APM2016 Snapshots

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Artistes from Paranormal TalentsAyda Jebat, Haikal Ali, Aisyaah Aziz and the company’s chief Melakaboy

Back with my second instalment. I actually wanted to post this entry up this past Wednesday but got caught up with some personal matters, hence the delay in publishing this entry. For those who are in my Facebook contact list or linked to those whom I had tagged, you’re probably the more fortunate ones cos you get to view these photographs much earlier when I uploaded them early this past week. Anyway these photographs are just a selected few and not everything that I had shared on Facebook. Personally I feel that I did not snap that many photographs during the Red Carpet event, the Pre-Event Cocktail Reception and the Post-Event Reception, as my attention that night was taken up by chatting with some of the artistes and people in the industry. I only realised how few my photographs were when I uploaded all of them onto my PC, hence why I combined them all into one entry. Hope it will suffice for now as I continue to edit and select the 3000-odd photographs I snapped that night and of course come up with my review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Review…

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I purposely post this entry a week after the competition series ended for the fact that I do not foresee much entries that I will be making between now and March, so a little breather is more than welcome. Afterall, I have been quite diligent with my weekly reviews over the course of the competition. I know most of you who are not linked to me via social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram would not see the photographs I snapped, unless you follow the contestants themselves. So fret not, because this penultimate review on Mediacorp Suria‘s inaugural beauty-cum-talent search competition will have hundreds of them featured, even more than what I normally upload for your viewing pleasure. So where do I begin??? With the choice of the winner, Fatin Amira, of course!!!

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Like the first episode, Sezairi Sezali opened the show, this time performing Dato’ Sheila Majid‘s “Ratu“…

Fatin‘s coronation as the first winner of Ratu was in truth, no surprise to yours truly, and I’m sure to regular viewers of the series as well. She has been very consistent since Episode 4, has a very strong grasp and understanding of the Malay language, confident, composed and dare I say, a certain air of nonchalance which sets her apart from her fellow competitors. I did not say explicitly who were my favourites to win but along with Wida Alisa, both of them were my personal two choices to win the competition, with no disrespect to the other finalists, even though physical beauty-wise, the others had the edge. It was a matter of who was to blink or make that odd mistake that would sway the odds against their favour. I did say in my preview of the Grand Finals, the one who would win would be the one who maintained their poise and composure and not be let down by small mistakes and this was true, as Fatin aced almost every segment that night.

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Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff‘s onstage chemistry was one of the plus points of the competition series…

I saw several comments online from sour grapes who questioned the choice of anointing Fatin as the winner as she is not as pretty as some of her fellow contestants. The aim of this competition was not merely to choose who is the most good-looking or who is the most popular. The aim was to choose an all-round winner, someone who is not only good-looking but a person of holistic substance. She has to be intelligent and media savvy, confident in the way she carries herself and have a certain degree of raw potential that could be polished in time to come as a television personality in hosting or acting. In Fatin Amira, I have no doubt that she was the right choice by the judges who carried the heavy responsibility of choosing a winner who could be someone we can be proud of in time to come – a beauty with brains. Above all, I am convinced that Fatin is ready to face the media across the Causeway, whom we all know are more harsh than our own and will always be ready to find faults and not give an inch, what more a yard.

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The Top 6 Finalists!!!

Why I said I am convinced, is how consistent and calm she has been at answering questions throughout the competition. Even when she was interviewed by Hafeez Glamour in his Go Glam radio programme the day after her win, she answered several difficult questions with ease, even those questions that were posed to her fellow finalists during the Grand Finals itself. When she appeared a second time during Dzar Ismail and Nity Baizura‘s Personality Zoom segment last Friday, I posed a challenging question on how she would react if the President of Seniman were to question her credibility and presence in their scene. Her answer suitably impressed me, saying that she is new and will no doubt learn from the people she is working with to improve on her flaws. Opportunities are also available everywhere for people to work and add value to a certain industry, no matter which country they are working at. She ended by saying that people should just widen their mentality and not be hampered by selfish interests. No doubt she is ready and feisty, willing to face the challenges in store.

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The panel of judges sharing a laugh when Aaron Aziz (hidden) made his point across…

I will not put down Wida Alisa for her gaffe that night. I think enough of criticisms online have been hurled at her and I am sure she did not mean what she said on purpose. We all make mistakes, it was just unfortunate that such an error was made on live television, under such pressure-cooker situations. Most of those who have hurled their criticisms are the same people who will equally freeze or make mistakes themselves if they swapped shoes with her. It is not easy to look pretty and answer random questions thrown at you. What more to translate in Malay when we think daily in English. Likewise there was not much wrong with Wan Anisah‘s final answers, other than the fact that it did not resonate with our community and culture. The prerogative was hers to answer as best she could and one that suited her personal interests and personality. No one should put her down for her honesty, at least she did not lie her way just to score points with the judges.

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The suave Awi Rafael performing “Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta“, his second hit single after “Pulanglah“…

It was also good that the finalists were put through a short acting segment to suss their potential in this particular area, since they will after all, go on to star in a movie produced by Metrowealth International Group. They are raw as evident from their voice intonation and static delivery, having no prior background before this, hence one cannot expect a flawless performance. Even most new actors and actresses in Malaysian movies have been panned as wooden before, but they built on the opportunities given to them and improved over the years. Likewise the same can be expected from our Top 3, with Fatin Amira and Wan Anisah the better performers that night in the acting skit they were involved in. Even though the camera was not focused on them, what impressed me was they kept the scene flowing with their facial and body expressions. For that, we have to thank the likes of Mastura Ahmad, Zaidi Ibrahim and Seriwahyuni Jaes for imparting useful acting knowledge to the girls.

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Fatin Amira, the deserving winner of Ratu!!!

Ratu has been a relative success in my opinion, no matter what the critics might say. Critics are always willing to give their piece of mind at anything and everything, but almost always failing to give substantial alternatives and suggestions on how to better the show. This is the first of its kind which Mediacorp Suria has embarked upon, and naturally, glitches are to be expected. Definitely the producers will do a review on how they can better the next edition or if there is another one of its kind, but for the males instead. This is a new venture on uncharted waters, which no matter the storm they faced, at the end of the day, the ship still reached its harbour safe and sound, if I were to put it in such analogy. The opportunity and experience given to up-and-coming beauties was definitely enriching for all the contestants and I am sure they came out better and confident ladies. This was evident in their catwalk during the Grand Finals. Oh how beautiful all sixteen of them looked, especially the opening segment and one wondered why were they not dolled up like that since the first episode???

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Group photo of the contestants, judges, hosts and guests-of-honour after the show ended…

It has been fun covering the competition over 61 days, from the time the media conference was called to introduce the sixteen of them, right down to the Grand Finals. I gained sixteen new friends as a result, all charming and sweet ladies and I wish nothing but the best to all of them on their subsequent endeavours henceforth. If they still harbour hopes on entering the entertainment industry, then I suggest that they sign up with the various local performing arts / theatre groups to hone their craft, learn the ropes from experienced hands and come back for another shot when another reality competition comes around. It does not have to be in acting, because I know some have talents in dance or having the voice for hosting. Do not limit themselves to just acting because with their respective strengths, they can expand and try viable alternative avenues. Anything is possible. To Fatin Amira, congratulations once again on being crowned the first ever winner of Ratu in Mediacorp Suria‘s history!!! I do look forward to seeing her grace our television and silver screens very soon!!!

Ratu Episode Five Recap…

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The fifth episode of Ratu was once again held at the smaller Studio 4 this past Tuesday, 25 December 2012, with the theme of the week celebrating “womanhood” and mothers in general. Not surprisingly, when we touch upon the topic of mothers and think of our own, we can’t help but perhaps shed a tear or two when we are reminded of all the sacrifices and hardships that they had gone through to bring us up. And this was very much evident during one of the segments, where the contestants were reciting the poetry extolling the virtues of mothers out there and some were seen tearing or had their eyes glistening with tears, which they tried to fight away from trickling down their cheeks. It was a good tribute to have, but at the same time I also observed who was able to capture the mood and emotion well, which could prove in future whether they are able to replicate when they embark in their journey in the entertainment scene as movie / drama actresses.

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Rahayu Ridwan was a fresh change for once, being the only female guest artiste so far in the competition series…

Our guest judge this past week, Rita Zahara, was a breath of fresh air in my opinion. No disrespect to all the previous guest judges we have had over the last four episodes but I think she is what the competition needs, someone who is extremely comfortable being bilingual, who gave valuable insights as well as advice, and not hesitant / struggling with the things she wants to say. The one that should resonate in the minds of the contestants was the one Rita pointed out that she wanted to see how warm and sincere the girls were with their smiles, not only on stage but also when she observed them backstage. In a very harsh industry known for its backstabbings, dishonesty, insincere and fake outlook by some bad apples out there, the advice she gave was one which the girls and even us, can apply in our daily lives. We might be going through some tough times, but a smile especially towards others, can be a very significant gesture or even cure.

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Judges Nuraliza Osman, Hafeez Glamour and Rita Zahara

This past Tuesday saw another round of culling of the Top 10 contestants. Coincidentally, the two eliminated contestants, Jannah Jakasha and Elfiana Ismail, happened to be the only cabin crews in the competition. While the former’s ousting was kind of expected due to her being quite raw, I was a bit surprised with Elfiana‘s elimination as she had been one of the more confident contestants coming into this past week’s round. Fatin Amira seems to be gaining momentum as the weeks go by, and based on what I had said the previous week about us getting an idea on who might be a possible Top 4 candidate within the next two weeks, I think it might be safe to say that she has the attributes to make that round, bar any hiccups along the way. Since Sheril Izzyana‘s elimination, Fatin Amira has taken over the mantle of someone with the voice for radio / television and Wida Alisa is also not far behind in this aspect. Tiara Atyra also deserves a mention for her composed answers.

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Hosts Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff

But there is also another name which I feel might be a possible Top 4 candidate or go on to star in future Metrowealth International Group‘s productions. No I will not mention her identity, other than this being my personal observation and should not be taken seriously by the contestants, or even you reading this. The other day I read a Berita Minggu article on Atikah Suhaime, who was scouted by Major David Teo of Metrowealth International Group via Instagram and who had also attended the media conference to introduce the sixteen contestants of Ratu. The article stated that Major Teo had left comments on Atikah‘s photos and subsequently invited her for screen tests. I noticed this past week that Major Teo had left smiley emoticons on a contestant’s photograph/s, a possible indicator that he might have set his sights on giving her an opportunity like Atikah.

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The girls in their Zalora outfits. Very chic!!!

Though it could mean anything, or I might be over-reacting over smiley emoticons, or that he could have left it at other contestants’ photographs in Instagram as well which I might have missed out, I cannot help but feel that no matter what happens in this competition for this contestant, she can be assured that the big man himself has taken notice of her and might invite her over to Kuala Lumpur, where they are based at, for screen tests soon. But of course, instant success is not a given in this industry and she, along with the rest, knows that the last three weeks of the competition will be crucial and will not be the end of their journey, if they were to carve a name for themselves in the scene. The hard work is only shifting into second gear and the girls know it themselves. Exciting last three weeks of the competition lie ahead, though I hope I will not jinx whoever I had mentioned in my previous paragraphs, since those I had praised in my previous entries have so far gone out.

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P.S. I just wanna say how happy I was with the continued improved styling on the girls as the weeks go on. And after four weeks of tying up their hair in all sorts of styles, we finally got to see them letting their hair down and this I must point out brought out their physical beauty a bit more. When they wore fashion designer, Lulu Alhadad‘s Kaftan creations, I thought that this hairstyling thing should have been done from the start. I mean, if you want variations, you can tie them up for one segment and let their hair go in another. Cos some of the girls don’t look that good with hair tied up in certain styles, but much better when they let them down. This I can attribute to the shape of their faces and whether it suits them well or not. But still, it was a very refreshing change to see them. Am hoping we could see more of it in the last three episodes.

Ratu Episode 4 Recap…

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Well this is not much of a recap actually as the theme for this week, artistic photography, I must say, is out of my knowledge and understanding. So for me to comment and ramble on the subject would mean, I will be stretching my imagination and maybe to some extent, exaggerate in the process, and that is not something I thrive on. Quite an irony since I snap what some of you might classify as good quality photographs. I only know the simple basics of photography, but not the artistic kind, nor whatever more technical stuff that go along with it, like amount of correct lighting and shadows that are needed to capture the mood and composition of the image. Which, if I may look at it in the big picture, in a way is quite good, as I still have my Anugerah Planet Muzik 2012 review in the works and still have not finished editing the remaining outstanding photographs. I hope to post them up by Christmas, God willing.

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Hyrul Anuar was the guest artiste of the show…

This past week, the Ratu competition said goodbye to Ayura and Risliani. While I could understand the shock some people in the studio and on social media might have on the two eliminations, in truth, I saw that coming during the show. Ayura‘s catwalk was probably the subject of judge Nuraliza Osman‘s comments, when she said that some of the contestants were still slouching and during the Q&A session, she looked surprisingly uncomfortable and as though she came unprepared. To be fair to Ayura, I heard she was not feeling well that day but this is something the girls have to learn if they want to cut it in the industry. For the few moments that the spotlight is on them, they have to be calm, composed, prepared and poised. For Risliani‘s case, I allude her elimination to her being very raw in all aspects, but this can be forgiven as she is afterall, the youngest in the competition and is to be expected. Also, as I had mentioned a few weeks ago, the contestants need to cut out the slang that accompanied their speech, which might turn the judges and viewers off. Risliani was guilty of it on many occasions.

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Each passing week sees improvements being made, and confidence soaring amongst the contestants, albeit it differs from one to another. Fatin Amira, who shares the same birthday as yours truly in a few days time, shone like a beacon this week and it was difficult to detect her flaws as she was very much in her element in everything she did that night. Down to the last ten, I think we will get an idea on the Top 2 quite soon within these next two weeks. I have to commend the girls on their Q&A session as this week they raised the bar a bit higher through their wit, variety of answers and adding our traditional Malay quatrain (Pantun) into their delivery. Also for the fact that some of them did indeed come off as natural helped their cause further. Elfiana Ismail is I have to say, very much a consistent performer during the Q&A session since the very start. Her experience in her job dealing with people with different characters and backgrounds, is highly likely the reason behind her confident presentation week in and out.

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The girls looking radiant in their traditional songket outfit…

Before I end my entry, I would just like to remind the contestants to be a bit mindful of what they type on social media as this might backfire on them in the long run. Simple queries and questions which they have in their minds can be done by googling using their smartphones, rather than asking their followers what is the meaning of this and what is the meaning of that. They have to understand that not all followers are fans and some are just waiting to snipe at them when they least expect it. By asking openly, they are actually inviting negative vibes and impressions like lack of initiatives on their part and worse, coming across as “bimbos”, a definite unwelcome tag. If they really need to ask someone, then do it privately or offline. We have all seen all too well the power of social media and how quick it is for our reputations to be destroyed by the little things we say and do. No doubt it is very scary, even to me, but we just have to think it through before we post something. Till then…

Ratu Episod Three Recap…

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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.

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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???

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!