Pesta Perdana 2019 Media Conference

We are just a few days away from the actual Pesta Perdana event itself, relatively about 48 hours on the clock. Dunno why it took me this long to post this entry when the media conference event that took place to announce the nominees in the various award categories happened more than a month ago on 21st February 2019. A combination of being busy with several personal commitments, coupled with being lazy and procrastinating contributed somewhat to this very belated entry. I had half the mind to just skip doing it altogether seeing how short of a time I have to post this up with just a couple of days away. I just had to do it as the memory of the media conference itself, or rather its venue where it was held, was probably the best one I had attended in the history of this awards show. For the first time ever, the media conference was held at the beautiful Skai Suites on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford, one of Singapore‘s iconic buildings and once billed as the tallest hotel in the world.

Mediacorp Suria’s prestigious television awards show, Pesta Perdana, will be held this year ‘live’ on Saturday, 30 March 2019 at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp. The event will be graced by Guest of Honour, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Manpower. The biennial awards show, now into its 15th edition, honours the very best in local Malay television. This year’s show will be hosted by multi-talented actor, director and host, Khairudin Samsudin. As a celebratory prelude, fans had the opportunity to meet and greet their favourite celebrities and nominees in a special event called Viva Pesta! that was held on Saturday, 16 March 2019 at Mediacorp Campus Town Square. Hosted by A B Shaik and Farhana M. Noor, the event featured an exciting line up of immersive and interactive activities with delicious food and many instagram-worthy moments for the fans. In addition, fans at Viva Pesta! also attended a special prelude TV show, Pesta Perdana Ekstra! hosted by recently-minted Elit Suria winners, Hans Hamid and Hana Rosli. This show will air tomorrow on Friday, 29 March 2019 at 9.30pm on Mediacorp Suria.

Warna 94.2FM‘s Aura Shai was the host at the media conference…

A total of 31 awards will be given out at the Pesta Perdana awards ceremony from over 300 entries received between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018. Shortman Films’ social drama Bantal Buruk Saloma leads with 11 nominations while Mediacorp Eaglevision’s “Tujuh Hariis close behind with 10 nominations. This is followed by Flipside Stories’ “Mekah Di Hati and Millenia Motion Pictures’ “Tekan Minyak which are tied with 7 nominations each. In a nod to the budding new talents of the industry, this year’s Pesta Perdana boasts a total of 30 first time nominees in the performance and creative categories. Interestingly, for five celebrity families, it is all the more special as they are all up for nominations in the various categories and they are:

  • J.A. Halim, Aminah Ahmad, Helmindra & Fizah Nizam (Father, Mother, Son & Daughter-in-Law)
  • Sani Hussin & Rosita Hussin (Siblings)
  • Seriwahyuni Jaes & R. Azmann (Husband & Wife)
  • Faisal Ishak & Umie Isa (Husband & Wife)
  • Haslinna Ja’aman & Danial Nazim (Mother & Son)

Ms. Sabariah Ramilan, Head of Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Mediacorp addressing the guests at the media conference…

Other nominees include Papahan Film’s “SR115, winner of Best Original Screenplay at the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2018 and finalist at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019 for Drama and Best Screenplay categories; Xtreme Media’s “Swap Kerja Sr 2, finalist for Outstanding Variety Show category at the 4th Asia Rainbow TV Awards 2018, as well as Filmat36’s “Kembara Kasih Sr 3, nominee for Best Documentary category at the Venice TV Awards 2018 and finalist in the Community Service Programs category at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019. Two other nominated programmes, “Bonda and “Projek Kasih, are also recognised finalists at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019 for Drama Special and Variety Special category respectively.

Ms Sabariah Ramilan, Head of Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Mediacorp, said, “For nearly two decades, Mediacorp Suria has been working closely with local production houses and talents to ensure our programmes entertain, engage and remain relevant to our audiences. We are proud to see our programmes receive recognitions at the regional and international stage, but it is right here at Pesta Perdana that we celebrate and embrace the achievements of our homegrown talents.”

Hisyam Hamid being sandwiched by his missus, Mel Hanafi, and veteran actor, J.A. Halim

Though I agree with what was said, I did have a chat with several local personalities in different fields whom I will not name, who said a lot can be done after 15 editions of the awards show. For one and this has been mentioned extensively amongst the people in the industry, it would be nice to have monetary cash rewards to go along with the trophies they receive, something that we tend to see on some awards shows across the Causeway. However, to put things into perspective, Pesta Perdana is like our own local Malay version of the Emmy Awards. If we were to put it along parallel levels of such awards show (the Grammys and Oscars included), monetary awards are not given out, yet the prestige in winning speaks volumes for the artistes’ or production houses’ reputation, potential and quality. Monetary cash rewards means we need big sponsors pumping in big money. In reality, do we have that in the first place???

From left: Ryan Sufiyan, Razi Salam & M.K. Kash from Flipside Stories, and Fadhli Abdullah

For the Most Popular Male and Female Personality categories which are decided by voting, a prominent personality mentioned that it would also be nice if we were to take a leaf out of Channel 8‘s Star Awards show and crown the Top 5 or Top 10 from each category. Voters can have an initial choice of 30 from each category, 10 from the veterans, 10 from the current and the remaining 10 from the up-and-coming cohort. This particular system makes it an inclusive category and not leave the veterans forgotten or feel as though they are cast aside for younger, more good-looking and marketable personalities. I know for a long time, our local television scene has this tendency to favour looks over talents in the name of marketability, but I think it would not hurt at all to have the more veteran ones have their day in the sun. At least they know they have a place in the hearts of viewers and not just the young ones with better social media outreach. For the record, the public may cast their votes for the Most Popular Male and Female Personalities on toggle.sg/pestaperdana. Voting has been opened since 15 March 2019 and will officially close at 10.00pm on 30 March 2019.

Erwin Shah Dawson was seated next to fellow award nominees Aien Aksan (middle) and Batrisya Soffian

Another thing I would like to mention and this I feel is repeated like a bad record on my end cos I’ve said the same thing before in the past, is that certain categories can be expanded or introduced to include more production houses and not just solely limited to one. I have nothing against Mediacorp Eaglevision cos they, like all the other production houses, produce good and quality programmes on television. But when one category is dominated by just them, it doesn’t look quite good on paper as it looks as though it is favouritism, since they are producing this awards show after all, though I do note that this is probably an (only) avenue to honour their amazing in-house writers and producers. They can probably tweak the categories in future or as what I had mentioned in the past before, to have other production houses produce more of these Variety and Variety Special programmes on Suria, not just limited to them and being an in-house production company of Mediacorp. I think once in awhile, a different and fresh injection of ideas from others can produce a different kind of show on television. At least then we can deny the brickbats on social media that local television shows are one and the same.

From left: Atyy Malek, Endang Rahayu, Andy Idris and Huda Ali

With that said, I am looking forward to attending and covering this Saturday‘s event, as it is looking more likely that this will be the only awards show this year that local television will witness. I’ve heard and this has been confirmed by several people that my favourite awards show, Anugerah Planet Muzik, has been consigned to the history books, a big pity really, as this was an event that I looked forward to fervently every year, not only for the array of stars coming to perform and win the regional awards on offer, but also an avenue for our local musicians, artistes and songwriters to be recognised for their contributions to the music scene. My appeal to the powers-at-be is never to forget nor cast aside our local acts. Even if we were to resurrect the one-time Anugerah Hitz SG, I will be more than happy because this domain of mine was afterall first conceived, in the aim of supporting local music acts, though I sometimes blog on other regional acts on show here as well. Doing away with APM took a big chunk out of my interest in blogging and seriously speaking, I really lost interest and almost called it a day when I first heard the news. I guess that partly contributed to why I hummed and hawed before finally deciding to post this entry up.

A beaming Fadli Kamsani, who is now the latest face in Warna 94.2FM‘s stable, seated alongside his good friends, Danish Ashraf (left) and Farhana M. Noor

Pesta Perdana goes live on Mediacorp Suria at 8:30pm this Saturday, 30th March 2019. The Red Carpet event will be shown live on Mediacorp Suria‘s Facebook page from 6:30pm onwards.

Pesta Perdana 2019 Full List of Nominees

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Graphics Posters of Nominees courtesy of Mediacorp Suria…

Snapshots of Pesta Perdana 2019 Media Conference

Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo Gala Premiere Screening Event

We are slightly more than three weeks into the new calendar year. It’s been three months since my last post and I know I still owe entries on Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 as well as originally-planned reviews for Ruffedge‘s and Anuar Zain‘s concerts. Unfortunately, my home PC picked an inauspicious time to go bust, so I was rendered PC-less for some time, hence I was unable to do any updates till I’ve gotten myself a new one. However, it’s been a quarter of a year gone by, and frankly speaking, whatever I owe my readers are old news by now. So I’ll keep my thoughts on APM2018 till the next one comes around (if it does) or maybe I’ll hold my peace forever, if rumours of it being consigned to history books are true. As for the Ruffedge concert, all I can say is, it was a blast and one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended for the fact that I had absolute access to snap photos from close-up without having security or organisers stopping me from doing so. Even the fans had a whale of a night. How many sit-down concerts here can you say that audience are allowed to stand up, dance and sway without having security bugging you to sit down??? Can’t wait for the next Shiraz Project concert here in March with a certain number one singer from Malaysia

The cast of the “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” seen here with their executive producers, Safiyuddin Razif and Nusaibah Abdul Rahim (fourth and fifth from the left)…

Sorry for taking a whole paragraph rambling. Now that I got the explanation for my missing-in-action out of the way, let’s start 2019’s first entry with a gala premiere screening event I attended slightly more than a fortnight ago on 4 January 2019 at the Gallery Theatre of National Museum of Singapore. This screening event was jointly held by Mediacorp Suria and local production company, Poetry In Motion, to promote the blockbuster drama series, “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo“, which has already been aired on the national free-to-air channel since 9 January 2019. This drama series stars award-winning actor, Hasnul Rahmat, Nurul Aini, Norman Ishak, Jeff Catz, Hamidah Wahab, Fir Rahman, Adlina Adil, Shenty Feliziana, Bella Putri as well as sees the return of Rima Melati Adams on our television screens after a decade-long hiatus. The show also sees the introduction of Malaysian model-host-actress-rapper Amelia Henderson, who bears a very striking resemblance to international film star Gal Gadot as well as several Bosnian actors and actresses. This drama series is directed and written by the husband-and-wife team of Faisal Ishak and Umie Isa, no strangers already on these shores.

RIA 89.7FM‘s morning show presenters, Nity Baizura and Hans Ashrie, were the hosts at the gala premiere screening event…

Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” drifts between modern day and flashbacks from the 90s when Bosnia-Herzegovina was plunged into a civil war and mass ethnic cleansing. The aforementioned war serves as the backdrop to the story being told in this drama series, centering on its main protagonist, Rahman Iskander (played by both Norman Ishak and Hasnul Rahmat) and how he was separated from his Bosnian wife Zana (played by Alisa Brkic and Olivera Blazevic) when the war broke out in Sarajevo where he was based. He was tortured at the hands of the Serbs but was eventually released and returned back to Singapore after being found and rescued by the United Nations‘ peacekeeping force. He went on to rebuild his life and eventually got married to supermodel Ramona (played by Rima Melati Adams), but he continues to pine and yearn for his lost love, slipping into depression as a result. Well that’s the gist of the story that I can relate to you having watched the brief 70-minute screening on the gala premiere night where a bulk of the scenes shown to the audience were from the first three episodes.

Director Faisal Ishak relating to the audience some of the challenges faced during the filming. With him are Executive Producers, Safiyuddin Razif and Nusaibah Abdul Rahim

What I am impressed about the drama series are the breathtaking scenery of Sarajevo, the cinematography, the visual quality of the series which resembles more like a movie than a drama series and of course the pace of how the storyline is being told, which feels just about right. If there are some shortcomings or minor lackings, I would have to say, the CGI effects could have been done much better. But we all know to implement CGI-effects into a production is not cheap and will probably take several production or animation houses to get it right. I think with the budget that they were working at, it should be applauded that a local production house was able to achieve the kind of positive qualities that I mentioned at the start of this paragraph. The gala screening event also had several sections of displays showcasing some of the props used in the drama production as well as serving Bosnian delicacies to go along with the main spread. Truly they pulled all the stops for us to immerse ourselves into the drama series even before it was shown proper on television.

One for the album with the main cast, writer, director, executive producers, soundtrack singer, hosts of the event and new Mediacorp Head Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Community and Content Groups, Mdm. Sabariah Ramilan (centre)…

Some of my closest friends who know my character and how much I appreciate beauty might say I would have been smittened by Amelia Henderson. They might probably be right, having seen and talked to her up close and personal that night, but they are far from the truth actually. The one who caught my eyes the most with her innocence and honesty in delivering her lines was none other than young Bella Putri, the child star who is making her acting debut in this drama series, her first foray in the local Malay entertainment scene, having done several commercial ads and voiceovers for other productions. One could easily hear the audience warming to her with sighs of “Awwww…” every time she came onscreen to speak, moreso when there was a particular scene where she was scolded by her uncle Rahman for dropping his prized painting on the floor. I think this little girl’s career is just about to get a major upturn henceforth and we’ll probably be seeing more of her on television. Try looking out for the commercial advertisement on Changi Airport‘s Terminal 4 and you’ll see this cute little one prancing around in the trailer.

Marcell singing the official soundtrack titled “Cinta Tersembunyi“…

The gala screening of “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” was not complete without the presence of Indonesian heart-throb and soul crooner Marcell Siahaan, the singer of its soundtrack titled “Cinta Tersembunyi“. It’s like a nice package when you get Rima Melati to act in the drama series, you complete it by involving her husband to compose and sing the soundtrack to the series as well. And what a lovely composition the song is! I instantly fell in love with the song and as I watched the scenes unfolding during the screening as well as the first two episodes that have already been aired, I began to understand the meaning of its lyrics better. I won’t be surprised if this song is to be nominated in 2021‘s Pesta Perdana for Best Soundtrack. For the record, “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” airs every Wednesday evenings at 9:30pm on Mediacorp Suria.  Would just like to say well done to the whole production team at Poetry in Motion and let’s hope they will produce more good programmes like this! Thank you too Mediacorp Suria for inviting yours truly to the gala premiere screening! 🙂

Snapshots of “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” Gala Premiere Screening

 

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 Pink Carpet Event

Back with the second instalment of my APM2018 photo series. Apologies you had to wait more than a week for this even though I had shared them more than a week ago if you’re following me on Instagram or even my personal Facebook account. My social media followers are usually more fortunate to be able to view them much earlier. Actually I wanted to post this entry on Monday but was tied down with work, as well as assisting Berita Harian in selecting the appropriate photographs for their article on Ruffedge‘s 20th Anniversary Concert held at Zepp @ Big Box, which I had the opportunity to have attended as well as provided photo coverage. I’ll be sharing more of that concert somewhere down the road, most probably after Anuar Zain‘s upcoming one at the end of the month. Without further ado, here are the photos I snapped during the Pink Carpet event prior to Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 held at the MES Theatre @ MediaCorp Campus on 28th September 2018.

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 1 Recap…

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TeRaSeh! made its long-awaited return on our television screens this past Tuesday night (8 April 2014). The highly-rated show, which pitted radio and television personalities against one another in various game and challenge segments last year, comes with a difference this time. The battle between the two media platforms have been replaced with a battle of the sexes this time round, aptly called “Mat vs. Minah“. Thirty-six radio and television personalities come together and six will do battle in the qualifying rounds for the first six weeks, whereas the semi-final rounds will see the Top 18 duking it out with one another for three weeks, before the Grand Finale on 10 June 2014. The Grand Finale, like last year, will see the Top 10 make one final battle in a two-hour face off. And yes, it is not just about fun and games, but proceeds from the winnings they earn will go to a charity organisation of their choice.

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Dalina was head and shoulders with her more established counterparts, adding grace to brawn. Expect more in the coming weeks…

When I last reported on the TeRaSeh! 2.0 Prelude event held a few weeks ago at Singapore Expo, I had mentioned that A B Shaik and Khairudin Samsudin were the resident hosts and Dalina Jaapar was initially meant to be one of the participants for the Minahs. However I note that there was a change in the line-up in recent weeks, and Dalina has now been drafted as one of the resident hosts. I think that this is a good move. Some will think that three’s a crowd, but when you have a gender-based competition like this, there needs to be a balance and not make it a bit lop-sided with male testosterone dominating proceedings. Rilla Melati and RIA 89.7FM‘s Assistant Vice-President, Mr. Hassan Salleh, reprise their roles as resident jury for this weekly competition series. For the first episode of TeRaSeh! 2.0 this past week, former resident judge of the Anugerah competition, Ann Hussein, was the guest jury.

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Ann Hussein joins the judging panel, consisting of Rilla Melati and Mr. Hassan Salleh

The first episode saw Fauzie Laily, TG and Hafeez Glamour battling against Nurul Aini, Zaza Majid and Izyan Mellyna, with “Retro” being the theme of the week. It was comical to see them mimicking the late Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross – just some of the few icons associated with the era. After an intense battle which ended off with a Boria face-off, the ladies emerged clear winners of the first episode. I know some of you must be wondering what in the world is Boria. Originating from Penang, it is almost similar to Dikir Barat, just that accompanying members dance along to synchronised moves as opposed to just sitting down and singing the chorus like the latter. I know the artistes were extremely uncomfortable with this form of face-off, as Boria is not as popular here compared to Dikir Barat, and with them having to dance and sing along to spontaneous lyrics. I can empathise with their predicament but on a positive note, it puts them on equal footing as I foresee the guys would excel on the even weeks when Dikir Barat returns during the final face-off.

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Games like these are a weekly hallmark of TeRaSeh!

Continuing from last year’s edition, there is a live segment from RIA 89.7FM‘s conty with Nity Baizura and Fiza O, being the new addition, replacing Dzar Ismail. Last year’s series featured students who became guest deejays of the week, but this year the glamour factor has been increased with local acts challenging one another weekly to get that coveted spot to guest host with the two aforementioned female radio personalities. The first episode saw Jamiel Said guest presenting live from the conty and though there were initial jitters, I thought he did quite well. My only complaint about the first episode is that there is no segment for local acts to perform like last year where upcoming acts, whose talents were spotted in Hafeez Glamour‘s “Go Go Glam” segment, were featured. It would be nice if the guest presenters at the conty were to perform their latest singles as well. I for one would have loved to hear Jamiel Said perform his latest offering, “Ballerina“.

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Boria face-offs like this, will be a common sight on odd weeks for this year’s edition of TeRaSeh! 2.0

I doubt I will be doing lengthy recaps henceforth as this weekly entertainment series is a light-hearted affair and for charity as well. Subsequent entries on TeRaSeh! 2.0 will most probably be photo recaps of the weekly proceedings. Like I said before, sometimes less is more and people would prefer to view photographs, rather than read long-winded analysis. Tonight’s episode will see Shahrin Azhar, Suzairhe Sumari and Wan Haddad facing off against Aura Shai, Nurul Nabila and Mariam Mas’od. Initially the Paparazzi Pagi deejays, Adi Rahman and Azlin Ali were supposed to be in the line-up, but I guess there was a slight change over the past week, and we now see Wan Haddad coming in and Aura Shai who was initially slated for Week 4 to go head on two weeks earlier than planned. One thing’s for sure, we’re gonna have a good time watching them go against one another and taking the mickey…

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2012 Review…

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As promised, I am back with my review on the recently-held Anugerah Planet Muzik event held at Max Pavilion Singapore Expo on 15 December 2012. Unlike previous years, I did not scour through internet forums and social media as much to read through the thoughts of viewers and the media from our neighbouring countries. I only skimmed through Twitter (#APM2012) after I came back from the event and spent a good two hours just reading what people had to say. Not surprisingly, the show was slated by our neighbours (what’s new???) but generally the local viewers were the more happier lot, especially when our local heart-throbs walked away with the popular category awards. Of course I saw the word “boring” being bandied about, but it’s subjective from person to person. Even the recent awards shows in Malaysia like Anugerah Industri Muzik and Anugerah Blokbuster were not spared by the so-called “armchair critics”, but these criticisms are difficult to be taken seriously as most of these comments were made by people who know nuts about the industry nor what goes on behind the scenes.

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The hosts – TG, Sophie Navita and Dato’ AC Mizal

Of course, not every production or show is bound to be perfect, but in terms of entertainment value, I feel that this was one of the better editions of Anugerah Planet Muzik we have had in years, much better even than last year. It has to be noted that this was the first time that Mediacorp Radio stations Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM were holding this event without the support of Beyond DDB Events Sdn. Bhd. after the passing of its late Managing Director, Mr. Amin Hussen. In the past ten editions of Anugerah Planet Muzik, the company, along with the two local Malay radio stations had worked hand in hand and had been a great supporter of this prestigious awards show. At the first time of asking and doing this on their own, I think the two local Malay radio stations can hold their heads up high, and that the previous ten editions have given them good experience and know-how to stage the event better, bar all the internet talks and complaints.

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Awi Rafael, Anji and Aliff Aziz performed “Aishiteru“, made popular by Zivilia

What the social media critics constantly fail to see is the intention of what Anugerah Planet Muzik stands for and why it is held. Unlike our neighbours (both in the industry as well as those watching on the sidelines) who still think based on nationalistic lines / boundaries and still comparing whose artistes / entertainment industries are better (Shame on you Julia Perez & Zed Zaidi!!!), music and entertainment are probably a few things that unite people of different cultures, background and interests. There is a reason why Dato’ Sheila Majid ended her thank-you speech that night with “May music keep us together” and Gigi‘s frontman Armand Maulana had said “Keep the peace, love and respect for music” in his winning speeches at the 2006 and 2008 editions of Anugerah Planet Muzik. The event is all about our regional acts converging and coming together, build networks, share ideas, plan future collaborations and at the same time introduce / reacquaint themselves to the viewers in the region. Sadly, we are still seeing sourgrape comments and slating our neighbouring artistes, especially on the subject of the popularity awards.

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Taufik Batisah and Shila Amzah performing “Aku Bersahaja“…

The most common gripes I heard were the awards won by both Taufik Batisah (Most Popular Regional Artiste) and Hady Mirza (Most Popular Regional Song). I believe when the organisers held media conferences at both Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta to announce the nominees and details of the awards show, the media over there would have reported as well how viewers could vote for their respective favourites via the official Anugerah Planet Muzik page. No matter where you are in the world, you were given the opportunity to vote for your favourites from 5th November 2012 till voting ended on 5th December 2012. You guys had a whole month to vote for your favourites, but when the winners were announced, you claimed that the artistes are not popular in your countries and you have not heard of “Ku Tetap Kan Menunggu” on your respective airwaves. Well suck it up guys, time to start learning who your regional acts are and what songs are popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. YouTube always helps, it is a question of whether you have the initiative to look up on your own or not. Stop living in your coconut shells and start seeing the quality acts around you, not just where you are based at.

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Aweera of MOJO showing his vocal finesse performing “Andai Ku Bercinta Lagi“…

I admit before this I knew nuts about Ridho Rhoma, Maria Calista, Anji, Soo Wincci, and a few others, but thanks to Anugerah Planet Muzik, I now appreciate their talents and understand how they came to be household names in their respective countries. Likewise I hope our regional neighbours would also feel the same way towards our local acts like Awi Rafael, Audionauts, Siti Zahidah, Aliff Aziz, SleeQ and our two idols Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza. I thought our local brigade who performed that night were excellent and did not let themselves down at all. They definitely stood tall with their counterparts. My only complaint is that Zahidah should have been granted more minutes than she was given when performing “Malam Ini“, cos Najwa Latif was given a slightly longer time to sing her hit “Kosong” (which by the way, she went flat and admitted to it on the entertainment magazine show “MeleTOP” on Astro Ria) and her massive hit single with SleeQ, “Untuk Dia“.

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Maria Calista – A name that needs to be remembered from now on…

Speaking of Maria Calista, I unashamedly say I am a big fan of her voice now. Every time I watch reruns of her singing Kotak‘s “Apa Bisa” during the Best Song nominees segment, my hairs will stand on its end. It was even better watching her singing it live. That night when she performed the song, I could see she was making constant eye contact towards Kotak, her eyes and facial expressions were seen as though they were asking the group for their approval. As I was seated on the floor next to the group, I could see all three members of Kotak (Tantri, Chua and Cella) nodding their heads in approval and when she broke into chorus, the group just stood and whooped. In fact the Indonesian contingent gave her a standing ovation. Such is the spirit and camaraderie being shown for their countrymen that I secretly hope could be replicated here as well. Ridho Rhoma‘s “Let’s Have Fun Together” is also now stuck in my head, yes yours truly who does not have a liking for Dangdut initially.

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Following in his father’s footsteps – Ridho Rhoma

It was a no-brainer when I heard Dato’ Sheila Majid‘s name being added to the list of performers that night, that she would be the rightful recipient of this edition’s Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik. A deserving recipient for her achievements for the past twenty-seven years and a legend in her own right, she is still the same humble, intelligent, articulate and immaculate person that she is. And it seems that she is quite ageless. Her skin is flawless and looks like she is still in her late 30s. Her songs will always be evergreen in our hearts and the tribute that Hady Mirza and Shila Amzah gave her was commendable, if not an excellent one. Of course the diva herself did not disappoint, as always, lapping up the accolades that came her way but still retaining that sense of humility, which all up-and-coming artistes should emulate if they dream of longevity in the scene. And her speech was sharp, concise and brought so much deep meaning to what it means to love music.

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Style and Elegance personified – Dato’ Sheila Majid

The hosts, all first-timers at this awards show, did their best to liven up the crowd, though I felt the energy dropped slightly when it was Tahar Ghalib (TG)’s turn to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I simply love the tone of his voice and still feel he is the best person to helm a show with a love / sombre theme but when the three of them were together onstage, I could sense a certain energy imbalance between him and Dato’ AC Mizal. I dunno, I could be wrong with my assessment, but I did feel that way that night. However, I could definitely see that TG was determined not to let his two counterparts, Sophie Navita and the wacky Dato’ AC Mizal upstage him, by dishing back some punchlines of his own. Maybe it is the difference in the personalities of the hosts, with Dato’ AC being more extrovert and zany, naturally providing more spark to the proceedings. I do however have a little grievance with the hosting script when it came to the part on Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza. I felt that at a time when she is going through a personal family problem, any jokes on her or her husband is a bit insensitive. Not too sure if they knew what had happened to Dato’ Khalid Mohd Jiwa during or before the event, but for the benefit of doubt, my guess is they did not know till much later.

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APM is all about friendships, collaboration and cooperation between artistes of the three neighbouring countries…

Unlike previous editions of Anugerah Planet Muzik, this one ended much earlier than expected, a sign that showed the organisers have learned from their past experiences of over-running the show. Performances and segments were generally compact and enjoyable and these I felt contributed to a very enjoyable show as a whole. Of course there will always be grievances about repeat / recycled performances by the same artistes year in and out, but I think this is what Anugerah Planet Muzik has come to be known for, as they try to showcase artistes from the three countries coming together and sharing the stage, but as always, more artistes could have been featured. I’m sure more of our local acts would love to display their talents onstage. If I were to make some noise about what I find kinda odd about the performances is that maybe Kotak should not have performed a slow number to open the show and “Beraksi” to introduce the hosts afterwards, as they had already performed the same song during the 2009 edition, which was held in Jakarta. Also, we could have had a different closing to the show, rather than a repeat performance of “Let’s Have Fun Together” by Ridho Rhoma. Unsurprisingly, those seated in the first few rows got up and left for the post-event reception before the show ended proper.

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Another enjoyable performance that night between Teacher’s Pet and Judika

We can all complain and vent our frustrations till the cows come home but it has all been done and dusted, the awards audited and given away to their rightful recipients. I sometimes do not understand why our neighbouring counterparts can sound so vengeful when it comes to competition of any kind, be it in sports or even music. I mean let’s face it, they won most of the Best category awards but still made snide remarks over who is more popular. Can’t we just live and let live and share the awards all around??? This is afterall not Anugerah Planet Malaysia or Indonesia. And for those who are saying that the organisers are making a profit out of this event, me being the biggest critic of this event since I first started blogging on our entertainment scene, will say that they are not. Economic conditions and circumstances in our entertainment industry do not allow us to hold our own awards show for our acts, which is why we have separate award categories during the show to honour our Singapore artistes. Singapore does not have the privilege of having mega sponsorships from big companies as what is being enjoyed by our regional counterparts.

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The finale…

I hope that after all is being said by the critics out there, the know-it-alls to the fellow professionals in the industry, the organisers can take stock and continue the good momentum that they have done and even lift the standards further for future Anugerah Planet Muzik events. I for one would love it if Max Pavilion, as a venue, is scrapped once and for all if the show is to be held here again. This was the third time that the event was held there and all three times, the sound system was a major letdown. I have heard and experienced myself how bad it was and am not too sure if it is the sound system or the acoustics of the venue which hinders quality acts from being heard and enjoyed by the audience. Aliff Aziz‘s performance when he sang “Jangan Ganggu Pacarku” was the one most glaringly heard from the speakers, with the crackling sounds being emitted, a major distraction. The Red Carpet event, though slightly better this time, still had the audience coming into the area meant for media and artistes to sit and I don’t think it was a comfortable affair for them with the audience clamouring and jostling forward to snap photographs of the artistes. Some jokes made by the award presenters also went a bit flat and did not resonate with the audience (the panda jokes come to mind, even though it was meant to be an educational / tourist promotion thing) so perhaps something that the region can relate to would be welcomed the next time. Still, it does not take away the fact that this was a much better event than last year, and for that I commend the organisers and thank them for kindly inviting me to the grand occasion…