Friday, August 26, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-23, Airdate: 26/08/2005 – Spectaculars #5: And Then There Were 6

(Image courtesy of

With the theme of “Rock Night” this week, the show opens with the almost obligatory opening song of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” before strangely segueing into a slower “Fantasia Bulan Madu”, a local rock song by Search. I wished that the contestants chose to sing “We Will Rock You” just because some of them tonight needed all the practice of stretching their vocals that they could get. Having said that, I have to say that I’m really appreciating the change from the pointy pose dancing to the group singing as the contestant’s opening number. As I’ve said before, this group really harmonize well together and it is a joy to hear them do so. Now if only they could stop Ash from trying to dance then I will be really happy. He totally looked hilarious whenever the camera was on him during the opening performance. It also didn’t help that he messed up his verse when he was up for the duet with Faizull.

Whoever sponsoring the hair products that the people on the show must have made a killing on the show tonight. Everyone’s hair was defying gravity and while it may look good for some people (read Jien) spiky hair was definitely the wrong choice for others (read Ash). I’ve also noticed that the hosts this year have stopped dressing up in the theme of the night. While I’ve prayed very hard not to be subjected to the “trucker hat Jien” that we got on MI Season 1’s Rock Night again, I have to say that I liked it better when they tired to match the host’s outfit to the theme. The hosts just looked too plain this year.

This week’s filler segment showed the contestants visit to Rumah Solehah which is a care center/half-way house for children born with HIV. I’ve heard of this place before but never knew that it was for HIV+ children. Just goes to show what one can learn from watching this show other than the snark potential every week. The contestants looked really natural and comfortable around the children. AIDS and HIV are two issues really close to my heart and it was wonderful of the show producers to take this opportunity to highlight the center to the viewing public. I tried to jump online to see if I can get their address to plug them on my blog in this recap but I’ve not been able to find it yet. Once I get it, I’ll update the recap with it so that people who might be able to help them would know where and who to contact.

The guest judge for tonight’s show was Jeff Timmons who was in 98°, the studliest boy band ever in existence who sounded as good as they looked, and now was trying his luck as a solo artist. By way of an explanation, I’ve always had this secret crush on the boys from 98° and after everything that has happened to me recently to see Jeff back on the scene again just brought back the good times from back then. I have to say that I was relieved that they didn’t decide to plug his solo album on the show tonight but I wished that they had selected a different theme for the night had they already plan for his appearance on the show. Somehow I just don’t see “Rock Night” and Jeff Timmons on the same page even though I appreciate him being there to really brighten up the judge’s table.

(In honor of his appearance on MI tonight, I dug out my old 98° CDs and played them in the background as I wrote this recap)

Farah – “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette

This song never failed to bring back memories of my college years every time when I heard it. From the moment I heard the opening strains of this song, I was looking forward to see how much they would let go in Farah’s performance. After listening to it, I have to say that they choose a very tame version of the song compared to original which I guess that made sense as Malaysian public can’t be trusted by the censors with the original version.

As performance goes, it was a passable one from Farah. She started with the right attitude in her husky voice but somewhere along the way she got a bit messy and winded. I guess that if she pranced a little less around the stage and focused more on delivering the solid backing that the vocals to this song demanded, it would be more than enough to move her performance to the next level. It was very ambitious of her to start of the show with this song and she delivered it fairly acceptable.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Adam – “Ada Apa Dengan Mu” by Peter Pan

I almost didn’t recognize him when he performed tonight. He definitely kept a tight rein on his usual exuberance on stage and even delivered the song in a markedly more manly tone that his previous performance. He looked so controlled and strained that I was worried that something might break mid performance. After being reminded that he was suppose to be the “cheeky monkey” among the contestants left on the show, to see him so rigid in his delivery was more than a bit jarring.

I wasn’t really that sold on his performance tonight partly because I found the delivery was disconnected from the viewers than his other performance usually were. The lower registers of his voice paid it’s dues tonight for this song and I have to say that it was sounding more solid than it did last week. It was a passable performance but it could be better if he had been more relaxed and put in more of his own personal stamp on the performance instead of trying to imitate some else.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Nita – “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence

I found out that this was her favorite song from one of the online fan-chat sessions that she had a few weeks back. The moment that I found out that the theme for tonight was “Rock Night” I just knew that she will perform this song. I was really looking forward for this these past few days as I really liked this song and I’ve heard that Nita had sung this song quite a few times when she was singing in the pubs.

Unfortunately the performance tonight only highlighted all of Nita’s vocal weakness. She was off-pitch for most of the performance and lacked the solid backing to power the notes. I have a sinking feeling that Ejay might have performed better with this song because she could have hit the marks for this song much better than Nita did. I have to say that this was one of her less than stellar showing that may come back to hurt her standing in the show. She really needed to get another good performance tonight after the confidence wavering visit to the Bottom 3 even after a good performance last week. Unfortunately for her, tonight’s performance was not be the confidence boosting showing that she obviously needed and for that I’m worried about her.

Nick’s verdict: 5/10

Daniel – “In The Shadows” by Rasmus

After the good showing last week, he is back to mumbling the words of the song he was performing. It was also not helpful for him to be drowned out by the band on several occasion during his performance. The thing that hits me most was how no matter what genre he sang, it always sounded like he was singing the pop boyband version of the original song. While I may like to listen to boy bands, Daniel’s performance just didn’t do it for me.

He started off a bit shaky in the beginning with his weak lower registers but recovered well as he built towards the chorus. I have to agree with the judges that he sounds so much better when he sang a Malay song and I think that partly the melodies and the flow in Malay songs were much simpler than an English song. His performance tonight reminded me of how much of a fan base he has to be thankful for continuing to vote to keep him on the show.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

Ash – “With or Without U” by U2

I wasn’t really sure of what look Ash was going for tonight but what ever it was it surely missed the mark in a big away. Dressing up in all black was so last season and it didn’t helped that he was performing so stiffly that he looked like he had a steel rod screwed onto his spine. Fortunate for him, his performance tonight was much better than the way he looked on stage. He started out with very good lower register control and built up the vocals nicely towards the chorus.

It was a good choice of song for him as he got to showcase a lot of his vocal strengths that he didn’t get to do in the other songs that he sang before. While the intensity in the performance was there, there was a marked absence of edge to his voice that would have sold his performance better. I have to say that this is his best performance yet in the show. I also have to grudgingly admit that it might also be the best performance of the show tonight.

Nick’s verdict: 8/10

Faizull – “Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses

From the Diary shows that they show every Thursdays, I knew that Faizull was working on his first English song to perform on the Spectacular shows. The moment I heard that the theme for the show tonight would be “Rock Night” I was immediately certain that he will attempt an English song this time around. My reasoning was that the rock genre was his most comfortable genre and he would probably have a passing familiarity with English rock song more than others in another genre. He would have a much easier time to polish his performance with an English rock song and get the expectation for him to sing one out of the way in a genre he was comfortable with.

He started very weak in the beginning and was singing words that were hard to make out. Weak lower registers didn’t do him favors and it was only when he started hitting the high notes that we started to hear him performing more confidently. I thought that the choice of attempting an English song tonight was a risky gamble after his meltdown last week but on the flip-side this was the only opportunity that he had to sing an English song that he would remotely feel comfortable with. While I don’t think that his gamble paid off fully, it was a safe performance and a notable attempt for him.

Nick’s verdict: 6/10

All in all it was a better “Rock Night” theme Spectacular than it was last year but I missed having someone like Jac to really rock the house. The closest we got was Ash’s performance but I still think that he was too much of a tool to really enjoy his performance. I’m also disappointed that no one thought of attempting something from Bon Jovi on “Rock Night” again this year. Maybe I’m just showing my age for wanting someone on the show sing a Bon Jovi song.

Given the voting trend this year, I have to say that based on tonight’s performances Nita, Farah and Adam would really need to have all the votes that they could get. The remaining 3 have consistently show that they were voting-getting powerhouses that would continue to get votes from their fans even with their mediocre showing. I have a sinking feeling that Paul Moss might be “Prophetic Paul” again tonight and we may not see Nita return next week.

Nick’s prediction:

Bottom three: Nita, Farah & Adam
Out this week: Nita

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