||Main >> News Listing >> June 2004 >> Article ID 5127
| Idol’ hopefuls in the thousands||Type: Internet Article|
|Idol’ hopefuls in the thousands||Jun 12, 2004|
|by Faridul Anwar Farinordin|
The voice led me to 16-year-old Sunshine Aileen Devi from Gombak who stood out with her Christina Aguilera-inspired outfit, complete with a leather biker’s cap, partially-sequinned sleeveless top and fetching accessories.
Read on for the whole article.
|The search for the ‘Malaysian Idol’ has begun. FARIDUL ANWAR FARINORDIN took in the mood at the auditions in Kuala Lumpur. |
FAME, fortune, fans and — let’s face it — Fantasia Barrino. It is probably the promise of a career as a recording artiste coupled with the American Idol contestant’s inspirational journey to becoming the new "Idol" (seen by millions over 8TV recently) that has drawn thousands of hopefuls to Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur since Wednesday.
Hoping to become the first Malaysian Idol — a local version of the show which made its debut last night on 8TV — more than 7,000 youths aged between 16 and 26 years have attended the auditions, which end in Kuala Lumpur today. Selections had also been carried out in Penang, Kuching and Johor Baru earlier, from last month.
On the first day of the KL audition, walk-in individuals and those who had registered online started queueing up as early as 8am. They were only called into the waiting room — their last stop before meeting the judges — a few hours later.
A number used the waiting time to warm up their vocal cords — alone or with newfound friends, in the middle of the crowd or in a secluded corner. Those who came with their guitars started to hum and strum.
From a distance, you could hear a rendition of Alicia Keys’ hit song Fallin' being performed a capella. The voice, husky and fairly soulful, could easily have been an American Idol finalist — Hawaiian beauty, Camile Velasco, who unfortunately got booted out very early in the competition. The voice led me to 16-year-old Sunshine Aileen Devi from Gombak who stood out with her Christina Aguilera-inspired outfit, complete with a leather biker’s cap, partially-sequinned sleeveless top and fetching accessories.
Accompanied by her mother, the bubbly teenager said she has been singing since she was a toddler. "I think I have the qualities of a true Malaysian Idol. I can sing, dance, play the piano ...," I am here because of Fantasia. She has inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming a singer. She is my idol."
Somewhere in the sea of flashy outfits, Fantasia wannabes and pale, nervous faces was cool and collected Aidi Sharani, 26.
The soft-spoken hopeful, with his guitar in hand, had come all the way from Malacca for the audition. He hadn’t picked a song yet: "I am probably going to sing Aladdin by local group Spider."
Meanwhile, the waiting room was like the backstage of a high school production of Grease.
Some individuals were busy practising, while others found comfort in like-minded hopefuls who shared similar preferences in music (R&B mostly) and choice of artistes (Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston were tops).
Suddenly, a choral performance of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive by a group of five people grabbed my attention. The members, who were all waiting for their 15 seconds of fame later, seemed upbeat and excited.
"We're really nervous," said Riduan Abdul Majid, 26, who already has a stage name — Ted. "But there's so much anxiety here, so we decided to cheer everybody up. After all, it's important to have fun in order to give a good performance," said the Sabah-born assistant engineer. A fan of Australian Idol, Guy Sebastian, Riduan chose Climb Ev'ry Mountain, from the beloved musical The Sound of Music. His version was, of course, the one recorded by Sebastian in his single — with R&B vocal styling.
From the participants’ choice of songs (soulful/ R&B-infused), one wondered if R&B is the new flavour among our younger music fans.
It certainly seems so, observed Malaysian Idol judge, producer/ composer/ arranger Roslan Aziz.
"There are a lot of Guy Sebastian and Christina Aguilera wannabes out there. The danger with having such a fixation over a favourite artiste is that the candidates tends to lose his personality. It’s okay to learn the right singing technique, but be original," he advised.
Roslan also said he was happy to see "a lot of raw young talents in the country" and believes that local talent shows such as the Malaysian Idol can help bring about the winds of change to the music industry.
"We need to raise the bar where the standard of local artistes is concerned. And this is a good way to do it," said Roslan. He is joined by record producer Paul Moss and recording artiste Fauziah Latiff as co-judges.
When asked for his definition of a Malaysian Idol, Moss said he is looking for "a good singer who has tremendous growth potential as a person and a performer.
"We may not be able to find someone like Fantasia, but our winner should be amazing too — someone who continues to surprise us, week after week, with his or her performances."
Fauziah feels a good song selection can determine the fate of a performance. "Contestants should know their voices well enough and the kind of songs that suit them."
So have the judges found a Malaysian version of William Hung?
"Oh yes we have, many in fact!" said Roslan, who is arguably our answer to the acerbic American Idol judge Simon Cowell. "But what really fascinates me is that a lot of people who can’t sing or dance actually believe that they can. When I asked them if they seriously thought they had a good chance of winning, they gave a resounding ‘yes’!" he recalled.
Nineteen people have been shortlisted in Penang, 14 in Kuching and 18 in Johor Baru. More than 50 successful hopefuls are expected from the KL auditions. The total number will be reduced to 50 and later 30 before a final 10 are chosen.
"From the 10 finalists, one will be eliminated every week through votes (via SMS and phone calls) until we have a winner who can make Malaysia proud in the international arena," said 8TV chief executive officer Ahmad Izham Omar.
"We will also have specific themes for each week to gauge the contestants’ versatility. A popular guest artiste will be invited to sit with our judges."
He said the channel’s transmission will be extended to Kuantan in three months’ time. The show’s finale takes place in Plaza Alam Sentral, Shah Alam, in October.
* Malaysian Idol made its debut on 8TV at 9.45pm yesterday. The repeat will be on at noon tomorrow on TV3. Results of successful finalists in the latter rounds of the competition will be made known over 8TV on 10pm on Sunday while TV3 will screen it at 7pm on Monday to allow viewers from both channels to vote via SMS and phone calls.
Source: New Straits Times
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