Anugerah 2017 Semi-Finals Recap…

For the past ten weeks, I believe this entry is the one that is the most late that I have published, even though I had two weeks to type this out since the semi-finals episode two weeks ago (7th March 2017). Thank God for the extra week away from having to attend a live episode as my life suddenly went a little crazier than anticipated. Thank God too for this flu that I am currently nursing as I finally have time to sit down and type this entry out. As I am typing this entry right now, we are only less than five hours away before the Grand Finals beckoned. How fast has the past ten weeks go by??? Seems like yesterday that I got acquainted with Groups A and B during the very first episode of Anugerah 2017. Since I am again pressed for time to post this up, I will avoid doing any individual analysis and just summarise collectively.

Hosts Suzairhe Sumari and Huda Ali welcomed us to the show…

We have all known by now who are the four finalists who make up tonight’s penultimate episode. In case you have been living on another planet over the past fortnight, the four are Liwani Izzati, Nor Shafiq Ridzwan, Mohammad Shahfiq and Syakirah Noble. I dare say three of the four finalists have been quite consistent throughout the weeks of competition and their respective spots were justified. In fact even before the semi-final episode began, I more or less expected Liwani, Syakirah and Shahfiq to progress. The surprise finalist for me was Nor Shafiq Ridzwan. For those who had watched the semi-final episode, we would have noted that the final spot was between him and Elza Rahim, who wowed the audience with a different side to her capabilities as a performer from the usual play-safe performances that she dished out week in and out previously.

The judges had a thankless and difficult task that night and throughout the competition. We might disagree with their final decisions but I believe they had considered and deliberated before making them, no matter how painful…

I have to say it was a very tough decision for the judges to decide that night. On one hand, they had a contestant who suddenly transformed and became a performer no one anticipated nor expected she was capable of doing before this. On the other hand, there was a contestant who has been consistent with his performances but still remaining quite relaxed in his comfort zone. When I was watching it live, I remembered how disappointed I felt for Elza when she was eventually eliminated, because even if her efforts were too late to save her, she has shown throughout the competition her willingness to learn and to steer away from being compared to Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, in terms of her voice and singing style. She even took risks to show another aspect to her performance. In the end, the one aspect that brought her down was vocal technicality issues.

Elza Rahim was extremely unlucky to be eliminated that night. Given the right guidance and having the positive attitude to learn, she will hopefully be a better performer after this…

Don’t get me wrong, I like Nor Shafiq‘s soothing voice and control. Given the way he had better control of his pitching, I finally agreed in the end why the judges felt he was a better choice for the Grand Finals over Elza. However I feel that his vocal range is somewhat limited and he is only strong in the ballads department. I remember the judges said before that they were on the lookout for someone who is willing to take risks, to go out of their comfort zones and do something out of the ordinary. For Nor Shafiq to ace tonight’s Grand Finals, he has to push himself further because the other three contestants, the two young ladies especially, are more accomplished and experienced performers having performed on big stages like the annual Child Aid Concert and other external competitions or showcases.

Nadia Nadhirah and Azhar Aziz exited the competition having gave their all but it was not to be…

On a night where almost everyone performed above their usual capabilities, small issues and details separated them from progressing and getting eliminated. My only grouse was Azhar Aziz let the expectations of progressing weighed heavily on him and that he looked as though he was fearful of everything that were on his shoulders. I thought Nadia Nadhirah gave her best performance of the competition initially when I watched it live, but when I got home and watched her performance again via the Mediacorp Suria‘s Facebook page, her low notes were still a bit suspect and there were no emotions displayed when she sang Sufi Rashid‘s “Aku Sanggup“. I think for Nadhirah, she needs to work on having a certain bond with the lyrics she sings, to understand the emotions, to portray it, so that the audience will feel the resonance as well. It was a good performance overall, but in terms of connecting with the audience, the performance felt a bit empty.

For the first time in the competition, the contestants performed with an accompanying live band, led by Syawal Kassim (left)…

I have nothing more to add about the other three finalists. They have shown admirable consistency week in and out. The two young ladies, Liwani and Syakirah, are streets ahead in terms of showmanship and vocal prowess. One thing that they also have is fearlessness, both of them. Either one would be a deserving champion given how well they have performed throughout the competition. However they need to be mindful of overconfidence or be bogged down by expectations from people around them or even themselves. There is a dark horse in Mohammad Shahfiq, who was the semi-final stage’s outright winner and walked away with $800 that night. If he replicates his semi-final showing, we’re gonna have a hard time deciding who deserves to be champion tonight. I will not even discount Nor Shafiq Ridzwan, as evident with the 2007 and 2011 editions, Wildcard Round contestants could also win the competition if they perform above expectations. The little to no pressure on him could also work to his favour.

Down to the final four – Syakirah Noble, Nor Shafiq Ridzwan, Mohammad Shahfiq and Liwani Izzati

So it is anyone’s guess who will be the newly-crowned winner tonight and the one walking away with the $20,000 grand prize, even if many are not looking beyond Liwani or Syakirah. Of course the smart money is on them, but I am sure the other two gentlemen will not hand the title to any of the two young ladies on a silver platter. Anugerah 2017 will finally draw its curtains tonight and we are anticipating a thrilling fight to the finish. Tonight’s penultimate episode will also feature Sufi Rashid, Maiya Rahman, Eiss (Iskandar Ismail) and Aisyah Aziz who will perform with the contestants in a special duet segment. The newly-minted Anugerah Juara Lagu winner, Dayang Nurfaizah, will also be performing as the guest performer of the night. It is the last episode for this year’s competition. Expect sparks and fireworks as I believe the four finalists will put on their best performances tonight. It’s going live from Studio One at the Mediacorp Campus at 8:30pm and you can catch it on Mediacorp Suria

Snapshots of Anugerah 2017 Semi-Finals

 

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Pre & Post-Event Snapshots

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Thank God for the public holiday later today. Yes I’m typing this in the wee hours of Tuesday night. Done with the second batch of photo editing. This time I’ll be featuring snapshots I took before Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014, during the commercial breaks as well as the post-event reception afterwards. Hope this would satiate your thirst for more photos before I post even more with the “Walk of the Stars” event in my following entry, which I hope to put up as soon as possible and finish off with my APM2014 review, hopefully before the end of next week. Yes, am taking my time because I am only doing this on a passion and hobby basis. If I’m doing this as a paid career, I would definitely post everything before the week is out. So yes, please continue visiting this site soon. Enjoy the public holiday today and hope you like this entry as well… 🙂

Viva Elektra 2014

Viva Elektra

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

It’s been awhile since I did a review on an event that I attended at the Mediacorp TV Theatre. Simply because when I accepted the invites from Mediacorp Suria to attend these shows or events, more often than not, I did not see the need to review as they are either a light-hearted affair or for charity. I was there to just snap photos of the event and during the reception afterwards without seeing the need to comment much. Sometimes I don’t need to voice my thoughts as others have done it for me on social media. Anyway there are so many keyboard warriors out there too quick to jump on the bandwagon of criticising without giving substantial suggestions. I guess it’s a favourite pastime now to use one’s handphone keypads to comment every single thing they see on the google box, be it good or bad. I’m guilty of it sometimes when I watch football and passions are running high.

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I note from several people I’ve met of late that this blog has somewhat stagnated and that the writer (or should I say, typist???) behind the words on this domain has lost his zest and panache to hit where it hurts, or to put it kindly, give a wake up call when it mattered. Over the years as I mellow down and become less confrontational and got to know more people, I find that it is a challenge to be as hard-hitting as before. I had to tweak and fine-tune my style so as not to be too cynical or cause frictions with others in the long run. Maybe fatherhood has made me more forgiving, understanding and giving others the benefit of doubt but I like to think I type better when I’m having that red mist and I don’t quite experience that as often as before. Wish I could post more entries but like I said from time to time, I am not paid to blog and this is something I do as a community service as and when I am free from my work, family and personal commitments.

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The front row audience consisting of bigwigs in the local media industry as well as guest of honour Dr. Mohd Faishal Ibrahim

Anyway, I was honoured to be invited again to attend the recent Viva Elektra event at Mediacorp TV Theatre. The two-hour variety special was the fourth instalment by Suria and was previously known as Suria Elektra (2010), Rock Elektra (2011) and Bandstand Elektra (2012). The show belatedly celebrated the formation of MediaCorp’s Malay Broadcast Division, the merger between television channel Suria and radio stations Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM, hence there was an eclectic mix of performers from radio presenters to television personalities and established recording artistes that night. Viva Elektra in a way, symbolised the division’s hopes to establish a commitment to continually bring high quality programmes to their audience, be it on radio and television. Expect to see more of such shows in the near future involving the radio and television personalities. We are already anticipating cross-platform programmes like TeRaSeh 2.0, R&D and the sixth season of infotainment show JUS! this month. Viva Elektra was just the start!!!

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The men who made the night ticked – Dyn Norahim and Khairudin Samsudin

Looking at how the radio and television personalities collaborated on stage, I had a feel-good feeling that we can expect more entertaining shows on television and radio as well. Yes, I will not deny that I’ve heard rumours going round that certain gigs and jobs are affected due to the merger, but I would like to call upon all the artistes who might feel a little slighted that their places and roles in television programmes might be taken up by their radio counterparts, to treat this as a healthy competition. Granted we might not be like our next door neighbour where there are so many channels one can tune to and for radio and television personalities to still do well when they cross platforms, but there are possible avenues that can be explored. Radio could possibly have seasonal guest hosts like what Fauzie Laily did co-hosting Skoolz with Nity Baizura a few years ago. Or if they were to have a shake-up of personnel, who knows, they might just rope in some of these television personalities into their stables??? Let’s not see it as a form of hindrance to one’s rice bowl, but to work as a unit to lift the standards of our local Malay entertainment scene.

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The cast of Tak2ut (from left): Ashmi Roslan, DJ KC, Fadhlur Rahman and Wan Haddad

Maybe a little criticism I would have of Viva Elektra was that feeling of imbalance in some of their segments. While the skit involving the Tak2ut cast (Ashmi Roslan, Wan Haddad and Fadhlur Rahman) and DJ KC seemed a bit short, the Bangsawan and Pentas Radio segments felt a wee bit too long for my liking. I just feel that the song performed by Eiss, “Arjuna (Mencari Cinta)“, was redundant and only served to prolong the segment, even though the audience and myself were tickled by the humour presented by all the performers involved. It is nice to see new faces on television like Wan Haddad and Nurfarhana M Noor given their big break on a big scale event as this. Also Junaidi Sali who often plays a supporting cast to be given the limelight he deserves after all these years.

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Fauzie Laily (left) seldom gets comedic roles but when he gets them, he excels…

Nurfarhana it has to be said, is a name and face to watch this year. Her stock is rising and it is not easy to score a lead role in one’s debut drama series (Rima Hatiku) and subsequent ones like Follow Fasha, unless one has the potential and package to succeed. She is currently seen in the new season of Di Luar Garisan and will be one of the participants for TeRaSeh 2.0. I won’t be surprised if she scores a hosting gig in the near future cos she has that bubbly personality to do it. You heard it first on this domain. Another one to impress me was RIA 89.7FM‘s Dzar Ismail. I’m a big fan of his daily Singa Maksima programme and from one karaoke session we had some months ago, I could see his hidden talent and passion in rapping, which was displayed that night when he performed “Cerita Kedai Kopi” with Tukangkata and Sezairi Sezali. I know some people do not quite like his sometimes excessive energy levels, but I think he is a breath of fresh air on radio. And yes I still claim credit unashamedly for saying he belongs in radio when I assessed his performances when he entered Anugerah Skrin back in 2010.

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The one to watch this year – Nurfarhana M Noor. A flower blossoming at a continued pace…

Another criticism I would add on will be the choice of performing artistes and some of the songs they performed. Before the show, I saw on social media how people lamented that it’s basically the same faces over and over again. To some extent, I would agree with them as I too felt the same way when I saw the list of performing artistes slated to perform. No I am not attacking or blaming the singers who performed cos they are all excellent in their own respect. My complaint would be a lack of more variety than what we’re used to. Take for instance we have so many bands producing good quality music in Singapore. The likes of Diorama, Tujuh, Klutz are some of the bands that are under-rated here. And if you speak of individual acts, there’s Reyza Hamizan, Sufie Rashid, Chomel, Aidil Akmal, Nurdiana Saad, upcoming acts who deserved to be given their dues and be introduced to the masses.

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The hosts replicating Ellen Degeneres at the recent Oscars and taking a selfie photograph with the audience…

I appreciate that we would want to entice people to watch as their favourites would be performing but it does not send a message that the artistes feel appreciated, even though radio plays their music on a daily basis. There is no point having your songs known on radio when people still dunno who you are. Just ask Audionauts when they won at APM2013. There were still people asking on social media and on newspaper reports wondering who they were. “Rentak Laguku“, the song performed by Aliff Aziz, Eiss and Sezairi Sezali, was another one that I felt was a bit redundant as it was only as recent as last October that we witnessed Amy Search and Bunkface performed the song at APM2013. And even though I love Taufik Batisah‘s “Sesuatu Janji” amongst all his songs to date, I think that was the fourth or fifth time he performed the song at a Suria event, in addition to APM2008.

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Group photo with all the performers that night once the cameras stopped rolling…

Overall, Viva Elektra was an enjoyable show, even if it did overrun by about eleven minutes. The choice of having Khairudin Samsudin and Warna 94.2FM‘s Dyn Norahim was a good one, with both trading barbs at one another and the latter being the brunt of many of the former’s jokes. At certain points, Dyn looked jittery but it should be forgiven as this was afterall his first live television hosting gig. Speaking to him afterwards, he said that it was nerve-wrecking and a very different experience compared to his daily live show on radio. Like many others before him, I am sure he will grow into the role and be better. Am certainly looking forward to seeing him host the new season of JUS! alongside the gorgeous Ainon Talib and Nurul Akhmar come the end of April. For now I can’t wait for TeRaSeh 2.0. It’s gonna be an absolute riot!!!

Ratu Episode Six Recap…

The Auras opening the show with Projek Pistol's "Wanita Seluruh Dunia"...
The Auras opening the show with Projek Pistol‘s “Wanita Seluruh Dunia“…

Time seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. For all we know, we’re only left with two more episodes of Ratu before the competition wraps up. Before I move on, I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a great and prosperous 2013 ahead. The sixth episode of Mediacorp Suria‘s beauty-cum-talent competition this past New Year’s Day was the first live show to be aired on the station’s channel in the new calendar year, something which the hosts brought up and were proud to be a part of when they introduced us to the show. And since we’re on the subject of firsts, well this is also my first entry of the year. I certainly look forward to sharing more photographs, thoughts and perhaps video highlights (if I have the time and patience to edit them) in this humble domain of mine on happenings in our local Malay entertainment scene, those that I am invited and have the opportunity to attend in time to come, God willing.

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Wawan, the lead vocalist of The Auras

Truth be told, I don’t quite know what to comment on this past week’s episode, simply because there were no eliminations made, in a surprise move made by the show’s producers. Well actually I was given a hint by trusty insiders when I was on my way to the Mediacorp TV Theatre, that the show might not be worth attending afterall, but did not quite understand what it meant till the show was over. I will not say that it was a wasted trip in a nutshell, as I did learn who might be possible finalists in less than a fortnight’s time. Speaking of which, I would like to apologise for my judgment error when I said previously that the semi-finalists will be the Top 4, when in fact they will actually be the finalists. For the first time in the competition, the contestants were given random questions for them to answer spontaneously and it was a good test to see how they reacted and answered when previously they knew what questions to expect and prepared them beforehand.

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Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff…

Even though there were no eliminations made this past week, slowly but surely the Top 4 who will grace the Grand Finals on 15 January 2013, is taking shape. If we were to crown the winner now, I think Fatin Amira would win it at a canter, such is the young lady’s calm, confident and composed demeanour. Week after week, her level of progress and improvement seems to be going upwards and if she nails the next episode’s challenges, I think we will not have to wait for the end of the show to know that she would be a straight shoo-in. Everything she does, she seems to ace them. Another name I am inclined to believe would make the Top 4 based on her quietly consistent performances is Wida Alisa. Her eloquence, maturity and calculated answers are a reflection of her personality. From my weekly observations watching them live and listening to their radio interviews on Tuesday afternoons, Wida seems to appear to be resident judge Hafeez Glamour‘s favourite contestant as well.

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Rudy Marican (right) joining Nuraliza Osman and Hafeez Glamour on the judging panel…

Which leaves us with another two slots to be filled. Who else do I feel deserve the remaining two places??? Each contestant has her strong selling point – Nor Aishah Ahmad (gentle and demure), Shillah Marlysha (killer dimples), Tiara Atyra (normally-cool nature), Wan Anisah (exotic looks), Nur Aqilah and Surya Rahmanty (warm and charming smile), but somehow like what the judges had mentioned in their assessments, the girls lacked that wee bit of self-confidence and some still appearing to be quite timid at this stage of the competition. I do not wish to tempt fate or disappoint the others by picking the last two because all of them will begin the seventh episode on equal footing. At the same time I also hope that even though I had praised Wida and Fatin for their consistent performances, they do not rest on their laurels just yet, as the other six can still steal their spots if they up their game and channel their self-belief and confidence for a better performance, which I am sure they will.

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The relief and happy faces upon knowing they were all going into the semi-final round…

I think for a few of the contestants whom I will not name but am sure they know it themselves and even viewers in the TV Theatre and at home would note, the non-elimination this week was like a major lifeline for them to give it one more shot at getting into the Grand Finals. Based on previous weeks’ performances, the judges’ job was made rather easy to give lesser points to those who did not perform well, especially during the Q&A session. Those who had stuttered, lost their composure at crucial points or did not answer to the point, had felt the brunt of the culling. And I believe it will be no different right up to the end of this competition where composure would play a crucial part for them. I was initially surprised when the judges said that some of them still had opportunities to be crowned the champion, which was a prelude to the announcement of the non-elimination. So let’s hope the girls who did not do quite well this past week can atone for their mistakes and do better for this coming make-or-break seventh episode where four eliminations will be made. Till then…