Ratu Episod Three Recap…

Ratu 2012 Episode 3 2012-12-11 001

This past Tuesday 11 December 2012, the third episode of Ratu aired live on our television screens with the theme of the week being “Sports“. A slight change in judging personnel was made with Hafeez Glamour away in Taiwan on a working-cum-leisure trip with some of his ardent radio listeners. In his place was Hanis Hussey, the guest judge of the first episode. Joining Hanis and Nuraliza Osman on the panel was Muhammad Yusoff Shah Khamaruddin, former national Silat exponent and also a one-time info-ed host on Suria. As opposed to the previous week’s episode where the contestants were put through challenges relating to Malay Culture (making traditional Malay Kuih and performing a simple Malay dance routine), the challenges this past week were aimed at testing the girls on their physical capabilities, to see how they adapt at being rugged to balance their demure and prim image.

Ratu 2012 Episode 3 2012-12-11 208

I have to apologise to the girls cos I believe some of them saw me giggling away when they were up on stage in their Silat outfits, which were sponsored by Sports Silat Academy. I was not laughing at their respective moves, but more to how they wore their outfits. Some had tied their belts slightly above their stomachs and it looked quite amusing, at least to me. Kind of reminded me of Obelix, the rotund character in the Asterix cartoon series. Ok I know I’m being slightly mean here, but that’s besides the point. I observed some were rushing through their motions and their facial expressions gave away the fact that they were calculating their steps, while some others were looking down all the time. The ones who impressed me in this segment were Nur Aqilah Kamaruddin (Aqilah) and especially Tiara Atyra. The movements they made were a combination of grace and vigour. It was the perfect balance so to speak. But I just wonder why did some have simpler routines, and others had more difficult ones???

Ratu 2012 Episode 3 2012-12-11 160

I cannot comment much on the futsal segment as it was done outdoors and did not show a full account on how each of them fared other than the fact that Risliani won the Ratu-of-the-match award. My only complaint for this segment was some of the girls looked like they lacked enough sleep the previous night, with tired eyes and all, with some looking battered even before the game began. It didn’t exactly look flattering on them. As for the question-and-answer segments, I noticed there were a lot of similarities and overlapping of answers from one contestant to another. What could set them apart in this case and for future episodes are probably their confidence factor and how well they deliver their speech. I noted improvements being made by Jannah Jakasha and Surya Rahmanty as compared to the previous week. Confidence was just oozing out of the former while a bit of research was evident in the latter’s answer.

Ratu 2012 Episode 3 2012-12-11 360

Two eliminations were made by the end of Episode Three. I was kinda shocked to know that Sheril Izzyana whom I had earmarked as a potential dark horse of the competition, was the second to be eliminated along with Natasha Tan. It was a bit of a shocker, as I was generally impressed by her showings the previous week and thought she did not do too shabby this week either. Maybe it was the Silat segment that brought down her points, we will never know. Cynics of Natasha Tan on the other hand, might criticise her for her lack of proficiency in the Malay language, but I did observe that she did try her utmost best to find the right words to say throughout the competition, even if that eventually contributed to her elimination. Her over-eagerness could have also betrayed her poise during the Q&A segment. By the way, I will not reveal who my personal favourites are or who I think can progress further as I do not have a definitive list in mind, other than whoever that I mentioned as potentially good, is reflective of their individual showings week by week.

Ratu 2012 Episode 3 2012-12-11 944

Eiss was the guest artiste of the week…

So what’s next for the eliminated contestants so far? I cannot give a definite insight on the two earlier ones, Ziza and Diana, as their elimination was too early for me to learn their respective strengths. In Natasha Tan, I observed that she has an infectious and bubbly personality and off-camera, she is the livewire amongst the girls. If she harbours enough interest in the scene, then maybe what she can do is polish up on her language proficiency and join any performing arts company that can hone her interest. She would actually make a good host for a children-related programme due to her personality and energy, and I mean no disrespect when I say this.  In Sheril‘s case, I noted in my last recap that she has a voice suited for radio, television hosting and even news-reading. She can also train up on hosting skills and give it a shot if there are future auditions or openings for those positions I just mentioned. It is definitely not the end of their journey once they are eliminated, provided they still have the passion for it. A fine example I can give is RIA 89.7FM‘s Dzar Ismail, whose potential was discovered when he joined Anugerah Skrin 2010 but was eliminated halfway through the competition.

Ratu 2012 Episode 3 2012-12-11 1135

On the social media front, I have been a silent observer of some of the photographs that the contestants have uploaded in their respective accounts and read some of the comments made by their friends, family members and supporters. While freedom of speech is welcomed, there should also be a certain amount of tact and respect observed. I saw some unnecessary criticisms made towards the other contestants and though I do not wish to repeat what were said or who said them, I just hope that such comments will not affect the friendship and sisterhood that has been forged amongst the girls. It would be a huge pity that their friendship becomes strained just because some of their supporters / loved ones leave hurtful comments towards the others and in turn might breed hidden contempt and dissent amongst the rest. No doubt it is a competition, but it should not turn out to be negative in any aspects. The bond that the contestants share from my month-long observation of them is a positive one. Let’s keep it that way!!!

Ratu First Episode Recap

Mediacorp Suria‘s latest brain-child, kicked off this past Tuesday 27 November 2012, with sixteen beauties vying for the coveted title of “Ratu“. For those who are still wondering what is the purpose of this reality competition being held and how it differs from previous ones in search of singers, actors and hosts, well the television station is on the lookout for Malay females who embrace modernity and progressive thinking, while keeping to the essence of Malay culture and traditions. In summary, they are looking for a fresh face who could be groomed to be the new face of the television station. In time to come, she could be prolific in hosting, acting or even singing if she shows the necessary potential to succeed. And of course, with the tie-up with Metrowealth International Group (MIG) from Malaysia, our new face will also be expected to be marketed across the Causeway.

Sezairi Sezali opening the show with “Dara“…

Episode One of Ratu began with our third Singapore Idol, Sezairi Sezali, performing “Dara“, the classic evergreen hit made famous by one of Indonesia‘s R&B kings Harvey Malaiholo. It has to be said that till now at the time of typing this entry, the song has been playing in my head over and over again, simply because Sezairi did the song a lot of justice, through his own interpretation. It was also apt that the song was used to accompany and introduce the sixteen beauties of this competition, who sashayed their way out to the watching live audience and viewers at home, decked in maxi-dresses and styled reminiscent of Greek goddesses you might have watched via period drama series or even films depicting medieval times. I only have one word to describe their outfit: Stunning!!!

The hosts – Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff…

My only complaint for the opening segment was the quick pace that the girls were told to make whilst walking, which prevented me from taking good shots of everyone, most notably Natasha Tan and Jannah Jakasha, whom I failed to capture a single and proper shot of them. I cannot blame them as they were prompted to move fast by the stage choreographer who was seated next to me. Speaking of which, I have to apologise if this entry has mostly bad quality photographs featured, unlike those you have been so used to viewing on this domain. It was my fault that I forgot to set my camera settings properly that night, so a lot of the photographs did not turn out that well. I’m hoping this was a one-off and that future weeks could see a better output and quality from my camera.

The judging panel consisted of Nuraliza Osman, Hafeez Glamour and Hanis Hussey…

The girls were to make a second appearance later on in the show wearing Kebaya outfits which I believe have been tweaked to look modern. They then did a short catwalk on stage when Sezairi came back onstage to introduce to us his new single titled “Sayang“, which has every potential to be a radio hit. But some of the girls’ Kebaya outfits did not resonate much with yours truly as they showed quite a bit more flesh than the eyes could take, as opposed to the first one where all of them looked demure, yet regal. Since this is a show that is supposed to “keep the essence of Malay culture and traditions”, maybe a bit more cloth on them wouldn’t hurt that much. It is already quite disturbing to see armchair critics panning the show as nothing more than a “flesh parade”. But then again, what do I know about fashion???

It is too early to judge or slate the girls and competition on its virgin episode, simply because they were not given the opportunity to speak much other than short one-liners during their first outdoor challenge. Most good and versatile actor-hosts started from scratch, none more evident than the current competition’s resident hosts Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff, who were products of reality competitions themselves in the past. One can only get better through time, some take a few years to bloom, while some just soar the moment they take off. But not everyone is the same. The first challenge where the contestants had to style one another up, was not a good barometer nor enough to judge them on their fashion sense nor their linguistic and intellectual skills. Likewise to judge them on their respective catwalks, as everyone should know, save for a handful who have had modelling experiences prior to joining this competition, the rest have little to zero knowledge. But the mentors and judges did praise them and said they saw improvements since the first time the girls walked into the auditions.

Sezairi introduced the audience to his new single “Sayang”…

I am sure in the weeks to come, the audience and viewers are going to give these girls hell for their proficiency, or perhaps lack-thereof, in speaking the Malay language. Already the other day, I’ve read and seen comments online shooting down the two lady judges for not speaking the language well. Even someone who speaks the language well, like Hafeez Glamour, was not spared either, albeit from a different angle. The girls know what they are in for and they have to learn quickly, seeing how harsh the industry is and with many keyboard warriors speaking their minds on social media like Twitter and Facebook. In the case of Natasha Tan, I heard the other day when eight of the contestants were live on RIA 89.7FM, that she had studied Mandarin all her life and this is a new game for her altogether, a challenge in itself to speak the Malay language. It is good that someone like her is showing the willingness to learn as the competition progresses and likewise I hope all contestants will be given the benefit of doubt the moment they open their mouths to speak.

We cannot deny the fact that living in this age and time, we are constantly thinking in English and at times we struggle to put in proper words / sentence structure in our own mother tongue, myself included. Through their rehearsals and weekly challenges at outdoor locations, I believe the girls would have some idea on what kind of questions will be asked. They might take a moment to jot them down or make mental notes, and if they dunno the meaning of the words, they can quickly Google the meanings or counter-check with one another. It’s all about self-initiative. I know Major David Teo said during the media conference that it is ok if they are not able to speak the language well, using Maya Karin as a point of reference when she first started off, but it is also important to be able to be comfortable and at ease speaking formally. Maybe they can have a few English words thrown in, but it should be kept to its absolute minimum. A gentle reminder to the girls, please do not speak with a slang. You will get instant bombardment and definitely turn would-be voters (for the Ratu Popularity title) off. Speak like how you speak the language at home. It does not have to be in Bahasa Baku, but you should also not sound like you have been living in the States since you were born. 😛

The whole auditorium sang the birthday song for Nor Aishah Ahmad (fourth from right) who turned 22 this past Tuesday

Cynics of this blog might wonder why am I changing tunes when in previous reality competitions, I have been very quick to slate the contestants. The answer is simple and one I share with the judging panel. It is only the first episode, I do not see the need to go on an all-out assault on their fashion sense, linguistic and intellectual skills. At least not yet (You have been forewarned, girls… :)). In the case of Anugerah and Anugerah Skrin, it’s either you have it or you don’t, and if you were to sing off-key or pitchy for example, then it is a no-brainer to call a spade, a spade. I do however need to reiterate a call I made in my media conference entry. I beseech (this is quite the “in” word after the first episode :P) the team of make-up artistes and stylists to do some justice to the girls in terms of their make-up and hair done. Some of them either had too much powder / make-up on their faces or their hair was not done to suit their age / outlook. I might not know much about dolling up nor styling, but at least make them look like rightful queens and not bridal models (Am certainly not looking down on bridal models here. Please don’t get me wrong here. Was referring to the kind of make-up…) please. Sometimes less is more, and I don’t mean the outfits they wear.

And so the competition has begun, and voting for the “Ratu Popularity” title is opened over at Mediacorp Suria‘s Facebook page. You can cast your vote on who you feel should be rightfully awarded as the most popular “Ratu“. Closing date will be on the day of the Grand Finals itself on 15 January 2013. Before I end, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the eight contestants (Nur Aqilah, Ayura, Natasha Tan, Fadiana Zulkifli, Jannah Jakasha, Elfiana Ismail, Fatin Amira & Nor Aishah Ahmad) who had gone live on RIA 89.7FM this past Tuesday. During their live interview, they stole a few seconds to thank yours truly for my tips and advice which I have dispensed in my previous entry and through Twitter. It was a nice and unexpected gesture and I was certainly caught off-guard. But if it was meant to sweeten my future entries on the competition, hahaha we will cross the bridge when the time comes. I have to be professional in my approach and show no special favours, yet at the same time I will try to understand the difficulties that they go through when assessing and commenting on their subsequent appearances…

P.S. An inquisitive question for the production team: Is there a difference between “Ofis” and “Pejabat“???