Anugerah 2017 Semi-Finals Recap…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snapshots of Anugerah 2017 Semi-Finals

 

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016 Media Conference…

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Due to my heavy work commitments last year, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015 (APM2015) did not get a proper coverage be it in terms of my customary annual review as well as the usual promo leading up to the event in this domain of mine, even though I did share photographs of the Walk of the Stars and Red Carpet segments during the actual event night. I also did not attend the media conference held at Orchard Hotel when the organisers released the list of nominees back then. Hence I would like to apologise if any of you had waited for me to post them up but ended up not seeing any on this blogsite. I’ll try to make it up this year, which is why this particular post takes precedence, less than a fortnight before the event makes its long-awaited return. This year, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016 (APM2016), debuts at the newly-opened Theatre @ Mediacorp at Stars Avenue on 30 September 2016.

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Fiza O and A B Shaik were the hosts of the media conference..

As with previous years, before the event proper, there will always be the traditional media conference to announce the nominees of the upcoming awards show. This year, the media conference was again held at the premises of Orchard Hotel on 20 July 2016 and was hosted by RIA 89.7FM‘s Fiza O and Warna 94.2FM‘s A B Shaik. Guests who mostly made up of local artistes, came to the event with high hopes of being nominated or at the very least, to soak in the atmosphere. For those still new to the scene, it was an eye-opening experience for them to just be in the same room as other household names, an opportunity for them to get to know one another and have mini networking sessions amongst themselves. Guests that day were also treated to performances by newbies Haikal Ali, Din Ilango and The Chapters, as well as Kalysa Aziz. All four displayed their worth on stage and personally, yours truly thoroughly enjoyed their respective performances.

apm2016-media-conference-055The panel consisting of Mr. Hassan Salleh, Assistant Vice-President (Malay Broadcast Division) & Manja Editor, Ms. Zakiah Halim, Chief of Malay Broadcast Division and Dr. Edmund Lam, Chief Executive Officer of COMPASS, addressing the audience on the experience of selecting the nominees as well as giving nuggets on what to expect in this year’s awards show.

Looking at the final list of nominees this year, I personally feel the local pool of talents were unfortunate not to receive more nominations especially in the regional categories. Last year, Iman’s League made the all-important breakthrough for the Singapore acts and won the Best Band (Regional) award over more established names like Noah, Sheila On 7, Akim & The Magistret and Bunkface. Many netizens especially those in Singapore wondered who they were and cried foul over their win. Personally I was disgusted by the reaction as I thought national pride would at least overcome any emotions over their own personal favourites. Iman’s League though they are quite under the radar here, they have since made inroads in other Asian countries like Korea and even Malaysia, albeit in the underground scene. Their win gave so much hope and inspiration for other acts to follow suit that anything is possible if the quality of song is on par with the other established regional acts.

apm2016-media-conference-012Strong support and attendance by our local pool of talents and representatives at the media conference…

This year, the organisers of APM2016 (Mediacorp Suria, Warna 94.2FM, RIA 89.7FM and Manja Magazine) received 420 nominations from the various music distributors and record labels from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Nominees are not just solely from the three countries mentioned. Last year, the awards show received their very first nominees from Brunei (Aziz Harun) and Philippines (Mark Adam). This year, Shunpei Nakagawa became the very first Japanese to be nominated through his collaboration with Malaysia‘s Indah Ruhaila with their song “Aishiteru Selamanya” amongst the five nominees in the Best Collaboration (Artiste) category. Hark back to 2012 and you will note Cassidy Anderson from Australia as another nominee from outside the Nusantara region. As the name “Planet Muzik” implies, nominees from other countries are much welcomed. Speaking of Aziz Harun, he will be the third Bruneian after Faiz Nawi (2005) and Jazz Hayat (2013) to make a performance on the APM stage this coming 30th September 2016 (APM Wikipedia page admin please take note!!!).

apm2016-media-conference-074Haikal Ali‘s “Bertemu Kembali” is such a haunting hit, I will not be surprised if he bags either Best New Artiste (Male) or Best Singapore Song awards or even both. His appearances at all three media conferences for APM2016 (including in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta) showed the organiser’s confidence in his potential…

I had a small chat with Ms. Zakiah Halim during the reception afterwards on what we can expect during the show as well as voicing out some of my doubts over the choice of venue for this year’s event. I had attended three shows already at the new venue earlier this year (“Anda Mahu Rok?“, Sinar Lebaran 2016 and Raya Oh Yeah!) and somehow the place does not give me good vibes in terms of seating arrangement and how much the stage and auditorium as a whole resembles a school hall setting. Without giving much away except for a coy smile and a twinkle in her eyes, Ms. Zakiah Halim only let on that they will do what they can to make the stage more accomodating both to the performers as well as audience. She did elaborate however, on the choice of performers this year. As you will note from the promotional poster, a bulk of the performers are not the same faces you see year in and out. In that respect, it is a refreshing change of line-up. And as always, amongst the performers, there will be deserving winners in their respective categories.

apm2016-media-conference-104Sufie Rashid, together with Taufik Batisah, are the two who got the most nominations amongst the local acts with six each…

Anyway, with less than a week to go before voting your favourites in the popular categories (local and regional) ends, let me just remind you to do the yeoman service for them and log on to Toggle.SG and vote before 23rd September 2016 23:59hrs. Every year you’ll get the sour grapes complaining about undeserving winners, but if you don’t vote, or expect others to do it for you, then you just have to suck it in when the final results are announced on the actual awards night. I did receive several invites via my personal inbox / private messages in my social media accounts from artistes who were nominated in the popular categories to either vote for them or help pitch in for them. I have to apologise that being a media outlet, I must be fair and neutral without showing any personal favours to anyone. What I just did was remind those reading this entry to go out and cast your votes for your respective favourites. I can only afford sufficient enough gesture like this as my way of helping.

apm2016-media-conference-024A group photograph with all the local artistes, representatives of record labels and artiste managements, sponsors and organisers of APM2016

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016 is presented to you once again by One Drop Perfumes. Main sponsors are Pos T.K.I. and Sensuous By Shannz (Red Carpet event), Co-sponsors – House of Dre and Official Transportation by Uncle Sam Auto Trading Pte. Ltd. Official broadcasters as in previous years are Astro Ria and NET Mediatama Indonesia (NET TV). The awards show is supported by Media Development Authority (MDA) and Composers & Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) and is brought to you by Mediacorp Suria, Warna 94.2FM, RIA 89.7FM and Manja Magazine. The awards show will be telecast live via Mediacorp Suria on 30th September 2016 at 9:00pm. You can also catch the livestreaming of the show via Toggle.SG, which includes the Red Carpet event at 8:30pm, and will not be televised on Suria, or the simulcast via the two radio stations Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM.

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apm-2016-final-nominees-list-page-005(List of nominees courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Media Conference

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It’s been too long that I have been away. But I am trying to make a concerted effort to be more pro-active, especially since my favourite annual event is around the corner. Which probably explains why you are reading this post after seeing such a long hiatus in this domain of mine. Anyway, to all the SleeQ fans or those who are curious to view photographs of the recent wedding event of Alyph SleeQ and Azzah Fariha, I apologise that you have stumbled into this blog only to be disappointed. Yours truly was not invited to the wedding, hence I am unable to share the joyous moments with you. But am sure you could view them elsewhere, such is the power of social media these days. Anyway my heartiest congratulations go out to the newlyweds. May Allah bless this union till eternity and beyond. 🙂

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Simple but lovely set-up of the stage…

Right, back to my favourite event. I was invited to attend the media conference which was held at Grand Mercure Roxy Singapore on 2 September 2014. The last time the organisers (Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division) did it outside of the Caldecott Broadcast Centre to announce the list of nominees for the upcoming event was two years ago at Rendezvous Hotel. This time they managed to secure a bigger space as compared to the last time they held it outdoors and I loved the place as it was conducive to move around as compared to two years ago. This year, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 (APM2014) will once again return to my favourite venue, Suntec Convention Centre on 17 October 2014, exactly a year from the last event. For a start, the official logo has been given a fresh revamp from the ones we’ve seen over the past twelve editions.

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The trophies up for grabs on 17 October 2014

Into its thirteenth year, APM2014 once again will be honouring the best and most popular of today’s hottest talents in the region’s Malay music industry. The two and a half hours show will be telecast live on Mediacorp Suria (Singapore), Astro Ria (Malaysia and Brunei) and Net. (Indonesia) as well as Mediacorp radio stations, RIA 89.7FM and Warna 94.2FM, on 17 October 2014 at 9pm (GMT +8) and 8pm (Western Indonesian Time GMT +7). The event is ably supported by Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) and Indonesian Music Awards (Anugerah Musik IndonesiaAMI). A total of 19 awards will be presented this year, an increase of one category from last year.

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Hosts for the day – Aura Shai and A. B. Shaik

As is the norm of previous APM media conferences, this year’s event was once again graced by Dr. Edmund Lam, Chief Executive Officer of COMPASS, Ms. Zakiah Halim, Senior Vice-President, Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division and Mr. Hassan Salleh, Assistant Vice-President of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division. Before the event started in earnest, the guests, which mostly made up of our own local acts, were treated to performances by Idi Hakim, of Dinodi fame, and his wife Erma Maulood with their current radio hit “Setia Cinta” as well as Haqym Mokhtar with his current single “Semuanya Alright“, which has already risen up the local radio charts. For those not in the know, Haqym is a former member of trio SupaMusiq, which has so far been disbanded due to the group members having different personal commitments. Ironically, the last time I watched them perform as a group, was the media conference back in 2012 at Rendezvous Hotel.

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The husband and wife pair, Idi Hakim and Erma Maulood performed their hit single, “Setia Cinta“…

The organisers received about 639 song submissions this year, almost doubled from the previous year, but it has to be said that the qualifying period for songs produced to be submitted in this year’s event has been extended by an additional six months, so as to make it more concurrent with the times. As mentioned earlier, there is an additional category for this year’s awards event. The Best Collaboration category has now been segmented into two categories – Best Collaboration (Artiste) and Best Collaboration (SongArtiste, Lyricist, Composer). As highly expected from my review last year, “Kalau Aku Kaya” has been nominated for the Best Duo / Group and Best Collaboration (Artiste) categories, a testament to what a smart song it is and the equally panache delivery by both Awi Rafael and Altimet.

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Haqym Mokhtar didn’t disappoint when he performed “Semuanya Alright“…

But amongst the regional categories, it heartens me to see a number of our local acts making inroads when in the past, we wonder if our artistes or songs would ever make it along with their counterparts from the other two countries. Granted, the Best Male and Best Female categories still have a long way to go for our acts to challenge and be amongst the best five, but they are definitely bridging the gaps in other categories as seen by the nominations of Tujuhband, Aryan Band, Ryan Sufiyan, Sufie Rashid, Aisyah Aziz and Reyza Hamizan in their respective categories. Am actually pleased with Ryan Sufiyan‘s nomination. Here is an example of a guy who never gives up. I remember him being a serial reality show contestant, Anugerah, Singapore Idol and God knows what else, he has joined them all only to falter in the earlier stages. Even if he doesn’t win, it is a signal that hard work and patience will eventually pay off in due time. So for those wannabes out there, do not lose hope when you do not make it. There will always be other avenues for you to prove your worth.

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Dr. Edmund Lam addressing the guests during the media conference. Seated next to him were Mr. Hassan Salleh (left) and Ms. Zakiah Halim (centre)…

Speaking of wannabes, and even established artistes, Ms. Zakiah Halim made a very clear point that day. She urged all local artistes to maintain a degree of professionalism whether it is for rehearsals or during actual shows. Always give off your best, all the time and do not hold back, even if it’s a mere soundcheck or rehearsal. Of course, I would like to add about punctuality and respect as well. Respect for those interviewing you or those watching you. I did mention in my review back in 2011 for artistes to refrain from chewing gum before / during a performance or when accepting awards onstage and I believe the same reminder could be applied after attending the recent media conference event. Maybe those who attended the media conference and reading this will agree with me and understand what I am trying to convey.

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Group photo with all the local acts who attended the media conference event…

So who is performing on 17 October 2014??? As of now, I understand the likes of Sufie Rashid, Aisyah Aziz, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Hazama, NOAH, Tulus, Judika, Maria Calista and Cakra Khan have been confirmed and unconfirmed news that Malaysia‘s Raja Lawak second season winner, Nabil, will be one of the hosts for the night. More names will be confirmed in due time but just looking at the amount of star names on display is enough to whet my appetite as all of them are guaranteed to leave you astounded with their vocal capabilities and showmanship. Tickets priced at $28, $48, $68 and $88 (including GST) can be purchased now at all SISTIC outlets and online at www.sistic.com.sg. This year, the $28 tickets have been introduced to entice more students as well as full-time National Servicemen to attend the event. So what are you waiting for??? Grab your tickets now!!!

APM2014 List of Nominations

List of nominations graphic photos courtesy of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division

Snapshots of APM2014 Media Conference