(Image courtesy of malaysianidol.bluehyppo.com)
After thousands of auditions over 4 cities, they selected 122 contestants to go to the theater eliminations rounds to whittle down the number to 24 semi-finalist competing in the Workshop rounds. The first workshop round tonight had 8 semi-finalist competing against each other to secure a place out of 3 going into the extravaganza rounds. A change from last year’s workshop rounds, all contestants would be accompanied by a live band on stage which for some would be to their advantage and for some not so much.
Before I continue this write up, I must take a sidebar to touch on the recent controversy regarding the decision to cut Lee Kar Wei, an early fan favorite, from the Top 24 contestants. Browsing through the Malaysian Idols forum at the official website at Bluehyppo.com it is apparent that fan reaction to her elimination is quite vocal and intense. Many feel that she is more deserving of a place on the Top 24 than some of the people who made it there. The reaction was such that even Paul Moss himself came forth to address the fans on the issue on his official discussion forum and 8TV even invited LKW back for a TV appearance to show that she was ok with the decision. Although I will always defer to the judges for their decisions, I personally feel that all this spin doctoring still does not cover the fact that they made a mistake with this one elimination. I still think that she had potential, determination and the appealing personality to make for good watching on the show. However what’s done is done and we as fans of the show will just have to make do with the ones left behind.
On to the show.
Malaysian Idol won’t be a part of the global Idol series if it didn’t have its share of filler segments. I just hope that MI won’t end up with segments like what they had on American Idol with the Ford sponsor segments. The filler segment tonight showed how the 8 contestants prepared for the show tonight. All definitely had a chance to rehearse their songs and even had a dance coach to teach them some moves. With all the preparations that they go through, they would only have themselves to blame if they do not perform to the best of their abilities on stage tonight. As another plus, the songs that will be sung by these contestants in the workshop rounds would be chosen by the contestants themselves so that should help them a lot to be more comfortable on stage.
Being the first workshop of the season, the judges were asked what are they hoping to see from the contestants this year. Roslan Aziz started out with stating that he is placing high expectations to the contestants based on the quality that he has seen. Jee pointed out that in addition to Roslan said that there is definitely more potential in the contestants this year and she was looking forward to see it on stage. When asked about the determining factor for the contestants, Paul Moss replied that only those who really step up and bring their game on in the competition will have a chance to shine. All in all the judges are waiting to see a higher level of competition that would hopefully surpass last year’s show.
Before continuing on with the individual contestant write-ups, I have to say that because they don’t list down the title of the song that the contestants are singing I had to guess more than a few of them. While I definitely know some of the more popular tunes, some of the songs especially the local songs had me guessing their titles so if I get them wrong please send feedback to correct me. Good thing I don’t this full time for a living.
(Update : Kudos to Yokatta, wildorchid and Cilipadi from the BlueHyppo Malaysian Idol Official Discussion Forum for the corrected song and original artist list)
Norsila - "Kaulah Segalanya" by Ruth Sahanaya
I have a feeling that she was very nervous at being the first person to start off the show tonight as I could hardly hear her at first. I'm not sure if she realized that she was a bit out of step with the band for most of the song. She was also uneven in terms of tone with most of the power notes being shouted out more than controlled. In this instance being loud is not good as she has little control of how it came out. It also felt that she was rushing through her performance.
It’s ironic that this song started the show off because to me it further underscores the fact that LKW would have and already did it better than this contestant.
Nick’s verdict : 6/10
Shone - "I Could Not Ask For More" by Edwin McCain
He started off the song very badly and never really recovered from it. There were points in his performance that it seemed that he swallowed his voice and at other points it came out quite pitchy. My notes had listed him as having a monotonous range and not much stamina to power up the notes that this song demanded of him. I didn’t sense that he was really feeling the song even though it was one that he chose himself.
Nick’s verdict: 5/10
Faizull – “Penunggu” by Sweet Charity
Loud, booming voice who as Paul put it woke everyone up after the 2 boring performance proceeding it. He was definitely in his comfort zone singing a Malay heavy metal rock song which is clearly one of his favorites based on how confidently he performed it. I had deep reservations about this contestant the first time I heard him but tonight I finally understood what drew Paul to his singing in the first place. He definitely has a refreshing tone to his voice and the power to back it up. The challenge for this contestant is to see if he would be equally successful in other genres especially if it involves singing in English. Regardless of what people say, my perception of Malaysian Idol is someone who can sing the best in both English and Malay. Without either one then the winner would just represent half of the population.
I’m going to implement an “Orang Kampung” count starting tonight. It’s like a drinking game if you’re inclined to imbibe alcohol while watching MI (which by the way would greatly make some of the performance more bearable) but instead of doing shots every time someone says “Orang Kampung”, I just going to add to the running tally. It may not be as much fun but hopefully it would help the others who are actually doing shots to keep track.
Nick’s verdict: 8/10
“Orang Kampung” count: 4
Atilia - "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin
I thought that she had a very smooth honeyed voice and good tone that reminded me of the old school divas and jazz greats. There is a deep quality to her voice with definite power behind each notes. Her performance was polished, confident and matured. It would be interesting to see if she could go further and if the voting public would be accepting of her talents.
Nick’s verdict: 8/10
Fauzi - "Angel" by Jon Secada
He had the worst arrangement of a song of all the contestants tonight. His chosen song ended up being just a verse being repeated twice. While it did allow him to showcase his clear tone and strong projection voice, it didn’t show much of his range or the fullest of his potential. There were some pitch problems here and there but it is hard to tell with what little we had to go on. Of all the contestants, his performance was the hardest to call for certain.
Nick’s verdict: 6/10
Lisa – “Ku Tak Sanggup” by Kris Dayanti
I felt that she had a pleasant and clear voice that was a joy to listen to. She started out very good but seemed to peter out towards the end. She also had some breathing problems that could be better improved by building up her stamina. There is potential here and if she moves on she would have to fully exploit the help that she can get on the show to realize that potential.
Nick’s verdict: 7/10
Fauzi – “Rela Ku Pujuk” by Spider
The first thing that cross my mind is this was a Zamani clone. Roslan Aziz hit the button correctly by calling him a “Tam from Spider”, who originally did the song, clone. It was a confident performance which definitely comes from him being in his comfort zone. Like Faizull who sang earlier, the challenge for him is if he can be as comfortable when singing songs from other genres. A passable performance that felt like him doing his best impression of Zamani.
Nick’s verdict: 6/10
Xerra - "Cahaya" by Kris Dayanti
The biggest disappointment of the night for me. After all the hype and her good showing in the previous rounds, I was expecting more out of her just based on her experience of performing in front of a crowd from her previous singing gigs. I’m not sure if it's because she choose the wrong song or if she folded under pressure but her performance tonight was very pitchy and uneven. I would have rather see her kick it up a notch and belt out a Tina Turner song with attitude. A very disappointing showing despite her total package.
Nick’s verdict: 5/10
There was a comment from Paul on tonight’s show that can be interpreted that voter’s would go more for looks rather than talent. While I admit that there are some out there who could never look further than a big set of ya-yas, I felt insulted that he doesn't think that the rest of us can vote someone regardless of how they looked. My personal view is that it all boils down to how you market the talent. With the right marketing plan, even a wedding singer can be the idol of the masses. With the right type of talent and a good marketing plan, a total package wouldn’t have to be the only criteria to be successful.
To sum up, tonight’s show had very few memorable moments and doesn’t starts the season with a bang. Hopefully the contestants will get better in the following weeks. I have a feeing that Faizull will have a strong voting base to continue and that Atila could get through as well based on her strong performance. For the final spot to advance, I’m torn between Fauzi and Lisa but if I had to choose based on their performances tonight I have to go with Lisa as I got to hear more of her potential than Fauzi.
Nick’s Pick : Faizull, Atilia & Lisa
Result show will be on Sunday 3/7/2005 at 10pm at 8TV.