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Posts tagged “Fir Rahman

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 2016 Episode 7 Recap…

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

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

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Jeff Catz and Nurul Nadia

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

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Norman Ishak and Wirda Elliesa

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

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Fido Ahdross and Syafiqah Shahlan

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

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A. Mahadi and Shida Lestaluhu…

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

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Fir Rahman and Yaya Hamid…

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

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

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

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7


LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition Promo

LalooLalangNY2016(Official promotional poster courtesy of LalooLalang By Huda Ali Facebook page)

LalooLalang Bazaar is back again this coming weekend!!! For the uninitiated, LalooLalang.com is the brainchild of local celebrity actress / host Huda Ali and ably assisted by her team, of which hubby, actor Den Sabari, is also a part of it. Apart from being an online ‘one stop shopping hub’, their main focus and objective have always been to gather online entrepreneurs, blogshops and small medium enterprises an opportunity and platform to work together. With the success of the very first LalooLalang Bazaar event held during Ramadhan back in July 2015 at The Ballroom @ East Coast by AB Shaik, the organisers have since come up with a New Year‘s edition which will be held this weekend at Aliwal Performing Arts Centre from 8-10 January 2016. Full details are on the promotional poster featured above.

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Member of Parliament, Mr. Zaqy Mohamad, launched the opening of the first Laloolalang bazaar on 4 July 2015

I was fortunate to have been invited to the opening launch of the very first LalooLalang Bazaar on 4th July 2015. I was also impressed by the huge turnout that day as well as the following day when I came again with my family to do our own spot of Hari Raya shopping. There was a variety of stuff being sold not only catering to the fairer gender but the men as well. A lot of the things being sold were also cheap and affordable and best of all, the vendors and stall proprietors, who were made up of mostly personalities from our local Malay entertainment scene, were patient and always armed with smiles, making the customers feel at home and at the same time apologetic when we were not able to purchase anything from them.

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Dyn Norahim, Sufie Rashid, Sheiryn Aisiqa and Nity Baizura joined by staff from Mediacorp Suria and Manja Magazine in promoting the Hari Raya edition of the local Malay entertainment magazine, where local celebrities shared their cooking and baking recipes for the Hari Raya festivities…

Based on the official LalooLalang Facebook page, which has been updating the list of vendors who will be involved this time round, there will be at least thirty vendors, a two-fold increase in the number of proprietors from the very first event. Where Beijing 101 Pte Ltd, Air Asia and Pokka Pte Ltd were the main sponsors of the last event, this time, Elegance Concept and Nippon Paint have joined forces with Pokka Pte Ltd to make this next edition a reality. Not only was the first LalooLalang Bazaar event a time for vendors to earn that little bit extra in light of the festive period, they also did their part in donating some of the earnings and proceeds to Muslim Kidney Action Association (MKAC), LalooLalang‘s beneficiary organisation.

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 The bazaar was given a touch of glamour with the presence of Malaysian-based actor Aaron Aziz, who was there to lend his support to wife Diyana Halik, who shared a collaborative effort with celebrity make-up artiste Fatimah Mohsin…

This New Year‘s edition promises something a little different with an Indie / Hipster-ish concept. And of course most of the vendors from the first event like ATP by Ariati, Rosita by Rosita Hussin, By NurFudge will be back. They will be joined this time by the likes of Studio Cafe, ChulopSG by The Syarifs, Kidz Runway and many more adding on to the list of personalities working in tandem with the bazaar event. I see this bazaar event as a means for vendors to complement one another with what they have to offer. Also, it is nice to see some of the local personalities coming together under one roof to make it successful and supporting one another. I wish for nothing but success for everyone involved, and may their respective business ventures flourish. For more information on the upcoming LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition event, do head on to their official Facebook page. For now, enjoy the photographs I took from the first event back in July 2015


APM2015 Snapshots…

APM 2015 - Media Release(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I return once again with another APM2015 entry, my second instalment of this year’s edition. This time, I’ll be sharing miscellaneous shots I took during the “Red Carpet” event, the “Walk of the Stars” segment as well as a few shots I took post-event. Unfortunately there was no post-event reception this year and the “Walk of the Stars” segment had to be cut short due to time constraints before the event proper began, so there were not many photographs that I took and certainly less of a variety as compared to previous years.

Also since I am basically a one-man team, I had to leave the “Red Carpet” event at the hall’s entrance to take shots of the events transpiring on stage. In years past, I would have broken my entries into several postings, but this year, I’ll just post my miscellaneous snapshots under one entry, with my review coming much later, as I still have five thousand-odd photographs I need to sieve through and pick the best ones to be featured. Hope this filler entry before my review would help to satiate your thirst to view the photographs of the event. I will not put a timeframe to the publication of my review entry but I hope I will not take another month to post it up… 😛