Entertainment Democracy and Asian Idol

As a proud Singaporean, I am very delighted our very own Hady Mirza won the Asian Idol title last night. The five other contestants were from Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, countries which paid for the rights to host the Simon Fuller talent quest in their respective countries. However, I want to be objective and say that if judging is strictly done on singing alone, and singly is the only criterion the audience should vote on, dear Hady might not have made it. Philippines’ Mau, Indonesia’s Mike or Vietnam’s Phuong would have been a better Asian Idol. Sorry Hady, voters probably voted based on who looked great – between a fat person and a good-looking one, old prejudices die hard and you were obviously one of the top contenders as a result.

Entertainment democracy like the American Idol franchised copycats globally is when the voters are sometimes swayed to vote on how entertained they are, rather than how informed their decision should be. In American Idol 2006, Taylor Hicks won despite Chris Daughtry being more talented supposedly. So the audience cannot be totally relied on to make an informed decision all the time in a democracy. Candidates who are better in what they do are left behind because they don’t look good, while others who are good at showmanship will take the title, even if they can’t sing that well compared to the rest of the contestants.

Are Singaporeans matured enough to vote on an informed decision? The PAP did well in the past but the public should not think the current image of the PAP is the same as that when it led Singapore to independence and prosperity. Parties like the SDP are all entertaining showmanship but can they actually deliver? The WP is slowly sucking us into this trap that they are the middle path but is that also part of the show and can they really guide Singapore into the next lap?

Singapore’s Hady Mirza wins first Asian Idol contest
Posted: 17 December 2007 0107 hrs

JAKARTA, Indonesia : Singapore’s Hady Mirza has been crowned the region’s first singing champion at the inaugural Asian Idol competition in Jakarta on Sunday.

Hady defeated five other Idol winners from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The show was hosted by RCTI – Indonesia’s largest TV network.

Voting via text messaging began when it was televised simultaneously to all six participating countries, with an unprecedented millions of viewers.

Hady Mirza, Singapore Idol Season 2 winner, earlier said: “The pressure I think is that it’s going to be shown across six countries. I started off being quite nervous. But then, as we went along, it was fine and I did pretty well. I think I did pretty well and I’m happy with my performance.”

To ensure fairness, judges were drawn from the six countries taking part in the competition.

Even a voting system to neutralise the numerical supremacy of big countries such as Indonesia and India was instituted.

Votes were not considered valid unless the sender picks two singers.

But above all, organisers said Asian Idol was more than just a competition.

Indriena Basarah, General Manager of Fremantle Asia, said: “What we would like to do is actually to showcase that Asia has incredible talent.”

For the contestants, the Asian Idol competition gave them the exposure beyond their own national boundaries.

This may lead to better prospects to develop and promote their musical talents across the region

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