Anugerah Skrin 2010 Variety Episode 4 Recap…

This past Friday 21st May 2010 saw another round of elimination in the ongoing Anugerah Skrin 2010 season. With each weekly cull, the competition is bound to get tougher and more stiff, with the likely possibility of tensions rising amongst the contestants. So far from my weekly observations and interacting with them, the contestants come across as a very tight unit, like one big happy family. But of course, this is still considered the honeymoon period where everything is very much saccharine and sweet. When the bootcamp week kicks in in a few weeks time, that’s when tensions are bound to rise as witnessed during the last Anugerah Skrin competition, which I don’t need to relate all over again on what transpired. I hope for their sake that whatever disagreements, unhappiness, pet peeves and what-nots that are bound to occur during the bootcamp, their friendship would stand the test of time.

Kunjung Whitaker opening the show with “Di Manakah“, a song which was supposed to be sung by Maiya Rahman. The latter was unable to grace the show due to last minute work commitments. Kudos to Kunjung for taking a short time to master the song…

You must be wondering why I’m touching upon this matter of all topics I would touch on with regards to this competition, or even at such an early stage as this. From what I have witnessed over the past three weeks or so, I have been very much impressed by their spirit of camaraderie, how well they have bonded over such a short space of time and how much they have stuck by each other through thick and thin, the laughter and the tears. Unlike like season’s Anugerah competition where the eliminated ones seldom return during the remainder of the season to lend their support to those still waging the battle, I’ve seen a healthy dose of attendees by those already ousted so far as well as those not involved during the current week.

The customary welcome. In another coincidental scenario that cropped up during this formation pose, the eliminated contestants, Fahmy and Nissa, were paired together. That’s not all. For the third week in a row, the bottom ones had at least three members who were from the same group during the acting segments. Group B must be worried reading this…

This is not to say that those who did not come were not being good sports themselves, definitely far from it, since they might be tied down by studies, personal or work commitments, but this kind of spirit being displayed is what I applaud. I take my hat off to each and everyone of them for being gracious competitors and for taking the time to come down and lend their support to their competition rivals. This was even more significant when almost everyone was seen wiping tears away after the show ended, showing how much they love the two who were eliminated – Muhammad Fahmy & Nissa Bahruddin – and were shocked by their exits. I hope for their sake that this kind of spirit would continue to be forged even after the competition ends. So what did the judges have to say this week???

Khai sharing his words of wisdom…

Khairudin Samsudin (Khai) highlighted the lack of thinking actors amongst the contestants as most of them tend to use the examples by their mentors as the benchmark for their respective roles. What they should not do is to follow / mimic their mentors and instead find alternatives within them to improvise and perhaps do even better than their mentors. Khai also pointed out the need to play around with the words on their scripts so as not to come across as being formal. Adding on, he also urged them to use more of their body parts and not be too one-dimensional with the body language. To cap it off, he advised them not to just act, but react.

Group photo during the commercial break…

After the “excitement” of hearing Rilla Melati‘s comments last week, this week she was a bit toned down, focusing instead on Raja Razie and Muhammad Fahmy. The uncanny thing about Rilla‘s comments on Razie was, they echoed similarly to what I had said in the last entry about him being a bit stoic and stiff, with the possibility that he was verging on stereotype. Though I had said I see him being able to carry off fatherly roles well, Rilla‘s analogy on him drifting towards ancient roles wasn’t too far off either. Moving on to Fahmy, she remarked that he had to maximise his screen time as he was one of the most good-looking contestants she had come across in any similar reality competition. His biggest mistake was constantly looking away from the camera, which she had difficulty in appreciating the acting without seeing his facial expressions.

The bottom 4…

As for our guest judge Ariati Tyeb Papar, her cool, composed yet stern demeanour gave the impression that she was speaking through gritted teeth. She noted the improvements made by most of the contestants but also lamented the fact that some were still playing catch-up. This was very much evident with what the viewers had seen during the video montage, where the mentors were frustrated with the contestants for failing to get into character and feel. Ariati clearly pointed out the need to prepare one’s self before a shoot, to understand their scripts and also for each member of the group to display the important element of teamwork, so that their scenes would come off well. I thought this was an advice which is often repeated but perhaps not heeded by the contestants due to jitters and excitement during the actual shoot. This is where they need to learn how to focus and channel their concentration to what is expected of them.

Muhammad Fahmy & Nissa Bahruddin ended their respective journey in the competition…

Personally, I was extremely surprised that Nissa got eliminated so early in the competition as she was one of those who had displayed a keenness to do well in this competition. But I did mention in my last entry that no matter what happens to her this past week, I believe we won’t be seeing the last of her just yet. Off-camera Nissa is very much a likeable and bubbly character. It was no wonder that most of the contestants, including those in Group B and those who were eliminated earlier seated amongst the audience, were seen shedding tears for her. It was just bad luck that on the day Nissa was celebrating after officially graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic with a Diploma in Media Studies, she had to suffer the ignominy of disappointment of this magnitude. As for Fahmy, he has lots of room for improvement and like I told him after the show, I sincerely believe I won’t be seeing the last of him too. The journey doesn’t end for them provided they still have vested interest in this line. Maybe it would be good if they were to enrol in acting workshops to enhance their talents further.

Anyway I hope that so far whatever comments and reviews that have been done by me or my fellow counterparts would be taken in well by the contestants. Any form of criticisms, be it positive or negative, are meant to be taken objectively and not personally. I’m thankful that I am given the opportunity to interact on a weekly basis and get to know the contestants on an acquaintance level, which to me is good enough to understand their personalities and give them the benefit of doubt where necessary, something which I never did previously as I was only reviewing from the comfort of home. The contestants too need to strengthen their mental resolve when it comes to receiving criticisms as it would prepare them for what lies ahead in future. I don’t think all of us are harsh, even if we are, we’re still not on par as those around the region. Just take the comments in your stride. It shows that we care and we want you to improve and eventually help lift the standards of our local Malay acting industry… 🙂

Other Highlights of the Show

Our resident joker off-camera, Mr Dyn Norahim of Warna 94.2FM



Group B showing us their respective voting codes for this week… Till then…

anugeraHitz.sg Red Carpet & Pre-Event Cocktail Reception…

The blog stats rose yesterday with people coming in here anticipating to read something about the show / just to view the photographs I might have uploaded for your eyes. Based on previous events / shows / concerts I attended, I would take days, weeks even, to put up my thoughts. By then the euphoria would have died down. So to keep the momentum going, I have decided to split the happenings of the inaugural anugeraHitz.sg into three parts beginning with this entry.

This was another first for me and the wife, in that we were invited to attend the pre-event cocktail reception cum Red Carpet event. As compared to the post-event receptions which we have been attending in the past, this felt so much better, very private and personal, as we could get the artistes to pose for photographs without having to clamour with the other guests. If I was a journalist, this kind of setting is heaven sent as we have the artistes all to ourselves, literally speaking. It was also the perfect opportunity to get to know the artistes better. And so with camera in hand, I went on a shooting spree. Enjoy the photographs…

The top 2 Anugerah 2005 finalists: Syed Azmir & Hyrul Anuar

Kraton in the house!!!

Revalina & Shahril Bahri

Setia Vegawati (Vega) & Shenthy Feliziana (Elly) – The new faces to grace our television screens through the recently-concluded Cinta Ixora series. Both are also one half of female quartet Dynda. Based on early observations, the group looks set for a promising career under the tutelage of Cat Farish. I hope they will work hard and make an impact, especially since our local Malay music industry is crying out for more female singers to rival their male counterparts.

The Sallys…

Verbalise FloA’Trez (right) & Phalique (centre), with the latter’s wife. Based on their official MySpace page, the group has since undergone an upgrading of sorts and is now known as X-Clusive, which answered my question how come I see A’Trez appearing in both X-Clusive‘s and Verbalise Flo‘s performances over the past month or so. Surprisingly, Phalique is not in X-Clusive (as he wishes to concentrate on family commitments from what I just learnt, thanks to A’Trez) and in his place are Ize Suliman of Anugerah 2009 fame and Razlyna Ajis, who is also an Anugerah 2009 alumnus, even though she only made it to Top 50. Was wondering if X-Clusive would be considered a new or old group when the next anugeraHitz.sg event comes around???

Four of the Anugerah 2009 semi-finalists: Wawan, Catty, Kunjung & Chirul

I’m definitely sure this hunk needs no further introduction…

Sleeq– The dynamic duo whose stock continues to rise with every hit composition that rises up the music charts…

Sound Salvation & Singapore Idol 2009 Sezairi Sezali. This was my first time meeting the young man in the flesh and what you see on television on his likeability factor is definitely not a show of act. I can’t explain it in words but the aura he exudes, screams of genuine and humbleness, even before I opened my mouth to talk to him and wished him all the best in his music career. Singapore or rather, the voters who made him Idol, me included, definitely made the right choice in granting him his deserved coronation… Stay that way bro… You’ll definitely go far…

The glam man himself – Hafeez Glamour

Shah, Ross & Aidil – Revalina…

Hady Mirza – Our Asian Idol… Funny when I’m typing this, his monster hit Angkasa is currently being played on the airwaves…

A baby in the industry who holds so much promise to lift the standards and likeability factor of the female singers, Sarah Aqilah

Award presenters of the night, Nity Baizura & Aura Shai of RIA 89.7FM

Revalina with Aqmal Noor & his partner…

This looks like a new band in town but actually it’s Zaibaktian, Rafaat Hamzah, Amin Salleh, Suffian (Crossover), Adha (Ard Bhumiband) & Tengku Adil hemming it up for the camera. Fun bunch I know since the Festival Melayu Ada series…

This is Konspirazy, who were up for the Most Popular Artiste award…

Roze Kasmani – She is one with huge potential. Expect her newly-released single “Harum” composed by Imran Ajmain & Alyph from Sleeq, to rise up the charts pretty soon…

That’s all I manage to upload even though I did take more photographs during the pre-event cocktail reception, but the photos are either blurred or too bright for me to feature. Hope this is a good filler before I publish my thoughts on the event proper. I need to watch its repeat telecast again on 9th April 2010 at 10:30pm for me to gather more thoughts and critic the show as a whole. So I hope you guys will be patient. In the meantime, expect another filler pretty soon…


Suria Elektra Post-Event: What You Did Not Get To See…

As promised, I’m back with this entry which I’ve promised to upload before Monday. For those of you who are linked to me in Facebook, this post is perhaps very much redundant as you would have seen the photographs I uploaded on Suria Elektra and its post-event reception about a week ago. But of course I have not forgotten those who are not in my contact list. That is why this entry is published specially for you even if I don’t upload all the photographs I took that night.

If you had watched the live telecast show from the comfort of your home, then you would have missed seeing the cutting of Suria‘s 10th Anniversary cake when the rolled credits had ended and Suria was showing “Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang“. Our distinguised guests-of-honour were invited up to the stage by the pre / post-event emcee, A B Shaik, to cut the 10kg cake sponsored by Prima Deli. Just before the cake was cut, everyone in the auditorium was asked to join in the singing of the birthday song. Even stars like Dato’ Siti NurhalizaRamli SaripTaufik Batisah and Hady Mirza amongst others, were not spared from being asked to sing when the microphone was passed to them.

The artistes waving and thanking the audience and fans who had come to watch…

Nurul Aini was seen blowing kisses to the crowd. She really enjoyed herself as a host that night…

The look on Fadly Awaludin‘s face was classic…

 

The cake is then wheeled out from the backstage…

“Happy birthday to you!!!… Happy birthday to you!!!”

Blowing away the flames on the candles…

And cutting the cake…

And then it was time for the food to be served at the post-event reception…

Suhaimi Yusof, food connoisseur, tucking in…

Hady & Taufik were still game for photographs even though they wore tired looks on their faces…

A mixture of old and new, from left: Taufik Salleh, Roslan Kemat, Noor Atika Kamaludin & Joe Lazarie

Imran Ajmain looked dashing, while Nurul Aini was stunning…

The ladies who sat together in a row and held their own party that night. Any performer would love to have them as part of their audience. From left: Rosita Hussin, Ariati Tyeb, Rahimah Yusof, Rita Zahara, Mastura Ahmad, Seri Wahyuni Jaes, Elfaeza Ul-Haq & Dalina Jaapar.

Here’s Pianka and their manager Jihan Jauhar

Three beautiful ladies whose talents have been discovered by Suria over the past decade, from left: Azzah Fariha, Kunjung and Huda Ali

Ashmie, Elfaeza and Shahril Wahid demonstrating how to be toothpaste commercial models, while Suhaillah Salam, Dalina & Taufik kept it cool…

The guys looked slick while the ladies were demure. You gotta hand it to Imran Ajmain, Syarif Sleeq, Fauzie Laily, Norfasarie, Rosita Hussin, Nurul Aini, Elfaeza, Dalina & Najip Ali

Suhaillah with the ever loving couple, Rafaat Hamzah and his wife Ziz Za

Catty (Anugerah 2009 semi-finalist) and Alyph Sleeq  flanking the cast of the new series Cinta Ixora – Syarif Sleeq, Nurul Nabilah, Setia Vegawati, Nadiah Mohd and Shenthy Feliziana. Cinta Ixora will debut on Suria on 27 February 2010 at 09:30pm

I’m sure fans of Syah Ibrahim (second from right) would love this photograph. Here he is with, from right: M. Saffri A. Manaf, Roslan Kemat, A B Shaik & Jorah Ahmad‘s chaperone…

Sani Hussin (second from left) was initially hesitant to take this photograph alongside the younger generation of Suria artistes like Ashmie, Taufik, Haizad Imran, Fadhlur Rahman, Sufiyan, Azzah Fariha & Elfaeza as he felt out of place, but he joined in after much coaxing. I’m sure the younger cohort look up to him as a mentor and inspiration…

Rita Zahara, ex-newscaster of both English & Malay news got my vote as the best-dressed that night. She was simply gorgeous in her dress, which was designed by Lulu Alhadad, an up and coming fashion designer…

And before I end this entry, I would just like to thank Imran Ajmain for taking the time to record this for my readers on that night itself. Please do give him your utmost support and visit his official website www.imranajmain.com for the latest news on his upcoming shows and single / album promotions. Also, for more news on our local entertainment scene, promotions on upcoming shows, concerts and events, you can get your bites at Gumbira.com, a company set up by none other than the man himself…

 

 

Suria Elektra Review…

Just as I had begun my previous entry, Mediacorp Suria reached a milestone on 30 January 2010 when it turned a decade old. And to commemorate its ten years of existence, the premier Malay television channel in Singapore held two big bashes within the space of a week – Fiesta Suria held at East Coast Park on 30 January 2010 itself and Suria Elektra on Friday 5th February 2010. While I will update this domain on photographs of the beach event on a slightly later date, I’m sure the one that people have vested interest in, is the Suria Elektra event.

Suria Elektra featured a stellar gathering of around 100 artistes and these included the unsung performers like the dancers, under the direction of veteran choreographer Eddy, the back-up singers under the tutelage of vocal coach Ann Hussein and the musicians led by Amri Amin, a well-respected music arranger and director. The two-hour live musical extravaganza was not only an evening of musical splendour but it also celebrated the unveiling of Suria’s new logo:

The new Suria logo reflects the channel’s growth. The strong bold letter “S” symbolises the channel’s strength in its aspiration to strife for new creative ideas. The bright orange signifies freshness and vibrancy while the “smiley” shape below the letter “S” characterises the channel as a “feel-good” channel that continues to shine with the viewers. The logo was officially unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was the guest-of-honour, during the show itself.

Suria‘s prime-time viewership has grown by 33% from 2008 to 2009 with the channel’s local contents constantly been its top-rated programmes. In a press release statement, Mr Suhaimi Jais, Senior Vice President of Suria Programming & Promotions and Mediacorp Eaglevision said that the challenge for them is to continuously improve their contents and keeping them fresh. The change in logo also portrays Suria‘s aspirations to be more innovative and providing up-to-date content.

It was a throwback to the year 2000 when the Prime Minister who was then-Deputy Prime Minister, had also launched the first official Malay channel on our shores. The days when our Malay programmes had to share a common channel with the arts, Tamil as well as children’s programmes now seem like a distant memory. Over the years we have also seen the launching of dedicated channels to cater to our Indian community (Vasantham) as well as for the children / arts / documentaries / lifestyle (Okto).

Before the show kicked off in earnest, there was a red-carpet and pre-show cocktail event. Hosted by roving hosts, Huda Ali & Rilla Melati, clips of the event were shown in brief and it looked grand seeing the invited artistes dressed in their very best. I did not attend the event as my invitation card did not include being invited to it. Even if I was invited, I doubt I would be able to make it as I was still stuck at work right up till 7.30pm, when the card clearly stated that we were to be there at 7:00pm!!! Good thing when I reached Caldecott Broadcast Centre, I was still considered early and had time to make my way into the auditorium. The only downside was having to negotiate my way in and being resorted to strict security checks. But that was understandable as the event was graced by the who’s who in our Malay community circle, distinguished dignitaries and of course, our Prime Minister.

The show kicked off with aplomb, Sarah Aqilah, the winner of Anugerah 2009, came onstage to sing Mulan Jameela‘s “Makhluk Tuhan Paling Seksi“. It came as a big surprise to me that this song was able to be performed on national television and in front of very, very important people who made up part of the audience. You might wonder and question, “What is wrong with that???” Here’s the ironical part. This song was not approved to be aired by our local radio stations due to its apparently suggestive nature, and yet here we are seeing it being performed on a grand scale. I wonder if the so-called “ban” would now be lifted as a result.

I thought the choice of having Najip Ali & Nurul Aini as hosts was spot-on. For someone who has not done live hosting for a few years, I thought Nurul did extremely well, even to the point of improvising her script at certain points to give it an edgier punch. Their chemistry throughout the show, grew as the minutes wore on. Obviously Nurul didn’t look out of place even though she did admit, she was very nervous prior to the show. One could understand her fears, especially since this was afterall a grand event watched by thousands at home and very, very important people in the auditorium.

Sleeq & Maiya Rahman performing a song specially composed in tribute to popular programmes televised on Suria over the past ten years…

It was apt that Eka Mairina & Kunjung Whitaker performed together onstage as they’re our two famous Indonesian imports whose raw potentials were polished in the Anugerah competition. I had envisaged that someday they would perform together but I did not expect it to be this soon. For the record, Eka became champion in 2003 while Kunjung was the runner-up in last year’s competition. That night, they sang the classic hit “Jelingan Manja” and was accompanied by renowned saxaphonist Jari.

Anang Hermansyah performing his current hit “Separuh Jiwaku Pergi“. The whole auditorium felt his emotions flowing in the song and he was given a rousing ovation by a whole row of female personalities that included the likes of Seri Wahyuni Jaes, Mastura Ahmad, Ariati Tyeb and Rita Zahara

This particular segment whereby Anang and Sarah sang the former’s composition “Belajarlah Untuk Cinta” was both cute and cynical at the same time – Cute because Anang was being cheeky and romantic by holding onto Sarah‘s hands throughout the song and grinning from ear to ear, and cynical because the words to the song was an obvious dig to his ex-wife. They obviously were a joy to listen to, showing good vocal harmony together and having the chemistry that lent credence to the performance. Sarah who was initially coy, showed the audience why she deserved to be crowned Anugerah 2009 champion by hitting the high notes with nonchalant ease. Not that regular viewers needed any reminders.

Vadi, Kym Ng and Suhaimi Yusof cracking up the audience with their short skit…

The girls of Pianka definitely did not disappoint when they sang their first single “Mau Yang Besar“. Though the song is more than a year old, having been included in the Cicakman 2 official soundtrack album, I’ve yet to hear it on this shores. I just hope the slightly suggestive title doesn’t go the same way as Mulan Jameela‘s “Makhluk Tuhan Paling Seksi“, because compared to the latter which I agree has some undesirable tones, the former actually portrays how some ladies’ preferences for material stuff, are conditions warranted in order to win over their hearts. This song has been playing at the back of my head ever since I met them at the Suria Elektra Media Session. Kudos to Edry KRU on another masterpiece composition. He’s not a millionaire for nothing or just by introducing mere pretty faces in the music industry across the Causeway.

As winners of the inaugural Anugerah Band competition, I expected Rancour to at least have more minutes to their segment, cos Sarah Aqilah appeared in no less than three items that night. Surely being winners themselves, they deserved slightly more, yes???

Eiss & “Papa Rock“, Ramli Sarip, singing the latter’s old hit “Teratai“. The hairs stood in awe of their performance…

Ramli Sarip then took centrestage singing “Keliru“…

He was ably accompanied by Zoul (left) and Alif Putra (right). For the uninitiated, Zoul is the younger brother of M. Nasir and Alif was the winner of Best Musician at the inaugural Anugerah Band competition in 2008, where he turned out with the group Putra.

This segment featuring the new faces of Suria over the past decade left me and the audience scratching our heads as to whether it was necessary to have in the first place or merely a filler of sorts because it felt more like a fashion showcase where models do the catwalk along the runway. Even though I have no qualms about their selections and felt all ten of them deserved to be there, I just can’t help thinking that besides the good-lookers, maybe perhaps they could have included the breakthrough artistes or artistes who are plus-sized but still became household names like Fadhilah Samsudin (Erlin Montel), Zamberi Abdul Patah (Cik Leh in “Jeritan Sepi 2“) and Haryani Othman (Cikgu Bedah in “Tahu Nahu“). Granted, you need to look good to be on television, but a more realistic perspective could probably have given these people a fairer opportunity to receive some form of recognition for their good performances and making viewers remember them by.

Unlike his haunting hit “Angkasa” which has now topped the local radio charts for a ninth straight week, I found Hady Mirza‘s next single “Hentikan“, taken off his “Sang Penyanyi” album, which he sang that night, needing a lot of getting used to as compared to the former. “Angkasa” is easier on the ears as it is a typical ballad and sappy song. What made it even more special was the fact that it was Hady‘s first Malay single since “Jangan Memandu Di Pinggir Jalan“. However, the message the song “Hentikan” brings with it with regards to world peace, ending strifes and wars I believe, is more important and that’s what make this next single of his a song of pristine substance. I also do not dare to bet against this song following the footsteps of “Angkasa” and topping the local charts in time to come.

When Suria Channel was first launched on 30 January 2000, Siti Nurhaliza was slowly making waves as the hottest singing sensation this part of South-East Asia was witnessing. Back then when she donned a striking kimono and singing “Kurniaan Dalam Samaran“, I doubt that anyone of us, me included, would have envisaged seeing her being conferred the status of a “Dato‘” within a ten-year period. But such has been her colourful journey and without waxing too much lyrical on her achievements that need no further reminding, she has definitely gone on to become a brand name that the whole Nusantara has come to love and in the case of certain quarters, dislike. The title bestowed on her was a matter of when, not if. She would have gotten it even if she had not married a “Dato‘” as well.

That night Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza sang three songs to the delight of the watching audience. The first, “Batas Asaku” was taken off the official soundtrack of the movie “Perempuan Berkalung Sorban“, which was based on a novel by Abidah el Khalieqy, and was first published by the Yayasan Kesejahteraan Fatayat in Jogjakarta in 2001. After addressing the audience, she followed up her segment with a medley of Bukan Cinta Biasa and Destinasi Cinta, two songs that needed no further introductions. I guess in any appearance she makes, be it for a showcase, a concert or even a brief cameo, the audience would never get enough of her and that night was no different.

I certainly did not expect Taufik Batisah to sing “Sesuatu Janji” taken off his “All Because Of You” album, simply for the sole reason that he already has a more recent album entitled “Suria Hatiku“, one that has produced hits after hits with every single being introduced on the airwaves. But was I complaining??? Not one bit, cos amongst all his songs, this is my personal favourite and little wonder too, since I got him to sing this song when he recorded a greeting for this blog which I posted in the entry before last. I half-expected him to do his somersault, which he executed when he sang the same song at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008, but I guess the space constraints didn’t allow him to. Or perhaps that special moment in 2008 was reserved for the regional audience. Still, I enjoyed it all the same.

The show came to a rousing end when the Anugerah alumnus, which consisted of Fauzie Laily, Maiya Rahman, Hyrul Anuar and Eka Mairina came on stage to sing Adam & Stacy‘s “Menggegar Dunia“. This was followed by Sarah Aqilah appearing for the third time that night, along with Eiss and Kunjung singing Faizal Tahir‘s “Gemuruh“. I just felt the first song, which is punchier as compared to the second one, would have been a better choice to open or end the show. The performance which reeked of zest and energy, as demonstrated by Fauzie, Maiya, Hyrul and Eka, would have been a fairer reflection of what Suria is all about – Vibrancy.

If there were any complaints or misgivings I had, then perhaps it would have been the fact that certain people were apparently overlooked for this event. The show was meant to be a celebration of the past ten years and it was fair to have those performing or those who made an appearance that night being given the opportunity to do so. Yes it was commendable to have the Anugerah alumnus between the years 20032009 performing, but what about those before that, most notably Aqmal Noor (winner in 2004), Indra Hamzah (winner in 2001) and Rudy Djoharnaen (winner in 2002)??? While Aqmal is slowly making inroads as seen by his win at last year’s Rentak Singapura event for his composition entitled “Warkah Dunia“, the other two have been relatively quiet and not heard of since.

Suria also had non-singing competitions like Juara (2002) and Anugerah Skrin (2006) in search of the next big thing in acting and hosting. Though the potentials of Nurul Aini as the night’s co-host and Huda Ali as roving host during the pre-event cocktail reception, were discovered and eventually polished to be who they are now, I hope no one has forgotten the likes of Firdaus Abdul Rahman (who appeared as “Captain Zero” in the comedy sitcom “Ahakz” and lately as the teacher in “Dikir Putri“) and Shahril Wahid (who played the handicapped character in “Gerimis Di Hati“), winners of Juara and Anugerah Skrin (Male Category) respectively. Both are accomplished theatre actors and they have definitely brought their experiences to the screens. One can only recall how Shahril‘s character in “Gerimis Di Hati” was excellently portrayed and I wouldn’t bet against him winning something at next year’s Pesta Perdana event just for that role itself.

If the segments that night were already too packed for a two-hour programme, then perhaps they could have just made cameo appearances, just like the catwalk segment that featured the new faces of the past decade. I think a small gesture like that could have gone a long way in refreshing the minds of viewers, that these guys also had had their moments of joy when they created history with the channel. I hope in future, winners like them would be remembered, even if they’re mentioned in brief or shown short clips of their performances. They are all unique in their own rights, skilled in their respective crafts, and should not be reduced to mere footnotes or forgotten altogether. I could be wrong in my analysis though, as perhaps they could have been invited to perform or make an appearance, but could not make it due to personal commitments. Shahril for the record, was invited as a guest that night.

The finale…

I just found it extremely unfortunate that on a week our premier Malay channel celebrated its milestone, unsavoury news in the print and alternative media with regards to a home-made video of a former actress / host, as well as news of the arrests of a famous comedian and a rock singer came to light. Everyone seems to have an opinion one way or another about these incidents as they’re being talked about almost everywhere on the Net. Even my blog statistics jumped because people were searching for the name of that former actress / host and their search results led to this domain. I will not delve too much on it, but I hope the public’s opinions on artistes in general will still be as positive as ever and not look down on them nor stereotype this career path as was famously portrayed in Allahyarham Tan Sri P. Ramlee‘s classic “Ibu Mertuaku“.

Like any offender, I believe the people who have made the news of late, should not be made outcasts or pariahs throughout their lives. We all make mistakes, whether they’re minor or severe, and the only way for them to lead normal lives again after this, is for us to offer them support & encouragement to be better people and accept them as part of society. Do not ostracise them just because as artistes, they are expected to be role models discerning youngsters look up to for inspiration. I’m actually heartened by the fact that fellow artistes have voiced their support in one way or another via their Tweets and Facebook statuses. This spirit of togetherness and protecting one another is what I admire and applaud, even though we’ve all heard before about the industry being harsh and bitchy due to a lot of backbiting.

Which reminds me of this entry I typed last July entitled “Be True To Yourselves“. When all these incidents happened, became the talking points and ended up being tabloid fodder (ok granted we only have one tabloid paper in our midst), I was eeriely reminded of what I outlined through several pointers in that particular posting. I certainly did not expect some of what I mentioned to be uncannily prophetic. Though I will not quote everything on what I typed back then, I will just end this entry with three paragraphs from that post I made, which relate to what has been happening around us of late and I hope we would all learn something from these recent episodes:

“Which is why I hope that up-and-coming artistes like our new batch of Anugerah contestants as well as those that are already established, would succeed without having any skeletons in the closet or deceive the fans through cunning ability spinning yarns after yarns of crap. One can put up a false front in front of the public, pull the wool over the eyes of the legions of fans, but shit catches up with the bull eventually since the latter needs to defecate afterall. In other words, one can only go so far with bullshit but life has a way of revealing dirty little secrets through time and when one leasts expects it.

Be thankful that there will always be an ever caring and protective arm around your shoulder, shielding you away from any possible backlash from your own fans or the community, when the paparazzis come a-calling, catching you in the act with your pants down. Cos too many of our local acts think they can get away with misdemeanours done mostly with the opposite sex or through various forms of intoxications. We are afterall, living in a society that is still conservative and sensitive. Being in the public eye, one should know better than to do things that could jeopardise their growing reputation as an established brand in the industry.

This entry, even though it looks as though I’m dissing someone or some people, it has to be said that it is also a reminder I want to share with all local artistes out there because I want to see our small industry succeed, without having to go through nasty episodes, which would eventually lead to a lot of unhappiness and ostracising. Everything that is to be done should be from the heart, laced with integrity and filled with unbridled honesty. That’s how one achieves blessed sustenance in any work or endeavour that we put our will into. I am very sure that most of our local acts are true to themselves and honest in their approach to their craft. For that, I will always continue to support our industry, no matter how much we seem to lack in several areas of professionalism.”

P.S. You must be wondering where are the post-event reception photographs. This entry was already too long for my liking that I’ve decided to split it into two. I’ll try to upload the photographs before Monday. Till then, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review and thank you Suria for inviting me to the event as well as providing useful information which I have included in this entry…

Konsert Sinaran Hati Gemilang Recap…

(Graphics courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

MediaCorp Suria has been a strong supporter of charitable causes such as “Ikhlas“, “Azam“, and recently, “Project Hope“. This is the fourth year that Suria and Tabung Amal Aidilfitri Trust Fund (TAA) collaborated in producing a mega charity show to raise funds for the less fortunate. The 2-hour charity show called Sinaran Hati Gemilang, was televised live on Suria last night at MediaCorp TV Theatre.

Huda Ali & Khairudin Saharom given the honours to host the event… 

Anchored by Khairudin Saharom and Huda Ali, who is now making waves across the Causeway as a protege of renowned movie director / producer Datuk Yusuf Haslam, the charity show was themed “Gemilang which signified luminescence and resplendence. It was also a night where the event featured four multi-talented and outstanding individuals who were main contributors to the show’s segments namely: Mr Iskandar Mirza Ismail (recipient of Anugerah Jauhari 2003 and Cultural Medallion 2008 – Music), Madam Som Said (recipient of Cultural Medallion 1987 and Anugerah Jauhari 2009 – Dance), Mr Isa Kamari (recipient of Cultural Medallion 2007 – Literature) and Mr Almahdi Al-Haj also known as Nadiputra (recipient of Cultural Medallion 1986 – Theatre).

Didicazli, the TAA Ambassador for 2009 / 2010 performing his current hit single “Takkan Kembali“… 

Sinaran Hati was graced by performances by Asian Idol Hady Mirza, Sarah Aqilah, Kunjung Whitaker, Ahli Fiqir, Shahril Wahid and Didicazli. Indonesian songbird, Rossa, also made a special appearance singing “Hey Ladies“, “Hati Yang Kau Sakiti” & “Ayat-Ayat Cinta“. A segment of the show that showcased Madam Som Said‘s contribution was performed by dancers from Sri Warisan and narrated by her daughter-in-law, television personality Marina Yusoff.

Shahril Wahid exuded so much class and emotions during his poetry recital act…

Last year, TAA had hoped in raising $1 million in its 1-year campaign with MediaCorp Suria and MediaCorp Warna 94.2FM. Judging by the donations received last night through the phone-ins and contributions by private organisations, I believe they had surpassed that target. Sinaran Hati tickets that were priced at $19 and $49 respectively and all proceeds from ticket sales were channeled towards the TAA Trust Fund.  

Donations can also be made through TAA telepoll lines:

  • 1900 112 9010 for a $10 donation
  • 1900 112 9050 for a $50 donation

 The telepoll lines are now open till 28 February 2010.

The current duo of AhliFiqir, Mawar Berduri and Daly ending off the poetry recital segment…

I’ve had a few people asking me whether I would be doing a review on the night’s show when I was at the reception afterwards. I simply said “No, I don’t think so…“, as it was meant to be a mellow and toned-down affair, with the aim and intention to raise dollars for the less fortunate and needy as depicted by the various clips and acting segment during the show. I was also down with a bad case of flu last night, suppressing myself from coughing and sneezing till my eyes teared. A wonder how I held my ground the whole night staying till the end. All that added up to me not having the mood nor feeling the need to do a review but if views were to be shared then I’ll just give brief thoughts on the show.

Rossa, looking all-splendour performing “Ayat-Ayat Cinta“… Rumours have it certain sections of the media weren’t pleased with her for cancelling a scheduled interview but rumours are definitely meant to be taken with a pinch of salt and not to be taken wholesale cos there’s always two sides to the story. If it really happened, I’m sure she had her valid reasons…

As a show, overall I felt there was a distinct lack of punch and aura, a feel-good factor that was missing, the “X-factor” you might call it. Cos it felt like watching a weekly variety show. However, it has to be stressed upon that this was to be expected and forgiven, as this wasn’t a glammed-up show filled with all the pomp and razzmatazz to honour the movers and shakers of the industry over the past year or a happy and fun occasion like “Pesta Pesta Pesta” or “Anugerah Grand Finale“. This show was meant to tug at the heartstrings, and some cynical ones might add “pockets”, but this was all definitely for a good cause, to give a reality check on the less fortunate living in our midst. Of course it did not have to be too sombre for one’s liking but I believe you catch my drift.

Hady Mirza giving his all singing “Angkasa“…

Which leads me to the conduct of certain sections of the audience during the show. Yes I appreciate and respect the fact that you were showing your love and appreciation to your beloved artiste / idol on stage. But you have to remember in what setting and atmosphere were you at. Add to the fact that you have distinguished guests-of-honour also in attendance. Screaming like mad women throughout your favourite artiste’s performances not only irritated the others in the auditorium, it was also a show of disrespect to the guests that you simply have little / no sense of decorum and dignity in an event of that magnitude. There is a time and place for such show of affections but definitely not at last night’s event and most definitely not throughout the whole song the artiste was singing, which in turn led him to momentarily lose focus. We still have a long way to go in realising when to do something and when not to do it or when we are overdoing it. It happened at last week’s Bagaikan Sakti concert and it happened again last night.

The finale…

I thought the artistes involved were excellent in their delivery and execution and they have to be lauded for putting up generally good performances on the night. I personally liked Shahril‘s and Kunjung‘s poetry recital of Isa Kamari‘s “Tubuh Kurus” (hope I got the title right), but AhliFiqir‘s presence towards the end of that was like a “What was that all about?” moment for me, as it was too brief and nothing more than just a few seconds on stage. But at least they came back to perform again, of which the title of the song they performed was lost on me, cos the flu was distracting me by then. I would have given Hady‘s performance of his hit single “Angkasa” a thumbs-up too, if not for some of his overzealous fans. But who can forget the little boo-boo written on the cheque that was given by Mediacorp to TAA??? I don’t think I need to elaborate more on that already.

The performing artistes taking photographs with our guest-of-honour…

The post-event reception was so-so in terms of star factor. Besides the likes of Shah Iskandar, Norfasarie, Lydia Izzati and Fadhlur Rahman, there were not many artistes who came to watch the event as I believe this was more to honour the donors, sponsors and dignitaries who have contributed to the TAA cause. The performing artistes themselves did not stay long at the reception, preferring to change back to their normal clothings once the guest-of-honour Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean left the vicinity. I did not take much photos myself as I could not get good shots due to where I sat in the auditorium and also the fact that the reception was devoid of star power. What I have included in this entry were what I considered the better ones. Kudos to Mediacorp and TAA for achieving their target!!!

TV personalities, Norfasarie, Fadhlur Rahman & Shah Iskandar enjoying the sumptuous spread…

(Some of the information included in this entry were courtesy of the joint press release by Mediacorp Suria and TAA Trust Fund.)

Viva Muzik Singapura Day 3…

(Graphics courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

It’s almost a week since the third and last day of the recording of this programme ended. The delay in uploading the photographs was deliberately intended so I could space out my entries and at least give the accolade that our newly-crowned Singapore Idol so deserved. Like Day 1, I won’t do any reviews and just upload the photographs for you to enjoy cos less is more, so here they are without further ado:

Where the event was held…

Tengku Adil being interviewed by Fauzie Laily before his set…

Tengku Adil crooning to his hit “Itu Yang Pasti“…

Fauzie added a different feel to his first hit single “Selalu“…

My favourite Anugerah Skrin judge, Rafaat Hamzah, watching proceedings from the back… I hope he returns again as judge for the second season next year…

Trisno of Urban Xchange / Parking Lot Pimp fame adding a touch of pizzazz to Bloco Singapura‘s performance…

Bloco Singapura doing what they do best. An excellent display that makes one want to dance along to their beats…

Local singer Ard lent his support to the show by sitting amongst the audience…

So did Tengku Nur Lela

Zaibaktian‘s set had the best atmosphere, with the audience singing at the top of their voices and waving their hands in the air.

Our Anugerah 2009 winner, Sarah Aqilah hurt her back and was in great pain prior to appearing on stage, but she should be applauded for being professional and going through with the recording…

Imran Ajmain never fails to sing differently from his last performance / from the album and with every difference, it sounds even better…

Kunjung sang”Ke Awangan“, a catchy ditty that had me nodding my head to the beats…

I waited a long time to catch The Sallys in action and I wasn’t disappointed when they sang my favourite song “Gadis Marmalade“… This is Shafiq, the frontman of the group…

Kunjung & Shafiq joined Imran for the finale of their programme, singing the latter’s current single on the airwaves, “Radio“…

The programmes recorded on Day 3 will be televised on Monday 15 February 2010 at 9.30pm on Suria. Below is the full schedule of the programme:

Telecast Details
Title Genre Episodes Telecast Day/Date Time
 Viva Muzik Singapura    Variety  1 – 5

6 – 8

   Tue, 5 Jan 2010 – 2 Feb 2010

Mon, 15 Feb 2010 – 1 Mar 2010

   8.30pm

9.30pm

Anugerah 2009 Grand Finals Review…

Anugerah

(Photo courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

After three months of hard work, sweat and tears, beginning with 1013 would-be contestants on 2nd3rd May 2009 and finally down to the Top 4 finalists, Anugerah 2009 reached its penultimate and closing stage on Tuesday 11 August 2009 with a new winner being crowned, thus adding another name to our ever-growing list of artistes in our small local Malay entertainment industry.

From what I gathered from the general masses, this win by Sarah Aqilah, a female, is very much welcomed and long-awaited. To some, it was a wait too long. A female has finally broken the monopoly and dominance held by the males since 2004 when Noorhaqmal (Aqmal) won that year’s Anugerah competition and Taufik Batisah was crowned the first Singapore Idol winner, followed by Hyrul Anuar in Anugerah 2005 (incidentally all four finalists were males), Hady Mirza in Singapore Idol Season 2 in 2006, and Aliff Aziz in Anugerah 2007.

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But prior to this coronation, I was left feeling sympathetic towards the only non-Singaporean in this competition through no fault of hers. In one of my previous reviews I did highlight the fact that there were voices of discontent with regards to her participation in the competition. And it all came to a head when earlier in the day, on RIA 89.7FM whereby the morning show had a segment on listener’s thoughts on the final, a lot of calls via phone-ins and smses were made from narrow-minded listeners to vote for a true-Singaporean. Even a local personality’s Facebook status had a similar tune to it, which made it all the more deploring given the fact that this person makes a living out of moulding the future of our generation.

To the voices of discontent, though I applaud your patriotic feelings, I believe they are very much misplaced. Especially when it comes to music and entertainment. Music is universal, it is diverse, and very much beautiful. Besides football, I think the only other language that can unite the world is the language of music. It should transcend all barriers and is to be enjoyed by everyone. As such we should not look from where the entertainer hails from to appreciate his or her talents. Acknowledge good talent not because of nationality but through his or her own God-given abilities. Even the online forum site of Anugerah 2009 was filled with hate-inclined messages towards Kunjung and poor Chris, her husband, had to go in and defend his wife. I cannot be proud of my fellow countrymen if their attitude stinks like this.

I hope as we move on over the years, this backward mentality would be scrapped from our minds cos I have nothing much to say except shame on each and everyone of you who have this mindset. Reading the disgraceful and uncouth smses on national television left such a sour taste in the mouth. So what if she is a Permanent Resident (PR)??? That does not make her any less willing to represent us if given the opportunity to do so in future. Even PRs are required to serve National Service as far as I know, since I had a few of them serving along with me during my time a decade ago. Please correct me if I’m wrong here in case there are changes to the rules or my knowledge of the Constitution is not up to par. Nowhere in the rules of the competition did they state that non-Singaporeans were not allowed to compete. Even our Channel 8 counterparts opened up their search for new stars to non-Singaporeans and nobody complained.

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From the media release that I received, the Results Show aired on the Tuesday before last, garnered the highest-rated episode-to-date with more than 190,000 viewers tuning in. The number of votes tripled over the years with more than 30,000 votes received via sms and telepoll lines throughout the competition. Hosted by the resident anchors for this season, Fauzie Laily and Fiza O, the Grand Finals was a two-hour affair graced by the likes of Imran Ajmain, AhliFiqir, Art Fazil, Noryn Aziz and Anugerah 2007 winner Aliff Aziz. Not forgetting the eliminated contestants from the Top 16 also made a brief comeback accompanying Aliff during his performances at the start and towards the end of the show.

Joining the resident judges Eddy Ali, Ann Hussein and Gani Karim were Singaporean-born singer/composer Azmeer [he of the “Harapan Semalam” (duet with Amy Mastura) and “Zuriat Cinta” fame back in the 90s. For those of you from the younger cohort who can’t recall, he was the composer for Datuk Siti Nurhaliza‘s haunting hit “Purnama Merindu” from her Adiwarna album back in 1998.] and Suria Record Sdn Bhd‘s Director of Artiste & Repertoire, composer and executive album producer, Zulkifli Majid. The latter is also no stranger to the industry having been involved with 2 By 2, the group famous for singing revival songs back in the late 90s. The show was graced by a live band called “Soul Brothers” led by renowned composer Indra Shahrir. It was added with pizzazz by four back-up singers under the tutelage of Irwan Mahpoel, two of them Adam and Afiqah having entered Anugerah in 2005 and 2009 respectively, the latter only reaching the Top 50 in this year’s competition. Oh and if my eyes did not fail me, Fyno of Cucu Datuk Merah fame was also in the backing vocals group.

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The Anugerah trophy design…

A brand new trophy was revealed on Tuesday night in celebration of Anugerah‘s success over the past decade. The trophy design was a collaboration between Suria and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). Students took on the design of the Anugerah trophy as a special project that is part of their school work. The winning trophy design was selected from over 100 designs and will be used for future Anugerah competitions. The new Anugerah trophy was designed by Muhammad Nasrul Bin Roslin, a third-year Visual Communications student from NAFA. He was inspired by the letter “A” that stands for “Anugerah” and excellence. The prism-shaped trophy also symbolises the strong foundation that escalates to greater heights. The curvatures represent in motion and versatility of the winner.

For the record, the four finalists – Chirul, Sarah Aqilah, Wawan and Kunjung – performed four songs from their own selection where they got to showcase their individuality and identity, a viewer’s choice, a specially composed song by Suria Record Sdn Bhd and duets with professional singers like Azyza, Eiss, Maman and Nana. Originally I presumed that one of the songs to be performed by each finalist was supposed to be selected by the judging panel but somehow I think they did away with that and instead focused more on how the finalists would flex their muscles singing songs they were more comfortable with, rather than having to be “forced” to sing a song that did not suit their tastes. I guess my foreword is long enough already and I wouldn’t want to bore you any further with more informative details. Now on to the individual reviews proper.

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The show kicked off with Aliff Aziz singing the Anugerah theme song “Bintang Anugerahku” along with the four finalists as well as being accompanied by the ousted contestants from the Top 16 and afterwards the finalists were given the opportunity to warm up with Glenn Fredly‘s “Dansa“. It was obvious from the sound system that it was a lip-synch performance by them, probably to save their energies for what lay ahead. However, they need to master the art of getting their synchronisations right. Kunjung was guilty of mouthing off the words wrongly during her part. Somehow Asilah Osmera caught the eye with her energetic dance moves as compared to Kunjung. Surprisingly Sarah, whom I’ve noted before that she does not come across as convincing singing a song of a more upbeat tempo, sounded good. I dunno if this was because it was recorded and all she had to worry about was the choreography. The evening would unveil itself and answer all my questions.

FIRST ROUND

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ChirulUlar Berbisa (Hello Band) – Own Choice

I thought it was a good start to the show which showcased Chirul‘s youthful exuberance. Or so I thought. He has the voice to carry off the song well and I liked the way he sung it, especially since he executed the falsetto parts flawlessly. Rewind back to Episode 3 when he was chided for not doing it properly. I think he has improved in that respect over the course of the competition. His only downside in my opinion when singing this song was not to conquer the stage with a more energetic showing and letting himself go as the song called for more strutting and prancing around. Chirul still came across as too laidback and relaxed for someone who wanted to win this competition.

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Sarah AqilahRawan (Azharina) – Viewer’s Choice

The competition’s “Power Balladeer” as coined by Gani Karim, stuck to what she does best – singing ballad songs. Like most of the time she sings these kind of songs, she started off slowly but eventually grew as the song progressed and somehow you knew Tuesday night was gonna be a special night for Sarah Aqilah when she hit the chorus and high notes. The judges’ comments on Sarah were also dead give-aways by the end of the first round, which personally to me, ended the competition even before it began in earnest. The showing of the public votes only served to prove my thoughts spot-on on Sarah. My only complaint about this performance of hers was her outfit, cos it made her look as though she was expecting a baby. No offence to Sarah or her stylist.

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WawanKetahuan (Matta Band) – Viewer’s Choice

From the semi-finals stage where he sang Diorama‘s “Sanubariku“, Wawan continued to impress yours truly with this rendition of Matta Band‘s “Ketahuan“. I’ve heard the original as well as the dangdut version by Dewi Persik. But this was something different altogether. This version was injected with a touch of jazz-swing to it and the performance was coloured by Wawan and his backup dancers in Broadway-styled outfits. Ann Hussein wasn’t impressed with the performance but I thought it was daring and fresh from Wawan and should be commended for trying out something he has not done so far in the competition. Ann‘s comments on him proved conclusive on how the evening was gonna shaped up.

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KunjungRembulan (Kris Dayanti) – Viewer’s Choice

I think it is fair to say that Kunjung is a big fan of the Indonesian diva cos she sang at least two songs from her throughout the competition with a third one afterwards on the night. But contrary to the original version which is of mid-tempo, Kunjung actually sang the other version of the song which is of a more upbeat tempo, and it became a dance-fest that had me bobbing my head to the beats. I think it was infectious enough to make people groove along with her if it had been a different setting than the Mediacorp TV Theatre. I know the judges love her for her showmanship, I do too, but I felt because of the disgraceful noises made by certain quarters, she was losing a battle trying to win over the voting public. The public voting charts certainly did not lie. It has to be said that with this performance, no other contestants could hold a candle to her for showmanship.

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SECOND ROUND

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Group Performance Tanpa Ku Sedar

This song was specially composed by Ihsan Mustafa (hope I got the spelling of his name right) and Zulkifli Majid for this Grand Finals and the winner of Anugerah 2009 would go on to record this song as a single in their debut album. The challenge for the quartet was to memorise and get the feel of this song within a few days before the Finals. It is unfair for me to comment on whether they sang the song well or not given the fact that it was my first time listening to the song and have not gotten myself acquainted to it, but judging by the facial expressions and body language from the contestants, Sarah seemed at ease with the song and it helped that she rekindled her partnership with Chirul from the previous round in this performance. A ballad song of this nature was also chicken feed for her.

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THIRD ROUND

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Chirul – Hanya Kau Yang Mampu (Aizat) – Viewer’s Choice

One of my favourite songs of all time and I had hopes that Chirul would bring some justice to the song. Alas, he mixed up the last two lines of verses one and two and I guess it went downhill henceforth. His continued lackadaisical outlook on stage also did not sit down well with yours truly and the panel of judges, to the point he was chided by Azmeer for being too relaxed and not ready to go to war. Perhaps he knew that he had no chance of winning judging by his earlier performances and the constant updating of what was happening on the voting charts, but it was still not a good reason for him to allow the other three favourites to win at a canter without giving them a good fight.

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Sarah Aqilah – Hati Yang Kau Sakiti (Rossa) – Own Choice

If her detractors and non-voting masses were still not convinced by her earlier performances, I guess this one would have clinched it for her once and for all. To me, it was game, set and match. The emotions she put into the song were spot-on, so much so that this was probably the best performance of the night, worthy of her coronation as the competition’s champion. Oh and my hair stood for the first time that night listening to her hitting the high notes. The smses by the voters also jumped from 36% to 41%, indicating it was only a matter of time before we saw the crowning of a new champion. And again it has to be said Gani Karim has a knack of revealing things and spoiling the excitement with his comments, though I have to add I enjoyed his colourful analogies throughout the competition.

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Wawan – Semua Untuk Cinta (Mike) – Own Choice

Wawan wasn’t known to sing something soulful and R&B-ish before this. And I was surprised he actually experimented with this genre to add that wee bit of colour and versatility to his repertoire. He did capture the mood well, but at times he looked a little uncertain. A few parts were also slightly pitchy, especially the lower registers. Approaching the end of this performance, I noticed a standard pattern in Wawan‘s performances in that he loves to grimace and break into a long “Oooooooohhhhhhh” somewhere towards the end of the song he sings. Don’t believe me??? Just watch clips of his performances when they are up on YouTube.

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Kunjung Ku Teruskan (Siti Sarah) – Own Choice

This song was specially dedicated to Kunjung‘s late father, as was told to me by my cousin Lydia, who was seated next to me that night. With such poignant memories of her loved one, I thought the translation between reality and art form could not have been expressed better. Maybe the only thing that was missing were the tears streaming down her cheeks cos I was expecting that. Acknowledging the challenge she had in singing this song in a short interview before this performance, one could hear her struggling with the notes and it seems the lower registers have been a constant source of bane for most of the contestants rather than the higher ones.

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DUET WITH MENTORS

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Chirul & Nana – Ketika Cinta Bertasbih (Melly Goeslaw Feat. Amee)

Chirul‘s voice makes him the perfect male partner in any duet, simply because he has the rich, baritone voice to harmonise well with his partner and this was very much evident in this performance. However, he was in danger of being upstaged by Nana‘s voice, especially as the song was reaching its final stages, which made me wonder, who was supposed to be in competition, him or her??? Nana‘s energy was also not in sync with Chirul‘s, who continued to be very relaxed and laidback. A duet should be about complementing one another and bouncing off each other’s energies. While the voice and harmony were good, the chemistry in terms of emotions exuded could have been better.

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Sarah Aqilah & Eiss – Sembunyi (Misha Omar & Andy Flop Poppy)

I welcomed this song from Sarah, simply because it is of a quicker tempo, something which throughout the competition, we have not seen her ace as good as whenever she sang ballads. Though the attempt was commendable and I could see how she tried, alas I thought she kinda struggled and looked quite uncomfortable. But she need not have to worry cos her spot as the winner was more or less confirmed by then. To be fair to Sarah, there was nothing wrong with her vocals but she seemed shy to let herself go when it comes to a song of this nature.

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Wawan & Maman – Inspirasiku (Jeff Catz)

When the bonafide and true rocker combined, there was a tremendous amount of energy combusting on stage, which I think the original singer would have been proud of to witness. They were just bouncing off each other’s energies and enjoying themselves on stage, to the point I momentarily forgot this was a competition to begin with. I think this kind of performance and confidence should be an example of how to enjoy yourself on stage, even if you are competing. Others could look at this as a useful marker to follow in future. It certainly helped to dispel some jitters felt in the heat of competition. But of glaring note was Maman‘s uncertainty on when to sing and when not to. He also forgot the lyrics.

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Kunjung & Azyza – Semua Jadi Satu (Kris Dayanti, Ruth Sahanaya & Titi DJ)

Another Kris Dayanti number which Kunjung seemed to prefer belting out. A song of this nature required her to strut and prance around on stage and she did that with aplomb as how we’ve come accustomed to her performances throughout the competition. Another good example of singers complementing one another on stage. But Kunjung‘s apparent downside, which has been a thorny issue amongst the judging panel over the course of this competition was her vibrato. To some, it sounded natural but at times maybe it could possibly be a source of irritation to the ears, so much so that Azmeer took great pains to highlight and to inform her to tone it down by 20% if she were to carve a career in singing. His reference to it being in danger of her sounding like a goat bleeting, amused many in attendance.

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GUEST PERFORMANCES

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The first guest performance came from AhliFiqir and Art Fazil, singing a remake of “Fikir-Fikir” from Art‘s former band Rausyanfiqir. Their turn-tablist, DJ Cza, and other member Samsol a.k.a. TukangKata were conspicuously missing from their line-up and it was only through the introductory rap that I realised the latter had left the group. Or was he just missing in action / taking a leave of absence??? I had heard of rumours regarding differences that have arisen between them, but till now I am unsure what was the cause of him leaving the group. The group did look odd without one of their original members.

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Next up was Imran Ajmain. He sang “Jika Engkau Pergi” for the first time on national television, the song he struck gold for Best Original Composition at the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Los Angeles last month. As with all his performances, I can never get enough listening to him. I know this is very much belated and I have not said it in public, but congratulations to Imran for flying the flag high on foreign soil. The win was all the more sweet given the obstacles he had to go through to make the trip happen. A Cultural Medallion or something similar for him at next year’s National Day Awards perhaps??? I’d certainly vote for it…

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If Malaysia has a jazz queen in Sheila Majid, I believe Noryn Aziz is the princess and queen-in-waiting. My goodness, her performance was extremely flawless. The audience who were lukewarm at the start of her song were generally impressed and she had them all under her thumb by the end of it. Singing “Kembalikan“, my hairs stood for the second time that night when she sang the chorus effortlessly and with such awesome control. I can only wonder why her star isn’t shining so brightly over here even after winning the Best New Female Artiste at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2007. Could it be her forte in her genre isn’t to our consumers’ liking??? We’ll never know…

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The last quarter had Aliff Aziz singing Gigi‘s hit “Nakal” and being accompanied again by the Top 16 contestants. It has to be said that not all of them were around. The Queen of Wigs, Hafizah Naser, Episode 4‘s chart-topper Nani Sulaiman and Hairizam were notably missing in action, perhaps tied by their own personal commitments. I had expected Gigi‘s lead singer Armand Maulana to make a surprise appearance singing the song with Aliff, knowing that he was in town on Tuesday, but it was wishful thinking on my part.

And so what do I make of the results??? Before the show, the only two persons I thought would win were Wawan and Sarah Aqilah. Had the viewers been more kind towards Kunjung, I would have had a hard time in weighing the options. Chirul though he upped his performance in the semi-final rounds, I felt he was still too casual for my liking and too young to grasp the essence of being an entertainer. So it was down to Wawan and Sarah. Wawan had always been a consistent chart-topper and he had the voting public’s support to count on whereas Sarah had the judges’ backing.

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The decision to choose Sarah on the night was too simple. She kept to what she does best and that made her the darling of the judges. Wawan was still experimenting with genres and there are two schools of thought to gauge him that night. One is that he is a versatile performer,  able to sing songs of different genres and a jack of all trades. The other is that he seemed uncertain where his strengths lie even though from the competition we know, he seemed to ace if the song was leaning towards a rockish genre. The surprise to me was Kunjung getting second. It showed how much she scored with the judges as compared to the voting by the public. All in all I thought the results were very fair. Whoever performed well, deserved their respectful standings.

The challenge for Sarah Aqilah now is for her to polish her skills in singing fast numbers, especially in a live setting. I tend to think that she is being one-dimensional, i.e. only able to sing ballad numbers well. But to be fair to Sarah, I think all these while, she seemed to hold back a lot when it came to singing these kind of songs was because she might have been afraid she would miss her steps and in turn forget her lyrics. Cos clearly she sounded very good when singing “Bintang Anugerahku” at the start of the show. Speaking of forgetting her lyrics, that is also another aspect of her performance which she needs to improve on based on her two follies in Episode 4 and the semi-final rounds, but I guess I will allude that to competition jitters. Congratulations to you Sarah Aqilah for being the Anugerah 2009 champion!!! Your journey begins now and so too the other finalists.

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The following is the roll of honour and what the winners won for themselves:

Grand Champion – Sarah Aqilah Binte Jamil

  1. Champion trophy,
  2. Music album from Suria Record Sdn Bhd
  3. Contract with Mediacorp Artistes Management Unit
  4. $10,000 cash
  5. Nikon Coolpix P80 camera 
  6. Nokia E66 bundled with 24-mths 3G Flexi Lite – *AMPed plan worth $1300 from Singtel Pte Ltd

1st Runner-Up – Kunjung Wide Whitaker

  1. A Mini album (3 songs) from GUMBIRA
  2. Contract with Mediacorp Artistes Management Unit
  3. Nikon Coolpix S60 camera
  4. Sony Ericsson W595 with 24-mths 3G Flexi Lite – *AMPed plan worth $1000 from Singtel Pte Ltd

2nd Runner-Up – Muhamad Safuan Bin Husen (Wawan)

  1. Music single for Alunan Kasih compilation album
  2. Contract with Mediacorp Artistes Management Unit
  3. Nikon Coolpix S610
  4. Samsung F400 with 24-mths 3G Flexi Lite – *AMPed plan worth $950 from Singtel Pte Ltd

3rd Runner-Up – Ahmad Hairul Bin Md Salleh (Chirul)

  1. Music single for Alunan Kasih compilation album
  2. Contract with Mediacorp Artistes Management Unit
  3. Nikon Coolpix L20
  4. Samsung F400 with 24-mths 3G Flexi Lite – *AMPed plan worth $950 from Singtel Pte Ltd

Subsidiary Awards

Best Performance in NIKON’s Music Video Award – Sarah Aqilah Binte Jamil

  1. Trophy
  2. Nikon Coolpix P6000

MANJA Media Darling Award – Kunjung Wide Whitaker

  1. Trophy
  2. 1-year subscription of Manja magazine
  3. $200 shopping vouchers

LUSTRE‘s Styling Award – Kamsani Bin Jumahat

  1. Trophy
  2. The Tree by Lustre facial treatments worth $500

Best Performance in Choreography Award – Kunjung Wide Whitaker

  1. Trophy
  2. $200 shopping vouchers

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Post-Event Reception

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Suhailah Salam, Suzairhe Sumari, Taufik Salleh, Nick Mikhail and Shahril Wahid were amongst the celebrities invited to grace the event…

What is a grand show without a post-event reception??? I know I did not mention this before in this entry but the Grand Finals resembled a Pesta Perdana of sorts. So many local artistes were around to grace the event and the reception was even joined by some of the Malaysian artistes who were slated to appear on Friday night’s Salam Lebaran recording at the Mediacorp TV Theatre. I have to apologise though that I did not take that many photographs of the event as the battery in my camera went flat just as I was about to take photographs of me with Zaibaktian. There were some interesting highlights of the reception which are still fresh in my mind.

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The glam queens – Norfasarie & Nurul Aini

First of all, I finally got to meet Sofie, the President of NingClix SG, the die-hard fans of Ning Baizura. He was with Raja Norashikin of HalimSaidi.com, an online friend I made right after the P.Ramlee Musical last year. First time meeting them but it felt as though we have known each other for a long, long time. There was so much warmth from everyone and I thought it would be good if we could hang out some day. By the way, they were with Noryn Aziz‘s entourage. A pity I couldn’t get to chat with the jazz princess like how I did during last year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik in Kuala Lumpur. I had also wanted to get her to endorse this blog a second time through a short video clip, since the one she did last year was cropped unexpectedly through yours truly’s amateur editing skills. But it was nice to know she did remember me when I said “Hi” to her.

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Syed Azmir, Uncle Jasmani Basri, Lydia and Aliff Aziz

Aliff Aziz surprised me when he came up to me and asked how did he do in his performances that night. Instantly what struck me is his humility which is there in abundance, and his willingness to listen, improve and work on whatever flaws there may be. I only managed to say that he did well and gone was his famed whispery voice. Upon watching the recording of the show again, I noticed that he bent and slouched a bit too much during his “Nakal” performance but other than that, my feedback to him during the reception was spot-on. His two years’ experience as an entertainer has benefitted and improved him in many aspects. I certainly look forward to his latest offering soon.

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Danial & Hyrul Anuar

Last but not least, was my meeting with Eddy Ali. All these while during the previous episodes when I met him, all we did was shook hands without saying much nor introducing ourselves to one another. He came up to me as I was chatting with my elder sister’s old friend, Esra, who is a staff with Suria, and enquired if I was who I was. I said, “Yes I am” and he shook hands and embraced me, which caught me a little by surprise. Regular readers of this blog would note in the past, I seldom had good things to say about Anugerah‘s chief judge and the tone of my comments about the way he judged, bothered on being personal more than being objective for those of you who perceived it that way. I was even more surprised and humbled by the fact that he did not take to heart my past comments on him.

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Zaibaktian, Jaliboy, Suhailah Salam, Nana, Rafaat Hamzah & Amin from VJR…

Personally I had nothing against him other than the fact that I disagreed with some of his views in the past, but I told him that night and also mentioned before in one of my Anugerah 2009 reviews that this season, I tended to share and agree with most of his opinions. To Abang Eddy, I never had a chance to say this that night, but I’m saying it now cos I know you would be reading this, “I apologise if my previous comments could have caused undue distress or undermined your standing as a judge in the competition.” Thank you for the extend of friendship and I certainly look forward to seeing you again some time.

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A much better shot of Imran than the one I took during his performance…

Speaking of apologies, I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise if my words in my past reviews were deemed harsh, be it towards the contestants, judges, stylists or even make-up artistes. I got wind that some people were displeased with my comments with regards to the way the male contestants were heavily made-up in the earlier rounds. When I made those comments, I based that not only from my own observations but on what I saw through Facebook and Twitter and also listened to the various feedbacks made by listeners on RIA 89.7FM, the official radio station of Anugerah 2009. I guess being an entertainment reviewer carried heavier weight for people to be displeased with me more than the general public’s views even though my words were not as damning as others. But to their credit, the make-up certainly improved by leaps and bounds henceforth.

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The champ is here…

And so that ends my lengthy Anugerah 2009 Grand Finals review. Hope you had enjoyed this journey as much as I did. I’ve gained quite a lot of new friends and contacts as a result, not to mention strengthening ties with those already in place and I hope that our music industry will continue to improve and be more diverse now with the coronation of a female singer. Sarah Aqilah‘s win would hopefully inspire more young ladies out there and prove that our industry is not monopolised by the gentlemen. I also hope that it would open more windows of opportunities for our female singers to spread their wings and fly cos we do have a lot of talent waiting to be tapped and taken notice of. It’s also now up to us, the listeners and consumers, to lend our utmost support to them.

P.S. Credits to Jatt’s Collezione for outfitting me that night and to the good people at Mediacorp Suria and Eaglevision (Zalinah, Zuraidah, Mufreha & Netty) for inviting me throughout the competition as well as providing me useful information to be included in my reviews… 🙂

Anugerah 2009 Episode 10 Review…

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(Photo courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Tonight, we witnessed the brutal culling of the six semi-finalists and found out who were the four who would be gracing next week’s Anugerah 2009 Grand Finals. As it was only the results show, the Mediacorp TV Theatre was a far cry from previous weeks, with the auditorium about less than half full, taking away the upper tier level. Originally it was to be held at Studio 1, like the previous half hour results show three weeks ago but since there was another recording being done there, the producers had no choice but to hold the event at the primary location.

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The show began with the six semi-finalists reprising their couple roles from last week singing “Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang” originally sung by Alyah & Riz. As it was only the results show, I guess judging their respective performances was not on my mind. But it was dead clear from the offset that their facial expressions showed how much they feared for their respective fates and destiny in this competition. Some already had that resigned look etched on their faces, that it was all over for them, somewhat of a bad omen which eventually came true in the end.

What do I think of the results??? I thought it was fair and based on my comments on last week’s show, it was clear who would be deserving of the final spots, save for the ladies whom if I had a choice, I would have taken all three in, based on their consistency throughout the competition. As it is, I think the two who were eliminated – Catty and Hydir – lost out based on the judges’ vote. Yes the fans did have a say in their choice of vote, but theirs wasn’t the final say at all, as perceived by many. 

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Rewind back to last week’s show, Hydir did nothing much wrong except that he chose a song which was too simplistic and not considered a song of “competitive” material. As for Catty, her “wardrobe mulfunction” could have contributed to her downfall but it was too easy to blame it on that for her drop in standards. I thought even with all the unwanted happenings backstage, she still atoned herself well, which said a lot about her resolve and determination to get the show on the road.

So it was a bit disheartening to hear some sections of the audience sitting in the auditorium shouting that the results were rigged. While passion should not be blinded by blind faith, a little rationale and understanding goes a long way into accepting reality as it is. This is a competition and there was no way riggings could occur as far as I could see from what was being displayed last week to what we know of the results this week. Some people need to learn to accept defeat graciously.

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Guest performer of the night, Anugerah 2007 runner-up Maiya Rahman, has upgraded her looks and performance over the years.

It is not the end of the road for both Catty and Hydir. Being 17 years of age, both still have a long way to go to improve themselves and being more polished performers. I’m sure the experience would go a long way into making them being better entertainers in time to come. With the potential that they have shown over the past weeks, other record producers might have taken notice and could have a few things in store for them. Anything is possible, so I would like to see them brush off this setback and come back stronger cos really, it was extremely heartbreaking to see both of them breaking down backstage when the show was over.

Next week, the Grand Finals will be a two hours affair with the finalists singing four songs, one of their own choice, another by the judges, another a tribute to their mentors and the last a group performance. The Finals will be graced by the likes of Aliff Aziz, Ahli Fiqir, Imran Ajmain and Noryn Aziz amongst others, making it a star-studded affair worth watching and not to be missed…

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The finalists…

Anugerah 2009 Episode 9 Review (Semi-Finals)

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(Photo courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Now that I’ve gotten myself a new handphone, I can finally start on reviewing the semi-final rounds of Anugerah 2009 this past Tuesday 28th July 2009 at the Mediacorp TV Theatre. I guess there’s no point in hoping and dwelling over something you know you don’t have any powers over except for that glimmer of hope that people out there would be kind and responsible enough to return what’s not theirs to the rightful owners. Anyway, this week, the judging panel is joined by popular 80s singer Othman Hamzah as the guest judge for this week’s show.

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The show began with five of the six semi-finalists appearing on stage, with Catty conspicuously missing. As revealed by Catty herself in Wednesday night’s interview on RIA 89.7FM during KC‘s “Klub Kelakar Seram” segment, she suffered a “wardrobe mulfunction”, hence the delay to appear on stage as planned. So take it at face value from the horse’s mouth. At least she made it in time when the moment came for her to perform, which was the most important thing. Everything else was secondary. The “wardrobe mulfunction” could have happened due to the flooding over at the Basement 4 Lift Lobby prior to the show.

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This week, for the first time in the competition’s history, the semi-final rounds required the contestants to sing whilst being accompanied by a live band. It was interesting to see how people like Wawan and Kunjung would perform without having the “power” to “dictate” how the arrangement of the songs were to be done, as was seen from their previous performances in this competition. It was also intriguing to see how they would perform with a live band cos certain singers, especially the newbies, only perform well when they have a minus one accompanying them. Coupled with the cacophony of noise created by the different sets of fans in the auditorium, you know the competition would either push the contestants to their limits or make them succumb to the relentless pressure.

The following are the voting formats for the contestants:

  • SMS to 73388: ANU Contestant Code
  • Telepoll: 1900-112-770_ (Last digit being contestant’s number)

Each vote via SMS or Telepoll costs $0.60 each and those with prepaid cards are not able to cast your votes. Voters who are 18 years and below should seek parental permission. This service is brought to you by MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Tel: 6877 7132.

Voting for contestants appearing in Episode 9 began on Tuesday28 July 2009, 8.30pm till Tuesday, 4 August 2009, 6pm. These are the following codes you should vote for this week, along with my individual reviews of their performances:

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Hydir Idris

SMS to 73388: ANU 1 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7701

Hydir was surprisingly subdued this week, from my own personal perspective. He sang a song that did not challenge his vocals at all and was too safe for my liking. Yes, he did not make any mistakes singing Taufik and Hady‘s “KepadaNya“, but the casual manner in which he performed the song showed that he might be resting on his laurels a bit. Hydir is capable of doing so much more, even hitting the high notes with nonchalant ease in previous rounds, but this song I felt was a wrong choice as it was too simple. He has to remember that based on the charts from the previous round, he was the lowest standing contestant. He had better hope that the young ladies out there would vote for him in abundance.

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Kunjung Whitaker

SMS to 73388: ANU 2 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7702

The judges’ favourite contestant sang Kris Dayanti‘s “Cahaya“. Somehow I felt she was holding back something. It wasn’t her usual performance which we have come to love and expect from the competition’s consistently best performer. Her lower registers were very much suspect and for once, we could see that she did not look comfortable on stage. Was it because the key to the music that accompanied her was not constant??? Was it because jitters got to her??? We will never know, but this performance by Kunjung wasn’t the best we’ve seen of her these past few weeks.

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Hydir & Kunjung – Singing “Kau Muzik Di Hatiku” made popular by Jaclyn Victor and Vince, both of them actually reminded me of Anuar Zain & Ellina in their youths. Though there was chemistry and a little more energy from both of them as compared to their earlier individual performances, I felt that it was more of a “sibling” pair performing then a supposed pair of lovebirds. Hydir was pitchy and his voice was nearly “lost” towards the end but I thought Kunjung redeemed herself well and it was much better from her in this particular duet.

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Wawan

SMS to 73388: ANU 3 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7703

Regulars of this blog would perceive that I sound as though I have an axe to grind whenever I review Wawan‘s performances. Fret not, cos this week I am proud to announce that Wawan actually came alive and blossomed singing Diorama‘s “Sanubariku“. The performance was brilliant, it was intensed at the right moments, the emotions exuded were spot-on and he captured our imaginations so well, that I thought, for the first time, I might be looking at the possible champion. His unique style in itself is his strength and being constantly amongst the top in the weekly charts, I will not be surprised if this boy is to grace the Grand Finals in less than a fortnight. At times he reminded me of Faizal Tahir, but Wawan has the potential to be his own person when the time comes for him to colour our music industry.

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Catty 

SMS to 73388: ANU 4 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7704

The mark of a professional singer is that they do not let any off-stage happenings affect their performance on stage. For that, Catty deserves every bit of applause for not allowing her apparent “wardrobe mulfunction” get to her. I thought she sang Mila‘s “Persis Mutiara” much better than the original, but there were three instances I detected her making mistakes which is unheard of from her before this, whereby her voice cracked as she was breaking into the chorus of the song, trying to match up to the change in key to the song during the chorus and forgetting the lyrics, but covering it up well towards the end.

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Wawan & Catty – I think this pairing simply rocked. They gave the impression that they were two lovebirds hotly in love with each other. Singing Dafi and Gita Gutawa‘s “Dua Hati Menjadi Satu“, one could see how much they were enjoying themselves and bouncing off each other’s energy. But it has to be said that Wawan was a bit suspect singing the low notes whilst harmonising with Catty, at times resulting in his voice becoming flat. I did not agree at first with Othman Hamzah‘s comments on Wawan going flat what with the audience cheering and drowning his voice, but when I watched their performance again at home, I tend to agree with the veteran singer.

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Chirul 

SMS to 73388: ANU 5 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7705

A lot has been said about Chirul‘s appearance in the semi-final rounds prior to the show, with most people raising their eyebrows at the results, me included. But I thought this past Tuesday night, he proved once and for all why he deserved to be there with a very matured performance singing ST12‘s “Tak Ada Apa-Apa“. I think this was his best performance to date, dancing when he had to (when previously I did not see the need to in his previous performances), and just enjoying himself by milking away the audience’s energy and turning it into his own. The voice, his voice, is delectably creamy for his age.

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Sarah Aqilah

SMS to 73388: ANU 6 or by Telepoll: 1900-112-7706

Sarah did not get the best of starts when she forgot the lyrics to the first line of one of my current favourite songs “Tak Mungkin Kerna Sayang” by Alyah. But as the performance progressed, so did Sarah and she went on to lend justice to the song. On a night where the ladies were all surprisingly making mistakes here and there, Sarah was the one who got the judges’ vote on being the best female of the night, and may I add, by virtue of making the least mistakes. Sarah would do well to not forget the lyrics since this was not the first time in the competition she succumbed to it.

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Chirul & Sarah  – Before they performed Rossa & Pasha‘s “Terlanjur Cinta“, I was a bit sceptical how this possible “sibling” pairing could upstage the pairing before them. But lo!!! Along with the judges and whoever agrees with me out there, I was blown away by their cool and romantic performance. They might not look into each other’s eyes for long to create some kind of sizzle (and to avoid laughing at themselves as was revealed by Sarah during their radio interview when she said she cannot look at his face for long, lest she would burst out laughing), but their controlled vocal power and harmonising were enough to make most of us swoon and say they were the best two of the night.

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Next Tuesday, the results show will last about half an hour. Two of them will be eliminated and it will be up to the voters now to determine who makes it to the Grand Finals in less than a fortnight.

Anugerah 2009 Episode 8 Review…

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This entry nearly did not make it, simply because I was too lazy and procrastinating whether to do it or not. After such a lengthy entry on the Kuala Lumpur trip, all I wanted was to rest a few days before I start again on the Anugerah 2009 reviews. This past Tuesday, the eighth episode was a resurrected platform for six of the eliminated Anugerettes to stake their claims once again to continue their journey in the competition. It was the last chance saloon so to speak, with regards to winning the hearts of the judging panel. By the way, this past week, there were no votes from viewers so it was purely the judges’ decision as to who would go through to next Tuesday‘s semi-final rounds. Joining the judging panel as the guest judge was Manja‘s Editor Aidli Alin Mosbit.

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I thought the idea of making the six contestants – Ize Suliman, Nora Baharom, Hydir Idris, Sarah Aqilah, Azhar Raz & Asilah Osmera – doing the honours of hyping up the show in the first quarter was a good idea to test their interactive skills with the audience, even though it was just to make an announcement. However, the ones who aced it in my opinion, happened to be the ones who were eliminated much earlier (Ize & Asilah) cos they seemed at ease and confident speaking to the microphones. I was surprised that the extra weeks in the competition did not bring the confidence out on the other four when interacting with the audience. Hydir especially was a bundle of nerves and it showed, especially when he forgot what to say and nobody was there to do a bit of ad-libbing for him. Maybe it was a wrong choice to do this, but at the same time, if they don’t, then they might never start to learn how to address the audience.

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Ize Suliman – With such high stakes in place, he kickstarted the competition with a rousing rendition of Faizal Tahir‘s “Kasih Tercipta“. I believe he did nothing wrong and certainly made the song his own by singing it in his own style. In fact, this was the best performance I’ve witnessed Ize executing throughout his stay in the competition. He actually set the standards for the night and at this point of time, I thought the only way he could be eliminated is if the other two guys were to raise the bar higher with their own respective performances.

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Nora BaharomNora as all of us who follow the show on a weekly basis would know, continues to improve with every performance. However, singing Linda AF2‘s “Aku Cinta Kamu“, she somehow stuck to her comfort zone. Contrary to what the judges had commented about her expressions and emotions, I thought she did ok, but there was still that missing element of breaking out and letting herself go when it came to hitting the high notes. It did not help matters when quizzed by the judges, she mispronounced her words and fumbled on her sentence structure, the jitters probably getting to her.

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Hydir Idris – If Faizal Tahir was following this reality show, he must have been beaming with pride cos Hydir became the second guy to sing one of his songs, “Sampai Syurga“. Hydir performed as how we have come to be accustomed by his performances. However there were no frills, he kept it simple and surprisingly did not execute as much vocal gymnastics as in previous rounds. Though I detected a few minor pitching problems, it still wasn’t enough to deter the judges from singing his praises.

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Sarah Aqilah – In a round where the judges are their only executioners, Sarah was intelligent enough to stick to what she knows best – singing power ballads like Agnes Monica‘s “Tanpa Kekasihku” – rather than experiment with a song that is of a more upbeat tempo. Consistency is also the name of the game and she did herself no harm by keeping it safe. But one can’t help detecting the crack in her voice towards the end of the song. Though the performance was good, I still think the judges over-exaggerated their comments on Sarah being ready for any stage out there. To do that, she MUST get out from her comfort zone and be more versatile. Anugerah is just a basic grounding stage for these wannabes, they need a lot of time and experience to hone their skills to be even better so as to be termed “ready for the world stage”.

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Azhar Raz – His forte since the audition rounds is singing songs sung by female singers and in a round where he needed to showcase his strengths, he picked a song sung by Ayu, the second season winner of Malaysia‘s One In A Million competition, entitled “Hanya Di Mercu“. Though his vocal efforts were flawless as usual, his downside was not to synergise his expressions and emotions along with his interaction with the audience. It was difficult to feel the connection between himself and the audience.

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Asilah Osmera – If I were to be harsh, I would say that the judges made the wrong choice in choosing her to be in the Wildcard Round. But I’ve seen in Episode 4, whereby her performance actually made my hairs stood, so there is some credibility in putting her in this round. I have to agree with Eddy Ali that Asilah chose the wrong song as she was basically struggling throughout her performance. I was cringing on my seat watching her sing and I thought Asilah should have done better by singing another song that would really highlight her strengths. The judges comments on her literally sounded the death knell on her progress in the competition. But to be fair to Asilah, singing Melly Goeslaw and Kris Dayanti‘s “Cinta“, is a challenge on its own. This song is best sung by two singers, not one.

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Syed Azmir was the guest artiste for the night… Excellent performance and showmanship… This guy has added dancing into his repertoire…

And so, from the results, we now know that Hydir Idris and Sarah Aqilah were chosen to progress into the semi-final rounds. However, it has to be said that the judges were “guilty” of announcing the results through their various comments. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know Sarah is going through simply when Gani and Aidli spoke about her being ready for the world stage. It also doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to inform Watson that something was elementary, just by listening to their comments on Hydir being “fresh” and executing “a strong showmanship”, while playing down and being polite with their comments towards the other four contestants.

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Awaiting their fates…

Somehow I personally felt that this round was a mere formality even though all six contestants must be applauded for giving their all and in some cases, their best performance throughout their stay in the competition. Even though it was only the start of the show, Gani already let slip through this comment, “Whatever happens tonight, I hope you two will not stop singing…” Ok some might say it’s just a hypothetical comment, but it proved ominous by the end of the show. I hope in future, to keep the audience in the theatre and at home on the edge of their seats, comments like these could be phrased better so as not to announce the results even before others had gone on stage to perform. It gives the impression that this competition is scripted like watching World Wrestling Entertainment when we know it’s not.

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The 6 semi-finalists…

Next Tuesday, we will see the Top 6 battling it out in the Semi-Final round. Based on information I received, Hydir will kickstart the competition followed by Kunjung, Wawan, Catty, Chirul and Sarah Aqilah. I believe by now you should know the codes to call or sms your votes in. If not, it’s ok cos I will include it in my next review on Anugerah 2009. For those of you reading this before 3pm on Saturday, if you’re free, do come down to East Point Mall to lend your support to the semi-finalists in the Anugerah 2009 roadshow. Guest artistes like Imran Ajmain, The Fabulous Cats, Liana Jasmay, Diana Danielle, Han and Nurul will be there as well. The roadshow will be from 3pm-6pm…