the way she delivered her hosting segment, as her physical outlook and voice did not match. Her hand gesture when introducing Baby Sulastri, could have also been better executed by extending her arms fully rather than half-heartedly.
Baby Sulastri – Power ballads are her forte, that’s what regular viewers of Anugerah 2011 would have noted by now. There is no doubt that when it comes to this genre, few in the competition could be as highly consistent as her. This past Tuesday was no different when she sang Norazela Rosli‘s “Di Sini Aku Menanti“. I think I’m lost for superlatives to describe her flawless performances week in week out. It is as though she can do no wrong. However, she needs to get out of her comfort zone and show to the world that she can be versatile when it comes to singing a song of a higher tempo like what Norul has displayed so far in this competition. It is difficult to judge her sing catchier songs during the group performances as her part is too small to gauge her true potential and versatility. Someone her age should actually be singing happier songs than melancholic ones all the time.
Erlina (Hosting) – Watching her host was like watching a children’s programme on Okto channel. Don’t get me wrong, there was not much that I could fault Erlina for displaying the kind of bubbliness and raw energy associated with someone as young as her. But there is no way that she is suited to host mature programmes with the kind of rawness that she exuded. Her voice control was a bit suspect but that was normal as she was feeling very nervous. At times I felt that she was just going through the motions and hoping that it would slide quickly. Time is on her side, given lots of practice and hosting experiences, who knows she might evolve into a credible host??? As of now, I think she should make do with children’s programmes for starters and build up from there, if she ever gets the opportunity to host a programme.
Norul – This spunky lass just doesn’t seem to show much weakness every single time she steps foot on stage. Give her a ballad, she will deliver with the snap of her fingers. Give her a song of an upbeat tempo like Eka Mairina‘s “La Di Da Di Da” which she performed this past week, and she aced it with eyes closed. Judge Eddy Ali didn’t like her posture and pointed out that she was chasing the tempo, but I thought she did quite ok, given the circumstances (heels, dancing and catching her breath). If there is any weakness that I can detect from her, it’s her tendency to answer back to the judges when she is being commented upon. No doubt the way she answered back wasn’t rude in any way and merely to defend her personality and music tastes, but I feel there lies within a possible rebellious streak in her. This should be reined in if she wants to carve a career in this industry, as rebelling gets you nowhere but bad publicity in the long run.
Baby Sulastri (Hosting) – If all these while we see her performing on stage like a seasoned professional and possibly forgetting her age, this particular segment probably brought us back to reality and remind us that she is still very much raw, too raw in fact to even match up to Erlina‘s standard of hosting. If Erlina‘s style is suited to those of her age group, this one as Rilla had correctly pointed out, juggled between the Mat Yoyo and Tok Selampit (May Allah bless the soul of Allahyarham Zulkassim Daud) eras as it was too kiddish. I also observed that Sulastri needs to work on answering questions during her interview segments with Nity Baizura, as she almost always repeats the same things over and over again about trying her best or hoping it was the best.
Shikin – I did not think that she could perform as well as the one she did during the Top 18 performance as singing Sarah Aqilah‘s first hit single “Biar Hati Mencintai” was a more challenging task than Ziana Zain‘s “Dingin“, which she had sung then. How wrong I was!!! No doubt her very first verse was forgettable as it was slightly off-pitch, but she grew as the song went on. True enough, like what Ann Hussein had said, she did take us to the moon. My only concern for Shikin is that she is still very shy on stage. She should learn to exude more emotions and just let herself go. The past fortnight’s performance was another example of how shy she was even though she sang Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza‘s “Lagu Rindu“, which required her to dance, but not really letting it all out convincingly.
The girls performed Nana‘s “Aku Milikmu“, not an easy song at all given the fact that the original singer is a vocal powerhouse in her own right. At the beginning when each was given a few lines to sing, I felt that all of them were really worth listening to. Rahayu added a bit of R&B feel to the song, Erlina as usual, always enjoys the group performance segment, Baby Sulastri slowly but surely looks like she is finally coming out from her shell, Norul maintaining her consistency and Shikin hitting the high notes when I did not expect her to. It was a performance which the watching male contestants should learn from, full of confidence and just going all out for the final flourish of the night. The only part I felt a little uncomfortable was when Erlina and Rahayu were singing the chorus, as the song key suddenly went a notch down, probably because their range did not reach the level of the song. But overall, all five did much better than last week’s group performance and they should keep up this level.
I don’t have a lot to say this week as generally for those of us who follow the competition, we will definitely note that the girls are much better than the guys. So much so that in this round, I’m going all out as to say that this year’s winner will most probably be a female. Take your pick between the five who contested this past week and with Shalyza possibly rejoining next week for the Wildcard Round, your guess is as good as mine. The male contestants who were eager observers in the front row would definitely have learnt a thing or two on how best to showcase their skills the next time they are given the opportunity to do so, or so we can all hope for the sake of the competition to be evenly balanced and not too one-sided as to reveal the severe gulf in class between the male and female competitors.
I’m also hoping that all the competitors will start to be more confident when it comes to answering the questions posed to them. I’m sure before they go live on national television, they would have had a dry run or two and have some ideas on how to answer the questions being put forth. Giving repetitive answers week in and out do not give the impression that they are thinking artistes. They should know that artistes with a certain degree of savviness will always be lauded by the media as being intelligent or at the least, having the intuition to escape from giving cliched answers. Winning the competition just by singing and relying on supporters’ votes are not enough. There is more to that and I hope they learn quickly. I would also like to applaud the girls for having the initiative to improvise on their hosting scripts this week, based on what I heard from credible sources working behind the scenes. If you noticed, some of them had lines which were longer than what could have been originally given to them. For that, I salute them for having the gumption to spice up their delivery and not make it sound monotonous or plain for all to see.
Before I end off this entry, I would like to correct a mistake I made in the last entry about the coming week’s episode. It seems that the Wildcard Round will indeed take place immediately after the results of the quarter-final rounds are announced. The best two male and female contestants will enjoy the night off henceforth. But I’m still unsure how many will get to contest in the Wildcard Round, whether it is two or three each from both categories, for that elusive spot, one from each category to enter the semi-finals. What I do know from the grapevines is that, only those from the Top 12 will be able to contest again in the Wildcard Round. There goes my hopes on seeing the likes of Hakim, Azhar Raz, Efa Fatimah and Dewi Sulastri get a chance to redeem themselves. Apologies if I’m not able to include the voting codes video clip that I normally include whenever I end off my entries, but you can check out www.facebook.com/anugerahsuria once they have uploaded it for your viewing pleasure…