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Anugerah Skrin Episode 8 Recap…

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I foresee another short entry just like the last one. This past Tuesday (15 March 2016) saw the competition saying its goodbyes to four contestants, thus leaving the Top 6 to duke it out in the Grand Finals episode in a matter of nine days from the day I published this entry. As the same format applied from the previous week, the male contestants who were up against one another had to act out scenes from popular drama shows on Mediacorp Suria over the past year or so, with another established actor from the opposite gender. This week saw them collaborating with the likes of Farhana M Noor, Izyan Mellyna, Hashimah Hamidon, Era Farida and Mariana Yati. The guest judges from the previous week, Ariati Tyeb Papar and Zaidi Ibrahim, returned once again to the hot seats.

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Farhana M Noor and Fadli Kamsani…

Fadli Kamsani was first up with Farhana M Noor, from a scene taken off Rempuh. Judge Sharon Ismail was not quite impressed when she commented that Fadli‘s acting was one-layered and he needed to find more reasons for his character to be unhappy. I personally found the performance quite average because there were times when his body language and dialogue delivery did not quite sync. For his hosting segment, I actually like hearing his voice tone, calm and measured, though I also agree with judge Khairudin that his intonations could be better expressed when stressing of certain words. I also note that Fadli looked a bit tensed and that he was trying to maintain his presentable outlook more than trying to get himself messy. The least he could have done for his segment was wear an apron, or better still, donned the chef’s hat, even if his involvement with decorating the cake was minimal. I was thinking, what was so scary or fearful about decorating a cake???

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Iskandar Shah and Era Farida…

Iskandar Shah was next as he paired with Era Farida in a scene from Bubur Masjid Air Katira season 3. Guest judge Ariati pointed out that Iskandar‘s performance seemed rushed and his emotions at the start of the skit, were not in tune with his dialogue. I found the comments a bit too harsh as I thought he gave off a confident performance, though not as the same level as the one he had when he sparred with Syaiful Ariffin a fortnight ago. I liked the way he mouthed off his lines, with firmness, clarity and authority, just what the role called for. His hosting segment felt a bit odd though, in that they classified learning to dance the Zapin as something to be “feared”. Judge Sharon noted that he overacted and that singing during the introduction did not quite suit what was required of him. While I agree that singing was perhaps redundant, moreso because he did not get enough “lenggok” to his tune, actually it was something different and unique that he injected into his style. On the part of overacting, it was minimal if you compare Iskandar‘s style to Danish Ashraf‘s.

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Izyan Mellyna and Kamarul Arifin…

Izyan Mellyna reprised her role as Farhana in the recently-concluded drama series of the same title. She was paired with Kamarul Arifin. I tried to get a feel of their scene, both when watching live at the Mediacorp TV Theatre and upon watching it again via Catch-Up TV, but both instances I felt a certain feeling of emptiness at Kamarul‘s character portrayal. It felt one-dimensional and hollow, even if he tried and gave off his best to inject emotions and sadness to his character. The dialogue delivery failed to leave an impact on those watching and this was also pointed out by guest judge Zaidi Ibrahim, who said it lacked character. Kamarul‘s hosting also did not quite impress me that much because I felt he was more concerned about how he looked onscreen and his diction, than being natural and getting himself hot and sweaty for his rigorous activity. My mind was made up after watching his acting performance that he would be one of the two male contestants to be eliminated.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Hashimah Hamidon…

If I was squirming when I watched Yaya Hamid and Fir Rahman last week, that same feeling returned when I watched Syaiful Ariffin in action with Hashimah Hamidon from their scene taken off Mengejar Mentari. What was most eye-catching about this acting performance was Syaiful‘s intense eye-contact with his sparring partner. It felt so natural even if the whole situation felt a bit wrong. Like what judge Ariati had said, there was sincerity in Syaiful‘s acting though I have to caution him that his intonations can sound a bit off, but it was minimal for this performance. Based on his academic background alone, Syaiful seems the strongest when it comes to acting and he needs a very good sparring partner for him to give off his best as we have seen two weeks ago with Iskandar Shah and this week with Hashimah. His hosting though needs lots of improvement. At times it feels as though I am watching an “orang lama” because he has a kind of style of presenting, complete with facial expressions, that remind me of the actors and personalities from the glory days of Jalan Ampas. Actually he wouldn’t look out of place if he were to be cast in shows depicting that era.

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Mariana Yati and Danish Ashraf…

Last but not least, Danish Ashraf. I did say in one of my previous entries, he has been quite fortunate to have been getting roles that fit his personality. In fact his similarities to Anugerah Skrin 2006 alumnus, Junaidi Sali, are uncanny in that they both tend to excel in comedy and antagonist roles. Which is why I felt he has not been properly challenged yet up till this point. Danish teamed up with Mariana Yati from a scene in 2014‘s popular Belah Hati series. For the first time, I saw a weakness in Danish‘s acting performance and this had more to do with him being challenged out of his comfort zone. He looked a bit off trying to balance his emotions which required him to be exasperated, angry and eventually sad by the scene end, which was not easy. Personally I did not quite like his acting performance for this round and thought he looked vulnerable for the axe, but that is me being a bit harsh. However, I felt he was the best amongst the rest when it came to the hosting segment. He has a distinct style of presenting, full of natural wisecracks and funny quips, even if the cynic in me would say he tends to overact. The only complaint I have is the same as the one I made with Fadli Kamsani‘s, in that he should have used an apron and wore a chef’s hat, not only for realism’s sake, but also hygiene purposes cos both of them were dealing with food.

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Seconds before the elimination…

I had envisaged in my last entry the ones who would leave the competition amongst the young ladies who competed last week, even though I did not identify their names. I was half correct when I guessed Wirda Elliesa‘s elimination right, but I was caught between Syafiqah Shahlan and Shida Lestaluhu. I think what tipped Syafiqah‘s favour was her hosting segment which she aced amongst her fellow competitors. As for the guys, I had Kamarul‘s elimination spot-on, but I did not see Iskandar Shah‘s coming. It hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I believe, just like Ain Zainal‘s elimination a fortnight ago, a number of people were left reeling in shock as well cos we did not see it coming. I had actually thought the other elimination would go the way of Fadli Kamsani or Danish Ashraf, but both of them made it to the Grand Finals.

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Presenting to you the Grand Finalists of Anugerah Skrin 2016 – Danish Ashraf, Fadli Kamsani, Syaiful Ariffin, Nurul Nadia, Yaya Hamid and Syafiqah Shahlan…

Next week, there will be no live broadcast from the Mediacorp TV Theatre nor Studio 4 as footage from the Boot Camp, which the finalists have gone through over two days this past Wednesday and Thursday at Changi Civil Service Club, would be aired instead. Which means, I get a much-needed break from my weekly entries on the competition. Please do not expect any entries on the Boot Camp episode as I will not be making any, but I believe there are other self-styled critics out there who will be doing it, complete with scene-by-scene takes and comments on everything and anything they see. And so we say congratulations to the six finalists – Syafiqah Shahlan, Danish Ashraf, Nurul Nadia, Fadli Kamsani, Yaya Hamid and Syaiful Ariffin. Commiserations are due to the four eliminated – Wirda Elliesa, Iskandar Shah, Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin. I think it’s too cliche and oft-repeated, but it is never the end of their journey once they are eliminated. There will always be avenues and opportunities for them. They just need to improve and hone their craft on their own. Others before them have done that, who is to say they cannot follow suit??? 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8

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Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7 1643The female semi-finalist contestants (from left): Nurul Nadia, Shida Lestaluhu, Syafiqah Shahlan, Wirda Elliesa and Yaya Hamid

It was all about “Girl Power” this past Tuesday night (8th March 2016), as the first semi-final episode of this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition was aired live from the small confined space of Studio 4. In line with the International Women’s Day celebrations that day, the five young ladies who have progressed thus far at this stage, were given the opportunity to take centrestage. For the semi-final rounds, the contestants are required to act with a renowned actor from the opposite gender and from scenes of popular drama shows on Suria, which these more established actors have acted in. As for the hosting segment, they were tasked to host outdoors and alone, unlike previous rounds where they had a sparring partner amongst themselves. This past week, their hosting tasks brought them to the island of Sentosa. Last Tuesday also saw an addition of two guest judges in Ariati Tyeb Papar and Zaidi Ibrahim, two previous Pesta Perdana winners, no slouches in their respective crafts.

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Jeff Catz and Nurul Nadia

Nurul Nadia was paired with Jeff Catz for the first acting segment of the night and they acted a scene from the four-part series, SAGA. Khairudin Samsudin commented that Nurul Nadia‘s performance was superb and I feel that it was justified. I think it helped her a lot in terms of putting in the sad emotions when Jeff‘s character blew his top and raised his voice at her. The only downside was her lack of eye expressions which looked as though they disappeared somewhat when she cried. As for her hosting, it was a bit of a hit and miss for me, good in patches and having less confidence during the rest of the takes. At this stage, one’s confidence should be up there already and not stuck with the jitter bug. At times I see Nurul Nadia a bit too meek. She has to come out from her fear and comfort zones if she wants to win this competition. However, I think she might be good enough for a grand finals spot by virtue of her acting performance alone. Finally, the judges realised her voice resemblance to Huda Ali‘s which I had pointed out weeks ago when the competition first started.

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Norman Ishak and Wirda Elliesa

I personally thought Wirda Elliesa did slightly better than previous weeks, when she was partnered with Norman Ishak for their scene taken from Firasat. However, she was told that her character’s supposed firm traits had more anger instead. This is where the finer technical details of their acting are scrutinised by the judges as we get closer to crowning them as winners. For the laymen like us who watch from the comfort of our screens, we feel that it was believable to an extent, but perhaps not in the eyes of the judges. I personally felt a bit uncomfortable watching the preview scene when they were interviewing both of them, cos when Norman was being interviewed, Wirda was looking down and adjusting her hair, instead of towards the camera, a slightly bad habit I noticed since the earlier episodes. Some viewers might view that as lacking in manners, but to give benefit of doubt, I believe she might have thought that the focus of the camera was on Norman alone. As for her hosting, it felt quite ordinary and the questions posed were too basic though I dunno if it was part of the script or they had to think of the questions themselves. Instead of “promoting” the Luge, I think the attention of the viewers was more on her than what she was presenting about.

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Fido Ahdross and Syafiqah Shahlan

For the first time in the competition, I detected a lack of confidence in Syafiqah Shahlan’s acting performance. She has always been a model of consistency but during her segment with Fido Ahdross, when they played out a scene from A&E, I could sense that her mind was probably not focused with what she had to deliver, thus resulting in a lack of emotions and an overall average performance. Not for the first time that night that the judges pointed out the lack of expressions in the contestants’ eyes. Syafiqah‘s saving grace was her hosting performance which had the word “FUN” spelt out in capital letters to indicate her personal experience and even the audience who might have felt the same, just by watching her segment. The only grouse I have is they could have gotten a better instructor who could speak the Malay language fluently. It felt odd watching a Malay-sounding named person speaking in English for a Malay programme. Worse, his grammar was atrocious for someone who is more comfortable speaking in English. I’m sorry, it’s my OCD kicking in…

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A. Mahadi and Shida Lestaluhu…

I did say in my Episode 3 entry that Shida Lestaluhu was probably not ready for a comedy role yet. A month has passed since I made those remarks and even though I feel that she is still not yet ready, I note a better performance from her alongside A. Mahadi. They had reprised a scene from the highly popular Menantu International drama series. At first glance, the ad-lib of the tie on the mannequin in the scene felt normal, but upon watching again, I agreed with the judges that it sounded a bit off. Shida‘s intonations could also have been expressed better especially on the parts where she had her verbal joustings complete with traditional Malay idioms. For her hosting, I think she did better as an individual as opposed to having a sparring partner. But like what judge Sharon Ismail had pointed out, she has to be aware of her camera angles and not be seen as though she is looking down on her interviewee.

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Fir Rahman and Yaya Hamid…

Finally we come to Yaya Hamid. If you compare her performance as well as Nurul Nadia‘s, whom I felt were the better performers of the night, I am more inclined to say I enjoyed Yaya‘s performance with Fir Rahman more. Their scene taken off Kosmopolitan, was a public display of affection (albeit in a private office setting), which had me feeling uncomfortable and squirming, for the fact that it seemed almost believable. I liked the way they interacted with their eyes towards the end, I thought it felt quite intensed and electric. I feel that Yaya‘s acting has steadily improved as the weeks progress, though I would also caution her that she can still improve on her stressing of words along with her emotions. Her hosting segment was good to a certain extent. There were times where vibrancy and zest were missing in her presentation delivery but overall I thought she still did ok. She was brave enough to let her hair down just going through the motions of the trapeze act.

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The guys ready to rock Episode 8: Syaiful Ariffin, Danish Ashraf, Iskandar Shah, Kamarul Arifin and Fadli Kamsani

As expected, there were no eliminations in Episode 7. However Episode 8 will be slightly more brutal and intensed than previous weeks, in that four contestants will be given the axe, two each from the guys and ladies. I am not sure who amongst the ladies will be eliminated at this stage, because my personal observations might not tally with the judges. However based on the judges’ comments, I more or less know who will be saying goodbye to the competition this coming Tuesday. I will not say it here because I do not want to make the young ladies’ respective morale drop even before Tuesday has arrived. They left Episode 7 still smiling, which was a rare sight, and I do not want them to come into Episode 8 all sad and gloomy. Before I end, I just want to say, I love this particular entry as it is the shortest to date for this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition!!! 😛

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 6 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali welcoming us to Episode 6

Back again with another round of recap of this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition. However I’ll try to keep it brief. The keyword here is “try”, and not “brief”. Hahahaha. Episode 6 saw the return of the Top 6 in Group B, who again have had the advantage of seeing their Group A counterparts slugged it out the previous week. Based on the first four episodes alone, these advantages did not necessarily mean they gave better or stellar performances. I note a certain degree of nervousness amongst the contestants, the fear to express themselves and just let go. I do not blame them because they are relatively young, still getting to grips with this newfound attention on them, and it can be very pressurising judging by the small conversations I had with some of them. Oh and also the matter of having to remember their lines which can be lengthy and wordy.

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Seriwahyuni Jaes (right), joining Khairudin Samsudin and Sharon Ismail on the judging panel…

Before I proceed further, I would just like to apologise for saying that Episode 5‘s guest judge, Izzat Yusoff was supposed to make another appearance in Episode 6, when in fact it was Seriwahyuni Jaes who was in the hot seat. I was actually half right, because Izzat was indeed backstage and was part of the deliberating process between the judges when it came down to who was to be eliminated at the end of the show. He had told me after Episode 5 that he would be back the following week, but at that point of time I guess he himself didn’t know whether it was appearing on television or otherwise. I only found that out after Episode 6 had ended. Continuing from the previous week’s theme, the acting segment required the contestants to act in period / classic roles from films of yore and hosted a fictitious variety show titled “Pop Skrin“.

Anugerah Skrin 2015 Episode 6 364Fadli Kamsani & Wirda Elliesa…

First off, the pairing of Fadli Kamsani and Wirda Elliesa. If I were to chart a graph of their hosting performance, it would look like a steep mountain. They actually started off well, even if Wirda‘s energy when she said, “Pop Skrin“, could have had a bit more zest to it. After that, it went downhill as Wirda stumbled and forgot her lines, with Fadli having to save her, but got lost himself along the way. As hosts, both have the looks which you do not easily reach your remote controls to switch channels. However, alleviating pressure from within and learning the art of ad-libbing are some things that they could work on and this comes only through countless experiences over time. To give them the benefit of doubt, it was only their third such outing and without any teleprompters nor cue cards. Even seasoned hosts tend to trip on their words, with cue cards in hand.

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Iskandar Shah as Laksamana Bentan and Syaiful Ariffin as Sultan Mahmud

The first acting segment of the night saw Syaiful Ariffin and Iskandar Shah taking on the roles of “Sultan Mahmud” and “Laksamana Bentan” from the film “Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang“. I don’t want to say much other than this was the best acting performance throughout the six episodes of this year’s competition. 2010‘s winner, Syirah Jusni, tweeted that she had goosebumps watching them and she was not alone, as I had also felt the same thing watching them live. They had stage presence, the lines were delivered in tones that were required according to their respective emotions and the energy both of them gave off literally bounced off the other. Finally I got to see Syaiful producing something which I know he is capable of and was equally reciprocated by Iskandar. Well done guys, but do take note of guest judge Seriwahyuni‘s advice. It’s minor technical stuff which would be lost upon most viewers, myself included when I was watching, but it was sound advice indeed to make you even better actors.

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Ain Zainal and Yaya Hamid…

Back from the commercial break and we had Ain Zainal and Yaya Hamid up next with the hosting segment. Both actually did not begin on a good footing, with Yaya slightly tripping on her lines and Ain momentarily forgetting what she had to say. To their credit however, they kept going without missing a beat. I can see that Yaya‘s confidence in hosting seems to grow as the weeks progress, even if at times her saccharine voice and way of presenting still belong to children’s programmes. Ain on the other hand seemed to be holding back for reasons only known to her and also I detected and forgive me for being slightly harsh, a lack of sincerity in her presentation style that night. It could be the reason why Seriwahyuni had commented that presenters should know and have a feel of what they want to say and in turn the audience should feel it as well. I did not get to feel it watching Ain‘s performance live as well as afterwards when I was studying their performance again.

Anugerah Skrin 2015 Episode 6 1198Wirda Elliesa as “Permaisuri” and Fadli Kamsani as “Datuk Bija Sura“…

The next acting segment brought back the pairing of Fadli Kamsani and Wirda Elliesa as “Datuk Bija Sura” and “Permaisuri” from the classic film “Dang Anum“. I believe both contestants had been hampered and affected somewhat by their earlier hosting performance as they somehow did not express themselves fully. Emotions were somewhat lacking at vital points and there was a distinct lack of stressing of words and intonations, especially on the part of Fadli. A waste really given his role as a scheming minister could have been better with better delivery of his lines. His facial expressions could have also been expressed by being more sinister rather than looking like a pervert. Wirda at least tried to do better by showing different facets to her character, a distressed-turned-vengeful queen. Judging by the way she played with her facial expressions, I think she might do well if antagonistic roles were given to her. Still overall, it felt like an average performance and the judges also said the same thing.

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Iskandar Shah and Syaiful Ariffin…

Iskandar Shah and Syaiful Ariffin returned for the last hosting segment of the night. Watching them host felt like watching their earlier acting segment all over again. Iskandar especially, I felt, was still in his character mode as he mouthed off his lines complete with melody. He was also moving his head a bit too much. I did not notice this on the night itself as I was snapping photographs away, but I realised this when I watched their performance again on Catch-Up TV. This pairing also fell victim to the tripping of words felt by the others throughout the night with Iskandar the main culprit. Syaiful‘s hosting is not that spectacular, but he delivered them in calm and measured tones. His energy however needs to go up a notch because I noticed that his general hosting style lacks a bit of vibrancy at times from the first time I observed him in Episode 2. Still I thought they were both good to progress into the semi-finals by virtue of their virtuoso performance earlier in the night.

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Yaya Hamid as “Mak Labu” and Ain Zainal as “Mak Kundur”…

Finally the last acting segment. Yaya Hamid and Ain Zainal got the roles of “Mak Labu” and “Mak Kundur” respectively from the film “Bawang Putih Bawang Merah“. Watching them act felt as though I was transported back in time when I was an avid fan of programmes involving Bengkel Kanak-Kanak TV SBC. Yes, I am sure you know what I am trying to get at, it felt like watching a children’s role play show. I was disappointed that Ain did not maintain her level of consistency from the previous rounds we’ve seen of her. There was a lot of holding back by both young ladies in their roles, a lack of feel, emotions and grasp of the lingo required to deliver their lines. In terms of realism, Yaya was supposed to be the elder sister but ended up looking like the younger one. The whole performance felt amateurish at best and too much over-the-top facial expressions by Ain, which was not matched by Yaya.

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Yamin Yusof and Ain Zainal upon learning their fates…

Truth be told, I was generally shocked at the end of the show to see Yamin Yusof and Ain Zainal eliminated, partly because I felt they did just enough to progress. This sentiment was felt by many others and a quick scan on social media showed a lot of unhappy voices at the judges’ decision. Yes I was quite shell-shocked that night and told myself I had to re-watch their performances again, especially that of Ain‘s. Watching it live whilst snapping away their photographs, my attention on their respective performances might not have been given its full focus, hence that feeling of being surprised and disbelief. However after reviewing over again, I believe the judges had made an astute decision. Whoever performs on the night, they go through, simple as that. Ain‘s performance was lacking in a number of aspects. Even if many, including myself, initially felt Wirda was supposed to be eliminated by virtue of her hosting debacle, the fact remains, the acting segment carries 70% of the overall marks. That could have probably saved her from elimination and by the skin of the teeth.

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The semi-finalists…

I would like to apologise to Ain for perhaps making her jinxed when I remarked in my Episode 4 entry that she was good for a semi-final appearance. When I said it back then, it was my personal view, not to mention confidence, that she was good and consistent enough, but I had also cautioned on jinxing her with my praises. Perhaps she might have put unnecessary pressure on herself to perform that night, maybe the expectations got to her, but I believe this is not the end of the journey for either Ain and Yamin. Privately, I have heard a lot of positive things about the latter, his quest to better himself, to do a lot of research, improve his diction etc. These are the kind of attitude that will endear themselves to directors and producers out there. So long as they remain humble, have a sincere attitude, positive work ethics, they will do well, God-willing. They might have ended their journey in the competition but their actual journey in the scene has only just begun…

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 6


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali along with the Group A contestants at the start of the show…

We’re halfway through the competition and frankly speaking, I was in two minds whether to do an entry for this episode or wait till the sixth one is over before I combine both into one recap. Why I decided against doing it in the end is because I don’t want my entry to be too lengthy for you to read and digest. By the way, the Top 6 from Group A once again returned to the fore last Tuesday (23rd February 2016) on our television screens. The two earlier rounds showed that they were still relatively raw and had many rough edges that needed polishing. Personally I felt that Group B had a distinct edge over them in terms of knowing what is to be expected of them when it was their turn to be in the spotlight. Episode 5 was Group A‘s third foray and I was hoping it will be third time lucky for those still in the competition to produce much better performances than what we have seen in Episodes 1 and 3.

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The judges grinning away at the hosts’ banter when introducing them…

For the first time in the competition, the judging panel welcomed a guest judge who was not from the fairer gender. Izzat Yusoff, who will forever be remembered for his breakout role in “Soldadu” close to two decades ago, a “Pesta Perdana” winner back in 2013 for his supporting role in “Anakku Sayang“, as well as part of the stellar cast of “Di Pinggiran Ramadan“, which had also bagged the Best Drama Series award, took his seat alongside Khairudin Samsudin and Sharon Ismail. The unique thing about the guest judge for this particular round is that, Izzat will again be in the hot seat for tonight’s episode with Group B. I believe his scheduled presence for a second consecutive week is to have a certain standardised continuity in terms of the judging and evaluation, since there was no elimination afterall by the end of last week’s episode.

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The live hosting segment from the TV Theatre returned last Tuesday with the contestants paired up as hosts of a fictitious variety show titled “Pop Skrin“. The same pairings were also tasked to perform the acting segment together. Again, there was a first for last week’s episode. There were no more rigid boy-girl pairings from the ones we saw in the first four episodes. Instead we saw only one mixed pairing in Yamin Yusof and Syafiqah Shahlan, coincidentally both kicking off the night’s competition, with the other two pairings, up with those from their respective genders. The acting segment threw up a challenging proposition for the contestants to act out scenes from period / classic dramas of yore. The challenge meant there were to be no stones unturned in terms of researching and doing lots of homework for the roles given to them, especially the lingo that they should speak and is expected of them.

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Yamin Yusof and Syafiqah Shahlan…

As mentioned earlier, Yamin and Syafiqah opened the night’s competition with their hosting segment. I like their chemistry that night as there was a certain synergised coordination between them that was timed to perfection. There was also the element of listening to the other and reacting accordingly as mentioned by the judges in previous weeks. Syafiqah is a natural and every time I see her host, she seems to grow in confidence. Likewise, there was an improvement in the way Yamin presented, but he has to be aware when his lines are long, he needs to know the right points when to stress on his words and take a quick breath so that the delivery comes off as natural. Also when it comes to banter, Yamin has to learn the art of making it sound natural. Overall, I believe they made a credible start to the night’s competition and I was eager to watch how they would perform in their acting segment next.

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Shida Lestaluhu (as Tengku Halijah – standing) and Nurul Nadia as Raden Mas

Nurul Nadia and Shida Lestaluhu were next with the first acting segment of the night, acting the roles of Raden Mas and Tengku Halijah respectively. I dunno if it was jitters, but Shida paused momentarily when she was uttering a Malay idiom in her lines, somewhat making me wondered that night if she had uttered them correctly, which fortunately she did. But the momentum of building up her anger went down a bit I feel when I watched their performance again on Catch-Up TV.  The lingo needed for this performance could have been improved, though I note that both of them did try their utmost. I liked the way Shida stressed on her words when she was angry. I thought they were spot on and like what Izzat Yusoff mentioned afterwards, there was clarity in her dialogue delivery. Nurul Nadia, on the other hand, needs to improve on her facial expressions. When she looked distressed, her expressions betrayed her a bit and she looked angry instead. I also have to agree with Izzat that both needed to open up a bit more and be more expressive at this stage of the competition.

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Kamarul Arifin and Danish Ashraf…

Back from the commercial break and it was the turn of Kamarul Arifin and Danish Ashraf in the hosting segment. I remember just seconds before the cameras went live, I had signaled to both of them to sit up straight but only Danish saw my actions and by the time he nudged Kamarul to be aware of his sitting posture, the cameras had started rolling. As a result when they eventually went live, one could be seen slightly slouched and too comfortable on his seat and the other looking every bit confident with what he was supposed to deliver. I also did not quite like the tone which Kamarul had begun the segment as it sounded as though he was reading straight from the script with little energy and emotions, and this continued throughout with his energy going down as he went on. A pity because I’ve always liked his tone of voice since the first episode. Danish seems to love presenting shows of this nature where he could let his personality shine through and I note that he did not do much wrong, other than be slightly over-the-top than his partner. In that respect, Danish should be aware not to upstage his partner, because it is nicer to see a pairing that is well-balanced than one that is slightly lop-sided.

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Yamin Yusof as Aduka and Syafiqah Shahlan as Dara…

If there were any mistakes or shortcomings that were evident in Yamin‘s earlier performance in the hosting segment, he atoned them with his acting delivery as Aduka from the classic and popular Semerah Padi movie which he and Syafiqah re-enacted. It was an intense and emotional love scene which I enjoyed, more so because I felt the role was tailor made for Yamin in which he could exploit his low voice tones to great effect and he definitely did. I felt that both of them grasped what was needed of them from this performance, especially the lingo aspects. Other than Ain Zainal from Group B, I am beginning to warm to Syafiqah. Slowly but surely, we are beginning to see who is able to perform in a number of roles well. Her confidence speaking in the Malay language during the introduction clip prior to their acting segment, is proof that she is possibly set for a long career in the local Malay entertainment industry, no matter where she ends up eventually in this competition.

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Shida Lestaluhu and Nurul Nadia

As hosting individuals, I like both Shida and Nurul Nadia. They have shown in Episodes 1 and 3 that they have the voice, the calm presence and articulation to be good hosts. However, I was left slightly disappointed by their showing in the hosting segment last Tuesday. They did not start off on a good note with both of them not synchronising their introductory greetings and at the end of their segment, Shida was seen clapping alone which I thought was a bit unnecessary for a studio show with no apparent physical guest artistes. Their performance raised quite a bit of question on my part, whether they had enough practise between them or was it just jitters that let them down. There was a distinct lack of teamwork, understanding, coordination and cohesion between them even though as separate entities, they were still pleasant to look and listen to. For their benefit of doubt, I would say hosting live for them took a bit of wind out of their sails. I tried putting myself in their shoes and I can more or less understand the pressure they went through having to remember their lines and trying to get their acts right.

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Danish Ashraf as Hang Jebat and Kamarul Arifin as Hang Tuah…

Down to the final performance of the night. I believe the judges enjoyed Kamarul and Danish‘s portrayal as Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat respectively the most that night, as it was the most intense. I thought Kamarul redeemed himself well from his earlier hosting performance, though the first part when his character called out Hang Jebat, it felt as though he was giving commands at the parade square rather than calling out his adversary. This is where they should learn to refine their voice tones, record their voices a few times during rehearsals and note the differences. Danish continued where he left off and maintained the level of consistency in his performance, though I would like to caution him when Kamarul brandished the Keris in front of his face, he was shown gulping down his saliva. In terms of realism, it showed that his character was afraid which I doubt it was meant to be so, though to give benefit of doubt, I assumed his throat was dry then. Also, the end when his character laughed, it did not quite sound off as natural. The energy between them though was good.

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Surprise… Surprise… No eliminations were made in Episode 5

Again as I had mentioned earlier, there was no elimination in this episode. All their marks will be put together alongside Group B and from there, two will eventually be eliminated. What do I make of that decision??? I think it was a nice surprise as I had expected two from either Kamarul, Yamin, Shida and Nurul Nadia to have said their goodbyes, had they retained the same format last Tuesday. Honestly, I would be loathed to see any of them eliminated at this stage because I believe that minor details separate them. To rank their performances alongside Group B would be a much better comparison and the onus is now on the latter group to go one better tonight to avoid being eliminated. I believe from Group A, Danish and Syafiqah are safe enough to enter the semi-finals. They must maintain their level of consistency and challenge themselves to do even better now that the group stages are almost over. We shall see tonight if the competition will be more intensed or otherwise…

Snaphots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali welcoming us to the show…

Back again for the fourth instalment of my Anugerah Skrin 2016 entry series. I guess for this week, I will not be blogging too much in this entry as a lot of things have been said so far and I don’t think I need to blabber on unless I feel there is a need to. Continuing from where we left off last week, it was Group B‘s onus to show what they have learned from their Group A counterparts and to apply whatever knowledge and tips they had gained from watching the third episode. Expectations on the contestants were high as a result of how much they would have gained from their mentors, by watching their counterparts and having an extra week to refine their respective performances.

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Sharon Ismail was busy entertaining wobby Dyn Norahim when I snapped this photo of the judges during the commercial break…

As with last week’s episode, the show was aired live from Studio 4 and unlike last week, the number of audience was slightly reduced to fit in the small constraints of the studio. Where Group A did their outdoor hosting segment at the Kampung Glam area, this past week, Group B were taken to Chinatown to share interesting trivia on some of the landmarks found in the area, another week of empowering our general knowledge. For the fourth week in a row, the guest judge was a lady and she was none other than award-winning writer, actress, comedian and theatre practitioner Haryani Othman.

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Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani…

Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani opened the night’s competition as the two performed to a credible standard befitting of what the judges had wanted to see. I like the fact how Ain is comfortable with whatever role that is given to her. Given time, she will be able to carry them off with ease. If there are reference points she can take in and learn from from some of our local actresses who are quite prolific in a plethora of roles, she can look no further than to Episode One‘s guest judge, Masturah Ahmad, and Farhana M. Noor, who was coincidentally seated amongst the audience along with her beau, Shannon Berkett. Ain is also at ease as a host, a pleasant face to look at and calm with her delivery. With the night’s showing, Ain automatically placed herself as the standard bearer for all the other young ladies to emulate or do one better.

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As for her sparring partner Fadli, he has the looks and height that are pre-requisites of leading men the industry always looks out for. Not much flaws I could detect from his hosting segment, however he also has to back it up with a more natural delivery in terms of intonation and stressing of words. As a pair both in the hosting and acting segments, Ain and Fadli looked to have a very good chemistry going between them, even if judge Sharon Ismail did caution the latter not to stereotype his role too much, because not all “Mat Reps” speak in that lingo. Judge Khairudin also advised both of them to listen to the other and react accordingly during their hosting segment. It might look trivial to the general viewer, who might feel that it is not much of an issue and were not able to detect during their performance at a glance, but this is one technical aspect that they can learn to be better hosts on television.

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Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid…

Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid were next, hosting just opposite Pagoda Street where the iconic and 189-year old Sri Mariamman Temple resides. From observing their hosting segment, I note a much better and mature performance by Yaya as compared to the group’s first week. Her delivery came off natural, something which was not evident the last time out. Iskandar was also good with his delivery but like what Sharon had pointed out afterwards, he was swaying a bit too much and his slouching posture did not make for good viewing. As a pair though, I like their chemistry and Iskandar it has to be said, was a much better team player this time as compared to Episode 2. He did almost steal the limelight again with his wisecrack about the temple’s years of existence and Yaya’s age, but that banter came off nicely this time. I personally feel that bantering between the contestants has been sorely lacking during their hosting segments, the ability to poke fun at the other without being too demeaning over the other or those that come off naturally without looking as though they were rehearsed over and over again.

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On to their acting segment. Both were taken to task by guest judge Haryani Othman for failing to make necessary research on their respective roles, which ultimately did not come across as believable. While I more or less agree with Haryani‘s advice on a general basis, I think to give benefit of doubt to the contestants, when it comes to styling and what they wear for the night, I believe they only know what they will be wearing on the day itself. Yes perhaps they could have done some research beforehand with regards to their respective characters, but we have to remember, most of the contestants are still raw when it comes to looking and acting their parts. They still have not yet mastered the technique of improvising with the tools that they have or gotten there and then. It is a tough wake-up call but I believe they would be mindful and start to be more of thinking actors from now on. Overall, I found their acting generally ok and comfortable, enough at least for them to remain for another week.

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Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy

Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy were up next and their hosting segment brought them to South Bridge Road, just opposite the Jamae Mosque. In my Episode 2 entry, I noted that Farid needed to open his mouth a bit more, add a bit of zest to his voice and not come across as deadpan. Though he did try, but I felt it wasn’t enough and the seeds of doubt on his progression to the next round was sown, moreso when it looked as though he was trying to recall his lines or saying his lines word-for-word as though his target audience were children. This resulted in a less-than-natural delivery and was rightfully pointed out by Sharon Ismail. Suharti knows her strength lies with that pleasant tone of a voice of hers. But there was a distinct lack of chemistry between her and Farid, because there was little interaction between them. Sharon pointed out that Suharti looked less than comfortable with her fluency in the language no thanks to her slang, but I personally feel it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be after watching it again on Toggle.sg and rewinding at least five times just to observe on their flaws.

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Where I slightly disagree with Sharon‘s observations in the previous paragraph, I agree with what she said when she pointed out that Farid and Suharti‘s acting were actually much better than their hosting segment, in terms of chemistry between them, but it also did not mean that their whole performance was good. As a team they were endearing and actually looked quite a cute couple together, but when we separate their performance from the other, that is where I noticed the glaring flaws. Rule number one is to never forget your lines and if you do, improvise and ad-lib as best as possible, though when it comes to tripping of words, it does affect the rest of their performance somewhat. Both were guilty of it, especially Farid during the beginning of his act, whereas it looked like Suharti managed to cover up a bit when her character mentioned how long they have been married together. Farid did not put enough emotions into his voice intonations, sounding as though there was no life in his dialogue. It was easy to predict that he would be favourites to leave the competition that night.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Wirda Elliesa

Finally down to the final two, Wirda Elliesa and Syaiful Ariffin. I think if I were to make a comparison with their hosting segment along with the rest in Group B, they were probably almost on par with the featured pairing before them. Syaiful‘s strength is in acting and he can also definitely carry a mean tune when he sings. But hosting I feel is something that is not quite him feeling at home just yet. I find his delivery a bit bland and at times, he looked like he was slouching as well. Wirda on the other hand, needs to maintain the same level of energy right till the cameras stop rolling because it showed evidently the imbalance of it throughout her performance. I am not sure about how others perceive her performance. From what I observed, she looked a bit listless and less focused with too much hand movements. There was a moment when she tried to adjust her hair but decided not to halfway. There was also little chemistry between them, and at one point, their shoulders banged into the other, not aware of what’s going on around them and this was pointed out by Khairudin.

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With regards to their acting, Haryani chided them for not having enough imagination. Again, to give benefit of doubt, I believe the contestants would only have been exposed to their props on the day itself and would have only a few hours to improvise and make do with what they have. In terms of realism, I think the start when Wirda‘s character came into the scene before asking Syaiful‘s character which bus goes to Bedok, she could have at least gone over to the bus stop sign and see the service numbers that passed through the stop, just to create a ruse for her character to open a conversation with him. Overall, I think theirs was a performance that was quite disappointing because it felt as though one was waiting for the other to act and react. Even then, the reaction time felt a bit slow. For someone who is an undergraduate in Theatre Arts and a theatre practitioner, I expected more from Syaiful and I feared that both could be eliminated by the end of their performance. It was either them, the contestants before them or one each from either pairings.

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Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy clearly dejected after learning their fates…

As it turned out, it was the pairing of Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy who were eliminated at the end of the show. Personally I thought it was going to be Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa. I believe the latter also felt that way because she was already looking down and trying to fight back tears before the cameras started rolling for the final reckoning. It is tough for the judges to decide and I’m sure they would have deliberated over their decision. Wirda should take this reprieve and come out stronger in a week’s time because if someone like Yaya could improve between the second and fourth episodes, I believe she can too. It is going to be even tougher with another two from each group slated for elimination over the next two weeks of competition. Again I would like to tell the contestants to please look up to the cameras and smile more. When you have progressed to the next round and shedding tears or looking glum, you do not give the impression that you are pleased to have made it for another week. Show a bit of joy please and leave the crying backstage when the end credits have rolled.

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The Top 6 from Group B

I did say in the last entry, no one has actually stood out yet. After Episode 4, I believe Ain Zainal has staked enough claims to be at least in the semi-final rounds. I would like to say she is good enough for the Grand Finals but anything can happen between now and then, and I do not wish to jinx her in that respect. She just needs to maintain her level of consistency, grow as the weeks progress and everything will hopefully work in her favour. Anyway it was nice to see Haryani Othman playing the role of bad cop, brutally honest with her views and a fresh perspective at least for me, even if I disagree to some extent with some of her comments. It is a nice wake-up call for the contestants to constantly do their homework, research on their roles, be more of thinking actors rather than rely on every script given to them and taking them at face value. I expect the judging and assessments to be even stricter now that we’re into a month of the competition.

P.S. I will include snapshots of Episode 4 on a later date as I have other commitments to tend to and have no time to edit almost two thousand shots I snapped that night. So do come back soon to view them…


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 3 Recap…

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We’re coming into the fourth week of competition and last Tuesday, Group A returned to our television screens intent on showing that they have improved over the past fortnight. I was also eager to watch and see how they would perform after going through the various classes and guides from their respective mentors, Rilla Melati and Najib Soiman. Anyway, quirky or sadistic as it may sound, I’m beginning to like the idea of seeing two contestants being eliminated each week. It means I have two lesser paragraphs to type as the weeks go on, by virtue of having less to comment on their hosting and acting segments. I might sound lazy but really, it can be quite tedious having to break down typing your posts throughout the week with other commitments in hand. Not to mention watching the programme again on Toggle.sg to restudy their performances before making my personal assessments and editing the photographs I snapped live from the Mediacorp TV Theatre.

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A beaming Siti Hajar Gani joined the panel of jury last Tuesday

Speaking of the Mediacorp TV Theatre, from the comfort of the large venue we’ve been accustomed to, for this past Tuesday and tomorrow, the show was and will be brought to you live from Studio 4, a smaller but more intimate venue. For those who have not been able to watch live shows at Caldecott Broadcast Centre, the place is about a quarter of the size of its TV Theatre counterpart. The audience is much closer and you can literally hear them from where you stand on stage. Movements are a bit restricted though due to space constraints and unlike the TV Theatre, I was stuck to one place. Though I am used to the venue having covered events like Anugerah Skrin 2010 and Ratu back in 2012 and 2013 before this, I still feel a little uncomfortable at times due to the restricted space. This past week, Siti Hajar Gani joined the judging panel, alongside our resident judges Khairudin Samsudin and Sharon Ismail.

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Hosts Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali

I am not sure if the change in venue of the live broadcast had something to do with a slight change in format for the competition, pertaining to the hosting segment which was held outdoors for the first time this year, but it does feel that way, even though it might be coincidental. This week, the contestants were brought to the Kampung Glam area to record their respective hosting clips. Unlike the first and second episodes where they did their hosting live at the TV Theatre, they were given the opportunity to experience hosting outdoors as well as relate on the history of some of the roads, places and landmarks found in the area. Which I found very useful as a viewer because I learned something new and valuable from the nuggets of information that were shared. Props and kudos to the producers and script writers (Netty Fiona Othman and Nurul Akhmar Elias) for doing their research and sharing it with us.

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Danish Ashraf and Nabihah Zainodin…

Danish Asyraf and Nabihah Zainodin kicked off the night’s competition and their task was presenting history nuggets to the viewers on Kampung Glam as well as the Sultan Mosque. There was a distinct lack of confidence on the part of Nabihah, forgetting her lines as well as looking unsure at certain points. Together with Danish, both sounded as though they were reading directly from a script in front of them. I get the impression that there was probably neither natural storytelling nor understanding of the history beforehand. At least that’s what I get from my own observations which can be interpreted differently by other viewers. This is where as presenters, one should also do their respective homework on the people or places they are presenting to the viewers. Prior understanding will more or less equip them and make their presentation more natural and believable.

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The theme for the week, which was light-hearted, felt like it was right up Danish‘s alley, something that suited his personality and speciality. But I was actually surprised that he somehow held back for reasons only known to him. I believe he could have exaggerated his role a bit and added more funny or over-the-top reactions. I am not sure if they had confidence issues that night, but Nabihah looked extremely uncomfortable and moody, even when the whole performance was supposed to be otherwise. It prompted judge Khairudin to comment that as an actor, she needed to identify the right graph and climax to her scene, which felt quite ordinary, at least to me. Her hair also seemed to have given her a bit of a problem and as a viewer, I was a bit irritated to see her hair covering her face more than half the time without getting to see more of her facial expressions.

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Shida Lestaluhu and Yamin Yusof

Shida Lestaluhu and Yamin Yusof were up next and their hosting segment brought them to nearby Haji Lane. I did not get to comment on Yamin when I did my entry on the first episode. His most glaring flaw which I managed to detect then was his inability to mouth his words clearly, making him sound either inaudible or he sounded as though he was speaking through gritted teeth. I’m sure his mentors would have brought this up with him as I could see some improvements during this hosting segment. Though it has to be said, like the first pairing, Yamin‘s delivery did not come across as natural and as though he was reading directly from a script. If I were to be more critical, Yamin was also quite wooden in terms of body movements. Which in a way, might have affected Shida a bit, because the chemistry between them did not quite hit it off. A bit of a waste because Shida is one of the better presenters amongst the contestants, thanks to her natural gift of a voice.

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My understanding of Yamin‘s character during their acting segment was that of a nerd whose simplistic way of thinking, resulted in him not having much luck at dating or winning over ladies’ hearts prior to his date. Based on his overall performance, I think there was a slight redemption to his hosting segment. Yamin however, has to be wary that he sometimes deliver his lines without hitting on the right emotions when the scene calls for it, or saying his lines without the right intonations. As for Shida, from this performance, I can say that comedy is not her cup of tea yet, because she was holding back and was a bit too serious for my liking. I had actually expected her to speak with an exaggerated accent, or even added a bit of arrogance to her character, having stayed in New York for five years prior to returning to Singapore. But overall, they both did quite ok even though there is still room for improvement in many aspects.

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Kamarul Arifin and Syafiqah Shahlan

Up next was the pairing of Kamarul Arifin and Syafiqah Shahlan. Where I enjoyed their respective hosting segments during the first episode, their pairing this time more or less maintained the same level of performance. Kamarul‘s pleasant voice and Syafiqah‘s positivity made their pairing a generally well-balanced one. Though I would like to caution Kamarul when it comes to energy. During the first part of his hosting, he looked like he was all up for it, but somehow his tone and level went down a notch halfway through, indicating a slight seriousness and then he suddenly became goofy. He also needs to control his facial contortions which I find a bit disturbing sometimes, and this I noticed since the first episode. The last fifteen to twenty seconds of their segment I felt was their best showing, but Syafiqah aced it throughout with her calmness and relaxed delivery, even though Khairudin brought up the fact that at times she sounded as though she was in a debate.

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Where they generally did well for hosting, I was squirming when I observed the first part of their acting performance. Kamarul clearly forgot his lines and tripped on his words when he said, “... semua orang tahu saya seorang butik yang terkenal…” As someone who has extreme OCD on mispronouncing of words, spelling and grammar, it did not sit down quite well with me. Moreso when it clearly affected his performance. Again, when it comes to the acting segment, there will be one person who would seem to be holding back. The effeminate character given to Kamarul, I felt was easy to execute, if he had studied some of judge Khairudin‘s past performances in similar roles. He should have just let loose and enjoyed himself out there but I am sure the forgetting of lines clearly affected his performance, which only improved as he went on. As for Syafiqah, Kamarul‘s performance might have affected her somewhat, but I felt she was a bit laxed overall, prompting Sharon Ismail to quip that she was too comfortable with her sitting posture and that her character felt like she had known Kamarul‘s effeminate character for years instead of them just getting to know one another. Their scene felt more like a talkshow than an acting performance.

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Nurul Nadia and Zaidi Zailee

Now for the last pairing, Nurul Nadia and Zaidi Zailee. I actually enjoyed their hosting segment the most, probably because of Nurul‘s overall outlook and performance, which I personally felt was the best amongst the eight contestants for the week. I cannot deny and this was also brought up by Sharon, that a good host should be pleasing on the eyes of the viewers and not only good with their delivery. Nurul had the perfect mix last Tuesday, even if it felt as though I was watching Fauzie Laily‘s missus, Nurul Huda presenting but with Huda Ali doing voiceover. No disrespect cos Nurul Nadia does have a passing resemblance to Nurul Huda and her voice tones are too similar to Huda Ali‘s. I’ve noticed this since I first watched her during the auditions back in November 2015. I remember telling Huda when we were observing the auditions that Nurul Nadia sounded exactly like her and I still stand by that even though Huda herself disagreed back then. As for Zaidi, if I were to separate his hosting performance from Nurul‘s, it felt like he did not stand out because his lines were limited and that he delivered it quite monotonously. Which was a pity because he had a good partner to spar with and he did not quite respond with the same energy.

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Finally their acting performance. Nurul‘s character as a tomboy required her to look and act the part. However I felt she was too pretty for the role with make up and all. But I note of the time constraints between her segment and the end where they have to look pretty and all in their more glamourous outfits for the final reckoning, so I cannot put the blame on whoever that had styled or made her up that night. Just that in terms of realism, it did not quite come off as believable. That aside and continuing with the general theme for the night amongst the contestants, there was that issue of holding back, both for Nurul as well as Zaidi. Nurul seemed quite afraid to mouth some of her words, whereas Zaidi suddenly mixed up his lines, jammed up and forgotten what he had to say before he was rescued by his partner. There’s also the issue of stereotyping. I don’t believe all tomboys speak with a deep voice and Nurul didn’t have to put up that voice tone, because she did not consistently retain that same level of depth throughout her performance. I think Zaidi was visibly affected by his earlier gaffe because throughout his performance, he was either deadpan or sounded as though he was reading from his script, sans the right emotions and intonations.

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Zaidi Zailee and Nabihah Zainodin, the latest casualties to be eliminated from the competition…

Like I said in the entry for the first episode, small margins would determine who would progress and who would be eliminated. I was half right when I guessed that Nabihah Zainodin was to be eliminated just before they announced the results at the end of the show. For the guys, I had half-expected Yamin Yusof to be eliminated but was not surprised when Zaidi Zailee was called out instead. In fact, I thought Zaidi would be eliminated in the first episode. It is definitely ironic to notice that the four contestants who were paired together in the first episode are now out of the competition. As viewers would have seen during the end credits, there were emotional scenes with all the other contestants who had progressed, shedding tears for their eliminated counterparts, though there were also some who cried because they were relieved at the opportunity to be given another shot at the competition when they thought they had bungled big time. I would however, like to advise all the contestants to smile more, especially when they are facing the judges for their post-performance assessments. I know they are tensed, but it does not make for good viewing when they all look so glum, moody and stressed out. Worst is if they were to look down towards the ground. Chin up, smile and warm yourselves to the cameras as well as your viewers. It would increase your likeability factor.

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Speaking of likeability, it was announced on Tuesday night that the Top 16 contestants stand to walk away with the subsidiary award of Most Popular Anugerah Skrin 2016 Male / Female contestants. Since the main competition is judged by the professional judging panel, these subsidiary awards sponsored by Radiglow, would be open to the public to vote for their respective favourites. Beginning from last Tuesday, 9 February 2016 right up till the Grand Finals night on 29 March 2016, one can vote for their personal favourites via the official Anugerah Skrin site on Toggle.sg. I believe you need to register and follow the instructions given in the site before being allowed to vote. Being neutral and impartial as always, I will abstain from voting even if eventually I have a personal favourite sometime down the road. At the moment, I do not have anyone I deem to be a standout. Usually for a competition like Anugerah Skrin, the winners or favourites will start to emerge from the semi-final round onwards, just like Huda Ali back in 2006 and Syirah Jusni in 2010. I just want to see a fair competition where the winners for the subsidiary awards are rightfully deserved via votes from their fans as well as loved ones.

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The Top 6 from Group A clearly emotional at the end of the show…

It is getting tighter by the week and I’m sure it will get very emotional with each passing week. I actually am thankful that I am given the opportunity to cover and watch the contestants live and see how they are like off-camera. They look like they are a tight bunch with almost everyone shedding tears after the show was over, but I’m only speaking based on how the competition is still in its infancy stage. It could be different when it gets more competitive and perhaps that’s when we might see some tensions, though I hope it will still be healthy in nature. Acting and hosting afterall need the performers to work together for a common cause and tensions will only affect their professionalism. It is still anybody’s game at the moment and nobody has stood out outright from Group A. I would like to say Danish Ashraf has been quite consistent, but he has also been quite fortunate because his roles so far have been right up his backyard. Between the ladies and gentlemen, the tougher fight is between the ladies because those left in the competition have shown they deserved to remain for the time being at least. It definitely is going to be tough for the judges to decide with each passing week. I’m just thankful I’m not in the hotseat to decide… 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 3


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 Recap…

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(Promotional graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

It’s been ages since I last blogged on a weekly basis. Am still trying to get back into that old groove again now that Anugerah Skrin has begun in earnest. I guess when you get older and priorities change, so too do our personal interests. The creative juices and writing flair are probably still up there in my head waiting to be released, just that they need a little coaxing and cajoling because I have been lull for quite some time. I just hope I don’t blabber unnecessarily and go off-point. Unlike the first episode’s recap, I’ll be a bit more thorough with my assessments for this week’s episode. That means I will be more critical of their respective performances. I hope the contestants reading my thoughts and observations will take my criticisms in their stride and try to improve where they might be lacking. There’s nothing personal whenever I pour forth my thoughts, just rational and objective, so do not take heart nor despair if my observations are deemed too critical for your liking.

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This past Tuesday (2 February 2016), it was the turn of Group B to have made their television debut in this year’s competition. Ok maybe not all the ten featured made their official television debuts before this. One who is already familiar with the local Malay entertainment scene is Yaya Hamid, who has appeared in  several music video clips and promotional segments in programmes like Jus!, when she promoted her duet single “Jangan Main Cinta” with Hisyam Azmi some time back. As supporters of local Malay music would note, Yaya has released two solo singles “Taman Hati” & “Luar Biasa” before this, and was also featured in Haqym Mokhtar‘s “Semuanya Alright” music video. One could even note Yaya‘s unmistakable voice if you were to tune in to RIA 89.7FM these days and listen to her singing and rapping along to one of the station’s jingles, thanking its listeners for twenty-five years of loyal listenership. This competition is definitely different to what Yaya has been used to and she starts on a level playing field as the rest.

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Sharon Ismail and Khairudin Samsudin were joined by Rosita Hussin on the judging panel…

Before I move on, I would just like to correct myself from my last entry when I said that Rilla Melati was mentoring Group A in hosting skill aspects. Based on the information that was shared this past Tuesday, Rilla is in fact mentoring both groups. I like the fact that her role as mentor this year will be of great asset to the contestants. I remember chatting with her after one of the episodes back in 2010 when she was one of the two resident judges. She had hopes then of one day mentoring and coaching the contestants and this year, she got her wish. I hope the contestants are taking in her lessons well along with their respective acting mentors. Speaking of mentors, Group B‘s mentor for acting is Azhar Nor Lesta. As for the judges, Rosita Hussin joined the judging panel as guest judge this past Tuesday.

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Fadli Kamsani and Suharti Amy

Fadli Kamsani and Suharti Amy were given the honours to start off the night’s competition through their short hosting segment in the lead up to Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal‘s acting performance. I found their hosting chemistry a little imbalanced in terms of energy, delivery and execution, which made for a little viewing discomfort on my part. While Suharti was presenting in a relaxed manner, Fadli came across as a bit hyper and formal at the same time, with a lot of hand gestures and movements. I like Suharti‘s voice tone and style though, it’s like she’s a natural fit to present info-ed shows in time to come.

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As for their acting, I initially thought that Suharti‘s character was that of a student, or at least someone who was below twenty one years of age. Overall, their acting segment was generally good with Suharti‘s portrayal as a filial and concerned daughter, one of the better performances of the night. That was until Rosita commented that by right, Suharti‘s character was already supposed to be a married person. Due to that fact, I guess some points were taken away from Suharti for sounding a little kiddish. That last bit where Fadli‘s character had a heart attack was also a little unnecessary and too sudden though. Rosita was right when she said that there should have been a development leading up to that heart attack scare at the end.

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Muhammad Mursyid and Yaya Hamid…

From Mursyid and Yaya‘s hosting segment, I was reminded that hosting itself is an art form and it is not easy to capture the attention of your viewers unless you are confident and well-equipped with what you wish to present. It was clear that they had rehearsed the whole thing, including the part where Yaya was supposed to ask Mursyid if he knew the meaning of the term “house husband” and he was supposed to butt in and say he didn’t know even before she could complete her sentence, as it was shown in one of their rehearsal video clips. Such things should come off naturally without looking as though it was staged. Facial expressions usually give away that fact. There were also several short pauses by Mursyid, probably his own jitters in trying to remember his lines. Yaya was ok, her endearing smile keeping things interesting between them, but it has to be said, she needs to run away from sounding kiddish. Right now, if I were to see her as a presenter, it would be more suited to children shows.

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Right from the start, I just felt their acting segment was strange, in that they were switching from being serious to injecting humour and back to being serious in a matter of moments. Yaya‘s portrayal as a pregnant lady also did not come across as convincing, though I admit that I was looking at her as herself and not as the character she was supposed to be portraying. Even Sharon Ismail was not convinced with her portrayal though I would give marks to Yaya for playing the distressed role passably. The judges were quick to point out that Mursyid‘s character was seen flagging a cab when he came into the scene, whereas it was supposed to be Yaya‘s character who was supposed to “see” it first, a clear sign that logic and realism were not at play. Khairudin was also right to point out that Mursyid had played to the audience with his actions and movements. It would have probably worked well if this was a comedy skit for Mursyid, but sadly it was not. By the end of their segment, I had actually feared for their elimination, especially Mursyid.

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Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa…

Before they went live with this short hosting segment, Wirda Elliesa was teased by wobby host Dyn Norahim during the commercial break due to her passing resemblance to Malaysian rock queen Ella, though I personally am reminded of Dangdut queen, Amelina instead when I look at her. Along with Suharti Amy, Wirda‘s voice was music to my ears that night. There’s a certain huskiness mixed with calm and assertiveness to her voice, making her a possible candidate for hosting serious programmes. Farid Azhar on the other hand did ok. However, if there was a weakness to his presentation style, it felt as though he was trying to protect whatever gold or valuable stuff he had in his mouth. He needs to open up a bit more, add a bit more zest to his voice and not dithering towards being deadpan and monotonous. As a whole, they had a working chemistry going.

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Farid shocked the audience and even made yours truly a little startled when he began his acting segment by shouting at the top of his voice in frustration. As experts in the acting industry would often remind us, there are degrees to displaying anger and frustration and shouting at the top of the voice comes across as a bit amateurish, especially when he was overdoing it to stress on his level of frustrations. Farid also came across as rushed and like what Sharon had noted, I was also a bit puzzled as to why the lines suddenly switched from one possible scenario to another without giving them a better transition nor development. Wirda‘s portrayal as a physiotherapist was a good balance to Farid‘s angsty character though I felt she was a bit too touchy for comfort. Wirda though delivered her lines with the needed emotions and calming tone perfectly. The challenge for her now is to get meatier roles than this and to work on her facial expressions because there were moments when she looked like she had an evil agenda hidden when she smiled.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal…

When I observed Syaiful Ariffin and Ain Zainal‘s hosting segment, I cannot help but feel that I was watching the hosts of a children’s television programme presenting. Something about their style and excessive facial expressions made me feel as such. Syaiful, the crooner with a host of other talents probably not known to the masses yet, tried his best to project different levels of voice projection and tone, though I struggle to see how it could have been useful to his presentation, especially when his partner was more relaxed than he was. Ain Zainal probably saved this segment between them by maintaining a level of calmness and not rushing through her lines. There are rough edges that’s for sure, but I think in time to come Ain might make a good host.

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They had the unenviable task of opening the night’s proceedings via the all-important acting component. Overall, I felt Syaiful and Ain did commendably well as a team, feeding off one another and striking enough balance in emotions. Like the judges had pointed out, they had set the benchmark for the night. Being a freelance theatre practitioner and student, I have high expectations on Syaiful doing better than his other male counterparts and he did not disappoint. Maybe if there was a grouse that I could make, it was that his tears were more visible than Ain‘s when I personally feel that more of the feeling of hurt should have rested on Ain‘s shoulders. Ain it has to be said, has been a consistent performer since the audition rounds. I can see that she is able to carry off different and varying types of roles. Which will bode well for her in her quest to progress in this competition.

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My initial fears on Yaya Hamid‘s possible elimination were doused when I observed how Yasmin Arissa fared during her hosting segment with Iskandar Shah. I guess it is safe to say that this segment probably brought down her overall score amongst the judges and signalled her elimination outright. Though from certain angles Yasmin reminds me of Adlina Adil, who was coincidentally watching live in the TV Theatre seated next to award-winning director M. Raihan Halim, there were no other notable similarities I could make between them. Her hosting was amateurish at best and she looked unsure at times, delivering her lines as though she was reading directly from the script. Iskandar Shah on the other hand was a bag full of confidence though I would caution him not to be over-confident and to be more a team player, cos he kinda showed a cocky side, as evident when he stole the limelight from Yasmin at the end of their short segment. Ok maybe that last part could have been planned earlier between them, but it didn’t make Yasmin look good in the end.

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As for their acting, it was probably the same as their hosting segment, with Iskandar doing much better than Yasmin. Something about Yasmin