HeAvEN iN tVLand


Written on 6/14/2004 03:02:00 pm by sikapitan

The last weekend was great if you’re a fan of Malaysian television. We have slowly emerged from the doldrums of typical Malay programming to the age of interactive TV. When Astro came to the scene, it was seen as merely to supplant the normal terrestrial TV because of lack of local content. But the past few years have seen Astro slowly increasing not only the amount but more importantly, the quality of its in-house programs with smart marketing strategy and creative take on Malay shows. Suddenly, ‘free TV’ is no longer the first choice (local content=Malay shows) and people prefer Ria to RtM or TV3. The emergence of new, funky TV stations like ntv7 and 8tv added more competition in this field. That’s good news for consumers like us. While RtM is still sticking to its sickly kampong Bintang RtM; Astro’s jewel in the crown Akademi Fantasia, ntv7’s copycat Auditions, and now 8tv’s Malaysian Idol has raised the stake for all the stations, offering interactivity and more importantly, the addictive factor.

And if that’s not enough, the past weekend saw the start of Euro 2004, arguably the second most-watched football tournament after the World Cup. So to summarize the past weekend, today’s entry will probably be one of the longest ever, encompassing three TV events this past weekend, in the order of appearance.

I thought we were a shy lot…

I always thought that Malaysians are more reserved than our Western counterparts. We are pretty shy when it comes to showing off our talents and such. I mean, when I was in high-school, if the teacher asked someone from the class who’s interested in singing the national anthem during assembly, the only reaction she’ll get is silence even though half the class harbors hope of being the next Mariah or even Misha. But judging from the lot who goes to audition for Malaysian Idol, we are as shameless as the worst American Idol could offer.

I’m talking about the funny dudes and dudettes who tried to sing but only managed to make us squirm, or in my case, laugh my ass off. What were they thinking? Surely they would know that they sound as bad as my cat when she’s hungry. I would have thought the broken mirrors and glasses at their house would give them the clue that they can’t sing if their life depends on it. But hey, it makes for great TV. It wouldn’t be funny if everyone there can sing like Siti now would it? I think that somewhere in our heart, we have this desire to see others foul up, if you catch my drift. It brings confidence to us. Why else do you think we like watching America’s Funniest Home Video or Punk’d? It brings us temporary closure for our insecurities. We rejoice at other people’s foolishness. Hey, it’s just my psycho-analysis that’s most probably crap anyway.

I’m actually not concerned with the fools who can’t sing in Malaysian Idol. I think the judges are not up to par. Roslan Aziz is supposed to act like the Simon of the group, being mean and all, but I think he sometimes goes toooo far, if that’s possible. While Simon IS mean, his comments are actually truthful and honest. Roslan not only appears to try too hard to say mean things (but apparently, he’s that type of person), he seems hell-bent on destroying the confidence of the contestants even BEFORE they sang. Let’s not start with Fauziah Latiff, cute though she is. Merely smiling and saying “I have to say no” is not good enough! At least the MakSalleh dude seems to know what he’s doing.

But hey, maybe I’ll grow to like them.


Dah demam? The much-hyped about second season of Akademi Fantasia is truly underway after the first concert last Saturday. Held at the MPPJ Hall, the show is grander and more elaborate compared to the first. However, I’m surprised that there are a few bits of empty seats. Did Astro miscalculate when they decided to swell their coffers by charging RM20 for entry? I think that they should pace themselves better next time, rather than lumping every profit-driven ideas into this season. Not only are they making MALAY youths waste their money on the whole SMS chat thing in channel 15, now they charging twice the price of a movie ticket to catch THEIR show. I mean, 20 bucks might not seem much to most readers, but try being the family to one of the contestants. 5 family members equal RM100 per week, spread out over an average of 4 weeks would mean 400 per month, not inclusive of traveling fare and more importantly, prepaid top-ups! But hey, just milk the cow while she’s still there.

It started on the wrong note when due to technical foul-ups the show was delayed by 15 minutes. My relatives, who coincidentally were visiting us from Penang, were ready to start a riot! My grandma asked me to call Astro, while my family was busy keeping things calm. Hey, so they’ve got the fever. But once it started, everyone kept quiet and concentrated on the proceedings.

AZNIL is one of the best when it comes to hosting such events. Seriously, he’s damn witty and can come up with spontaneous jokes and banter with the audience- all key elements to make a show enjoyable. I can’t believe they consider putting in the flabby Cit-Cat Azwan. The panel of critics for the night includes Rashid Sibir (the man who brought us the awfully melodramatic Pondok Buruk drama and over-hyped-but-disappointing Laila Isabella), Awie (former ‘Hero Sepanjang Zaman’ and ex-boyfriend to my ex…hahah) and finally Kudsia Kahar (so if she can comment on the contestants, why shouldn’t I?),

The show started off with this lady from KL singing Seandainya Masih Ada Cinta. I always thought that she has a great voice, but on that night, she was pretty disappointing. The problem is in her pacing. She peaked too early in the first chorus, leaving no higher note for the standard ‘menjerit’ final chorus. Plus, her voice didn’t cut through during the verses, leaving me wondering what the heck she’s singing about. Pity, because I think she has potential. And who the heck gave her those pants?

Personal favorite simply because he’s the least soft among the guys. His strongest attribute-laidback attitude and cheeky character- is also his drawback. Singing Percayakan Siti, he controlled the stage like a pro, knowing where to look and when, but his playful character resulted in him losing concentration when singing. I like him because he seems as honest as anyone who knows there are cameras everywhere recording your moves can be. I think he can sing better though.

Now, for those who are confused with Aznil’s banter with her that night, let me try to put some idea into your head. As rumors have it, she was Khai’s gf before that Panasonic guy entered AF last season and became a buaya. Her entry into this season’s Akademi was “guaranteed” as “compensation” for Khai leaving her. Personally, I think Khai sucks. He doesn’t have a great voice and he looks more like Yusri Che Lah than Yusry KRU so she shouldn’t think too much about it and get on with her life. Singing Mencintaimu by KrisDayanti, she showed tremendous vocal power and control. This is what Farah was lacking. Zarina understood the concept of pacing yourself for the final chorus instead of hitting the high-notes so early in the song. Unfortunately, I sense a little arrogance and ego in her, but hey, I’m arrogant and egoistic as well!

Yea yea, he sang well. In fact, he sang brilliantly. But I can’t get over my perception that he sometimes hams it up in front of the camera in the Diari Akademi to attract votes. If that’s his natural character, then I don’t like his natural character. I don’t like it when people order others to do this and that, or simply be a busybody, which is how I view dude. Sorry.

Singing Bintang Hati, she was nervous and frankly speaking, can’t compare with the rest of the girls. Plus, she keeps on crying during the Diari shows that I simply loath the sight of her. I mean, you know that cameras are everywhere, so why must you be the drama queen and pour your heart out at places where it’s obvious there’s gonna be a camera? To get votes perhaps?Pretty? Haih, how one man’s Picasso can be another’s Pistachio.

Poyo. That’s how I would describe this softy. With his over-enthusiastic dance move, the song Jerat was destined to be murdered by this fashion designer. Too concerned with appearance, not only during concert but also everyday till it becomes a hindrance to his talent for singing. His whole persona is fake, too deliberate. A great song was totally reduced to the level of Tora-tora commercial with his jiggling shoulders and shaking hairdo.

I feared for this girl because she didn’t sound too good during Friday’s rehearsal. But she aced it during the concert. Singin Sejakku Bertemu Padamu, she showed great stage presence, wonderful dancing ability and surprisingly, confidence. This is what they call “kecik-kecik cili padi”. She should word harder at controlling her emotions in Diari if she wants to go far.

This is another one that I really hate. Not only he’s soft, he’s damn fake as well. He made Jika Kau Bercinta Lagi sound like some rock opera, what with his fake deep voice and dance moves. Dude, you’re singing the rock version so stop being a boy band. Like Fitri, he controls himself too much till it looks unnatural. Forget about the singing because he’s the worst after Fitri. Failure to control pitching and bad adlibbing cost him dearly. One that I wouldn’t want to see not only in Akademi but anywhere as well!

Not the sharpest of character this Mas, but her foolishness and blurness makes her a crowd favourite. Singing Permata Biru, she showed great character and determination. But like Kudsia said, what if she was given a mellower tune?

Future member of KRU? Sounds like Yusry, dresses like them….10 years ago! Not enough originality, from his voice to his style. Trying to hard to succeed can have a reverse effect in that you’re not seen as genuine enough. But I think he’s honestly doing what he thinks is good for himself so I’ll give him credit for that. Vocally, the song Lafazkanlah is not enough of a challenge for him, yet he still makes pitching mistakes. Plus, he should properly think out the moves for the whole song because sometimes the sequence looks disjointed.

Brilliant vocals to a difficult song. Still having trouble with the tempo, but give her a ballad and she’ll bring everyone to the cleaners! Set to stay, not only because she’s talented, but because of her attitude. She gets on with her work and stayed away from all the melodrama. Cool.

My sis’s favorite. Seriously, this is one spoilt child. He’s exactly like someone I know a long time ago. In fact, I sense a little bit of softness in his character. But attitude wise, he’s up there with Linda and Adam. Working hard and let the drama unfolds itself. The song Januari is right up his alley and yet I believe that he was playing it safe that night. Either that, or he’s a one trick pony who can’t hit the high-notes because the final chorus in that song requires you to really work out your lungs but he didn’t even push up into a higher note. But he’ll also go far simply because the urban girls would vote for him

All in all, they’re way more talented as a group than last year’s bunch. However, there’s too many fake tears and dramas so early in the show that I think there’s a lack of honesty in some of them. Good luck for the forthcoming week.

ARGH..Memang dasar Liverfool

At the time of writing this, I’m still in shock over what transpired this early morning. England, leading and containing France for so long, bottled it at the final hurdle.

Frank Lampard scored a great header in the first half from a classic Beckham curling free-kick from the right after he won it with some fair bit of play-acting. England managed to contain the most dangerous man in a football pitch, Henry, and his predecessor, the balding but classy Zidane. France had plenty of possession and wonderful play, but the final ball wasn’t up to the mark. Sven’s strategy of placing two backs of four and relying on quick counterattacks paid off in the second half when the brilliant Rooney rode out Gallas’ challenge and stormed towards the penalty area. If only he looked up and sees Vassell (coming on for the ineffective Owen) way open on the right and squared the ball to him. But he just forged ahead with his pace and power, pushing the ball past Silvestre, who’s trailing leg, caught the Evertonian and brought him down. Cue the Old Man U rivalry between captain David Beckham and clownish Fabien Barthez. The Frenchman has probably seen how Beckham takes his kicks during training and I wasn’t surprised that he guessed right. Beckham is no Cantona or Shearer when it comes to penalties.

But still, with minutes to go, England looked set to win their opening game against the arrogant French. As they say, “Malang Tidak Berbau” but in this case I can smell the stench of the lousiest striker in the Premiership, mister Emile ‘Quick,Strong,Useless’ Heskey. He conceded a silly foul. Zidane stepped up, and curled in a delightful freekick past the steady James. England was rattled, France smelled blood and fear. From the kick-off, Gerrard (is this a Liverpool conspiracy to screw up England?) inexplicably passed the ball back to his keeper without looking. And who was there to pounce on this? Thierry Henry, for so long being kept in the dark by the brilliant Gary Neville, latched on to the ball, pushing it beyond James who had no choice but to just whacked the silly guy. Up steps Zidane. Now here’s the mark of the truly talented that Beckham will never achieve. Deep into extra time, with England supporters riling him, Zinedine ‘I’m so skillful I don’t even have to dribble’ Zidane coolly placed the ball at the zone no keeper could save.

Another disappointment. I must get used to this, what with Man Utd. screwing up last year. Well, there are still 2 games to go. Go three lions! Show the world how boring you are.

Au ReVoIr

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