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

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