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 Suria Grand Finals Preview…

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Poster

Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria

This is it!!! The Grand Finals of Mediacorp Suria‘s latest talent-spotting competition comes to an end this coming 15 January 2013. After eight weeks of sweat and tears, and with the number of contestants whittled down to six out of the sixteen that began the competition, we will know who will be crowned the new face of the television station by the end of Tuesday night. Joining Nuraliza Osman and Hafeez Glamour on the judging panel will be Metrowealth International Group‘s CEO, Major David Teo, renowned Malaysian fashion designer Jovian Mandagie and Mr.Adam Mukhriz” himself, Aaron Aziz. The guest artistes of the night will be Awi Rafael, no stranger to our local music scene, who has made a name for himself across the Causeway with hits like “Pulanglah“, “Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta” and of late, “Asalkan Aku OK” and making a welcome return since the very first episode of the competition, Sezairi Sezali. In this entry I will give a lowdown on each of the six finalists based on my observations and through making small talk with them after each episode.

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Fatin Amira – I was actually surprised when I found out that Fatin Amira just turned twenty years of age this past New Year’s Eve. Her maturity belies her age. Other than coming across as a dead ringer for Malaysian R&B princess Dayang Nurfaizah, she did not strike me initially as a possible Ratu in the initial stages of the competition. But from Episode 4 onwards, she progressed and grew on her own through the carefully crafted and matured answers she gave during the Q&A segments. Add to the way she improved and aced on her catwalk, she was never in danger of elimination. Definitely a hot favourite to win, though she needs to calm down, enjoy herself and just forget about winning to detract the jitters away. Television and radio hosting could also be her thing in time to come as I had previously mentioned that she definitely has the tone of voice suited for the two broadcasting mediums.

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Nur Aqilah Kamaruddin – She first captured my attention during the Media Conference to introduce the sixteen contestants of this competition through none other than her megawatt smile. This is not to say that the other contestants are not sincere nor generous with their smiles, far from it, but Aqilah‘s smile I feel is the most sincere and could melt one’s heart. Also the most demure and gentle of the six finalists, she is blessed with gracefulness and this was evident in the earlier rounds when we saw her execute the Malay dance and Silat routines as though she was born to perform them. However, she still comes across as a bit shy and needs to be a bit more vivacious and above all, be more confident of herself that she can still win the competition. If there is someone she can be compared to currently in our scene, then I am looking no further than to resident host of Ratu, Marina Yusoff.

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Shillah Marlysha – I am not sure if she knows or is aware of this, but Shillah Marlysha is actually one of the favourites to win and touted by those working behind-the-scenes as someone that could grace our television screens in time to come, either as a host or an actress. The potential in terms of physical aspect is there, she is tall, pretty and already has some modelling background prior to joining this competition. For that experience alone, she has had quite a headstart over the others, and you can see that from the way she struts on the runway. And those killer dimples are a definite attraction, since not many female artistes are blessed with that. She needs to show it more by smiling even when the cameras are not panning in her direction, because when she does not smile, she looks a bit aloof and fierce (I get this feedback about myself from time to time as well, so we’re in the same boat, Shillah!!!). Other than that, the only other thing she could work on is answering her question by adding on a bit of pizzazz, perhaps take a bit of risk to add some colour, as I feel her answers so far have been more on the safe side.

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Surya Rahmanty – She is another one with a very warm and generous smile on her face. The eldest amongst the contestants at twenty-six years of age, her performances so far have been commendable, not too flashy but still having lots of room to improve, most notably on her catwalk. I know it is very uncomfortable having to walk on high heels and trying to look classy at the same time, but I think for a newbie in this modelling aspect of the competition, Surya has not done too shabbily. Her answers have always been well-thought out and she seems assured with herself. I think her biggest strength is being cool and calm in the face of adversity. Surya also has a steely and hidden iron-willed determination about her, which perhaps have kept her soldiering on in the competition. But would it be enough to crown her the winner??? Anything is possible, especially when she is rated as an underdog, and we always have a soft spot for underdogs, don’t we???

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Wan Anisah – Another one who had captured my attention during the Media Conference for her sharp and exotic looks, thanks to her Indian heritage. When I first saw her back then, two words came into my head – “Bollywood Queen“. But really in all seriousness, she does remind me of those beautiful Hindi actresses and will not look out of place if she were to act in a new season of “Cinta Bollywood“. I thought she was a bit quiet in the early weeks of the competition but began to open up more and even tried to crack a joke during the semi-final round, which depending on how you perceived them, was either a decent attempt or a shot on the foot. That attempt proved that she is willing to add variety to her answers and a bit of wit, and for that I cannot penalise her because it showed that she is a trier and risk-taker. Sometimes fortune favours the brave and she was definitely brave enough to attempt that, although it almost backfired on her. I also heard that she is one of those who normally has no problem crafting her answers without the need for any refining or corrections. In that respect, she just needs to maintain her poise and composure.

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Wida Alisa – In terms of educational background and constantly attaining high distinctions for her school examinations, Wida who is doing her Masters in Business Administration, is right up there and an inspiration for our community and younger generation to emulate. Not only has she the beauty, but the brains to back it up as well. When I think of that combustible combination of beauty and brains that Wida possesses, she does remind me of Rita Zahara and Hazlina Halim, two beauties who have graced our television screens as newscasters and television hosts. I’ve said before that she has been quite consistent in the competition without much fanfare, but still getting the job done when it mattered. A very pleasant person to talk to off-stage, what impresses me about Wida, is her humility. She has that natural wit which might bring her places. Winning on Tuesday might just be the passport she needs to realise her potential, if others have not already taken notice by now.

Presenting the six finalists...

So who do I think will win the competition??? Like the previous time I said I did not wish to tempt fate nor jinx the contestants, I will again be non-committal over who I think will win, simply because in a Grand Final of a reality competition, anything can happen. Underdogs can outperform and go beyond expectations when you least expect it. This scenario has happened many times when the likes of Hyrul Anuar, Aliff Aziz and Rahayu Ridwan had won previous Anugerah competitions. Shahril Wahid and Erwin Shah Dawson were also considered underdogs when they won in the 2006 and 2010 editions of Anugerah Skrin. I did say last week that Fatin Amira would win at a canter if the winner was crowned last week, but somehow she showed that she too could make the odd mistake and this happened during the semi-final round when she tripped and stumbled upon her words during the Q&A segment. I think the winner will be crowned based on who keeps her cool and composure that night, making the least errors during the Q&A segments and how she carries herself in whatever outfit she wears. Each finalist has her own strengths and factors that could see them score more points and I hope that this preview of mine could help them one way or another into maximising their potential. To the six finalists, I wish them the very best for this coming Tuesday‘s penultimate episode of Ratu