Singapore's Premier Malay Entertainment Blog

Posts tagged “Farid Azhar

Elit Suria Wildcard Episode

The stage setting pre-show…

This entry nearly did not see the light of day as I have been very occupied the whole week and was away for a short staycation with the family over the past weekend. Why I managed to do this entry at the last moment is because some things that we planned prior did not materialise, so I finally got to squeeze some time to reminisce what transpired during the recent episode of Elit Suria this past Monday 6 August 2018. This was the first episode I finally made my way down to MediaCorp Campus to watch the show live from the studio. Before the show, I was not sure how the contestants would react upon finally meeting me in person after reading my previous two entries, but thankfully all of them were so cordial, warm and friendly, thanking me for pointing out their flaws and where to improve as they do not have the benefit of others telling them how to, or probably were too shy to ask around. I was a bit embarrassed when one by one came up to say “Hi” and “Thank You” to yours truly, that I felt like a mini celebrity that night. I seldom get that from previous reality show competitions because I know some of the past contestants quietly resent and bore grudges against me for my objective assessments, or probably the times they were cordial to me was because I take nice photos of them. Usually once the competition is done, a minority of them will stop following me on social media, which makes me feel used somewhat. Oh well…

The audience which included the eight confirmed semi-finalists, seated at the front row…

The recent Wildcard Round featured all the eight eliminated contestants so far, giving them that last chance saloon to show that they deserved a second chance to still remain in the competition. How lucky it is to be in Group A then, as they had a fortnight off before worrying about the semi-finals tonight. I am sure Haziq Halim, Hans Hamid, Fatin Taha and Hana Rosli will disagree with me, because I know the prolonged days leading up to tonight, only adds on to the tension they are facing at the moment. Last Monday, the show was graced by Akademi Fantasia alumnus, Nurul Rahila Rashun, who performed as the guest artiste and the Wildcard episode’s theme of the week was Culture. Actually it should have been called International Culture since the challenges and questions posed during the episode had something to do with cultures around the world. This was another episode which for me, was an educational eye-opener, because I personally find this particular theme interesting, given my penchant to know useful trivias and stuff, a chance to empower my general knowledge. Prior to the show, the ones I had ear-marked to enter the semi-finals were Fadzli Jani for the guys and between Erna Ellieyana and Nur Mehga for the ladies.

Rahila Rashun performed the haunting hit “Asmaradana“, taken from the box-office hit movie, “Puteri Gunung Ledang“…

I’ve had my fair share of complaints about the Style Round, where the contestants are judged based on their style and confidence onstage. However, I personally like the opening performance between the contestants and Rahila for this particular episode, with all their poses and outfits depicting the different cultures they were portraying. What came as a surprise was the contestants learning to dance and though they are not prolific dancers, they managed to learn their respective choreographies within a short space of time. Not an easy feat when you’re not dancers nor have that hidden talent to begin with. To their credit, the contestants looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely and the ones who enjoyed themselves the most onstage happened to win this segment, Fadzli Jani and Atiqah Hassan coming in at second, though I have to say Fadzli somehow was a bit overexcited during his performance, making the overall balance of energy between the four pairings on stage a bit disjointed. Fadzli and Atiqah also happened to be paired together, as they danced to the style of typical traditional Indian dancers. For the other contestants, they looked more confident and poised than the previous episodes they were in, where I previously pointed out that their lack of confidence from this round alone spelt the end of their journey. But if you ask me who should have won, I would have personally chose Hisyam Salimnor as I found his moves more graceful.

The esteemed judges – Khairudin Saharom, Nuraliza Osman and Najip Ali

Next comes the Personality segment where the contestants are judged on their hosting capabilities. I find Hisyam‘s hosting a bit too cautious since the very first episode he was in, and I repeated it to him when we met post-show. He tends to mouth his words and break them up according to syllables when he does not need to most times. I guess he just wants to make sure that he pronounces them correctly. When I look at him, I cannot help but be reminded of Danish Ashraf, 2016‘s Anugerah Skrin runner-up. The way they speak, their mannerisms, their styles all look similar. For awhile, I thought they were related, but they are not when I asked Hisyam during our short conversation, but they do know each other personally. I actually like Nur Mehga‘s hosting. The only complaint I had about her previously was, she does not smile much when she knows the cameras are not panning at her. When she does smile, I can feel the whole room light up. So it was nice to see more of Mehga‘s smile during this episode and how confident she was. Which was a big disappointment when eventually she came in 5th for this round, even after judge Khairudin Saharom had praised her for being the best of the four for their hosting segment, which also included the other pair, Noh Irwan Amran and Ainur Rosyieqa. I had expected Mehga to have gotten Top 4 at least.

Hosts Fauzie Laily and Nurul Aini

Noh Irwan‘s shortcomings from the time I watched him previously, were his distinct lack of confidence and unsure of himself. If you were to watch his hosting clip again via Toggle‘s Catch-Up TV, you will understand what I mean if you notice his expressions rolling back his eyes as if to remember his lines. He needs to understand the question that he is posing to his interviewee and make it sound across as natural as possible, not as though he is reading directly from a script. The same assessments could also be levelled on Ainur Rosyieqa, though she looked more poised between the two. For their segment, I think the biggest letdown for both of them was their inability to para-phrase their question when their guest did not answer one of their initial questions properly. A good host should be able to listen and grasp quickly, in turn rephrasing their questions for their interviewee to understand, so that they are able to answer satisfactorily. This is what the judges are also looking out for and what Najip Ali meant by the term “Thinking Hosts“. It did not help that their guest personality’s facial expressions and body language showed as though he did not want to be there and struggling to find the words to answer them. For a good interview to work, both hosts and guest personalities should be equally forthcoming. The ending of their interview also felt as though the audience were left on a cliffhanger and this was felt by the audience when the cameras panned at them right after and they had quizzical looks on their faces.

Najip commenting on the performances of the second quartet – Fadzli Jani, Erna Ellieyana, Atiqah Hassan and Farid Azhar

As mentioned in the last paragraph, you need a good interviewee to make your interview look and sound more interesting for the audience, which the second group got in the form of personality Marina Yusoff, whom as I type this entry, is away on her Hajj pilgrimage. This segment saw the other contestants, Fadzli Jani, Erna Ellieyana, Atiqah Hassan and Farid Azhar, performing better as a whole over the previous four. I think for Fadzli Jani, the observations I have, as well as discussing with some others about his performance as a whole, is that he tends to overdo things unintentionally, which when done as a duo, steals away the limelight from his partner. If we are to host as a duo, it should be about complementing one another, or his partner could have also returned the favour in kind and matched his energy. Ellie‘s jovial personality is what makes her a standout and I feel that she is quite the fast learner, a sponge if I might add. Amongst the ladies in the Wildcard Round, I think she probably had the highest level of confidence, fresh from her elimination the previous week and hungry to do better. Not surprising that I had her and Mehga in mind as the probable ones to progress to the semi-finals prior to the show, with either one performing well than the other who would be more deserving. However, I still cannot imagine Ellie hosting a programme which is serious in nature just yet. Put her in a children’s show or a light-hearted info-ed programme, you will see her personality shining through. Even though I did say having both host and interviewee being forthcoming makes a good interview, the role of a host or moderator is even more important to get their guests to come out from their shells with how and what to ask. This can only be honed through time and experience, which unfortunately they do not have and have to rely on natural talent for now.

 

Rahila performed her second number of the night, the evergreen “Penawar Rindu“…

There is something about the way Atiqah mouths her lines which is a source of concern for me, and it’s not about the braces which I said previously that could be one of the factors hampering her. How she reads and pronounces her words has to sound as natural as possible. If the sentence ends with an exclamation mark, her tone should also sound equally excited. If the sentence ends with a question, her tone should also sound as though she is questioning and not putting a full stop to it. It is so much different when I talk to her in person because she sounds so relaxed and natural. Could jittery factors be reasons for her not to do well? Or is it a lack of fluency and confidence in the language? If it’s the latter, then it should be a learning point for all future would-be contestants to brush up on their fluency in speaking their mother tongue language. They should listen to the Malay radio stations more or watch the prime-time news bulletin on television to grasp how words and sentences are being pronounced. It has to be pointed out that for all my criticisms of Atiqah‘s performance, this was her best to date and I can say she has improved from the first time I watched her in the first episode. Farid to me, did just enough without being too extravagant or over in his mannerisms, as compared to Fadzli. However I still have misgivings about his energy level because he can look a bit uptight when it is not his turn to speak and when he opens his mouth to speak, he tries to maintain his cool persona. I think this is one source of frustration I have about Farid, since his time at 2016‘s Anugerah Skrin. He has to come out from his shell and let go at times because he looks like he is holding back most times.

The Top 3 who advanced to the second round of the Bestari segment – Ellie, Farid and Hisyam

The Bestari segment had me shaking my head right from the start, because for the first question alone, all of them got it wrong. Though the judges admitted that the segment was a tough one given the challenging questions, I think had the contestants listened more intently, they would have probably gotten their answers correct. Actually it was a no-brainer who would advance to the semi-finals once the dust had settled and we saw Erna Ellieyana, Farid Azhar and Hisyam Salimnor advancing to the second round, since Farid came out tops in the earlier segment and Ellie coming in second. Like I said in my previous entry, we usually can gauge who will advance to the following week if they perform well in the hosting and quiz segments, because at the end of the day, they are looking out for an all-rounded host, the ability to speak, think and do their respective homework. In this segment, Farid‘s hunger and eagerness to ace it came to light. For the second time in this competition, a lack of listening to the questions being read properly proved to be Hisyam‘s downfall. In his eagerness to keep up with his competition, he not only answered incorrectly but had a lot of people shaking their heads or slapping their foreheads. When I spoke to him post-show about the gaffe, he admitted that it was a grave mistake borne out of excitement and pressure to stay within touching distance of his fellow competitors.

Farid and Ellie atoned for their previous week’s elimination by redeeming themselves and advancing through to the semi-finals…

I’m not sure if it was due to a lack of time or if the show was over-run, but the X-Factor segment felt a bit hurriedly done once Farid was announced as the winner of the Bestari round, which left no room for pauses or breather for the contestants. I had at least expected them to usher in a short commercial break, but the contestants were immediately asked to up-sell themselves one final time before the judges made their final decisions. Given that Farid had topped both the Hosting and Bestari rounds, he could have eased off and just gone through the motions. To his credit, he did not relax and was a picture of calm and serenity when he spoke, which all the more confirmed his advancement into the semi-finals. Noh Irwan again looked unsure of himself, but he had a reason for it which he told me post-show. His initial lines were asked to be changed last minute, which resulted in him scrambling to pen and memorise a newer version. Though he did not delve on why his lines had to be changed, I felt that the producers could have just let him revised or tweaked them a bit and not change it entirely, resulting in him tripping on his words. Body language, eye movements and tone of voice also play important roles in this segment. The audience can easily detect who is not confident and unsure of themselves just by the way they look, they way they walk and the way they speak. For a majority of them, their lack of confidence for this segment proved to serve as confirmation of their elimination from the competition.

The Wildcard contestants sandwiching judge Nuraliza Osman post-show…

By the end of the show, it was merely a formality that Farid and Ellie‘s names were announced as the two whose journeys in the competition are still alive and well, with the other six bowing out with their heads at least held high knowing they have given off their very best. Tonight, we will get to see who amongst the ten will advance to the Grand Finals in a fortnight, with only six spots up for grabs. Even though we are at the stage of competition where it gets even tougher and harder, I would like to implore all of the contestants, even those who are already eliminated, to shed their inhibitions, grow thicker skins and just ask whoever, be it the judges, the hosts or any of the producers where they can improve, which flaws need to be lessened or what else can be done to make themselves better hosts. I am sure these people are approachable and able to share more from their vast experiences. All they need to do is ask, because no one is going to spoon-feed them, such is the harsh nature of the industry. For the eliminated ones, I can only hope they use the experience to improve on their shortcomings and come back for future competitions well-equipped to do better. They should look no further than host Fauzie Laily, who has worked hard to be where he is now, given that he was eliminated early in Anugerah 2003 but was one of the Top 3 for the ensuing competition in 2005. There are grooming and enrichment classes pertaining to the media industry organised by local personalities like Hafeez Glamour and Rilla Melati from time to time. These young upstarts should consider enrolling themselves in these classes to learn, equip and empower themselves so that they can be more confident and sure. Most importantly, their fluency in their mother tongue is paramount if they want to succeed…

Snapshots of Elit Suria Wildcard Round


Elit Suria Episodes 3 & 4 Recap…

(All images in this entry courtesy of MediaCorp Suria‘s official Facebook page and Instagram account)

Back with another review of Elit Suria, this time combining my thoughts from watching the recent two episodes involving Groups A & B once again. Like the first fortnight, the third and fourth episodes saw two more contestants being eliminated each week, making it a grand total of eight contestants seeing their journey halted from progressing into the semi-final rounds. Episodes 3 and 4 also saw a slight twist to the hosting segment, whereby the contestants interviewed special guests and discussing on the particular week’s themes as a duo, and not individually like the first and second episodes. This was a challenge to see how well they worked together and if they were able to capture the essence of hosting as a team. Group A‘s theme of the week was Films, whereas Group B‘s was Travel, two themes which are closely-related to the media industry and ones that attract eyeballs to info-ed shows pertaining to them. If the first two episodes were graced by female performers, the recent two bucked the trend and gave the males centrestage. The third episode saw Rudy Djoharnaen, winner of Anugerah 1999, and the recent fourth episode had Singapore Idol alumnus and Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 award nominee, Farhan Shah, as the guest performers. I’ll dive straight into my observations on both episodes henceforth.

If I’m not mistaken, Nurul Aini was very ill during this particular episode, but the masses didn’t know the high level of professionalism she displayed to soldier on through the night… Massive respect!!!

It is difficult as a home viewer to assess the contestants in the first Style segment, as the cameras take turn to pan between the week’s guest performer and them. However, from the short time I was able to view, it was easy to see who deserved to top their respective time onstage. Those short 3-4 minutes onstage accompanying the guest performer, needed to be used to its maximum. The caveat, according to the judges however, is not to overdramatise their movements and prancing onstage, even if they had to fully utilise their moment. Judge Najip Ali mentioned in the third episode, what they are looking out for is not a ready-made star, but someone with a huge potential to make it in the industry and eventually become a household name through their natural aura, charisma and aptitude. I still don’t get much vibes from this particular segment, especially when I watched the fourth episode. Other than Asyraf Iskandar and Erna Ellieyana, I dunno how the others, most notably Farid Azhar, connected their style and character portrayals to the week’s theme – Travel. They could have at least substituted that sporty look with an immigration officer’s or a pilot’s or a steward’s or even a cargo handler’s outfit. No surprises that he came off last in that round. Which begs the question, who was responsible for their outfits and character portrayals onstage??? Was it themselves or the producers???

Rudy Djoharnaen performed Dato’ M. Nasir‘s “Bikin Filem“, accompanied by the contestants. Here we see Haziq Halim and Hana Rosli

Onto the hosting segment. If in the last entry I lavished praise on the ones who did well, for this entry, I will focus more on the ones who did not do particularly well in my eyes, most notably Atiqah Hassan and Fadzli Jani for Group A, as well as Faiz Zainal, Erna Ellieyana and Farid Azhar for Group B. I actually sympathised with Atiqah as it is not easy to speak fluently and most importantly, clearly, when one is wearing braces. I think her overall performance was hampered by it and I am not sure what other problems she was facing during the recording of her hosting segment with Fadzli, because her facial expressions and body language showed that something was bothering her. The way she presented was also akin to watching a children’s programme host speaking in a monotonous tone. Fadzli, whose energy and outgoing style caught my eyes the last time out, seemed lost when paired with Atiqah. There was hardly any chemistry between them, making their performance completely flat. I finally bumped into Atiqah for the first time over this past weekend at the Twilight: Uniquely Local flea market expo at Suntec City Convention Centre and managed to ask her what happened during the recording of her hosting segment. Indeed she said that she was bogged down by the braces and having to mouth her words carefully. This is why I prefer to watch the shows live, as I get to talk to the contestants post-show to understand some of their difficulties that may affect their performance, so that I can give a more compassionate and understanding assessment afterwards, rather than watch and whack like some others from the comfort of home.

Judge Najip Ali dispensing his words of wisdom to the contestants…

Faiz Zainal seemed nervous next to Amyrah Mustafa, and somehow his slightly higher-pitched voice made his hosting style looked out of sync when complemented with his more composed partner. There was a reason judge Khairudin Saharom specifically asked them much later on if they felt comfortable hosting with one another. Though they tried to be cordial and complimentary towards one another, somehow their respective answers and hesitancy in trying to find the right words were not convincing enough. Amyrah, whom I personally thought didn’t do much wrong, was told that her energy did not complement that of her co-host and guest personality. Faiz on the other hand, was taken to task for not grasping the essence of his questions and merely stating his lines as it is. Erna Ellieyana, or Ellie as she likes to be called, was reminded by judge Nuraliza Osman to lessen her child-like traits and style a fortnight ago. Though she tried to escape from that, her voice and most importantly, the way she pronounced her sentences resembled that of a schoolkid reading from a book out loud to their class. Farid, on the other hand, was quite static and did not show much emotions, making his performance a bit wooden. I was actually surprised that judge Nuraliza actually complimented Ellie on showing significant improvement from the last time out, but I felt that if there were any, it was only minimal. The only thing I liked about her performance was her trying to liven up their segment with her bubbly personality.

 

Haziq Halim and Hana Rosli were the top performers for Episode 3…

I need to highlight one thing which I found most pleasing over the past fortnight, and that was how much Farahnurmadina probably took my criticisms in the last entry in her stride (or from others in her private circle), and gave a more polished and confident performance when she was paired with Asyraf Iskandar as they interviewed their guest, actress-writer-director-producer, Seriwahyuni Jaes. Though I did not mention names in that last entry, I was specifically referring to her when I brought up the topic of not speaking with an English twang. I was super turned-off when I watched her introductory clip then and thought to myself then, “Girl, why do you need to do that???” It did not look nor sounded good as it came across as made up. Fortunately for the latest episode, she kept that to a minimum, making it barely audible, and gave a very good performance next to Asyraf. It was refreshing to watch them, which had me smiling and nodding away in front of the television screen. It probably helped that they had someone like Seriwahyuni to dispense tips and such prior to the cameras rolling, especially with someone who has bags of experience in front of the cameras and an endearing personality like her, their synergy and energies were just bouncing off one another, making it probably the best of the six interviews between the two groups. So well done to Farah and Asyraf!!!

This was Group B answering questions in the first round of the Bestari segment…

For my favourite Bestari round, I noticed the eagerness, determination and effort in most of the contestants to do well and win that weekly $300 cash prize, judging by how fast they raised their hands to answer. The two who eventually won during their respective week’s episode, Haziq Halim and Amyrah Mustafa, showed how hungry they were to excel in this round, most notably the latter, whom I felt had something to prove after her earlier hosting segment was not given glowing assessments by the judges. I was amazed by their level of knowledge, especially Amyrah, who answered six out of seven questions correctly in the second round of her episode. I was stumped by some of the questions posed during that particular episode where the questions had something to do with travelling and places in the world and could only get about half of them correct. The way Amyrah answered them correctly showed that she is perhaps someone who is well-travelled or probably had done her homework beforehand. It has to be said, that nothing is more attractive than a lady with brains (at least from my personal point of view), and this was the second time in the competition that she has aced this segment. I would like to see the other contestants in the upcoming weeks upping their game and showing the same hunger as their two main rivals.

Farhan Shah performed his hit single, “Istimewa“, along with the contestants…

The last round, which is the X-Factor round, is probably another segment that I still am trying to get used to. This make-or-break round either brings out the best in the contestant or leaves them on the brink of elimination. For some, it either makes them come across as cocky or gives away their feeling of nervousness. However, as I had mentioned in the last entry, this round more or less confirmed who would leave the competition or who would progress. For the third episode, Atiqah Hassan was let down by the way she spoke. When she posed a question at the end, the tone of her voice was not that of someone questioning her audience, but ending her sentence with a full stop. For the fourth episode, I think it was easy to pinpoint who probably had the lowest marks by virtue of the contestant who tripped on his words, Faiz Zainal. He was a bag of nerves and his forced smile tried to hide how nervous he was. Anyway, in this segment Farah reverted back to my earlier grouse about her speaking with an accent, even though it was only momentarily. I am not sure if she has trouble pronouncing the letter “R” or certain words, because I know some people speak with a bit of an accent to hide the fact that they cannot pronounce words containing the letter “R” correctly. However I am sure she will minimise that in the semi-final rounds onwards as she has at least two weeks to work on it.

Judge Nuraliza Osman sharing her thoughts while Najip Ali listened intently…

Other than the eliminations of Atiqah Hassan and Erna Ellieyana whom I felt were more than justified, I found the results slightly unkind towards Fadzli Jani and Farid Azhar, who were also eliminated in their respective episodes. But Group A‘s male contestants were technically strong to begin with and I think Fadzli was let down by his hosting segment. I had expected Faiz to be eliminated as I did not see him doing his best for both the hosting and X-Factor rounds. His only saving grace, and this proved to be very crucial, was him entering the second round of the Bestari segment and answering that one last question which Amyrah probably gave way to her fellow competitors to answer, so as not to make them look bad. Farid on the contrary, did not manage to enter the second round. Hence this is why it is paramount that they do their best for every challenge they pit themselves in, as their consolidated marks from all the segments will eventually be the deciding factors. It is not all doom and gloom for the eight eliminated contestants as they still have the upcoming Wildcard episode later tonight to give off their best. However, only two will advance to the semi-finals. I already have in mind who will progress based on their performances this past month. I just hope the rest will up their game and prove me wrong, even though I will not mention who or if you guys already have an inkling who I have in mind.


Erna Ellieyana and Farid Azhar were still able to smile upon their elimination as they will get a reprieve in the Wildcard episode…

The semi-finalists have all earned their places fairly. Slowly as the weeks progress, I can see their respective potentials and most importantly, their personalities appearing to the fore. In the X-Factor round, I detected that Hans Hamid, Fatin Taha and Hana Rosli could possibly have a future in radio broadcasting or as a newscaster some day, if they are interested as they have the calm, soothing and confident voices associated with those jobs. However, Hana looks and behaves more like a performer onstage, though she should lessen the overdramatisation of her expressions, as well as her emotions at times, cos it can be a bit of a turn-off to look for the average viewer, since she tends to showcase a certain vulnerability by crying in front of the cameras, be it when she’s sad or happy. Haziq and Amyrah, confident and hungry as they are, might want to consider practising in front of the mirror and look at their facial expressions and body language when they smile or speak. There were times when their features displayed a slight tinge of arrogance, so they might want to work on it a bit to up their likeability factor even more with not only the judges but viewers in the studio and at home. Other than that, I think the two of them are quite the clear favourites based on form. As for Asyraf, there were instances where he spoke like an excited kid, so he might want to tone it down a bit, but I love his devil-may-care attitude and principle to just “Go Je!“. He is one person who looks as though he enjoys himself onstage. Farah??? I do not want to sound like a bad record, but I already mentioned her shortcomings and her improvements to be made earlier so I’ll give her a break here. Till the next entry!!!


Elit Suria Episodes 1 & 2 Recap…

(All images in this entry courtesy of MediaCorp Suria‘s official Facebook page and Instagram account)

Surprise, surprise!!! I’m finally back after a two-month hiatus… I know this reality television series currently airing weekly since 9 July 2018 is into its 4th week as I speak, and probably a bit belated for me to start talking about it. I’ve had people I met on the streets asking me if I was gonna do a review on this new competition. I guess I’ve hummed and hawed long enough before finally deciding to do it. For the uninitiated, Elit Suria is the latest reality talent competition series by Mediacorp Suria, in search of new faces to grace the local television screens, mainly in hosting and acting. One can say that it is probably similar to the previous three Anugerah Skrin competitions that we’ve had so far over the last twelve years, but the main emphasis is on hosting, whereas acting is a secondary component. If I can think of a like-for-like talent competition before this on our local television screens, it would most probably be the Juara competition way back in 2002, which introduced us to household names like Fir Rahman, Nurul Aini and Fadhilah Samsudin amongst others. This current reality competition series is hosted by Fauzie Laily and Nurul Aini, whereas the resident judges are none other than Najip Ali, Nuraliza Osman and Khairudin Saharom. From the line-up of judges, we can more or less see the emphasis of the competition, which is to unearth new hosts for our local Malay entertainment scene.

The simple, yet lovely backdrop of the show’s stage…

Even though I received the invitation to attend the weekly live recordings at MediaCorp Campus, in truth to date, I have not had the time to attend so far. Hence why this entry and also the next one will feature photos courtesy of the Mediacorp Suria Facebook page and Instagram account. However, I have been watching the first two episodes via Toggle‘s Catch-Up TV and finally managing to watch the third and latest episode live on MediaCorp Suria this past Monday, to acquaint myself with possibly the newest faces on local television and of course, to keep myself abreast with the competition. I will not touch on the latest episode just yet in this particular entry, but will do a summary of the first two episodes, where we were introduced to all the contestants who were divided into two groups of eight, namely Groups A and B.  My entries for the first four episodes at least, will be from a perspective of a normal television viewer. Hence, I would like to apologise first and foremost, if my words will not be minced as much as if I were to attend a live recording to observe and understand the difficulties faced by the contestants or to get to know them a bit closer. I tend to give benefit of doubt from my observations watching live, rather than from the comfort of home.

Hosts Fauzie Laily and Nurul Aini…

Closed door auditions were held way back in March and April this year. Usually I would be invited to cover the audition rounds just to have a feel of what’s to come in the coming weeks and months, but this time I received none and like general viewers out there, I did not know what to expect, who had the potential to succeed and who were the standouts during the audition rounds. Which was partly why I decided to stay away from attending the weekly live recordings to date, not as a sign of protest, but because I was not prepped enough to learn the competition format nor given the opportunity to observe them much earlier to better understand their personalities and psyche. The contestants are judged weekly through their Hosting, Style, Wits, Personality and X-Factor in a series of quizzes and Q&A rounds amongst others. The segment that I most enjoy watching so far is the Wits (Bestari) round, whereby the contestants go through two rounds of quizzes on their general knowledge of the respective week’s theme. Why I enjoy it is because it is equally challenging for the viewers watching in the studio and at home, a value-added component of the show that provides useful trivia and information for our general knowledge. Kudos to local singer Hyrul Anuar for painstakingly doing the research and coming up with the questions!!!

Khairudin Saharom, cautioning the contestants on what to avoid doing when assessing their hosting performances…

Each week the contestants begin each episode by playing accompanying props, or to put it in nicer terms, stage models, to a guest singer performing on stage. This is where they are judged on style and confidence, as well as their aptitude for acting or performing. The first episode saw Aisyah Aziz in action, whereas Kalysa Aziz performed in the second episode. I have mixed feelings watching this segment of the show actually. Who is supposed to be the highlight, the guest artistes on show or the contestants themselves??? Is it supposed to showcase their acting skills or is it supposed to be a mini runway show for the contestants??? Some looked so out of depth and devoid of confidence from the way they moved and walked, that it was easy to pinpoint who would eventually be eliminated from the first two episodes, and it was only the first segment!!! Talk about confidence building for these young upstarts!!! Then there were some who overdid their facial expressions and actions that it became a little cringeworthy to watch. This was also highlighted by judge Nuraliza when she was asked to comment. There has to be a certain balance in character portrayals, which can only be honed through time and experience. Unfortunately for the contestants, they do not have that liberty and advantage, unless they have prior acting backgrounds and experiences, and to just hope their personalities shine through to win over the judges.


Aisyah Aziz was the guest artiste for the first episode…

Getting acquainted to the young upstarts on show, the audience in the studio and viewers at home were treated to introductory videos of all the contestants during the first quarter of the programme. This was where we learned a thing or two about them, to hear of their motivation and reasons behind entering the competition. This was also where I studied their respective body language, facial expressions and tone of voices to know if they were sincere in entering the competition or probably there to make up the numbers. We have the usual clips where they showed their gratitude and appreciation to their respective spouses and parents. Some made heartfelt tributes to their beloved family members who have departed this world or went through personal hardships, naturally shedding tears for the cameras, even those whose talents have been belittled and questioned before by their peers / educators. Nothing wrong with that actually, but viewers perceptions might vary depending on how they digest the stories told before them, as well as seeing the expressions on the faces of these contestants. Some may think the contestants are fishing for sympathy, or hoping to be judged leniently. A little sad story is ok to be heard, but should be kept to a minimum. Viewers easily warm to jovial, bubbly and positive characters afterall.

The second episode witnessed under-rated singer, Kalysa Aziz, in action…

The contestants must also be mindful of the way they speak. For certain sections or probably most people in the community, it is a major turnoff hearing people speaking with a certain accent especially when you are conversing in your mother tongue. You don’t have to add an English twang to your pronunciation of words. It makes you come off as extremely fake. From drawing people closer to you, you actually serve to alienate them. The one that was every bit confident and gave me the most positive vibes in their introductory clips was Amyrah Mustafa, the only contestant who wears a Hijab and has a passing resemblance to Aisyah Aziz. She shared her hopes to inspire fellow youths watching the show, to uphold, empower and showcase the beauty of the Malay language as well as culture. Big hopes on such young shoulders, but one that I believe is achievable as we see her progress in the competition and I hope she does, because she is a natural and a breath of fresh air for our local scene. She also spoke in calculated and measured tones without trying too hard, unlike some of the others whom I will not name. For the guys, the one that I felt was smooth in his delivery, was Hans Hamid. He has a certain warmth in his voice which will make viewers drawn comfortably to him, even if he is slightly lacking in the looks factor. Fadzli Jani‘s bubbly personality and originality in coming out with his own tagline, “Awak Suka Tak?“, also made me warmed easily to him.

The Wits (Bestari) round pitting the contestants against one another on their general knowledge…

The hosting segment is I believe, the main one that they are being judged upon. From creating their own interview questions as well as their own scripts, with only three recording takes per contestant, this is definitely the most challenging segment from my observations. True, they only had about a minute or two to interview their guest personality from the local fashion and music industries, but the weight of their challenge is immense!!! From posing the right questions, usage of language, tone of voice, eye interactions between them, their guests and the cameras, hosting itself is a thankless job and one that I myself shun from doing, and I personally hate doing normal presentations or public speaking to begin with. The contestants had to be mindful especially those who added rhythm and melody to their pronounced sentences. It made them sound as though they were reading directly from their scripts or like school children reading in a class. Another thing they need to look out for is the excessive hand gestures which can be distracting to the viewers. From this segment, the ones that stood out for me were again Amyrah Mustafa, Hans Hamid, Fadzli Jani and Fatin Taha. The rest either exuded too much energy onscreen or looked uncertain of themselves. A few of them need to open their mouths a bit wider and not speak through gritted teeth, whereas there were some who need to smile a bit more, cos when they don’t, they simply looked aloof.

Najip Ali‘s comments never fail to disappoint, his extensive vocabulary and usage of words simply exemplary…

The third quarter of the show saw the contestants pitting their wits against one another through the quiz segment aptly titled “Bestari” (Wits). Questions asked were related to the particular week’s themes and challenged the contestants on their general knowledge, mostly in the local context. I was left somewhat frustrated watching the contestants struggling to answer the questions in the two rounds they were required to answer them. I won’t say that if I were to enter the competition, I could answer all the questions or ace the rounds, but I dare say I could have at least gotten 75% of the questions right, especially the second episode where the theme was Music. I was extremely appalled that questions pertaining to our local Malay music industry were not answered satisfactorily. If they harbour hopes of being in the entertainment industry some day, then they have to keep themselves abreast of who’s who, listen more to the local radio stations, follow more local personalities and artistes on social media, watch more of the local programmes on television. This is all part of being equipped and informed as a host. Listening to the questions before answering is also an important aspect. I was left stumped when Hisyam Salimnor answered “DragonballZ” when the question that was asked was “What is the name of the popular Japanese fashion trend that depicts Anime and Manga characters?” Though most people found it funny (not me!!!), I just felt that that highlighted his weakness in not listening properly and in turn, comprehending what was asked. Oh by the way, the winner of this segment each week bags $300 for themselves!!! Easy money in my opinion.


Hisyam Salimnor and Ainur Rosyieqa found themselves eliminated from the competition in the first episode…

The last segment of the show, called the “X-Factor“, is a last throw of the dice for the contestants, to upsell themselves literally to the judges and relate to the audience why they should still remain in the competition. This segment can be considered a double-edged sword depending on how one views it. The contestants can come off as confident in how they sell or promote themselves, yet at the same time, their words and facial expressions might be misconstrued as arrogant. Some could be seen as trying too hard, whereas there were some who just forgot their lines and tripped on their words. Being a host is not easy especially during a live show. Usually they have the benefit of holding on to cue cards for reference in case they forget what they should be saying, but not these young upstarts, who had to memorise what they needed to say or at least remember the gist of their presentation content. Here, we got to see who are the naturally talented, calm and composed and who needed lots of polishing. By this round, I more or less guessed correctly who would be eliminated from the first two episodes. The ones who were eliminated were the ones that tripped on their words or did not exude confidence on their faces and overall body language. Too much uncertainty is a recipe for disaster and signaled a death knell on their involvement in the competition.


Noh Irwan and Nurmehga were the next two to be eliminated in Episode 2…

Even though we still have six more episodes (five if we were to discount this past Monday‘s episode) before crowning the winner/s, I dare say, without trying to jinx them, from the first two episodes alone, the ones who will appear in the semi-finals at least, are Fatin Taha, Hans Hamid, Fadzli Jani, Amyrah Mustafa and Haziq Halim. I know that as I speak currently, Fadzli has just been eliminated in the third episode, but he will definitely return for the Wildcard Round and I believe is a strong contender to progress to the semi-finals. Personally, I have high expectations on Farid Azhar, whom I had the opportunity to know when I covered his journey in 2016‘s Anugerah Skrin. His experience should at least put him in good stead to do even better than the last time out. So far, he has remained in his own comfort zone and not gotten out from his shell. I hope he can open up a bit more and not stick to being such a cool cat. There is a reason why the judges picked him and it is definitely not to make up the numbers. For those I had not mentioned as prospective semi-finalists, I hope they will not be discouraged and at least prove me wrong on my observations. They are not by any means, dumb or bimbotic, as some of their respective educational qualifications would testify. They just have to grasp whatever tips they receive from their mentors and judges, do lots of homework, research and study how other hosts work, to ask if they do not know, as I am sure many are willing to help dispense advice to them. My next entry will be another consolidated entry once Episode 4 ends and Group B have appeared for a second time.


Anugerah Skrin Episode 8 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 005

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 288

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???

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 722

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 892

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 1274

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 1629

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 1793

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8 2026

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


Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 018

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 119

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 613

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 299

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 499

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 684

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 971

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 1293

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 1517

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 1731

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…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 036

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 464

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 389

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 309

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 813

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 717

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1200

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1100

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1480

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1340

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1641

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 4 2016-02-16 1716

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 2 Recap…

anugerahskrin2016promoposter

(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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 001

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 243

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 045

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 346

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 182

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 651

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 253

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 858

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 416

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 095

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 755

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.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 207

As for their acting, it was probably the same as their hosting segment, with Iskandar doing much better than Yasmin. Something about Yasmin that night showed that she was playing catch-up to her other competitors. For one, her delivery of lines and emotions were not up to par and it looked like she was having confidence issues that night. Or maybe her jitters just got the better of her. As for her sparring partner Iskandar, I can see that this kind of antagonist role given to him suits him to a T. He could probably ace bad boy roles given to him from now on without breaking into much of a sweat. But like what Khairudin had pointed out, he needs to be aware of his surroundings and know where his fellow actor is moving before turning towards their direction.

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2 2016-02-02 1061

The dejected look on Mursyid‘s face was evident, whereas Yasmin would probably have expected her fate…

It is only the second episode and the first for Group B. But I believe if there were comparisons to be made between the two groups since the start of the competition, the latter group probably shaded their Group A counterparts by virtue of learning from the first episode, how they could improve on their respective performances and applying it. Which also means, the standard and learning curve would probably go up as the weeks progress, which definitely bodes well cos we want to see improvements made by all the contestants and not remain stagnant or even dropping to unwanted levels. I am still undecided if I would do a weekly assessment every week right up till the Grand Finals. I might continue doing so or I might not. It all depends on my personal commitments for the week. Till then I hope I have been honest enough with my personal observations…

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 2