Sunday, July 31, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-16, Airdate: 31/07/2005 – Spectaculars #1 Result Show : The Power of A Pretty Face

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

Nick’s pick to leave: Ash & Ejay

I have to say that has to be the hardest Malaysia Idol recap to write anywhere near objectively because I am still fuming at the outcome. I was practically hyperventilating when they announced the names of the contestants leaving the show tonight because what happened was so wrong. It has been truly an unexpected result to the first Spectacular rounds which in a way made for a very shocking and exciting results show. In fact I have to say that the result show was even more exciting than last Friday’s Spectacular show itself.

Moving on to the recap.

The show started up with a truly wretched group performance. When I first saw it, I was thinking that they were going to sing as a group. As the song went on, I finally figured out to my absolute horror that the group will be dancing as a group instead. There were a lot of pointy poses and missteps that looked absolutely horrendous. The whole group were better off harmonizing as a group in a group sing instead of trying to do synchronies stomping. It wasn’t a surprise to see that all the ladies, Daniel, Adam and AzamBot could move to the beat fairly well. Ash and Faizull were barely following the beat and may be thinking that they were too rock to groove if they can groove at all. These two were clearly the most lead footed performers of the group.

I hope, for the sanity of the Malaysian Idol viewers and fans, the producers don’t make the contestants dance in a group again for the whole season. The show is “Malaysian Idol” and not “So You Think You Can Dance”. Let them sing as a group and give use their vocals to distract us from their dance moves.

The judges were next asked to comment about the show last Friday. All three agreed that there were some good performance but there were also some very bad performances that should not have happened in this round of the competiton. Paul likened it to something like the first day of kindergarten which I take it to mean that some people were really lost without a clue how to do things i.e. perform correctly. At least that’s what I hope he meant. My first day of kindergarten was so long ago that it’s all a blur and I don’t know how to compare it with the last Spectacular show.

Judges picks:
Roslan : Ejay & Ash
Jee: Ejay & Ash
Paul: Ejay & Ash but Trish, Xerra & Atilia might also in danger

The first group to be called on to the centerstage tonight were the 5 guys. Both host read out the judges comments one by one and soon announced that they were all safe. At this point I was really surprised by the result. I was very confident that Ash would surely had his last performance last Friday but it seems that his fan base was successful in keeping his hopes in the show alive for another day. Do I think that the judges remarks on the show enraged his fan base and mobilize them to bulk vote to try to keep him on? I think in a way it did. Either the voting numbers are really low this year or the contestant have enough exposure now to build a fanatic cult of personality around them that will be voting for them even when they sound like toads croaking for rain.

With all the guys safely through to the next round, it meant that 2 of the female contestants were leaving the show tonight. All six of the contestants were divided into 2 groups with one group being the divas, Xerra, Nita & Trish, stood to the right of Jien and the other group comprising of Atilia, Farah & Ejay stood to the left of Cheryl. When the hosts announced that one from each group will be leaving them, I was just flabbergasted since it meant that one of the divas group will be leaving the competition. After the judges comment were read out, it was announce that the first person leaving tonight was Trish. While they were showing her exit clip, her journey from the auditions to the Spectaculars, I was trying to understand why she felt through and I was only able to come up with the conclusion that she didn’t give us the full potential that would have made her last Friday performance more memorable. It didn’t show her big, sassy and fun personality or vocal range. Unfortunately for her and the viewers of the show, we don’t get a chance to see her learn from this mistake.

After a somewhat emotional farewell to Trish, we turned our attention to the last three contestants for the night. After they read all the judges comments, it was announced that the sobbing Atilia will be going out instead of the stoically stunned Ejay. I had to pick up my jaw from the floor and hyperventilate for a few minutes after they announced the result. Atilia was sobbing and looked absolutely devastated. She was already sobbing after they announced Trish’s departure so I was under the impression that she was sad for that but I think that she might have seen her name in Cheryl’s hand at the same time and figured out her doomed fate. The judges looked disgusted by the results and even Jien was trying hard to control his emotions. I’m convinced that I saw him teary-eyed the whole time but surprisingly Cheryl kept her head and her cool during all this. The crowd in the auditorium deservedly booed the results.

Sparks further flew when the judges were asked to give their comments after the results. Roslan just flew off his chair and angrily call for the Malaysian Idol voters to wake up because they have just voted out their best performers from the show. Jee at this point was inconsolable and asked why the voters let this happened. She posed the question to the audience if the two who were cut out deserved to stay and the answer was a resounding yes but the people who cast their votes this past weekend seemed hell-bent to prove the judges and to an extent better judgment wrong. Prophetic Paul said that he wasn’t surprised with Trish’s ousting since she had a bad night last Friday and thought that Atilia fell because she was too plain looking for the voters to be excited about voting for her.

A flabbergasted Jien reiterated that the judges, hosts and producers were not to blame if we didn’t like the outcome of the show. He called for the voters to vote wisely and not let talent pass through the cracks. It was a fairly somber occasion when the called down the remaining 9 contestants down to centerstage as the credits rolled.

It is result shows like this that makes me fighting mad and furious knowing that no matter how many votes I put in for my favorite contestants, there are always someone who would be willing to put in more. With the group being as diverse as it is this year, it was hard to pick a favorite to vote on and the spreading of the votes might very well be the thing that killed these two talented singer’s chances this early in the competition. The judges harsh comments might also have motivated the rabid fans of Ash, Ejay and Daniel to send their votes in bulk in hopes that they can save their favorite Idols for another day. We saw this happening before in Malaysian Idol as well as the American Idols. We should know and acknowledge the power of love-sick, tone-deaf rabid fans foaming at the mouth with too much mobile phone credit to burn trying to keep their Idol hopes alive can accomplish.

What do I foresee for the next week? I think that the voters who voted for both Trish and Atilia, if they are not too discourage by this week’s results to continue participating in the voting, will definitely not give their votes to either Ejay (definite) or Ash (probable) next week because they might feel that these two contestants would have enough votes from their current fan base. Voters might be convinced now how important their votes are and might even stop spreading their votes around and instead focus on the person they want most to continue on. Hopefully they would know to vote wisely for talent and not for how they looked.

As for the judges, I hope they don’t make things too personal in the following weeks. I agree with them that the results tonight were unfair and that we lost two of the better singers in the group in the first cut but we need to move on from this point. Some of your harsh comments were like a red flag waving in front of a mad bull just spoiling for a fight. If their performance sucks in the next Spectaculars then just tell them it sucked and leave it at that.

As for the remaining contestants, especially Ejay, Ash & Daniel, they need to step up and give it their all every week. There are no off-weeks in this competition as every off performance may be the one that would kill your chances of continuing to be in the competition.

Quick, pass me the smelling salts. I have to lie down now to recover from the shock.

Out this week: Trish & Atilia
Nick’s prediction success to date : 7/13

Friday, July 29, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-15, Airdate: 29/07/2005 – Spectaculars #1: And Then There Were 11

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

We were greeted with a full house tonight as the first Spectacular show for this season of Malaysian Idols finally came along. After 4 auditions, 3 theater eliminations, 3 workshop rounds and 1 wildcard show, the Top 11 were all excited to be here and were ready to give their best performance in hopes of getting enough votes to move forward in the competition.

The show started off proper with the Top 11 coming up on stage to perform a group song which I don’t think was done this early in the season on last year’s show. The first group song for the season was “Fame”, an unimaginative but passable selection, and I have to say that the group sounded Ok as a whole. There were some off pitch voices in the group sing but as a whole they seem to harmonize well with each other. I wonder if this would be a weekly occurrence during the spectacular shows and if so, I hope that they will get better in the following weeks.

The theme for tonight’s Spectacular show was “Hit Songs, Local or Foreign”. Did someone thought that the contestants will be confused and pick an hit song from Mars instead? They would be better off just staying with just saying that the theme was “Favorite Hit Songs” and leave it at that. And on the subject of bad choices, who did Jien stole the jacket he was wearing tonight from? It looked too oversized for him that it just hangs on the guy and that it was fairly distracting to watch. It was like a little boy who was playing dress up with his father’s old moldy clothes. On the plus side, the hair looks good and he definitely needs to stick with shorter hair. By the way, to be fair, Cheryl looks better than she has been in the past few shows.

Before the contestants were brought back individually to perform tonight, they showed a clip from their first press conference. Most of them were excited about the experience and was grateful to had had the chance to go through it. Most of the clips were normal publicity clips from the even and was not that interesting to watch. I guess that they needed a filler segment while they set up the stage for the first performance of the night.

Just before that, the hosts introduced the judges who tonight was joined by Nora who is a wonderful local singer in her own right. I personally like her work and was happy to see her on the show. I think that she has done some critiquing on some of the other talent reality shows so I was looking forward to see what she brings to the MI judges comments.

Atilia – “You Had Me” by Joss Stone

A decent up tempo start to the show although I have to say that the moves and facial expression during the performance were a bit over the top. The judges went as far as calling it scary and that it may lessen her appeal to the voters. The way that she sang this song sounded a bit too staccato with a fair number of clipped notes that after awhile felt hypnotic in it’s monotonous delivery. On the plus side, there was clear indication of the power in her vocals and the correct attitude to carry the song but I don’t think that she exploited it to the fullest.

Not her best performance so far but not her worst either. I think that she will be safe.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Ash – “ I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw

When I read that he was going to sing this song, the first thing that crossed my mind was that he was trying to fight for the rocker’s crown on the show against Faizull. Unfortunately he doesn’t realize that he has overextended himself by thinking that he has the right stuff to be a rock performer. The biggest thing that he had against him was the lack of that certain edge in his limited range that the great rock singers have. He sounds more like a boy band singer trying to go southern rocker and it definitely will come out sounding fake.

By selecting a song that will invariably cause people to compare it with Bo Bice’s wonderful performance in AI just doomed Ash from the start. It was a messy performance that looked too faked and posed.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Azam – “Salsabila” by Yasin

This contestant finally stepped up to the plate with a fast tempo song instead of the usual lethargic ballads that he sang in the past rounds. I had hoped that he could have invested himself more into the song for once but it seemed that tonight was not the opportunity for me to see that. There was a good voice and wonderful control here but it was backing a very bland and disconnected performance. It felt like he was just going through the paces with little regard of the audience in front of him. I’m going to go a head and call him AzamBot as it almost clear that he is more robot-like than human.

AzamBot was performing with what seemed to be a half charged battery and his emotion chip set to neutral. Fortunate for him, that the engineers in 8TV would be able to take him back to the workshop and recalibrate his insides as he did enough tonight to get thorough to the next round.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Trish – “A Woman’s Worth” by Alicia Keys

The first “diva” of the group to come on stage and battle it out for the title but I have to say that she didn’t give her all in this performance. It seemed it was a good song choice for her on paper but it was a bit disappointing in the execution. I felt that she had the most problems with the lower registers that didn’t really come out clearly. The whole performance felt like she was being conservative and holding back what she was really capable of doing. There was a point in the song that she could have easily kicked it up a notch and made the performance even more memorable but she didn’t do it.

All the contestants need to understand that they need to give their best every week from now on and not just simply coast with safe song selections that they could perform half-heartedly.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Adam – “Mentera Semerah Padi” by M Nasir

Some songs, regardless of how a singer interpret it, has a certain vibe that needed to be conveyed properly for the song to work. Adam needed to be able to convey the confidence and authority to really pulled off this song. While he does have the improved confidence on stage but he sorely lacks the commanding presence to pull it off satisfactory. The performance started out fairly good, wavered a bit in the middle but recovered nicely and ended on a memorable sustained note. It was also good to note that his performance, although insufficient to carry the song message well, had enough of an infectious energy that really got the crowd in the auditorium really going for the first time in the night.

After that exciting performance, I think that I can safely say that Adam will get through to the next round.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10

Farah – “Cubalah Untuk Setia” by Kris Dayanti

She started off the song a bit out of tune and fairly weak but as the song progressed, she recovered nicely and sounded pretty good by the end of the voice. Nevertheless I had the distinct feeling that the performance sounded a bit too rushed and off-tempo. It was a fairly average performance that didn’t have enough going for it to set it a part from the other singers we already heard tonight. She should have picked a different song that was not too safe for her.

The two male judges really had a go at each other about this contestants and we got to see it live as it happened. While I appreciate the candor, I felt that Paul was a bit out of line by cutting in to comment before his turn. He would always have his turn to put in the last word for every contestant and he could have easily rebuked what Roslan said when it was time for him to comment about the performance.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Ejay – “ We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey

She started off with her impression of Mariah Carey’s signature shrieking and it just went downhill from that point on. The delivery of the song was very heavily accented and the words were just mumbled out to the point that you can’t really tell what language she was singing in. I wonder if it was just nerves getting to her since her rehearsal clips sounded a hundred times better than her performance tonight. I didn’t notice her accent too much in past performance but tonight both the accent and diction would be her downfall.

A dismal performance that would not be enough to keep her around.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Faizull – “Semangat Zaman” by Nash

Unlike Ash who was playing the role of the poseur rocker, this performance was the real thing at least in the Malay definition of a rocker. His performance had an authenticity and real joy that could not be faked. Singing a song that was definitely within him comfort zone, Faizull had the edge and the attitude to carry the song off perfectly. The biggest problem for him was if he could sustain this confidence when faced with other genres and especially if he had to sing an English song.

Although it was a safe song choice for him, the performance made up for the predictability.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10
“Orang Kampung” count: 5 (season total : 9)

Daniel – “True” by Ryan Cabrera

He started really weak with a voice that could hardly be heard over the live band who just overpowered his projection. He tried to recover from the bad start but there wasn’t sufficient power behind the thin reedy voice for him to raise his singing above the sounds coming from the band. To make matters worse, he continued to mumble the words to the song like he has been through out this competition. It was hard to make out what he was singing about most of the time.

Nevertheless, the guy is smart. He knows who his voting demographics were and he choose a song that would definitely appeal for them. To me he has the same appeal of those troll dolls with the multicolored tufts of hair. He swarmed his way on stage fully utilizing his so call cute factor in desperate hopes that people will be willing to vote for him despite the reedy voice, no existing intensity and bad diction.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Xerra – “Karma” by Alicia Keys

The second “diva” to go on stage at the start of the battle of the pub singers, pink haired Xerra showed the confidence in her performance that experience and exposure has given her. She showed a lot of the attitude required for this song but there was a noticeable lack of intensity behind her vocals. She wasn’t connecting fully with what the song was about and didn’t give the solid backing to her voice that the song required. It was too laid back a performance which I hope was not due to her overconfidence because she will not go far with only this level of quality in her back pocket.

She does have a memorable package but she needed to have more edge in her voice to deliver the song effectively. We already could see that she is a natural performer and that she was really comfortable on stage so now we will be judging her on the other aspects of her performance.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Nita – “Left Outside Alone” by Anastacia

Nerves must have gotten to the last “diva” of the night as she started her performance off tune and weak. I would think that as an experience pub singer she would be used to singing in front of a large crowd but I guess that she still had stage fright to overcome. It was a good thing that she recovered quickly and delivered a safe performance. She lacked the attitude that would have made the performance better and she was a bit monotonous in her delivery of the song. Her main problem at this moment was that she doesn’t have that extra bit that could make her stand out from the other female contestants. She has to start finding her niche in the competition and start exploiting that to the fullest or else risk being unremarkable in the crowd.

One of the judges warn her not to end up being the “Anna Kornikova” of the Malaysian Idols this season i.e. have great looks but often fail to deliver in the competitions.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

At the end of the show, they ran through all the clips that they would be using to remind the viewers of the numbers to vote. I’ve noticed that in these clips, I’m convinced were pretaped, Trish, Farah and Nita sounded much better than their actual performance. It was also clear that Adam’s performance improved after the clip was taped as his live performance sounded better than the rehearsal clip. The rest delivered about the same quality in the live performance as they did in their rehearsal clips.

Overall it was an average show with very few memorable highlights that could sustain viewer interest for the whole 90 minutes. Off all the performance I thought that Ash, Ejay and Daniel were the weakest tonight while Adam and Faizull delivered the most enjoyable performance to watch. Everyone else were stuck in the middle although for some it was because they did not unleashed the full potential of what they can do. Hopefully the voters will see this too and vote wisely so the correct 9 people stay on to perform next week.

Nick’s picks :

Bottom three: Ash, Ejay, Daniel
Out this week: Ash & Ejay

Malaysian Idol 02-15, Airdate: 29/07/2005 – Spectaculars #1 Pre Show Comments

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

The Malaysian Idol Viewer’s Site just posted up the titles for the songs that the Top 11 contestants will be singing tonight in the first Spectaculars. From the selection, I would guess that the theme for tonight’s show is Favorite Chart Hits or something to that nature. Some eyebrow raising selections in the current list if it is correct that I’m excited to see how they will be executed tonight.

Song list (unconfirmed at time of publication) :

Trish – “A Woman’s Worth” by Alicia Keys
Xerra – “Karma” by Alicia Keys
Nita – “Left Outside Alone” by Anastacia
Faizull – “Semangat Zaman” by Nash
Farah – “Cubalah Untuk Setia” by Kris Dayanti
Ejay – “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
Daniel – “True” by Ryan Cabrera
Atilia – “You Had Me” by Joss Stone
Ash – “I Don’t Want To Be” by Gavin DeGraw
Adam – “Mentera Semerah Padi” by M Nasir
Azam – “Salsabila” by Yasin

Seems that we will starting out the night with a diva showdown between Trish, Xerra and Nita so that would be interesting to watch out for. Ash seems to trying to fight for the rocker creed title with Faizull by pulling a Bo Bice level performance, maybe? Azam finally dares to take on a fast tempo song that might finally show that he is an actual human being and not a singing robot that 8TV had put in the Top 11.

We’ll see how the show will turn out tonight.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-14, Airdate: 28/07/2005 – The Journey So Far

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

Tried to do a recap of the show tonight but half way through the first half hour I found myself more engrossed in watching the judges antics that with taking notes about what being said on screen. It was nice to the “nicer part” of Paul Moss on TV rather than the Mr. McCranky Pants we see almost every week this season. Jien was doing a good job moderating the two judges (Roslan didn’t make it to the show it seems).

On the other side of the Quickie set, where they did the show live tonight instead of the normal set since it was being set up for the Spectaculars tomorrow, Cheryl was with the Top 11 contestants. Through out the show, the contestants were given an opportunity to answer some of the caller’s questions or questions posed by Cheryl. Most of the time the answers just boiled down to a love-fest answer that all the contestants were friends and that no one had an upper hand in the competition. Safe, diplomatic but fairly boring answers from the contestants. Compared to the judges side of the room, the chatter from the contestants side felt too bland.

For a call in show, I felt that there were too little questions from the callers and too many questions from the host themselves. I have to admit that I tried to call in to get to ask my questions to both the judges and the contestants but I couldn’t get through so I was expecting more caller questions since the lines seemed so busy. As for the questions that got through, they pretty ok I guess and not really that far off than what I was expecting to turn out during the call in show. Nothing really exciting or unexpected came up in the caller questions.

Some issues of note that I recalled from the questions were the issue of the cutting of Lee Kah Wei from the Top 24 ,which the judges already answered in the forums and judges interviews a few weeks ago, and the decision to select Azam instead of Lisa in the last Wildcards show which they attributed to who would make the viewers more excited to watch in the following weeks and votes. Nothing really controversial came out in their responses and most of it was already yesterday’s news by now.

All and all it was a safe bland show that was peppered by the funny antics of Jien and the judges much more than Cheryl and the contestants.

And no ... I did not forget Jien’s hair watch report tonight.

I’m happy to report that it is looking much better than it has been in the past weeks. The hair had sufficient product to keep it off the forehead and the rest of it looked like he had a fairly decent haircut instead of the bed hair that he had 2 weeks ago.

I’m paranoid now if him or someone from his camp has been reading my blog rants about his hair. I’ve had hits on the blog site from really strange Yahoo searches that include his name in them lately.

Dude, if you’re reading feel free to give me a shout-out on the show!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Part of the nature of my job is that I get some days that I have absolutely noting to do and I just sit there twirling my thumb in the office. Other days I would be up to my neck in things that need to be completed basically the day before even thought it was just sent down to my desk 5 minutes prior. Someday the systems that I watch over just purrs contentedly like a sleeping cat but then things could suddenly change and I find myself harassed trying to figure out what when wrong.

The latter was what happened today at the office. A few of the machines that I looked after suddenly refuse to cooperate by not going into a reboot cycle every other 5 minutes. By the time I traced the problem to a malfunctioning redundant CPU/motherboard cooling fan unit, half of the hard disks on the unit just died on power up. It didn’t help that the machine was an old piece of crap and that they decided to forego continuing the recently expired maintenance agreement in order to save cost against my fairly reasonable objections. When the machine decided to spontaneously destruct on them, they all just had to accept a big “I TOLD YOU SO” from me before I started to run through the checklist of things that might have gone wrong.

Sometimes they don’t understand that when you work long enough around the same computers you tend to learn their unique quirks. They always looked at me strangely when I describe the way the computers sounds, how the chassis vibrates and how the CPU smells. Work around them long enough you learn to pickup the differences in those sensory cues when something is wrong. Most of the time, after 10 years around the same pieces of equipment, they have yet to disappointed me.

Obviously with all that was happening today, I didn’t make it to the after office hour outing. The rest of the team carried on with the original plans after kindly enough making sure that I’ve got everything I needed to get the job done.

I could always catch that movie this weekend.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Afterhours

It seems that to some people that I work with at the office felt that we don’t know each other well enough so they have organized a after-work outing for everyone in the office tomorrow. The plan is that we will leave the office as soon as possible after work to go for an early dinner and then to the movies for a show. I actually can’t recall the last time I went to see a movie in the middle of the week so this should be an enjoyable change for one. I also totally forgotten that they still offer half-priced tickets for selected movies every Wednesday at TGV.

I’m not really that big on socializing with my officemates after work as we don’t really move in the same circles outside of the office. If it were some other activity planned instead, I might probably took a rain check but since it’s going to a movie in a cinema just across the street from where I lived, then I guess I could spare the time. Other than putting some hours in the Xenosaga II game that I’m currently engrossed in, I don’t really have anything else planned on Wednesday nights.

We’re going to see the new Ewan McGregor movie “The Island”. I guess I can whip up a movie review sometime later this week if I don’t decide to recap the Malaysian Idol special show this Thursday. We’ll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-13, Airdate: 24/07/2005 – Wildcards Result Show

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

Nick’s picks: Adam (voter’s choice) & Lisa (Judges choice)

They opened the show tonight with our 2 hosts and I’m happy to say that Jien’s hair looked the best it has been in the past few weeks. The forehead is relatively clear of straggly hair but the guy really need to invest in better makeup as the forehead was as shiny as Aesar’s bald head. I wonder if that was the reason why his hair was pulled over the forehead these pass weeks. In any rate, he also needs to get a hair cut bad. It looked too unruly and uneven in places. Let’s see how his hair turn out next week.

After the recap of last Friday’s show, the judges were asked to list out their favorites. Roslan felt that out of the 6, Adam, Azam and Lisa performed better than the rest. Jee, who turned up in the judging tonight thankfully sans finger bandage, picked the same set of people which is not surprising since she has been agreeing with the other judges almost all the time. The one dissenting voice among the judges, Paul felt disappointed with last Friday’s performance and felt that Lisa was the only good performance of the night.

Judges picks:
Roslan : Adam, Azam, Lisa
Jee: Adam, Azam, Lisa
Paul: Lisa

We were reminded again that only 2 contestants will be selected to advance through to the next round from tonight’s show. One of the contestants will be selected by the voters and the other will be selected by the judges. When asked if it was a difficult choice to make, Paul mentioned that all the judges were unanimous in their choice that took only a few minutes to confer on among them. In selecting the judges choice, Roslan confirmed that the judges took into account the criteria of the things the judges were looking for in the next Malaysian Idol and what the public would like to see in their choice. Due to the nature of the show, the judges still needed to take into account what the public might be want to rally behind in a contestant when they choose their choice to advance to the next round.

The filler segment for tonight’s show basically consisted of the predictions from the live audience who attended the Wildcards show taping. A few of the people in the clips were familiar faces who regularly post in the BlueHyppo.com official Malaysian Idol fan-forum. Their predictions were very mixed across the board as to who from the Wildcards show would go through. Many had predicted that Lisa and Adam to go through as well as a few who wanted Azam to get through instead.

After the segment, Adam and Azam was called out to centerstage and were told that one of them have been selected as the judge’s choice to move to the next round. I was actually rooting for Adam so when he was called out with Azam, I was convinced that Adam would be selected by the judges. When Azam was announced as the judge’s choice instead, I was quite surprised as I was very sure that the judges wanted Adam to join the Top 11 instead of being sent back to the sofa with the other contestants.

For the voter’s choice, the remaining 4 contestants were called to the centerstage and have their performance comments read out to them by the hosts. Adam was not among the 4 that was called to come up so at this point I wondered if that was the end for him. After a slight pause, Cheryl announced that the result will be announced after the break. Different from the last time she tried this, it actually worked this time. The reason it worked this time, I think, was because every one of the 4 contestants they pulled out have more or less the same chance to be selected. It was a better hook to keep the audience guessing and wanting to stay tuned to the shows. Bravo, Cheryl and keep this in mind the next time you try to pull the patented “results after the break” shtick.

When we came back from the comercial, they started to cut down the contestants one by one. At this point I was thinking to myself that if I wanted to make this show more dramatic, I would cut the four out and announce that Adam, who was not called on to the stage, was the voter’s choice. Sure enough that was exactly what happened tonight. None of the 4 on centerstage, including Lisa who was my judges pick, got through and instead it was a shocked and tearful Adam who was the voter’s choice. The guy just broke down in tears after it was announced and rushed to embraced Azam who was still on the stage after his selection. They seemed to be very close and I think there is something more to this but for now I’m just happy that the guy made it through. I was almost certain that the judges would have picked Lisa to move on as well but I guess that the judges might want to even out the gender disparity in the Top 11 by picking Azam instead. Based on what I’ve seen so far, he has a lot to improve if he wants to stay longer in the show once the Spectaculars begin.

With the selection of Adam as the last person to join the Top 11 contestant, Malaysian Idol show was now ready to move on to the Spectaculars where the contestants will be given a different genre to select songs from every week and hopefully gather enough votes to stay in competition. When asked to comment about the Top 11, Roslan stated that he was satisfied with the combination of talent and personality in the group in this season’s show. Jee was of course also satisfied with the list of contestants selected to move on to the next round. Paul was also excited that for this season, there was not clear winner in the group yet as all the contestants were relatively on the same level of talent and performance quality and nobody stood out to make it a one-sided affair. He was looking forward to see these contestant fight it out to be the next Malaysian Idol.

Roslan summed it best at the end of the show tonight that the Malaysian Idol competition this season would be a more closely contestant one than it was last season. In their judges interviews a few weeks back, it was made clear that they were not looking for the next Jaclyn Victor this year but the best contestant from this group of 11 to became the next Malaysian Idol. In a way, I have to agree that this season’s show might be interesting to watch to see if anyone would be able to learn and experience enough to pull ahead from the crowd and stand out to be recognized as the Malaysian Idol.

We’ll just have to wait and see if there are some diamonds that can be polished and set to shine in this season’s group in the next few weeks.

Final results: Azam & Adam
Nick’s prediction success to date : 7/11

Friday, July 22, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-12, Airdate: 22/07/2005 – Wildcards

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

First off to get it out of the way is my weekly Jien’s hair watch report. It looks like the stylists manage to wrestle the beast that will not die this week and park it to the side of his forehead. It’s out of the way and doesn’t look to be like it might jump out and strangle everyone in the auditorium which is a good thing. I guess I can live with that this week. Wonder how long I can keep this thread about Jien’s hair going before it stop being funny if it is not already not funny. It’s not that I’m trying to be mean to him, I only mentioned it out of love for the guy. It also because of my concern for him that I’m pleading him to burn the T-shirt that he had on tonight. Definitely not your color, dude.

I found out tonight that the 6 wildcards performers tonight were selected from the contestants who got the 4th and 5th most votes in their respective workshop show weeks. That’s another question that can finally tick off from things that I wonder about today. From these 6 contestants, 1 will be picked to go through to the Spectacular rounds based on the voter’s choice and the other will be selected as the judges choice. They will join the 9 who have already made it through from the workshop shows which makes a total of 11 contestants for the Spectaculars.

Before the show properly started tonight, they show a clip of Paul explaining what the judges were looking for in the Wildcard round. He felt that all the 6 deserve another shot at it and that they were let down mostly by bad song choice their first time out. The judges will be looking if they have learned their lesson and found out the correct song for them to perform. For some, according to Paul, the wildcard round will be their final chance to go for a different direction and possibly fix all the mistakes that they made before.

One thing that was different in tonight show was that they introduced each contestants coming on stage with a clip of their last performance so the audience were reminded of how bad they did in the last outing. They also put in clips of comments from the people behind the scenes who helped these contestants prepare for the show every week. Most of them were the normal soundbites you already heard about this groups of contestants but some were a bit enlightening in that they show that some of the contestants were better in rehearsal and just fell apart during the taping. Also, we’re missing a judge tonight as Jee was absent from the judging table. I hope that she’s OK and not involved in any unhygienic manicure accidents or past contestants accusation of improper conduct.

Fauzi – “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban

Jien introduced him as “Teddy Bear” so I know someone on the show has already plan to market him as a Ruben Studdard for this season of Malaysian Idol. He may looked the part but he definitely lacked the vocals for the role. I had hoped that he would choose a fast R&B number but it seems that the draw of the ballad was to strong for him to resist. I always worry whenever anyone tries to sing a Josh Groban song as they are actually very technical to pull off successfully if you’re an amateur.

I think that he started the song in a lower register than the original which made the song almost unrecognizable in the beginning until the chorus kicked in. The voice was there but the pitch was all over the place. It didn’t help that he looked like a deer caught in the headlights all through the performance. He told us that nerves got to him in his previous performance and it seems that it didn’t do away since then. It is a pity be cause he has one of the more soulful voices in this year’s group and based on this performance, I don’t think that he will make it through.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Azam – “Kaulah Segalanya” by Hazrul Nizam

At first I was excited at the thought that he will be singing the song by Ruth Sahanaya because I thought that we will finally see some intensity from him but it seems that there is another song with the same title out there which was his choice tonight. I don’t know this song so I can tell whether the original was as boring as his performance tonight. I didn’t think that he committed himself fully into the song and he also didn’t connect very well the audience other than being just a pretty face on stage.

I can’t say if he choose a more recognizable song this time around but it is definitely a better choice than the one he did before in the workshops. My problems with his performance tonight were the same as what I identified in the workshops. His performance was lethargic with too little intensity to make him more memorable other than just a pretty face. If he does get through he might just end up being the same bland singing lamp post that we got in last year’s Spectaculars. To me, from his past 2 performance, he was the human equivalent of cold oatmeal.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Aesar – “Cinta Di Akhir Garisan” by Ning, Ziana, Dessy & Nora.

The good thing was that he choose a song with a simple melody that he could perform easily without having to dip into the vocal acrobatics that he tended to do. By simplifying the song, we finally get to really hear the clear tone in his voice which wasn’t half bad in my opinion. The bad thing was the song laid bare all the pitching problems that he had in his performance. I also felt like he was rushing through the song and not really connecting to it.

The overbaked facial expressions and gestures were still in evident in tonight’s performance. While I can accept if some of them were unconscious facial ticks, I don’t think that this was the case. It felt too calculated and too rehearsed to feel entirely natural. He was definitely the showman in the show tonight but I have to agree with Paul if he would do better in a stage musical than on Malaysian Idol. I still like his voice though so if he does go through, he needs to work out his stage presence and dial down the dramatics a bit more.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Kash – “Walking Away” by Craig David

Taking the judges comment to heart, Kash decided to go back to what he was most comfortable with and selected a song by Craig David. I had hoped that I would finally see the real performer in him but I was truly disappointed by his rendition of the song. To me he sounded very flat through out the performance and never really recovered from the pitch problems that he had in his last performance. I don’t know if it was his accent or it’s just the way that he sings but he sounded very nasal with this song that I am surprised that he didn’t get a nose bleed singing it like that.

For someone who was hyped to do a good Craig David song, his performance tonight was nothing short of a disappointment. I don’t think that nerves were the reason here as he was suppose to be more comfortable with this genre so I guess it has to be the lack of training that failed him tonight.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Lisa – “How Could An Angel Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton

I have to say that I wasn’t expecting Lisa to go out on a limb and pick to perform something like this. For what I’ve seen to date, I wasn’t expecting her to attempt an English song this early in the competition. She does have the vocals to pull off something like this successfully and while she did just that in tonight’s performance, I have to dock points off for her diction. The only line that she sang tonight that was any where near intelligible was the last one and that’s because it was the title of the song. The rest was a word jumble that could possibly take days to unravel.

The judges obviously love her as all the comments said for her performance, except for the diction, was positive. Personally I’m would be a bit mixed if I was basing my decision on this performance alone as the bad diction bugged me a lot during her performance. Good thing that I also have her last performance to compare with and there is definite signs that by selecting a simpler delivery in her selected song, she was more consistent throughout the song than she was during the workshop show song. The other thing to note was that her performance in the rehearsal clip that they use to remind the viewers of her voting numbers was much better than her actual performance. I’m sure this will help people to forget her bad diction tonight.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Adam – “Januari” by Glen

When I saw that he was starting his performance tonight on his knees at the edge of the stage, I was thinking that this will be a disaster with the judges. We already know how much they like overwrought and overdramatic performance from contestants and for those who don’t know, the judges don’t like it very much at all. It was only after he started singing that I felt relieved as he gave what must be the best performance of the bland show tonight. He was singing in tune for most part and we get to see the intensity behind the vocals as well as the overdramatic body movements.

Paul mentioned that his and Aesar’s problem in the competition was that they were too “cabaret” in their performance. I wonder if this was another one of Paul’s euphemisms to mean being too gay. We all know that Simon Cowell uses “too Broadway” to say the same thing in code on AI. Regardless, I have to agree with Paul that the vocals were good but the performance seemed too staged and faked but it was still the highlight of tonight’s show.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10

Based on what I’ve seen tonight and their past performances, I have to say that Lisa and Adam will be going through to the next round. Both contestants delivered a good enough performance to advance compared to the rest. Since one of them would be picked by the judges themselves, some people may think that they don’t need to cast votes for these favorites. I think that this is going to be a dangerous thing to do as if people don’t cast their votes in thinking that the particular contestant would be selected by the judges then they risk that the other favorite having too little votes to let them get through. Like the hosts of the show always says, people need to vote for their favorites for the to get through to the next round.

Nick’s picks: Adam (voter’s choice) & Lisa (Judges choice)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Last Beam Up

(Image curtesy of StarTrek.com)

Definitely a big news day what with the lifting of the Malaysian ringgit peg to the US dollar, the same happening in China and the new bombings in London late this evening. One piece of news that kinda hit me personally today is the news of the death of James Doohan who played Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the classic Star Trek show. I actually met him in person while I was in the US at one of his signing session and he was the first actual American celebrity that I have ever met in my life so it was a big thing for me especially when I am such a big Trekkie geek. He shook my hand, asked for my name and asked where I was from. I got an autographed photo of him in his Trek uniform that unfortunately I lost when I shipped my stuff home after graduation. I may have lost the signed photo but I will never forget that Trekkie geek moment of excitement of meeting him in person.

The final frontier awaits you, Scotty. The warp cores are in good hands and transporters buffers are all clear for transport. It’s time for you to beam up.

See you on the flip side.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02- Extra – Pre Wildcard Show Assessment

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

It seems that they have released the names of those who will be getting their second chance to showcase their talents in hopes of getting a spot in the Malaysian Idol Spectacular shows. I am a bit relieved that they decided not to be cruel to the 15 who didn’t make it through the workshop rounds and tell them upfront who the 6 among them are to perform in the Wildcard show. It would be too heartless of them to let all 15 practice and cut them out immediately before they have a chance to perform at the beginning of the Wildcard show next Friday.

As per the list form the official Malaysian Idol website, the following are the names of the six contestants competing in the Wildcard round for their second chance to get through to the Spectaculars.

From 1st Workshop
- Mohd Fauzi Abdul Wahab (Fauzi)
- Malissa Janudin (Lisa)

From 2nd Workshop
- Adam Ali (Adam)
- Azam Yaakab @ Yakob (Azam)

From 3rd Workshop
- Aesar Mustafa (Aesar)
- Prakash Karunamuti (Kash)

From the 6 selected, there is only 1 female which is a shame as there are other female contestants in the cut 15 that would also benefit greatly in the Wildcard round. I guess that the producers wanted to balance out the gender spread of the contestants that will be competing in the Spectaculars since the majority that already went through are females. I don’t really agree with this but I guess that the producers felt that they needed to make sure that they don’t lose out on the female demographic votes to the other talent show currently on air by not having sufficient male contestants to keep them interested to tune in.

I am no means a professional in the field of music and I definitely know that none of the contestant knows that this blog exist but if I had a chance to give them my two-cents on how to prepare for the wildcard show, I’ll give them the following advice.

Fauzi – last sang “Angel” by Jon Secada

We now know that he has a soulful voice that is more suited for a R&B type of song which for the time being would be his best bet. He needs to select a good song that will allow him to showcase his vocals that for now is the best thing that he has going. That big and projecting clear voice can really be best served by something that allows him to express himself fully so I think that he should stay away from torch ballads and go with something with a more up-tempo beat. This is of course if he can maintain his stamina and perform a fast number confidently

Lisa – last sang “Ku Tak Sanggup” by Kris Dayanti

The biggest weakness that I had her down for in her last performance was how she lose steam midway though the song she was performing and ended weaker than how she started the song. She needs to find a song that she can consistently control her pitch and pace so she doesn’t fizzle out towards the end. If she does attempt another power ballad, she needs to build up her stamina so she can sustain her performance. The voice and talent are there in this package but she needs to be able to deliver it consistently. She also needs to own her performance for which ever song she takes and that would only come is she is confident in her own song choice.

Adam – last sang “Setulus Cintamu” by Hazami

He needs to tone down his tendencies to over exaggerate his performance and focus more on his vocals. Take a page from Yasir’s playbook last week and find that fine line between overdoing the showmanship and being too boring to be considered alive. Adam already has the talent in the vocal aspects of his performance and what he needs know is something that will make him stand out among the 6 to ensure that he gets a chance to move to the next level. A bold song choice that people would not expect him to sing might help him but it has to be a calculated and informed risk.

Azam – last sang “Kenangan Lalu” by Flybits

Azam will need to be the opposite of Adam for the Wildcard show. The main reason that he was all looks and no substance in his last performance was because it was too low key to be consider as anything other than boring. He needs to amp up the energy in his performance by selecting something more up-tempo easily recognizable song or else he’ll just be another singing flag pole not unlike the one we got in last year’s competition. He already has looks on his plus side of the equation but it won’t do him any good if he doesn’t step up his game and invest in more intensity in his next performance. Since this is a singing talent competition, he needs to think less like a model and more like a singer.

Aesar – last sang “Layu Sebelum Berkembang” by Broery Marantika

Aesar needs to dial down his showmanship a bit and focus more on delivering the best vocal performance he can. Stop planning the eyebrow pop and focus more on hitting the notes correctly in tune. He also need to let more of himself come through in his performance instead of getting too carried away in imitating the original singer that he sounds fake. Most of all he needs to stop putting unnecessary vocal flourish and sing the song simple but true to the melody. A simple and straightforward song done with conviction will help him greatly than an over baked performance.

Kash – last sang “Belaian Jiwa” by Innuendo

Selecting a song that is currently beyond his abilities now was his downfall from before so he needs to go back to what he does back and really impress the judges/voters if he wants to get through. The judges already told him before what he is best at for now and he should take advantage of that advice. If he is smart, he would try to put more for himself in the performance instead of just doing an impression of the original artist. He needs to focus on delivering a good performance that will showcase his soulful voice and think about how to show versatility later if he gets through to the Spectacular shows.

Based on what I’ve seen from their last performance, all these contestant have the potential to get better in the future shows if only they don’t screw up their Wildcard performance royally. It seems that there would only be 1 person selected by the judges and 1 person selected by the audience votes who would go thorough to the Spectacular rounds. With the 2 from the Wildcard show, it would make up a total of 11 contestant vying for the top position of Malaysia Idol in the next few weeks. I wonder why they don’t make it an even 12 or just 10 contestants?

I think I’m now looking forward for the show this upcoming Friday just to see if any of my assessments and recommendations turn up in their performance if nothing else.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Movie Review - Fantastic Four

(Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox )

Took some time off from the office today to do some banking and decided to catch this latest comics to movie film at the local cinema. It was a mixed bag of hits and misses for me who has been a fan of the source material for so long.

Being the latest film to draw inspiration from the comic book world, Fantastic Four definitely has a wealth of characters and backstory from the source material to play with. To date there have been three different iterations for this comic book superhero group. The first being the original written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby which ran for quite a number of years before it was revamped by Jim Lee during the World Without Heroes saga which itself was rebooted back to the original team still published till this day. The third version of the group was an reinterpretation of the original as part of Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics which was written by Brian Michael Bendis and is titled the Ultimate Fantastic Four. Although all three versions have slightly differing origin stories, the core of what makes the characters have remained the same. These are first and foremost a family unit who just happened to end up having superpowers trying to live their lives the best that they know how. The Fantastic Four movie takes this sum of the parts and made it into a whole some what different from the 3 versions out there.

This is not the first time that the Fantastic Four has been made into a feature film. The first version was directed by Roger Corman and has since been regarded as one of the worst comic-book to movie adaptation that has never been shown in the cinemas. This is because all the rights and copies of that dreadful turkey has been bought over when 20th Century Fox decided to make their big screen version of the four color comic books. It is said that you can still get bootleg copies of the original from the Net. I have never seen it myself personally but if what I have read about it is true, I am not missing a lot by skipping that version.

Back to the movie being reviewed.

In a nut shell, the movie chronicles the origin of the first family of supergroups from their humble beginnings as scientists studying cosmic rays on a space station owned by scientist and industrial multibillionaire Dr Victor Von Doom. After an accident at the space station involving cosmic rays, all five people began exhibiting strange and fantastic powers after their return to Earth. Reed Richards who was the person responsible for the project found himself being able to stretch his limbs not unlike a rubber band. His one time paramour, Susan Storm, discovered that she can turn invisible and project invisible force fields out with her mind. Her brother, the often time impulsive Johnny Storm, now wielded the power of flame generation and lighter than air flight. The person most changed by the experience in the beginning of the movie was Reed’s best friend, Ben Grim who found himself transformed into a somewhat humanoid walking pile of orange rocks with super strength and endurance.

Their existence came out to the public after a spectacular rescue mission on the New York bridge and the four became instant celebrities much to their reluctance except of course for Johnny who revels in his new found fame. The hardest hit by all this was Ben Grim who longed to become human again and Reed promises him that he will do everything that is possible to make this so. As the four are forced to share close quarters together while Reed searches for a cure, they start to bicker and quarrel among themselves. Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Doom was spying on them to find out more about their changes as he himself was experiencing changes in his body after being exposed by the same cosmic storm that changed the four. Driven mad by the experience of his flesh turning into organic steel and the threat that his business will be taken from him, he plots his revenge on the Fantastic Four by convincing Ben to give up his power so that it would be easier for him to capture Reed. Seeing that they are the only ones able to stand up against the megalomaniac, the four banded together to use their individual powers in concert to successful vanquish Dr. Doom.

Like the first “X-Men” and “Spiderman” movies, this movie is an origin movie that has to setup the characters and the situations for viewers who might not be familiar with their 40 odd years of backstory. It also has the added responsibility to stay true to the source material since there were so many fans of the comics who will be watching the movie closely for any deviations from the original comic books that they know and love. In this regard, while it is not 100% accurate to the source material, it is sufficiently close to be a credible reinterpretation of the classic. It was an interesting choice to make Susan Storm the current love interest for Dr. Von Doom at the beginning of the story as this sets up the antagonistic relationships between him and Reed Richards who also share a past with her. This also allowed for Dr. Doom’s origin to be tied even closer to the Fantastic Four like it is in the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics more so than in the original comics.

I thought that the story moved on a well plotted pace although there were parts that the should have either cut out or expanded a little more. There were some weird scene cuts to Dr. Doom through out the movie that seemed to be out of context as it was not made clear that the four were under his observations. Some of the humorous moments like the one with the pigeons on the bridge and the fork scene at the breakfast table seemed to be a little overplayed compared to the more successfully funny interaction scenes between the Thing and the Human Torch. I also felt that the character arc for Dr. Doom is not that much different from the other green suited villain in “Spiderman” and then there were times that I thought that he would go the path of Lex Luthor in the early “Superboy” comics who blamed him for his baldness and blame Reed for his disfiguring condition. His motivation for making the transition from Dr. Victor Von Doom to Dr. Doom was never clearly stated and as such didn’t really make him into a as compelling a villain as he is in the comics.

As the aforementioned Dr. Doom, Julian McMahon brings to the character a charming and charismatic persona who has sadly been let down by a weak treatment of his character. In the comic, Dr. Von Doom was the hereditary monarch of an isolated East European country of Latveria which he rules with an iron hand. As such he always felt that he was better than the common people and was destined to rule above others. This attitude shaped his view of the Fantastic Four, Mr. Fantastic especially, as being commoners who dared to elevate themselves to a higher station in life than they were entitled to. Dr. Doom in the comics was also a master manipulator who kept evil plans within plans to rule the world and crush any opposition to his plans along the way. Sadly the Dr. Doom written out in this screenplay did not share the grandeur of vision as his comic version did. More often than not, the Dr. Doom in the movie came across as a demented person seeking just simple revenge on the Fantastic Four and not the absolute evil genius that he should be. It was also funny to hear Julian’s voice come through unaltered when Dr. Doom finally out on his mask which in a dark twist of irony was given to him by the grateful people of Latveria for contribution to the their country. While Julian does have a nice enough voice, it did not convey the sense of command and respect the armored character was expected of especially the fans of the comics. We needed a deeper and more menacing voice for Dr. Doom not unlike the character of Darth Vader who was patterned after him.

I thought that Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic captured the essence of the character quite closely by delivering a commendable performance. He mixed in sufficient amounts for nerdy awkwardness, self-centered obliviousness with a dash of scientific curiosity to play the character. I do however wished that the character was more scientific in his interaction with the people around him as he was in the comics. The other thing that I found it hard to dismiss is the lack of chemistry between him and Jessica Alba who plays Susan Storm. We are told many times in the movie that these two were lovers before and that being together is causing some of the old feelings to resurface but other than some scenes that this is specifically being referenced to, we see none of the sparks on screen between these two actors which makes taking their supposedly relationship a hard deal to follow.

We were also asked to believe that Susan Storm as played by Jessica Alba as a fellow scientist to Reed and Dr. Doom. While Alba is a great actor in her own right, it is hard to take her character as the accomplished scientist when we hardly see her do anything else than look pretty and turn invisible. In the original comics, Susan was Reed’s model girlfriend who came around for the ride and later became a wife and mother in the family. I guess that this was not a strong enough characterization for Susan so the writers decide to make her the genetic scientist like she was in the Ultimate line of their comic. The difference here is that in the comics we were shown scenes where she took over the study of what happened to them on a genetic level and unfortunately for the viewers of the film we were not given the same treatment for us to strengthen the conceit that she was a geneticist.

In a brilliant move on the casting department, Chris Evans was spot on as Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch. In a characters that demanded him to be hot tempered, impulsive and at times childish, Evens delivered in spades much to the delight of the fanboy in me. He handled the character with the prerequisite level of cheek, mischievous charm and comedic wit that mirrors his comic book character perfectly. It also didn’t hurt that he looks absolutely delicious both in and out of his costume (or much of everything else) that it was hard to tune him out whenever he came on the screen. He is definitely the breakout heartthrob of the movie much like Hugh Jackman’s “Wolverine” in the “X-Men” movie. His character’s interactions with the Thing were the best things to watch in the movie as they came across as really genuine and funny. The special effects for his character were also the most exciting to see on screen. To hear the character shout “Flame On” for the first time on screen brought a hearty cheer in this jaded fanboy’s heart.

I was a bit apprehensive at first then I heard that they will be using a guy in a suit to play the much beloved Thing instead of a CGI character but in the end my fears was unfounded with the wonderful performance by Michael Chiklis. In the comic books, the Thing was more blocky than lumpy as he was in the movie version and he was suppose to be about 7 ft tall and much bigger than what they decided to go with in the film. The Thing in the comics was suppose to be someone who can stand toe to toe with the Hulk and they use to do just that almost every other year bad in the old days. Despite all the difference between the two character version, Chiklis portrayal of the vulnerable side of the Thing was what sold the character for me. At the core, the Thing was the most human of the four members of the Fantastic Four despite his inhuman appearance and the heart of the team. It was exciting to see the character’s pathos captured so beautifully in the movie. The scenes involving him trying to pick up the ring left behind by his fiancĂ© and the scene that he wished that he was invisible so people didn’t have to react the way they do to the sight of him was particularly moving and memorable. Chiklis also did a great job acting through the layers of makeup the piled on to him that you tended to forget the outside appearance and see the person within.

As a whole the movie hit it’s mark with the tone of the comics close enough that fans of the source material would be able to embrace it as an interpretation of their favorite super group. For those who don’t know the difference between the Fantastic Four and the Incredibles, the film was also a good start to a possible franchise much like the “X-Men”, “Spiderman” and “Blade” franchise. I felt that the movie was an enjoyable watch though I did wished that they had a stronger version of Dr. Doom in the film and that the climax fight scene between him and the Fantastic Four didn’t ended as abruptly as it did. I guess I can say that this was a good start of a franchise that could be greater based on the amount of stories that they could tell about these characters. I for one am looking forward if they would be brave enough to tackle the Galactus storyline saga and include the Silver Surfer in the story as well. There are already hints that they would do a variation of the Dark Phoenix storyline in the next installment of the X-Men movie so it is possible for them to go an do the big storylines next.

(A wonderful site for Fantastic Four facts and articles is located at FFPlaza.com)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-11, Airdate: 17/07/2005 – Workshop #3 Result Show

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

Nick’s Picks: Trish, Intan & Farah

After being redeemed by one of the best groups of contestants seen to date, the result show opens tonight with the usual chatter from our two hosts, Jien and Cheryl. For those on Jien hair-watch tonight (I know you’re out there!), the dead thing on his head is not actually dead yet because it was seen tonight trying to crawl across Jien’s forehead. I liked it better when he had his hair off his brow. Stay tune next week to see if Jien manages to escape from the hairstyle that will not die!

BTW ... Cheryl flubbed her lines again tonight. I think that this makes three times now she flubbed it in as many shows. I wonder if it is just nervousness or she was just rushing through the lines to get to the end of the show.

After the customary judges comment and contestants’ interview, they showed the usual filler segments while the results are being tallied. The segment tracked the progress of these contestants from the auditions to the workshop rounds. It was interesting to note that the producers left the shot of Yasir’s audition as is in but later filmed a different shot for his acceptance reaction for being selected. Eagle-eye viewers would find the transition more than just a bit jarring but I guess that not every one is ready to see a transgender person get this far in the show. I wonder if this is the first time in the Idol franchise that something like this happened.

Jien mentioned something about “nasi lemak” to Roslan before asking for his predictions tonight. From the Bluehyppo MI boards, I found out that Roslan was making “nasi lemak” references to the contestants performance all night when the show was taped but they got edited out by the producers in the aired version. I have to question why they would do this as this seemed to be a really fun detail to leave in as it differentiates Malaysian Idol from the other talent reality shows out there.

Judges picks (unanimous this week):
Roslan : Trish, Farah, Daniel
Jee: Trish, Farah, Daniel
Paul: Trish, Farah, Daniel

The contestants were called up to centerstage by rows this week and the first row consisted of Intan, Farah, Yasir, Daniel and Farish. Intan looked resigned to her fate as they read out her comments and true enough that she didn’t make it to the next round. Farah gets through next as the judges have predicted. Up next was Yasir who looked absolutely devastated, crushed and on the verge of tears when it was announced that he also did not make it through after all he has sacrificed to get this far.

We were left with two last people, Daniel & Farish, from the front row who were still waiting for their results. Cheryl jumped the gun by announcing that one of the two will get through to the next round. Even a casual viewer of the show can guess who it would be by just looking at the two who were left. To add insult to injury, they pulled a “result after the break” thing that Ryan Seacrest does on every result show on AI but with much less success. For that shtick to work, the audience need to feel vested in the two contestants still waiting and that there should be a sense that both had equal chance to snag the spot. The outcome for this pair was already been telegraphed a mile away when we went into commercials and it was Daniel that unsurprisingly squeaked through on the popularity vote. The talentless hack even had a smug grin plastered on his face the whole time as if it was amusing to him that anyone would think that he wouldn't get selected to go to the next round.

The last remaining three people who were called on to centerstage was Trish, Aeser and Kash. It was no surprise that Trish was called out as the last contestant from Friday’s show to move on to the spectaculars. She was just a class above the other two guys and there was no doubt that she will make it through based on last show’s performance.

There were no post selection comments from the judges as they were basically what the judges picked and the judges were already given a chance to have their say earlier in the show. While I have no problems about the selection of Trish and Farah, I have serious reservation about Daniel getting through. This is what happen when sweet little things, easily swayed by talentless song manglers they think are cute, have mobile phones with unlimited credit to vote in Malaysian Idol. This guy seriously have to step up his game in the show if he wants to be accepted as a viable contender in my books. Mumbling mealy mouth performance just won’t cut it from this point on. Other than Daniel, the other contestants from this workshops would be the ones to watch out in the spectaculars.

I’m not sure how they are going to do it but it seems that next week all 15 of the contestants who were cut in the workshops will battle it out among themselves to get a chance to secure one of the six places in the wildcard round. I wonder if they will let all 15 contestants sing and the viewers vote for the top 6 to go through the wildcards. While that would mean an extra show to be voted on, I have a feeling that they will get all 15 to practice their songs the whole of next week and the judges will at the beginning of next week’s show select the 6 who will actually get to perform in front of the audience as the wildcard contestants. If they do end up doing what I think they would then it would be a bit harsh to the 9 not selected but then again do we really need to hear the few real stinkers from the cut group again?

At this point, we also don’t know how many from the wildcard round will be selected from to move on to the spectaculars. The rumors on the board are saying that only one of the 6 wildcard contestants will get to go through. I guess that we have to just wait and see.

Final results: Farah, Daniel & Trish
Nick’s prediction success to date : 6/9

Friday, July 15, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-10, Airdate: 15/07/2005 – Workshop #3

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the opening shot of the show tonight was how much bigger the crowd was for tonight’s show compared to the previous two shows. Was this finally the sign that the show was picking up in momentum that I have been patiently waiting for this past 10 episodes of Malaysian Idol? Or was I about to be disappointed by the show yet again? In hindsight, I really had great trepidation about the quality of the performers tonight based on how the rest performed in the preceding weeks but I have to say that I have finally been proven wrong.

Before I start the recap proper, I have to point out that Jien looked extra tanned for tonight’s show. Either he has been outside without sunscreen too long or someone has been overdoing it with the tanning bed since last week. He also has a different hair style tonight that just doesn’t do it for me. I think the thing that I have the most problems with is his unruly sideburns that are this close to becoming Elvis like mutton chops. It doesn’t look too bad from the side but when you look at it straight on, it looks like something died on top of his head and left its arms dangling on both sides of it. Somebody needs to get to a hair stylist stat.

One last thing that I just have to snark on. Jien + tight jeans = the crotch that ate KL!

After the standard filler segments that are still as informative as a instructions on a toilet paper roll, the judges were asked about their expectations for the last workshop show of the season. After the last 2 shows, Roslan only hopes that he would not be disappointed by the contestants tonight. Jee thought that this group was a challenging group to be in and Paul was in agreement that he expects a lot for this group.

The usual disclaimer about song titles goes here. I promise that I will skip this paragraph in future Malaysian Idols recaps once it has been established that I suck at guessing the sing titles that the contestants will be singing. One thing I notice that the host are more liberal with the song titles tonight which will be helpful to viewers and not to mention poor recapper like me. I don’t think that they are reading my recaps but I’ll take my shout outs where I can.

Intan – “Mencintai Mu” by Kris Dayanti

Her clear tone and beautiful clear voice started the show out with one of my favorite ballads. She showed a good connection to both the camera and viewing audience during her performance that I have not seen in many of the contestants to date. There was a very nicely done transition into the glory notes of this power ballad that was done smoothly without hitches. Though it was a technically sound performance, the judges was worried that she was not physically appealing enough to capture the votes compared to her more visible peers. I hope that this is not the case as she had a flawless performance that would be sad to see punished just because she was not popular enough.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10

Yasir – “Coretan Cinta” by Dayang Nurfaizah

A returnee from last year’s show caused quite the stir during his auditions for his appearance. It was reported that judges had to ask him to drop the feminine dress and become more butch before he was seriously considered for the Top 24 and to his credit that was exactly what he attempted tonight. His smooth husky voice was butch enough and his performance was not as overly dramatic compared to Adam to last week’s show. The problem that I have with his performance is that he doesn’t really open up and let his voice build up to sustain the song. For obvious reasons, I felt that he wasn’t all that comfortable on stage and as a result wasn’t able to showcase his potential fully.

Another item that would probably go against him was his audition clip that was shown before his performance tonight. I seriously think that if the producers edited that segment better to avoid showing how he looked like in the audition, he would have a better chance of getting votes for his performance tonight. I don’t think that the Malaysian public is ready yet for a Malaysian Idol who looks better in drag. I wished that things were different because I really liked his voice and there is definite potential to progress further in this contestant

Nick’ verdict : 7/10

Kash – “Belaian Jiwa” by Innuendo

He chose this song to specifically show that he can sing in Malay since he has been singing English songs all this while. While I commend his intentions I felt that he made a serious mistake by doing this during the workshop rounds because if nothing at all this is the time when he has to be at the top of his game to be noticed to get him through to the next round. Even Jac didn’t do this until the Spectaculars after people had a good chance to hear how she sounds like.

His gamble really didn’t pay off. Although he had a very good and clear tone, the song was uneven, lethargic and all over the place pitch-wise. There were too many unnecessary vocal flourishes that didn’t help his cause as all they did is further highlight how wrong this song was for him. The song was oversang terribly and he would have been better off staying with something that he was more familiar with at this point of the competition. I would think that he might have a chance if he was in the pervious group but as luck has it, I don’t think that he measures up with this particular group.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Trish – “Shackles (Praise You)” by Mary Mary

She started off the song in a different key that she switched quite smoothly mid verse in the beginning. I don’t know enough about the song to be sure if this was intentional or that she started at the wrong key but she did it very well. The is definitely power behind the notes for this soulful voice that would probably be heard more in future shows since it was just hinted in tonight’s performance. She was pitchy in some places especially in the higher registers and she tends to clip her notes at points but I have to credit her for covering it well. There was also good sustained energy throughout the performance that really picked up the tempo of the show after the 3 ballads from the contestant that came before her. A definitely memorable and enjoyable performance.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10

Aeser – “Layu Sebelum Berkembang” by Broery Marantika

There were a lot of problems with his performance tonight. He was really struggling with his lower registers and really bad diction that made the words of this power ballad sound like it was sung by a non-native speaker. He oversang the song by adding more vocal flourish and stylings that the melody of the song became a mish mash of jumbled up song styles that normally would not work together. He also did not have the stamina and the ability to sustain the intensity required for this power ballad which caused him to over commit himself to the song. He should have picked a different song that would have better suited his voice and style.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

At this point, Jien came out to remind people to vote and specifically highlighted the fact that Aeser was from Sarawak. This move was too AF style for me to get people from the contestant’s state to vote en mass. We already see this happening in AF and even on the Bluehyppo boards we see people campaigning for votes for contestants from their home state. This is a too blatant attempt to pad up the votes which defeats the purpose of finding someone who represents us because we are here to select the Malaysian Idol and not the Sarawak, Sabah, Selangor or any other state Idol. Leave that tactic to the people at AF who are gullible enough and perfectly willing to vote through a talentless hack just because he/she is from their home state.

Farah – “I Surrender” by Celine Dion

I thought that this was a really brave choice of song as not everyone can successfully sing a Celine Dion song. Furthermore the judges have often been overly critical to contestants singing songs from the power divas like Dion in the past because more often than not the contestants would simply mangle the song trying to imitate the original artist. Thankfully Farah avoided that pitfall by picking a good song that suits her voice which is mainly concentrated in the middle registers. Her clear tone helped lift the song but it also showed how clearly she needed to power her notes more to get a better intensity performance. The performance was a bit too low key for the song but I think that she did enough to be a serious contender to move to the next round.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Farish – “Aku Cinta Kau dan Dia” by Dewa

My notes had him down as another looker with little substance. To his credit, he had an original voice and style that I have not heard before in the show this year. It should have been enough to be memorable had it not been coupled with this truly heinous performance. This performance sounded like a bad imitation of the original artist that was not only uneven in presentation but also disconnected from the audience at home and at the studio. Based on his previous performance, I have to say that he gambled on the wrong song to help him get through to the next round.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Daniel – “Special Kind of Something” by Kavana

The main problem I have with this contestant is that he mumbles 90% of the words to the songs he sings almost 100% of the time. He sings like he has gold nuggets in his mouth that he is trying to keep from falling out. Since I can hardly tell what he is singing most of the time, I am too distracted by it to tell if he has a voice worth of notice at all. People at the boards are calling him the next Vick or Victor but I have to say that the two contestants from last year are light years better than Daniel and at least they are easier to understand than this hack. Unfortunately based of the past voting trends, the hype on the boards and early exposure that this contestant got early in the show, there is a high probability that he will be voted through by the hormonally distracted voters despite his lack of redeeming talent.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Overall I think that the show at this point has finally come to a head with a surprisingly good group in the workshops. Other than overly exposed Daniel, the other contestants have had little exposure in the show and it was really refreshing to see how good they were compared to the contestants from the previous 2 workshops. Coming from a group of so called underdogs, I give high praise for them to overcome their disadvantages and raise to the challenge to present their best performance. I have to say that the people they pick from the third workshop group, other than Daniel, will bear watching in the weeks ahead.

Nick’s Picks (I’m ignoring the obvious that Daniel will still get picked): Trish, Intan & Farah

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Reality Show on TV3

I’m currently watching the latest TV3 reality show, “Mencari Cinta” (Looking for Love) and am trying very hard to not crack up like loon. For one thing, some of the guys supposedly on the show to find themselves a wife are pinging my often faulty gaydar like crazy. They might just be some metrosexuals gone overboard but man I know some drag queens who are butcher than they are. The thing is I wouldn’t be totally out of place if I was put amongst them both physically and personality wise.

I just know that my mum will call me up to mention about the show soon.

Just what I need, another thing that my mum will ask me to try out for if I don’t get married soon. It’s bad enough that she carries my photo around to introduce me to other people as potential a suitors for their eligible daughters every other day. Now I have this to contend with.

I may just be paranoid but I just know that they (my family) are currently cooking up a plot to enroll me into the show next season as they are sitting in front of the TV watching this show.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Really slow news day

Nothing worth blogging about happened so I guess I’ll just put this placeholder entry in for today. I’m planning to put in some PS2 time, replaying Xenosaga I for a bit, before tuning in to watch this week’s episode of “Manhunt” on NTV7. I know the shows a bit dated now and that I already know who is the winner but I’m not looking for anything deep from watching the show. I'm just watching it for the eye candy.

The image I've posted here was one of the characters I created using the HeroMachine2.0 wesite for Nizam's project. I guess that if he doesn't want to use it, I was thinking about probably trying my hand at creating a superhero comic book script just to see if I can do it. We'll see how it goes. BTW ... this character's name is AGNI (for now until I think of something better)

I also wanted to test out the Blogger.com picture upload feature.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-09, Airdate: 10/07/2005 – Workshop #2 Results Show

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

Nick’s Pick: Nita, Ejay & Adam

After the usual opening chatter from both Cheryl and Jien, the results show starts off with a recap of last week’s contestants. I actually wished that they did a little bit of work a made up a clip segment of the actual performance like they do for American Idols shows instead of the dress rehearsals clips. For one thing, these dress rehearsal clips that they show with the voting numbers throughout the weekend are hardly flattering to any of the contestants. I guess that no body tell them that the contestants need to give their all even during the dress rehearsals as these clips are the only things that the viewers will see throughout the voting period to remind them who to vote for. This week’s collection of clips were nothing short of horrendous.

Judges Picks:
Roslan’s picks : Nita, Adam, Suria or Azam
Jee’s picks : Adam, Nita, Ash or Suria
Paul’s picks: Adam, Nita, Ejay, Azam or Ash

As usual, Jien and Cheryl went through each contestants to get their comments about last their Friday’s performance. Nothing out of the ordinary/surprising here. Notable highlights are comments from Jerome and Dianne. Jerome admitted that he might have overplay his hand by taking another Maroon 5 song which didn’t allow him to showcase any talent other than copying the original artist. Dianne was just nervous and it seems that she has not recovered from it even on tonight’s show from the looks of things. This was then followed by the usual filler segments while the votes were tallied.

For the results tonight, the contestants are called out in pairs instead of the usual sofa sequence walk through. Before the commercial break, the first pair called out were Jerome and Suria who both didn’t make it through with no surprise. When we came back, all the contestants were at the center of the stage and now we’re told that they each person would have a 50% chance of going through from each pair. First pair was Ejay and Adam which is easy to call as Ejay was the better singer of the pair. I was quite surprised to see the second pair of Ash and Dianne. Knowing that one of them will definitely get through really threw me off since both of them gave a really horrible performance last Friday. The person the votes allowed to go through from this pair was Ash.

Of course this left us with the final pair of a really tall Nita and the shorter Adam. Jien looks very flustered at this point knowing what he knows. This was definitely a surprise pairing as both contestants were pointed out as being the 2 best performers in the last show. Jien did his best Ryan Seacrest impression by the making the same spiel about this is the voter’s fault for voting for popularity instead of supposedly talent. While all this were going on, Adam looked absolutely miserable as he knew that he didn’t have a chance in a head to head race with Nita tonight. His suffering was mercifully cut short when they officially announced that Nita has made it through to the next round.

When asked to comment about the voting outcome, all three of the judges agree that Adam should have been picked to the in the selected 3 instead of Ash. Paul pointed out that it is the nature of the show that does allow for popularity votes instead of talent based votes. Paul did to speak his mind this time instead of being cut off in mid sentence like he was last week. While all this was happening, Adam was inconsolable by the sidelines and Ash, to his credit, looked rightfully devastated after hearing the judges comments. I wonder how many votes separated the two but early exposure in the show clearly helped Ash to get through tonight on the popularity vote. I just only hope that the popular vote contestants do well in the spectaculars to justify the votes given to them.

Final results: Nita, Ejay, Ash
Nick’s prediction success to date : 4/6

Friday, July 08, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-08, Airdate: 08/07/2005 – Workshop #2

(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)

Going into the show this week, I was really looking forward to see some spark to get the show really going. Last week’s show didn’t really started the competition with a bang after all the hype about this year’s contestants being better than last year’s selection. While I do admit that there is some potential with the 3 chosen from last week’s workshop round, it seems very rough at this point. Coming into the second workshop show, I had high hopes that things would be different tonight.

After the customary useless and uninformative filler segment showing this week’s contestants goofing off, the judges were given a chance to say a few words before the contestants come on stage. Roslan was hoping for a better showing tonight than last week’s workshop and he predicted that there would be a more competitive contest this year. Jee pointed out that tonight’s contestants would have the advantage of learning from the comments given to the contestants last week and should have made full advantage of it. Paul pointedly mentioned that a few of the contestants tonight were those the judges took a chance on to allow them to reach this point and that he was looking forward to see if their trust in these contestants will pay off tonight.

As usual, I may get the song titles wrong so listed are the tentative info about the songs sung tonight until I can get them verified. I wonder if there is come I could contact from the show to get a song list so I can get the correct by the time I start to blog the show?

(Update: Got the correct song listing from the official Malaysian Idol website on Sunday)

Ash – “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal

During the auditions and the theater elimination rounds, he was touted as another rocker alternative to last week’s Faizull. For obvious reasons, he must have felt that he had to uphold that hype because I can’t think of a reason why he would have chosen this particular song to sing tonight. Not only was it technically outside of his abilities, there was a clear lack of focus in the performance. While it did start with great promise, the judges correctly pointed out that it went nowhere fast after the buildup. I definitely agree with the judges on their assessment for this performance. It was uneven and unmemorable.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Suria – “Tiada lagi” by Mayang Sari

Suria started out with a clear sounding husky voice that managed to show some power potential behind it but I didn’t feel that she was giving it her all. Her performance felt like there was more that she was holding back for whatever reason. I guess it might be the nerves getting to her but I kept hoping that there was something more that she can show us in her performance. There were some problems with her lower registers that I would have easily forgiven had she put more energy into her performance. In the end it was an average performance that it not at all that memorable.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Dianne – “Imagine” by John Lennon

I thought that her interpretation of this classic song was an interesting and ambitious choice. The arrangement of the song definitely had a more pop vibe to it which is a very risky choice to make considering the roots of the song as a protest song. She does have a good and clear singing voice but I was really disappointed by the lack or energy/enthusiasm in the performance. The pitch problems that cropped up during the performance also did not help her cause. In the end, this performance came through as a lethargic and uninspiring which is sad considering the potential that was there for this bold and interesting take on a John Lennon classic.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Jerome – “This Love” by Maroon 5

I have to say that I automatically cringe every time I hear this song on the radio and tonight it was no different. I just hope that someone would just ban this song from Malaysian Idol as we have heard so many bad attempts with it. I have to say that Jerome has a unique sounding voice that would have single him out from the other contestants thus far but he failed to execute the delivery of the song convincingly. I have to say that I have never heard a workshop performance that gets progressively worse as the song went on before but that was what I thought of his performance.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Adam - "Setulus Cintamu" by Hazami

The first thing that I wrote down when I say his performance is “DOWN, GIRL!”. His execution of the performance was overly dramatic and not in a good way. There is a fine line between tasteful dramatization and overwrought posing that he would have to learn. The judges seem to like him but I didn’t really feel that he was all that good. He does have a good soulful voice for ballads that bears watching if he could make it work for other genres. Jee did mentioned that he had to be more “manly” in his appearance so it will interesting to see if he will make the transformation if he gets through. I’m wondering now if he was the contestant who had his eyebrows done in the filler segment?

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Ejay – “The Trouble With Love” by Kelly Clarkson

Ejay has a beautiful husky voice but has to really work on her pitch problems especially when she goes into her higher registers. She also tends to oversing the song which is a distraction as she doesn’t let her voice to work it’s magic. While there is some raw potential here, there is a lot of work that need to be put into her to polish her vocal techniques and correct her bad diction. All in all, she gave a promising performance that would need a lot of work if she gets to go through.

Nick’s verdict: 7/10

Azam - "Kenangan Lalu" by Flybits

He had a nice clear voice that sadly went all over the place in an uneven performance. I was also concerned about how blank and emotionless his expression was through out the performance. It was like watching someone’s face after they get botox injections and that is really a scary sight to see. Other than how his face looked like, it was a rather forgettable and boring performance. In my notes, I put jotted down “just a face, not much substance”.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Nita – “Get Here” by Oleta Adams

First of all, she looks really stunning in the dress she wore. Even I have to acknowledge that. After pushing that fact aside, she made a really bold choice to pick a song that might not be so obvious to the majority of the demographics of the people watching the show. She performed the song with a clear and beautiful sounding voice that was refreshing to hear after the previous performance. She did messed up the song lyrics and pitch on several occasion but she recovers nicely. These problems tells me that she needs to really concentrate on the songs that she would be singing a little bit more. Her performance was more polished than the others which I’m sure comes from her experience from all those years of her singing in the pub circuit.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10

Overall I thought that this is a weaker group than the one that we had last week. A lot of the people I gave higher marks in my verdicts would definitely not get the marks they have now if they were singing in last week’s group. There is a clear lack of energy or enthusiasm on the part of the contestants this week and I hope that next week’s contestants would be able to reverse this slide. We need someone to really wow us with their potential and to date we have not seen anything remotely close.

I have to point out that the show is really selling Xerra and Nita to be the next Malaysia Idol. I believe that they do profit from the exposure thus far and I really hope that they do more in the future rounds to merit that exposure. While I don’t mind the extra attention given to them, I do expect that the judges and the hosts be more impartial about their favorite contestants on the show. The race is too early to call and your exuberance for some contestants over the other might not help some of them to get the votes they need to progress in the show. It would be a pity if people start voting the opposite of what you expect just to piss off the judges like what happened in AI with the “VoteTheWorse” website.

As I have mentioned before that this was a relatively weak group and I’m sure that Nita will be able to move into the next round as hers was the only outright good performance that you can pick out. Both Ejay and Adam did just enough to raise themselves above the other unmemorable performance to get the voting people’s attentions. I think that they could have an better chance at moving on to the next round than the other remaining contestants from this week.

Nick’s Picks: Nita, Ejay & Adam