Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Day After

So ... Daniel won Malaysian Idol 2.

Nita lost.

I’m buying Nita’s album when it comes out instead.

Msg to Nita : Look at Clay Aiken’s success post AI 2. It’s possible when you’re using the opportunity the show has given you smartly.

Msg to Daniel : You do not exist.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-31, Airdate: 23/09/2005 – Grand Finale : And Then There Were 2

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I tuned into the 8TV telecast of the Malaysian Idol finale to catch a bit of the “Red Carpet Show” before they started the show proper. Somehow it felt more draggy than it was last year. I guess that people were more jaded about the second finale compared to the first one last year. I wished that they could have coordinated with the people organizing the celebrity arrivals better so that the could have interviewed more interesting people that the ones Adam & Marion did. They both did a better red carpet show last year.

I missed most of Daniel’s backstage interview since I joined the show in progress 5 minutes after it started. I did however managed to catch Nita’s interview and it was mostly about how nervous she was and really exited to be there. Jee, who had her hair in cornrows giving a flashback of Faizull in the same hairdo some weeks ago, had high hopes for the night and hoped that both contestants make it a night to remember. In his backstage interview, Paul pointed out that in order for Nita to win the title she really need to sing extremely well to overcome Daniel’s crowd support. As to the importance of the order of the contestant, Paul firmly believes that being the second person to sing would have the upper hand in this competition as that person would be the one who would have the opportunity to leave the night on a memorable note performing the last song if they played their cards right.

The show started with all the contestants on this year’s show coming on stage to sing “Pop Yeh Yeh” by VE. I notice that the stage looked bigger tonight than it was last year but somehow also looked a lot more emptier as well. I guess that the contestant really need to work their stage presence to fill up all that empty space. It was nice to hear the group back coming back to performed as a group as they have always sounded well as a group. A few notable mentions here – it was nice to hear Trish and Atilia again when the girls launched into “Shut Up” by Simple Plan. I kind of missed them in this competition. Xerra ditched the bubblegum pink hair and went for a smurf blue one instead (I think. It could be Kermit green. I couldn’t tell with the dark stage). She looked better with the old hair color. Last but not least, Ash had his shades on indoors like the tool that he continues to be.

When we came back after the commercial break, the judges were asked about their thoughts on the season. Roslan, who didn’t get a backstage interview before the show like the other judges did, felt that the season was more interesting as they had contestants of the same level of caliber performance wise and that those who went on in the show this year was more mentally prepared for it. Jee agreed and said that it was a really unpredictable season this year. Paul went further to say that some of the better contestants were cut out earlier than expected in the show and now it was wide open as to who might win it this season.

Daniel – “Mimpi”

For the moment that I heard the opening strains of the winner’s single, I knew that Daniel would be in trouble. The song was not in the style that would work best for his limited vocal range and it was painfully clear that this was the case. He stuck with the narrow band that his voice was capable of and never moved from that point. There was virtually no projection in his voice and at times he sounded overwhelmed by the loud live band. Good thing was that he wasn’t mumbling his words too much tonight but I was wondering how much longer I would have to endure his butchering of this song. It was not only a pitchy and boring delivery of the song but it was not a something that the fans would want to see at this stage of the game. Utterly terrible performance that might be the one to haunt him tomorrow.

Nick’s verdict : 5/10

Nita – “Berhenti Mengharap” by Sheila on 7 (Judges’ choice)

I initially thought in my pre finale analysis that she would be doing “Hati Ini Telah Dilukai” by Kris Dayanti for her Malay song tonight. After reviewing her performances in the Malaysian Idol Diary show last Thursday, I came to conclusion that this song would be a better one for her to do instead. And what a performance it was. She was belting out the chorus as good or better than the time she first performed it and her emotions just showed up in her delivery. It was a wonderful performance on a song that was perfect for her. Truth be said that I nearly had a tear in my eye when she sang this song especially considering how much the lyrics could be true to how she felt being on the weeks that she was in the bottom 3. I wasn’t expecting that the judges would pick this instead of “Big Spender” as I predicted but this was still a good choice on their part. It was an opening performance that she needed to build up her confidence for the next 2 performances.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

Daniel – “Heaven Knows” by Rick Price (Contestant’s choice)

I was right on the button on my prediction of this song for his choice. It was a simple song that had a simple melody for Daniel to deliver confidently. It fitted well with his style of intimate venues and/or lounge singing that he does well. It was miles better than his first performance and he really needed this performance to make people forget his disasterous mangling of the winner’s single. It was a polished delivery and his voice had better projection for this song. It was clear that this was the one song that he was really comfortable with as he has performed it on the show several times.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Nita – “Big Spender” by Shirley Bessey (Contestant’s choice)

This has to be the song that everyone was expecting Nita to do again after the reception that she got when she performed it the first time. I predicted it to be the judges choice but it seemed that I got my song predictions for Nita in reverse. Still it was wonderful to see the sass and attitude that she brings in this song. She made use of the full stage like a seasoned pro with her larger than life stage presence. If there was a time that Nita really broke out all the stops, this performance would surely be it. It was a clear fan favorite that was presented wonderfully.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

Daniel – “Angin Malam” by Broery Marantika (Judges’ choice)

Daniel closed his performance tonight with the song that I predicted would be the judge’s choice for him. Out of all the songs that he has performed thorough out the show this was the one that was even remotely appealing to me to listen to. It had a simple melody and flow that fitted well with his style of singing which made it a serviceable delivery for tonight. It was also the only song in the competition this year that the contestant adapted the original to suit their personal style. Since it worked so well for him the first time around, Daniel decided to play it safe and performed it as he did the last time instead of putting more embellishments to the arrangement.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

Nita – “Mimpi”

Nita’s vocal range and projection gave her a big upper hand over Daniel in her version of the winner’s single. This was how the song should be performed. The were some pitch problems and she sounded like she was fast running out of steam after the previous two performance but she hit her stride somewhere around the middle of the song and it really took off. Her energy and raw emotions were apparently clear to all watching her perform this song. She give it her all and for once didn’t hold anything behind. This performance was the cherry to top all the other perfectly delivered and wonderful performances she did tonight. I predicted that in order for Nita to snatch a win from Daniel tonight, she needed to have all three of her song close to perfect in it’s delivery and I have to say that she managed to do just that. The only thing that I had a problem with this last song of the night was how unremarkable this last performance relative to Jac’s bring the house down performance of the winner’s single last year.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

On the subject of the winner’s single, I have to truthfully say that I was a bit disappointed with it. While it was a serviceable Indonesian Pop style song that should be well received by the CD buying public, it was pale in comparison to the soaring beauty that was “Gemilang” from last year’s show. “Mimpi” didn’t really have the same intensity and wow factor that “Gemilang” had and personally I missed that in the winner’s single. I guess that they had to be fair and not written a song that favors one contestant more than the other but it was just another of the things that highlightened how different this year’s season was compared to last season.

After the commercial break, the Top 2 closed the show tonight with their rendition of “Kau Di Hati Ku” by Zainal Abidin which was the local version of “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins that they also sang. Truth be said that I didn’t really like this song. It was messy and sounded uneven after the wonderful performances we’ve heard tonight. It was a good thing that this song was not part of the competition.

After tonight’s show and performances, it was clear that the winner of Malaysian Idol Season 2 should be Nita. She came into the finale as the underdog as she does not have the hordes of fans that Daniel had to vote for him. She needed to give 3 perfect performance to really show that she was better vocally than Daniel and at the end of the show, it can’t be denied that she did just that. Hopefully it was enough to convince those who are not keen to vote for Daniel to vote for her instead.

Tonight’s show will also be the last one on Malaysian Idol that I would be recapping until the next season. I have to attend a old boy’s reunion dinner on Saturday night so unless someone could burn the show into a CD or DVD, I would have to miss the result shows tomorrow to see who would win the title for this season. It has been fun to be recapping this show these past months because partly it was something that I’ve never did before. I would like to thank those who have been following my Malaysian Idol entries and special mention to Sultanmuzaffar for linking my blog to his and sending his readers to my blog.

Till the next season of Malaysian Idol, I’m signing off the weekly recaps of MI. It’s been fun.

Nick’s prediction :

Malaysian Idol Season 2 Winner : Nita

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02 – Extra : Pre Finale Analysis

(Image courtesy of

After about 4 months of competition, the finale of Malaysian Idol Season 2 is now finally just a few days away. While it is not really the finale that I really wanted, I’m still excited and looking forward to watch it at least for one of the remaining contestants. Frequent readers of my MI recaps would definitely know who I am referring to so I just wanted to lay it out there so that I can try to be as objective as possible for this analysis.

Assuming that the finale format will follow the finale show last season, both contestants will have 3 songs to perform on Friday’s finale are the Arena of Stars, Genting Highlands. The 3 songs would be picked from the list songs that the finalist have sung before in the previous rounds of competition. One will be picked by the judges as their choice of the best song performed so far by each contestant. Another will be picked by the contestants themselves as their best song for the competition. The final song for each contestant would be a new original song selected as the winner’s first single that has been written specifically for the finale.

One other assumption that I’m making in this analysis is that there would be an English and Bahasa Malaysia song each for each contestants excluding the winner’s single which I’m fairly certain will be in Bahasa Malaysia. As such, I will try to pick the probably songs with that supposition in mind.


Song list :

"Special Kind Of Something" by Kavana (5/10)
"True" by Ryan Cabera (5/10)
"Over The Rainbow" by Judy Garland (7/10)
"Obsession" by Frankie J (5/10)
"Kini Bebas" by Camellia & Anuar Zain (7/10)
"In The Shadows" by Rasmus (6/10)
"Save The Last Dance" by Drifters (5/10)
"Angin Malam" by Broery Marantika (7/10)
"Heaven Knows" by Rick Price (7/10)
"Mungkin Nanti" by Peter Pan (6/10)
"Ooh! La! La!" by KRU (5/10)
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Elton John (5/10)

Looking at Daniel’s list, it is fairly apparent that he favors one style of song more than others. Given his restricted vocal range, the song that he would need to pick would need to be simple melodically and fairly straight forward in terms of delivery demands. I don’t think that he will be risking the big glory notes as he simply does not have the solid vocal backing to power and build towards them properly.

For the judges pick, I would expect that the judges would pick “Angin Malam” by Broery Marantika for him. Out of the songs that he performed in the competition, this was the one song that was uniquely adapted from the original to suit his vocal style. We saw a little spark of brilliance in the arrangement of this song when it was last performed in the 6th Spectaculars show. The judges were very receptive of this song and I would venture to say that this is surely their favorite of all of Daniel’s performances.

As for the contestant’s choice, I would assume that Daniel would have to pick an English for the competition. While he may run into problems with his diction singing an English song, I would say that his best bet would be to pick “Heaven Knows” by Rick Price. His performance of this song in Spectacular show #7 was definitely one of his better English song performances. He was confident and comfortable singing it and it came through in his performance of that song then. It was also the type of songs that his fan would able to rally behind of regardless how it sounded.

One of the problems that Daniel might find himself in for the finale is how to differentiate these 2 performances. All of the songs that he has performed in this competition basically sounds very similar to each other and he might not have sufficient variety on his song list to make them interesting. Sadly this might not have that much impact to his fanatic hordes of voters how would vote for him even if he was standing on stage doing a spoken word rendition of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”.

Nick’s song picks predictions :

Judges pick : “Angin Malam” by Broery Marantika
Contestant’s pick : “Heaven Knows” by Rick Price


Song list :

"Get Here" by Oleta Adams (8/10)
"Left Outside Alone" by Anastascia (7/10)
"Tenda Biru" by Dessy Ratnasari (6/10)
"Snow On The Sahara" by Anggun (6/10)
"Hati Ini Telah Dilukai" by Kris Dayanti (7/10)
"Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence (5/10)
"Engkau Laksana Bulan" by P Ramlee (6/10)
"Big Spender" by Shirley Bessey (8/10)
"Berhenti Mengharap" by Sheila on 7 (8/10)
"Hand In My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette (7/10)
"Love Is A Crime" by Anastascia (8/10)
"Asmaradana" by Tiara Jacquelina (7/10)

Nita has a wider and more interesting selection to choose from for the two songs thanks to her versatile vocal range. She could easily select to polish 2 of the songs that she already performed and make them individually memorable when she performs them. Unlike Daniel, she needs to select song that would allow her vocals to soar in the higher registers where her vocal strengths are. She must at all cost avoid safe songs that she doesn’t need to challenge herself to sing.

For Nita, I see the judges pick "Big Spender" by Shirley Bessey from Spectacular 6 as the song they choose for her. Out of all her performances, this must be the most memorable one and the one that she looked the most confident delivering. It was a clear fan favorite when it was first performed and it would really let Nita strut her stuff on stage to the fullest. A cabaret style performance of this song would be fun to listen to and would sure be something that her fans would love to see her perform again.

For her second pick, I would say that she should pick "Berhenti Mengharap" by Sheila on 7 that she performed in the 7th Spectacular. This song would be different enough from the other song that we would be able to see her vocal abilities and performance versatility. What was more, this song has the soaring chorus and power notes that favors Nita well. If she manages to stay focus and really give her all to this performance, it might return a big pay-off in the end.

Nita needs to have all 3 of her performances as perfect as she can to really show how much better vocally she is in the finale. She has to watch out for the pitching problems that has been plaguing her through out the competition. If she manage to keep her focus and commit fully to the song that she will be singing, she could no doubt sing rings around Daniel given her superior vocal range. She would need to cross all T’s and dot all I’s in her performances to get the sway and anti-Daniel voters to send votes her way after the finale.

Nick’s song picks predictions :

Judges pick : "Big Spender" by Shirley Bessey
Contestant’s pick : "Berhenti Mengharap" by Sheila on 7

Winner’s Single

The title of this year’s winner’s single is “Mimpi” (Dream) written by Pot Amir of the local R&B group, Innuendo. For the moment, I do not have any clear indication of how this song will sound like but I do hope that it would sound as grand as the winner’s single from last year’s finale, “Gemilang” sounded. I’m really looking forward to hear it this Friday.

Nita might have an upper hand in the performance of the winner’s single as her vocal range could potentially help her if the song falls into the type that would require soaring vocals and power notes. Daniel on the other hand would have to really hope that the song fits into his narrower vocal stylings.

Both contestants coming into the finale have their own strengths. Nita comes in with powerful vocals and versatility while Daniel comes in with his horde of fanatical power voters and the cutesy factor that kept them voting for him. In the end there will only be one person with the bragging rights as the second Malaysian Idol. I hope that the person chosen on Saturday as the Malaysian Idol would be the one most deserving after his/her performances in the finale on Friday.

(updated 22/9 after the MI Diary show when I realised the better Bahasa Malaysia song choice for Nita)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Another Milestone To Celebrate

I’m actually having a little celebration at home tonight to celebrate my second year anniversary of me quitting smoking. Yay me !!!! I’m actually not doing that much to celebrate the occasion other than curling up on the sofa with a half a tub of my favorite ice cream watching a marathon session of “Will & Grace” on DVD. Seriously folks ... I rather do this rather than going out to splurge and celebrate.

Two years is now officially the longest that I have not been smoking. The last time that I tried to quit only lasted 6 months before I had my relapse so this milestone is a really big thing for me. It wasn’t easy for me to stop since I was already been smoking for close to 12 years and averaging about 2 packs of 20’s per day when I decided to quit. Somehow I found the strength and will power to make this attempt stick this time.

People who knew me from back in my smoke stack years and now realized that I’ve stopped smoking would always ask me what made me want to quit. Aside from the health related problems from the smoking and the constant shortness of breath thing that was happening to me, I promised myself that if the price of a pack of my favorite cigarette brand went over RM 5 then that was a signal for me to stop. I chose the limit of RM 5 back then because it was the amount that I would pay for a filling dinner at my favorite warung. If I had to choose between cigarettes and a actual food, a full stomach would win every time.

I believe that it was around that time when the government raised the sin tax on tobacco products which led to the price increase of cigarettes back in 2003. The price for a pack of 20’s went over RM 5 and it was time for me to make good on the promise that I made to myself. I also had the added encouragement to quit around the same time they increased the price because they stopped making my favorite brand of cigarettes. So instead of paying more for a brand of cigarettes that I’m not used to, I chose to stop smoking all together as I promised myself.

Quitting smoking cold turkey was hard and there were times that I was convinced that I would never make it. I was bound and determined to go through it alone without any support or medical assistance partly because I wanted to find out how determined I really was to quit the habit. It had been a while since I really challenged myself to something and the experience of quitting smoking has taught me that I still have a few strengths within me that I never knew I had. Celebrating this achievement tonight reinforces my belief in myself that I really could do anything if I put my mind and determination to do it.

I won’t kid myself and say that there hasn’t been any changes that I not so thrilled about since I stopped smoking. Most notably is the weight that I’ve gained after quitting, a total of 15kgs, that I have yet to shed. Most probably I’ll have to make it my next milestone to start working out again and lose the weight. I’ve also missed the sense of camaraderie that was there when fellow smokers congregate to have their nicotine fix. There was a time in my life that I really believe that I could never trust anyone who didn’t smoke and that the easiest way to get to know a person was to offer them a cigarette. Nowadays, while I can still chat with them while they are smoking, it doesn’t really feel the same when I don’t join them. Still, my lungs and my wallet thank me for deciding to quit smoking.

To those who might be thinking of trying to stop smoking, my advice would be to first figure out why you want to stop and set a tangible goal to achieve or avoid depending on the actual goal. Tangible goals are important because without which no progress could be measured to see how far we’ve gone through the process. Set up small milestones along the way and don’t forget to reward yourself responsibly when those milestones are met. Be mindful that for some having outside support is essential for their success while others might feel that going at it alone is a more exciting challenge. Figure out which one fits best for you and act accordingly. Don’t get too discouraged if things seem to move at a miniscule pace or sometimes not at because what is more important is to continue the forward momentum towards the goal you set. This above advise doesn’t only apply to quitting smoking but also to life in general. Sometimes I have to remind myself about them and by writing them down today, I’m again reminded and hopefully it will also help someone out there.

Today I have one more milestone to add to things that I have accomplished in my less than ordinary life. I’m now been nicotine-free for 2 years, stone-cold sober for 6 years, mind altering substance-free for 9 years and celibate for 12 years.

Hmm ... maybe that last one is not so good.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-31, Airdate: 18/09/2005 – Spectaculars #8 Result Show : The Unkindest Cut

(Image courtesy of

Nick’s prediction :

Out this week : Daniel

For a change tonight, the remaining three contestants did not have to go through the awkward opening dance introductions. Instead, the Idols were lined up on centerstage as they were introduced not unlike the more dignified pre-credit opening on AI. It made for a more snappy opening than the pointy poses that I’m grateful to miss out this week.

When asked about the performances in the last Spectacular show, Roslan commented that he was disappointed with Daniel’s performance whom he felt have been on a downward slide vocally in the past weeks. Both Farah & Nita had their own problems but he felt that Nita had the best performance out of the three last Friday. Jee was proud of all three contestants and asked them to learn from all the comments and mistakes made on Friday. She also asked that whoever will be going to the finale make it a show to remember. Paul commented on the inconsistency of quality and performance in all of the remaining contestants.

I was worried that the producers would pull a ranking preview before the first commercial break like they did in the last result show. That move obviously alienated more than the lion’s share of the show’s fan and thankfully they didn’t repeat it on tonight’s result show. They did mentioned that the votes apparently were too close to call at that point.

Judges prediction for the finals:

Roslan – Farah & Nita finale.
Jee – Farah & Nita finale.
Paul – Daniel & Nita finale.

When we came back from the first commercial break, the judges comments from last Friday’s show was read out one by one for the contestants. It was then announced that Daniel would be the first contestants who will be moving on into the final round next week. To say that I was disappointed at this result was an understatement especially after the dismal performances the past 2 weeks. His continuing presence on the show was a testament to the power of fans who fanatically voted for him week after week irregardless of the quality of his performance.

The remaining ladies had to wait until after the next commercial break before they found out who would be competing against Daniel at the finals in the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands next Friday. When we came back it was a relieved Nita who will be going to the finals and the fan favorite Farah who will be leaving the show tonight. She was thankful for the opportunity and the support of the fans who have been with her on this life affirming journey. At this point there were more than a few of her fans in the crowd who were openly sobbing and looked distraught by the result. It was with more than a little irony that the Farah’s exit song was “All By Myself” which was undoubtedly her best performance on the show last Friday.

Was I happy with the result? Definitely not. I was looking forward to an all female showdown in the finale and not have to listen to Daniel again after tonight’s show. I have never been a fan of his and despite some bright performances through out the show, it was only relatively better by comparison instead of actual quality. He does not have the vocal range to make his performances remotely interesting to listen to and has actually ended up worse performance wise then when he first started on the show. He has never been in the bottom 3 for any of the Spectacular shows as his fans have been consistent voting juggernauts overcoming all the other voters. Although that it was the nature of the show, the cult of personality surrounding Daniel was scary to watch developed as the show progressed.

Nita has always been one of my favorite contestants on the show but she has been shaky at times. She doesn’t seem to have the extra stuff that Jac had in last season’s show to really make her performances outright outstanding week after week. Fortunate for her, when she did do well, her performances would leave really lasting impressions long after the show. She does still problems pitch-wise that she really need to watch out for if she intends to claim the title of the next Malaysian Idol. She would also really need to make sure that she stayed focus in her finale performances and be more consistent with them.

I guess it was definitely clear to all who I’ll be rooting for next week.

Out this week: Farah
Nick’s prediction success to date : 10/20

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02 – Extra : My Afternoon With The Idols

(Image courtesy of

I’ve never once had the chance to watch the contestants on Malaysian Idol performing live even after almost 2 seasons of the show. I’ve never been to the live tapings, result shows or any of the public appearances until today when they came to Sunway Pyramid. Since it was just a stone’s throw away from where I lived, I decided to just go to see just how different they are outside of the competition. As far as people from the show go, I’ve only met personally with Jien once when he was doing the 8TV Quickie at Starbucks Sunway way back when and walked up to say hello to Paul Moss once when he was having coffee at Coffee Bean also at Sunway. I’ve never met any of the contestants from the 2 seasons of the show so the prospect to be able to meet the Top 3 for this year was something I was looking forward to.

I reached Sunway Pyramid at about 15 minutes before the Idols were suppose to make their appearance. They had set up a small stage at the entrance to the mall and people were already milling around waiting for 3pm. It was a mixed crowd of fans, shoppers and curious onlookers. From where I was standing, I would say that there were about 300 people there. Some brought signs with pictures of their favorite Idols and some were even familiar as I’ve seen them before in the live audience on the show every week. In particular I recognized a fairly frequent poster from the official Malaysian Idol forums who was canvassing the crowd by passing mini flyers to gather support to vote for Farah for the finale. Regardless of what people thought of him, this was one dedicated fan.

Before the Idols came on stage, the organizers warmed up the crowd by giving away free passes to the finale to people who they pulled on stage to answer questions about the show. I was tempted to try out and the questions were fairly simple but since I already made other plans for that weekend, those passes would just go to waste if I got them so I decide against it. Good thing as well as the next group of people they pulled on stage had to sing and be judged by the crowd to win the free passes. I definitely would be too embarrassed to do that since my vocal stylings has always been confined in my bathroom when I take my shower and to the occasional karaoke session where I torture my friends with my singing.

After a few minutes of the warm-up show, they finally call up the Idols to stage. At that point I wasn’t really sure what to expect since I’ve never been to one of these public appearances before. It turned out that for today’s appearance the Idols would come out on stage, sing the songs that they did on the show yesterday and stay to sign autographs for the fans. They were also following the order that they appeared on the show yesterday so I got a chance to compare their live performances with the ones that I saw on TV last night.

First up was Daniel singing “Oh! La! La!” who managed to make his performance even worse than it was last night. The good thing was that he used the corrected lyrics this time so it wasn’t as hilarious as it was last night. The bad thing was there were really some jarring bum notes when he tried to punch up the song more than what he did yesterday. It sounded as if it was just an afterthought that was put in at the last minute without proper preparation. It was also scary to see his horde of fans who were there fawning over this guy.

Nita came up next and from the first moment it seemed that she was totally in her element. She was interacting with the crowd like an old pro at the game and got the crowd going as she launched into her performance of “Love Is A Crime”. The performance itself as good as it was yesterday and it was clear that the crowd was loving it. I could hardly stop myself from tapping my feet to the tune as her performance was so enjoyable to listen and watch. She had her own group of fans on the right side of the stage who were busy taking her pictures as she performed. This was the performance of the night on the last Spectacular show and to be able to experience it first hand was worth the effort to come to the appearance.

“Wajah Rahsia Hati” was Farah’s first offering. She seemed more confident with the song compared to how she was on last night’s show. She was all types of saucy and teasing the crowd who really responded well to her performance. She was also good with the crowd although it was not on the same level as Nita. It was good to see that she did fall into her habit of prancing around the stage and it made the performance much better than the one she did yesterday.

Daniel came back on stage next with “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and again it was worse that it was last night. There was a point in his performance when his voice croaked at a high note and that left me physically cringing when I heard it. He was pushing it after seeing how much better the two performances preceding him and overextended his ability. Fortunate for him, he recovered from it but I will forever be reminded to that awful note whenever I see him on TV from this day on. His fans still loved it and from all appearances they seemed to ignore that failing and focused instead on how cute he looked on stage.

For “Asmaradana”, Nita called one of her fans up to dance with her as she sang after the judges comments that she wasn’t really making full use of the song to showcase her showmanship. While any occasion involving a random person picked from the crowd to dance on stage was always been a cringe-worthy idea for me, they were picking up cues from each other as to how to synchronize their movements to the song. The unrehearsed choreography aside, it was a solid performance on par with yesterday’s showing. One thing that really set Nita apart from the other two contestants was how she interacted with the live audience which must have come from her experience as a pub singer.

Last up was the wonderful rendition of “All By Myself” by Farah. This was an opportunity for me to determine if her wonderful performance of this song yesterday was not a fluke. True to form, she knocked this song out of the ball park and even duplicated the focus to sustain the high note that anchored her performance. It was clear that the performance came from inside her and not something that came out of sheer luck. It was as memorable as it was yesterday and the second reason why waiting for them to show up for the public appearance in Sunway Pyramid was time well spent.

They had a meet and greet session after the performances and the fans were queuing up for at least about 5 meters from the stage where they were. They were giving out posters of the show for the Idols to sign and the fans in line got one as they went up to meet the Idols. The first few people in line got to take a picture with their Idols as well as their autographs but the organizers quickly put a stop to that since it was taking too much time. I was standing there debating if I wanted to get in line because of the long line and that I wasn’t sure that I was that keen to get their autograph but considering that this was the closest that I would get to be able to meet with them I finally walked to the end of the queue. Just a few minutes after I decided to join the queue, the organizers decided to cut the line off just a scant six people ahead of me. Good thing that I was not in line longer or else I would really get upset.

So instead of meeting the Idols and getting their autograph, I asked one of the crew on stage to pass one of my business cards to Nita who was really the Idol that I wanted to meet this afternoon. I think she got it as she stood up shortly after looking for me in the crowd to acknowledge it and I managed to give her a thumbs up for the good work she’s done to date. I didn’t give her my card to ask her to call me as I’m well aware that it would never happen in a million years but I just wanted her to have a name to put on the face of a person who have been a fan of hers in this competition. Having said that, I am not above turning into a giggly school girl if she does actually contact me.

Hey ... a boy can dream, can’t he?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-30, Airdate: 16/09/2005 – Spectaculars #8 : And Then There Were 3

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With 3 remaining contestants on the show, the show opened with a mix of the theme from James Bond in line with tonight’s theme of “Songs From The Movies”. From what I saw from the opening number, it seemed to me that the producers decided to avoid the weekly dose of ugly dancing and go straight to the stupid pointy poses. All three contestants looked more like they were working the runway on a bad episode of “America’s Next Top Model” minus the sassy Ms. Jay than working the stage on “Malaysian Idol”. What’s worse was that with just the pointy poses, the 3 contestants looked like they were pulling “Charlie’s Angel” poses rather than James Bond’s and the Bondbettes despite the soundtrack that was playing in the background. The whole opening affair in itself was unimaginative and pathetic.

After the disastrous opening number, I was distracted by Jien’s impression of Mr. Crotchety McCrotch with his tight jeans and Cheryl’s extra long necklace. Dude ... it was tight enough to show the world your religion and honey ... the chain on your neck wasn’t meant to be worn that long. I wonder is the wardrobe people thought that if Jien didn’t poke someone’s eyes out then Cheryl could easily strangle someone with her killer necklace. Regardless of my comments, I wasn’t really complaining about how the hosts looked tonight (especially Jien) but I missed when they really dressed up to their nines last season when they had this theme in the competition.

The filler segment for tonight’s show was their flying lessons with a local aviation club. Obviously they had to open the segment with the theme from “Top Gun” because it was the most obvious choice that people would be able to immediately recognize. Other than a few shots of them going through the training and in the air, there wasn’t all that much to the segment. I guess I should be thankful that they we not doing some commercial for the club instead like their do for Ford on AI year after year.

The guest judge for tonight was Fauziah Ahmad Daud (Ogy) who was a popular actress/singer back in the day. She is still fondly remembered for her frank comments when she was the host of a local entertainment show on TV a few years back so her comments tonight were interesting to hear.

Daniel – “Ooh! La! La!” by KRU from Cinta Metropolitan

For the life of me, I have no idea what possessed Daniel to choose this song out of the hundreds of Malay songs from movies for tonight’s performance. It was a boring song from a third rate movie and it doesn’t do anything to endear him to anyone other than his diehard voters. He sounded more nasal than usual and apparently singing out of his nose the whole time. It was a wheezy performance complete with his trademark orgasmic chipmunk faces that should go well with his clueless fans but would alienate everyone else. He continued mumbling his words and messing the words to the song. It was hilarious to hear him sing “Ku wanita” (I’m a woman) when it was suppose to be “Kau wanita” (You’re a woman) because it brought back flashbacks of “Britney Boy” from the audition show.

Nick’s verdict : 5/10

Nita – “Love Is A Crime” by Anastascia from Chicago

She opened her performance tonight with a fairly good number that allowed her to somewhat showcase her vocal talent. She came in with the right attitude and sufficient sass in her voice to carry the performance. She looked quite focused in her first performance tonight and it showed through her confident delivery of the song. The energy level and intensity was consistent and she looked like she was having fun with the song. There were some weak spots here and there but she managed to cover it well and the genre really seemed to suit her vocals well. This was a confidence building performance that she really needed going into the second round.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

Farah – “Wajah Rahsia Hati” by Ogy from Ali Setan

Farah was all cheeky and teasing in her performance tonight. Singing a song originally done by the guest judge was always a ballsy thing to do on this show and she really came out to gamble tonight. Vocally it was a centered and solid performance but it was diluted by her prancing around excessively on stage. From past shows, we knew that she tends to lose focus and start roaming the stage when she got nervous and it seemed that was what exactly happened in her first performance tonight. Much like a tease, she built the song up to climax but lacked the punch at the last minute to finish it off strongly. This was not the first time she has done this and I had hoped that she learnt her lesson from the last time and stayed more committed to her performance.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

At the end of round one, I felt that Nita had the best performance and was followed closely quality-wise by Farah’s performance. Daniel’s was obvious to everyone other than the people who still insist to vote for him to be a distant third place.

Daniel – “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” by Elton John from Lion King

Holy flashback, Batman! Another song from the “Lion King” on songs from movies night done by the last remaining male contestants in the exact same stage of the competition. Did someone on MI sign a contract with Disney to make sure someone sang a song from this movie every year? At this rate I guess that we can hope for a good performance of “Circle of Life” next year.

Daniel sounded better this time around compared to his first performance but it was still a really boring performance. His vocal range was limited to the narrow band between low and mid registers that made the performance sound lethargic and plain. In both performances, it seemed that Daniel was playing it safe and performed mainly to cater to his fanatic fans who would continue to vote for him no matter what. The lack of commitment on his part to deliver well in both performances tonight really irritated me considering that he was picked over much more talented contestants to advance to this stage. On the show a week before the finale, showing such blatant disregard to the expectation of a worthy Top 3 performance would only be taken as an overconfident contestant screaming to be taken down a notch ft not totally taken out of the running.

Nick’s verdict : 5/10

Nita – “Asmaradana” by Tiara Jacquelina from Puteri Gunung Ledang

The audio at the start of the performance drifted in and out on my TV but I think that it was fine in the auditorium for the live audience. Nita delivered the song fairly competently but she missed the opportunity to really made the sing her own. Instead of finding a way to really push the song more towards her style, she chose the easy and safe way by performing it straight from the original playbook. She looked stunning in her dress but she didn’t make full use of it to catch the audience’s attention. She was vocally strong in the song but it didn’t really challenged her in that aspect. She would have been better off doing something that would allowed her to stretch her vocal cords more than this safe song. It was clear that her first song was much better than this one and she really needed to have two outstanding performances on the show tonight to really cement her hold on the finale. By playing it safe with this song, she lost 50% of that certainty and that was 50% too much to lose at this stage.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Farah – “All By Myself” by Celine Dion from Bridget Jones’s Diary

One of my favorite morning after breakup songs so I’m reverted to my top down approach to my ranking for the last performance tonight. Farah took a really big risk by doing this Celine Dion cover of such a familiar tune. Doing a Celine Dion on a show such as this really required focus and commitment and Farah has shown before that she could waver and fall apart at the most inopportune moments in her previous performances. Fortunately for her, this was not one of those occasions. She remained solid and committed to her performance and really belted out the song even during the chorus with the long sustained note that should could easily have messed up horrible had she not stay on course with her delivery. It wasn’t the best performance of the song but I really felt that it was sufficient to really show that she would be worthy for a place in the finale. In this instance I felt that her gamble paid off handsomely in this memorable performance.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

With the last performance, it was clear to me that Farah took this round away from Nita who was still very much ahead quality-wise tonight from Daniel. Overall, I felt that Nita and Farah clearly performed much better than Daniel tonight and both ladies would be more deserving to be in the finale instead of Daniel. However, that would only be a reality if the votes that would be coming in over the weekend managed to shatter Daniel’s horde of tone-deaf supporters determined to worship on the altar that is Daniel. This madness must stop and it would only be stop when people finally realize what a talentless hack he has been and stop sending votes his way. It was painfully apparent in both of his performances tonight that he was not giving the show a finale worthy performance and it was time for him to leave the competition.

Nick’s prediction :

Out this week : Daniel

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Property Problems - Part III

It turned out that when I agreed to change the apartment that I had purchased back in 2003, I wasn’t fully advised of what I really needed to do. When I first bought the unit, I selected one on the 21st floor in the middle block of a 22 floor condominium complex. A year into the purchase, I was told that the developers had sold units on floors that they have yet to get approval from the local council. It seemed that there was a floor limit for buildings in the area in that all buildings should not exceed 19 floors excluding underground facilities. Since the unit I bought was on the 21st floor it basically meant that I was screwed.

The developer decided to change the plans and add more units to the approved 19 floors and offer them to unit buyers on the 21st and 22nd floors as replacement. All of the affected unit owners were given the choice to either get back our initial deposit or select a replacement unit in the new floor layout. The unit size and price remained the same but the physical location of the unit was different from the original layout. I decided to take the replacement unit offered instead of getting my deposit refunded like almost 50% of the other buyers of the affected units. So instead of owning a unit on 21st floor of a 22 floor complex, I was now an owner of a unit of the top most floor of a 19 floor complex.

What they didn’t tell me was that a new sales and purchased agreement would have to prepared and provided to the back to replace the original that they held for my housing loan. I never thought to check until two weeks ago when the notice for payment of the first building phase came in the mail and showed that I didn’t have a bank loan amount listed to pay for it. The letter stated that if I failed to pay within 14 days of the date of the letter, I would have to pay 10% p.a. of the stated amount as late charges until the total was paid in full.

I’ve been chasing after the developers, lawyers and bank officers since the notice and it has just been a run around of blame avoidance. It seemed that my new S&P document has been with the lawyers for a year and no one from their offices tried to contact me to collect them. The lawyers were telling me that it was not their fault that no one from their office even bothered to check if the document was signed and collected. The developers told me that it was not their fault that their lawyers were not doing their job. The bank said that their can’t release payment without the new S&P documents. The bank’s lawyers said that it was not their fault that they didn’t follow-up on the new S&P after receiving the letter from the developers advising them of the change to the sales documents. Not only was I screwed but I also had to pay extra to the developers until the bank released payment to the developer.

So this is where things stand now. I’ve sorted out all the paperwork, submitted it to the bank and would have the payment released to the developers within 1 month’s time. For those planning to buy a residence, take heed of what happened to me. No matter what the developers tell you, double check with you lawyers. They just want to make the sale and would say anything to close the deal. I guess I can take solace in the thought that it could be worse if I had to wait much longer and accumulate more late charges before the bank released the payment. It would definitely be better if it never happened at all but then I would have never learnt this life lesson.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-29, Airdate: 11/09/2005 – Spectaculars #7 Results Show: And He’ll Keep on Rockin’

(Image courtesy of

Nick’s prediction :

Bottom three: Farah, Faizull & Daniel
Out this week : Faizull

The show opened tonight with the usual dance introductions but what made it more memorable for me tonight was the song that they used for the introduction. It was a really strange mix of Shakira’s “Whenever Wherever” track laid over Bee Gee’s “Saturday Night Fever”. Strangely enough I thought that the mix worked and it was something quite different and nice to listen to distract from the awful dancing on stage.

Different from all the other results show, they decided to bypass the usual judges comment about the last Spectacular shows and called out the contestant to centerstage earlier than usual. The remaining 4 contestants had their comments from last Friday’s show read one by one by the hosts. Immediately after the comments were read, the 4 contestants were split up into 2 groups. Farah and Daniel was in the first group while Nita and Faizull was in the other group. The audience were then told that Nita and Faizull were both in the bottom half of the voting ranks at that point and that the lines were still opened for voters to change the possible outcome of results.

This was definitely very much different than what we were used to on this show. They might as well show us the current percentages to get more people to start voting because this was clear what they expected to happened. I felt that this ploy to get more votes in the last minutes was a little bit too much and blatant for me. They should rethink how something like this would look to the fans of the show the next time they want to do something different on the result show.

Daniel and Farah were then announced as continuing into the next round after the commercial break as they received the most number of votes from the show last Friday. As before the commercial, Faizull and Nita was still in the bottom 2 tonight despite the earlier plea to get more votes for them. The judges were finally acknowledged tonight as they were asked to comment about the bottom two tonight. Roslan felt that it was time that Faizull leave the contest after not being able to adapt to the competition. Jee highlighted the need for the eventual Malaysian Idol to be more versatile. Paul was confused by the bottom two as it seemed to him that the voting trend was that voters were only mobilized to vote to save their favorites only when they perform badly in the spectaculars instead of voting when they performed well.

At the end of the night, they announced that Nita was safe into the Top 3 and Faizull was out after tonight’s show. I’ve already elaborated why I don’t think that Faizull would be continuing onwards in my last entry and I still stand by my assessment. It was a good run for someone who nobody would think could last this long on the show.

Out this week: Faizull
Nick’s prediction success to date : 10/19

Friday, September 09, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-28, Airdate: 09/09/2005 – Spectaculars #7 : And Then There Were 4

(Image courtesy of

In line with the “Unplugged” theme on the show tonight, the band was brought out to the centerstage instead of the usual spot in the dark and rightly so because they had really deserve the spotlight after they hard work. One other advantage of having the band on stage was that there would not be any ugly dance number to start off the show tonight but instead the audience would get a nice little group sing off. True enough that the contestants came out singing “Ikhlas Tapi Jauh” on of the better songs that I remembered from Roslan’s RAP production company. I noticed that the ladies were really outshining the men in terms of intensity with the song and this practically was true for the rest of the night.

Jien had his hair down again tonight and even worse had on a really ugly brown jacket that I think he wore before this season. Fortunate for us, Cheryl looked much better tonight so at least we have one half of the hosting team looking fairly decent. They introduced the judges who were joined tonight by a local rock group frontman, Awie from Wings. As in the last Spectaculars, the 4 remaining contestants would have to perform 1 song each in Bahasa Malaysia and English. They would have 2 chances to really give a memorable performance to get their quota of votes this week.

Before the contestants sang their song, the audience were shown clips of their homecoming and their childhood memories. It was kind of cute to see them in their home environments and some of the pictures that got shown were so gush darn cute to see. As filler segments went, I think that this was the really honest one of the group produced in this season.

Daniel – “Heaven Knows” by Rick Price

Singing a song that would easily go well with the legion of fanatics who keep voting for him week after week, I noticed that his diction was better in an English song for once. The song didn’t really challenged his limited vocal range and it hid his weakness well. His problems of swallowing his words as he sang and the mouth breathing came back full force on the stage tonight after being absent in the past few performance. To me it felt like it was a step back for Daniel. He was confident in his performance but it came out as just a boring presentation.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Farah – “Dengan Mu” by Neri Per Caso

I have to say that I have never heard of this song before but she started it with real promise by letting loose her brassy voice that have been missed in the competition. Unfortunately as the song progressed, it was apparent that she made a terrible choice choosing this song as it did not allowed her to really exercise her vocals to the fullest potential. There were still some pitching problems here and there but she looked like she was having fun performing the song. She had a good voice but was really let down by a bad song choice.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Faizull – “Dalam Kehadiran Sophiah” by Awie

With the off-putting shrieking coming right out of the gate, the old Faizull was back on stage after weeks of trying on different genres. I was looking forward to hearing which English song that he would try this week and was a bit surprised that he chose a Malay song. I had expected that he would sing an English song since Daniel started off the first round with an English song and Farah started the girls off with a Malay song. It was definitely clear that he was back to his comfort zone singing old-school local rock songs but it sounded boring to me. Performance wise he was good but he was fast becoming too much of a novelty act that has run it’s course and now was fast becoming a joke.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Nita – “Berhenti Mengharap” by Sheila on 7

After last week’s wonderful performance of “Big Spender”, I was really looking forward to see if she can top her own performance this week. She definitely listened to the judges comments last week and let her vocals soar much more than she has done in a fairly long time on the show. There were still some pitching problems but she could be forgiven for it after a really good performance. The only one problem that I had was that she tended to scrunch up her face like she was doing an impression of Popeye when she tried to hit the hard notes. While it may not be much of a factor when singing in a dark pub, the facial contortions do not favor her on TV. She really does need to be mindful of that particular habit of hers. Other than the funny faces, it was a great song for her and she performed it well.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

After the first round, I felt that only Nita really delivered a good performance relative to the other 3. There was some promise in Daniel’s performance but his word swallowing tendencies killed his delivery of it. Farah chose the wrong song to start off while Faizull chose the right one for him but it was something that we have seen the derivative of time and time again from him.

Daniel – “Mungkin Nanti” by Peter Pan

Another song definitely targeted squarely to his voting demographics, this song will after tonight’s show be singled out as his worse Malay song performance. After weeks of very commendable performances in Malay, Daniel really dropped the ball with this performance. It was pitchy, mumbly and messy. It did sounded like he tried to change the style of the song to suit his style towards the end but it played more like a bad half-hearted attempt. He was playing it too safe with this song and it came through as a slipshod performance.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Farah – “I’ll Be There” by Mariah Carey

It has always been a big gamble to take on a Mariah Carey song on this show and I wished that Farah had kept that lesson in mind when she was choosing which songs to sing. It started well with fairly serviceable mid and lower registers but somewhere about in the middle of the song she lost her focus and the song just fell apart from that point on. She over extended herself at the portion where Mariah would start shrieking up to the rafters in the original version. There was a point in the song that she built up the momentum to hit a really wonderful note but suddenly swerved 180° and gave us another much inferior note instead. In an instant, what could have been a saving performance for her folded like a bad hand of poker.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Faizull – “Srikandi Cinta Ku” by Bloodshed

Instead of doing an English song after his Malay performance like the rest of the contestants, Faizull inexplicably chose to do another Malay song. To me this signaled that he was done with even trying to fit into the format of the show. The performance itself might go well for his current fan but I think will leave a bitter taste in others who were voting for his talent. At this point it was clear that he had totally given up on singing in English on the show. The failure on his part to even try to sing an English song tonight would not bode well for him continuing on the show. Faizull has adapted poorly on the show and it was further highlighted in his performances tonight.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Nita – “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette

As a rule of thumb, if any of the contestants came on stage and sang any of my favorite songs then I would start their rating from top down instead of the usual bottom up scheme that I use with other songs. This song was one of the latter in this case. Alanis Morissette’s album “Jagged Little Pill” was practically the soundtrack to my college years and I have to say that Nita’s performance of this song was passable. She lacked the edge and subtle awareness for the song but she was having fun with the performance and the joy she had while performing it was infectious enough to make watching it enjoyable. I wished that she had chosen a song that would have let her voice soar again to close out the show with a memorable performance but I guess this was all we got instead for this week.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Nita still held the clear advantage in the competition to secure a spot in the Top 3 after the second round while the other contestants didn’t really do that well to distinguish themselves in this round.

Looking at the performances tonight, I have to say that my bottom 3 picks would have to be Farah, Daniel & Faizull. The “Unplugged” night was a mixed bag for both Farah & Daniel but really laid bare all of Faizull’s weaknesses on the show. I have to admit that it was getting more painful to see him struggle and fail week after week despite the votes that still kept him in the competition. He was no where near like Bo Bice who despite his musical roots still manage to figure out which songs from each week’s theme that he could take and modify to suit his own unique style. Faizull have never shown the awareness that he understood that this was something that he might have to do on the show.

While the voters this year are not choosing an Idol to compete at the World Idols level, we need to pick one from the remaining contestants who would not let us down if and when they decide to hold the Asian Idol. Although I salute Faizull for being brave to go for his dream, I don’t think that he would be the best person left to be the next Malaysian Idol.

Nick’s prediction :

Bottom three: Farah, Faizull & Daniel
Out this week : Faizull

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Can Hardly Wait

Been quite a busy week this week.

It started off with a call from S asking me to come along on a mobile phone shopping trip since he had to get a new one for himself. Of course this time around, his new wife and her son from her previous marriage were along for the trip. It was awkward at first but I eventually warmed up to them. We went around to Low Yat Plaza to check out the models that they had on sale. We didn’t really buy any phones on that trip since he still wanted to compare more models before he made his choice but we still had a passably fun outing. Although he didn’t say it outright, I knew from what he did say that this was a way for him to assure me that they still wanted to include me in their lives.

The days following last weekend was a rush helping my father on some translation work on his short film submission for a screenwriter’s workshop that he was attending. They wanted a copy of the script that he wanted to submit to be translated into English for the workshop facilitators who were from the UK to critique before they decided which script will be chosen to be produced as a short film. It was lucky that I didn’t really have much else to do so I was able to help him out on the translation. Truth be told, the translation was not the biggest problem that he had with the script.

The biggest problem that he had with the first draft of the script was that it lacked a strong character for the audience to follow as the story progressed. The “voice” of the story moved from character to character in the script that it felt more like an ensemble piece that wouldn’t really work in a short film format. I felt that by focusing the plot in and around a particular character it will help the story stay focused and clearer. After discussing it with my father, he agreed that my recommendations would make the next draft even better so we decided to add them into the piece. We actually ended up rewriting about 60% of the first draft and ended up with something that read much better than the first draft.

I didn’t really ask to be credited as the co-writer of the story since it was still my father’s original story but I can’t help but feel really connected to the current version of the script. I’m looking forward to see if the final draft of the script would pass muster and be selected to be produced as a short film. If it does then this would be the first thing that I have ever co-written that got made into a short film. I had something that I wrote published before and even had one piece staged way back in college. If the script that I collaborated with my father got picked to be filmed, it would be a crowning achievement of this year for me.

Can hardly wait to find out this weekend.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-27, Airdate: 04/09/2005 – Spectaculars #6 Result Shows: With Or Without You

(Image courtesy of

Nick’s prediction :

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

As usual the show opens with the pointy poses introduction number that I have no energy left to complain about this week. I guess that I’ll give it a bye week this week to make up with the awful group singing last Friday. One thing to note however was that this week, not only do we have the remaining contesting dancing on stage but we also have the two hosts joined in as well. Having additional hands and feet flailing around on stage definitely didn’t help to make the opening dance any easier to stomach. At least they came out and admit that they were not good dancers. Lets just hope that they don’t do it again.

I have to say that it was strange watching the beginning of the show on 8TV (non-Astro broadcast) tonight. I was fairly sure that they had the audio feed out of sync with the video feed. It was actually quite hilarious hearing everyone speak just a little earlier than the movement of their lips as shown on TV. It was like watching a old Chinese kung-fu movie from the 70’s with English dubbed lines. They eventually fixed the problem after the first commercial break (I think) but it made the show fund to watch on a whole different level while it lasted.

When asked about the performances last Friday, Roslan commented that the “Classics” was not an easy theme to tackled especially by new singers. They all have tried their best but Roslan liked Daniel’s Malay song reinterpretation best out of the performances last Friday. Jee mentioned that at this stage she noticed that there were still contestants were still starting weakly in the beginning of their songs and only to have to recover in the middle. From what she had seen in the play backs, she liked Nita’s second performance best. Paul was not pleased that the contestants were still not using the opportunity to reinterpret the song they choose for the theme spectaculars into a style that was more suitable to they own vocal style. He pointed out that Daniel’s second performance was a perfect example of something that he wanted to see more of in the show.

Judges Predictions:

Roslan : Faizull
Jee : Faizull & Ash
Paul : Farah

All the contestants were called on to the centerstage and had the judges’ comments from Friday read out to them. At the end of that, they called out Daniel and Nita to announced that they received the top 2 highest number of votes this week. This meant that Farah returned to the bottom 3 yet again but she was accompanied by 2 of the male contestants who for them this was their first visit to bottom 3 territory. Farah, Ash and Faizull were now left to wait for the announcement of the person leaving the competition.

Having been in the bottom 3 so many times, Farah was certain that tonight was her time to go. But as fate would have it, it was revealed that she received the 3rd highest number of votes instead for her performance last Friday. The announcement was so unexpected by Farah that it took a few times for the host to tell her that she was safe for it to sink in. She was just standing around stunned before she finally joined Nita & Daniel on the Sofa of Survival. This meant that one of the male contestants who has never been in the bottom 3 was up on the chopping block tonight.

It turn out that it was Ash’s turn to leave the competition tonight. I have never been a big fan of his but I will give him credit that he gave the best performances when he seemed the most truthful to who he really was. He was the chameleon on the show and did not really stuck to any particular vocal styling. While this made him more versatile that most contestant who came on the show, it always felt that there was something rehearsed/fake in what he was showing to the audience. In the end the voters couldn’t relate to him in the long run enough to continue voting for him.

Out this week: Ash
Nick’s prediction success to date : 9/18

Friday, September 02, 2005

Malaysian Idol 02-26, Airdate: 02/09/2005 – Spectaculars #6 : And Then There Were 5

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The show tonight opens with the remaining 5 contesting singing an old Malay classic song “Yang Mana Satu” by P Ramlee. While the girls started of the song well, I was horrified to hear the funny voices coming out of the boys in the opening song tonight. What were they thinking? I have not heard anything as horrifying as this since the last time Jerome was on the show. I have to say that this is the worst group singing I’ve heard from them in the whole show. It was just enough to make me wish that they would start dancing instead. Even seeing Ash acting like the bigger tool that he usually is dancing on stage would be better than this horror.

I thought that it was “P Ramlee Night” again on Malaysia Idol. Turns out that instead of just going for one composer, they decided on the more generic “Classics Night” as the theme for tonight. Instead of killing us with one song per contestant, we get double the pain tonight as each contestants had to perform a song each in English and Bahasa Malaysia. While some of the contestants took advantage of the 2 chances they were given, some just butchered both songs they chosen.

It was Jien birthday tonight. Just for that, I will lay off the discussion on how assy his hair looked tonight. Opps ... too late. We were also missing a judge tonight as Jee was not among the judges tonight. Her usual seat was filled instead by the guest judge for tonight, Datuk Sharifah Aini who was still one of the popular evergreen singers in the country regardless of the recent troubles that she had.

The filler segment for tonight was the make over session that the contestants went through to prepare for tonight’s theme. For some, the make over didn’t really make them look any different than they usually were with the exception of Nita who looked especially different with the new dye job. I guess that she choose the blond (at least it looked that way on my TV) dye job instead of a pink one so that she doesn’t tread on Xerra’s trademark.

Faizull – “I Feel Good” by James Brown

I will give props to who ever gave this song to Faizull and if Faizull himself choose this song for tonight’s show then I give him even bigger props. If there were ever a song for some one who doesn’t really speak English and had to pick a song that they could get by with just shrieking the words then this was it. It was a simple song with simple words that almost nobody can mess up so it should be safe for Faizull at this stage. His diction was fairly acceptable for most parts of the song and there were points in the song that you can just hear his style of singing being inserted in. Unfortunately Faizull lacked the soul to really pull off this classic song. I wonder if he would have a better idea of how this song should be performed if he had a chance to see a clip of the song as performed by the original artist.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Farah – “Getaran Jiwa” by P Ramlee

Farah decided to take on the updated version that Sheila Majid did a few years ago which is always bad on this show. The most obvious reason for that fact aside, whenever some one tries to sing this particular version, they most often would come up short by comparison. This particular version of the song has been done badly so many times that they really should pull it off the song list until someone can come up with a different interpretation that worked. As for Farah’s version tonight, I have to say that she still had the same problems with her wavering lower registers that she should really make the effort to solidify but fortunately for her, she recovered nicely with the clear and powerful higher registers. It was a bit pitchy at places but it was a fairly good performance.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Daniel – “Save The Last Dance” by Drifters

Say want I want about this hack, he really knows how to pick songs that he knows that his voters will like. He knows who his target demographic is and he delivers week after week what they want. His performance tonight was textbook in that regards. He came on stage and let loose the breathy orgasmic sighing that the girls voting for him can’t get enough off and absolutely drives me to want to shove sharp implements into my ears. It was a flat performance that only went to show the limitations in his vocal range. The awfulness was compounded by the full body smaltz and cheesiness of the performance. It was way too cutesy and silly for my liking. I love this song so it really pisses me off that now I would have to try to erase the mental image of Daniel butchering it from my mind.

Nick’s verdict : 5/10

Nita – “Engkau Laksana Bulan” by P Ramlee

The good news was that Nita choose a P Ramlee song that have not been overplayed too many times. The bad news was she did it in a way that also imitated Sheila Majid too closely. I was really looking for her to maybe pull something like what Jac did by interpreting an old song into something of her own style but I guess that Nita does not have the level of experience and confidence that Jac had. To give her credit, there parts in the song that Nita almost put her own spin on it but then it just crumbles back into the mediocrity that was most of the song. She was still not making full use of the wonderful voice and tone that she has and at this point of the game she really needed to make the most of every bit of advantage she has if she wanted to stay in the competition.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Ash – “Kissing A Fool” by George Michael

Every time I hear someone refer to this song as a classic, I really start feeling my age because I could still distinctly remember the day I bought this album when it first came out. Ash started the song tonight on a fairly weak low note that has never been his strength vocally. The performance was pitchy at places and at times sounded out of sync with the music that the bad was playing. I’m not sure if this stylistic choice was the best to go with for a song that was all about the swing because by skipping the pace, Ash made the song jumpy at places. At points it sounded that he was forcing the band to follow his pace instead of the other way around as the performance floundered all over the place to a weak ending.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

After the first round of 5 songs, I didn’t see any one really taking the lead in giving a memorable performance on tonight’s show. There were some glimpses of some gems here and there but overall the first 5 performance were generally forgettable.

Faizull – “Jauh Di Mata” by Ella

I know that someone else did this song before Ella did a remake of this since this song has been around for quite some time but I can’t find the name of the original singer. A typical Malay torch ballad from the olden days, the song needed a voice that could showcased the longing for a distant loved one. That quality of emotion was woefully lacking in Faizull’s vocal performance tonight. His performance was fairly competent with the prerequisite vocal edge that his fans liked but I found myself grimacing through out this performance. I don’t know why but I thought that his voice was like listening to nails on the chalkboard tonight. Overall it was a monotonous but safe performance for him.

Nick’s verdict : 6/10

Farah – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye

Farah brought in the much appreciated energy to wake us up after the boring performances with this up-tempo song. She had the correct attitude and confidence in this performance which was better than her first attempt tonight. I thought that her tendency of clipping the notes at the end of the verses fairly distracting and annoying since there was no reason for her not to do them properly. Regardless of what Paul said in the judging tonight, I felt that Farah totally got the meaning of the song despite her young age and it showed in the performance.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Daniel – “Angin Malam” by Broery Marantika

This was another example of how Daniel actually sounded better singing in Bahasa Malaysia instead of singing in English. For some reason, the song and melody flowed much more naturally for him in BM compared to his first attempt tonight. He also kept the cheesiness factor on a tight leash and delivered quite a good performance. The thing that struck me the most was that he was able to take this song and reinterpret it to a more pop style that was closer to what he could successfully tackle. The reinterpretation was not on the same level as Jac did last year but it was enough to make him to really own the performance and deliver a fairly decent one at that.

Nick’s verdict : 7/10

Nita – “Big Spender” by Shirley Bessey

In the last season of Malaysian Idol, the highlight of the “P Ramlee Night’ show was Jac’s outstanding performance of “Tunggu Sekejap” which redefined the way people heard that old standard. Nita’s performance of this song , although not at the same level of interpretation as Jac’s performance, could safely be singled out as the highlight and the showstopper tune of the show tonight. She came onto stage with the correct attitude, swing and sass to pull off a song like this. The song didn’t demanded much of her vocals except for the power notes that she already excelled at and that left her to focus more on the performance. Nita has the ability to outshine the other contestants when she chooses the correct song and her second performance tonight was hard evidence of that assertion. You could practically hear the whole audience getting into her performance but the question is now if it was enough to keep her in the running. Nita really needed a good performance after being in the bottom 3 so many times but then again she has been in the bottom 3 before even when she had a good performance.

Nick’s verdict : 8/10

Ash – “Jeritan Batin” by P Ramlee

Ash started the song fairly confidently in the beginning but somewhere along the way he seemed to loose focus and let the song run away from him. He decided not to go with the sustained notes that the song usually requires but instead choose the more clipped delivery that quicken the pace of the song. He sounded that he was trying to make something out of the material that he had in the song but it wasn’t distinctive enough to avoid the comparison with the original. There was a clear lack of conviction to the song and the changes that he made in the delivery. Coming after the knockout performance by Nita, his performance looked more amateurish and karaoke-like that it would normally be.

Nick’s verdict : 5/10

A similarly theme show last season highlighted how the eventual winner of the season, Jaclyn Victor, was already leaving the other contestants miles behind in terms of performances at that point of the competition. Her reinterpretation of a classic standard redefined how the younger generation heard the song from that point on. It was nothing short of outstanding for something like that to happen on a show such as this.

Unfortunately that flash of brilliance was no where to be found on the show tonight. There were no daring reinterpretation of old songs that would redefine them. The closest that we got to a memorable performance tonight was from Nita’s wonderfully sassy second performance while the rest ranged from fairly competent to outright disastrous. I hope that the girls performance tonight were enough to keep than around because I really want to see them in the finale instead of one of the remaining boys. Based on tonight’s performance, I really feel that Daniel should be the one leaving the show but based on the voting trends I doubt that he’ll be in the bottom 3 which makes me worry that we’ll be seeing the girls back in the bottom 3 with Ash.

Nick’s prediction :

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