Two years after the first Singapore Idol competition, a new one has sprung up again. The auditions were held today, with the queue at the new youth park, *scape, and the actual audition taking place in a cinema hall at the neighbouring Cathay Cineleisure.
I went down to *scape at 8am... and what a sight greeted me! Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of Idol hopefuls! They queued in a barricaded area standing on nothing more than plywood boards. The line snaked left-to-right and right-to-left about 20 times. Almost everyone looked like they were in their teens, though I spotted a few young adults too. Those who were at the front of the queue held on to their Singapore Idol "survival kit" (comprising of T-shirt, poster, water, etc.) (with a huge Channel 5 logo on it).
How long was the queue? It stretched all the way up to the junction of Orchard Link and Grange Road. Yup, where the ERP gantry stands. (Map)
On the cement walkway stood the friends, family and supporters. Most of them were young too, though there were a few parents and families. Oh, and it was filled with smokers too. Yuck.
The host, Gurmit Singh, showed up at about 8:15am. His first task was to film the crowd shouting "Singapore Idol!" Then he gave a short introduction, before filming another segment, ending again with the shouting crowd. His co-host, Daniel Ong, showed up too, and they went about their grooming and stuff. Later, Gurmit gave a briefing about what would happen once it began. He and Daniel also chatted with the first two hopefuls in line.
For the rest of the time, nothing much happened, and Daniel kept saying drivel like "We'll begin in just a short moment" and "We're just minutes away". The crowd basically booed at him whenever he said that. Gurmit saved the day by saying that previous Singapore Idols, namely Taufik Batisah and Sylvester Sim, had also waited hours in line, so everyone should just be patient and befriend the people nearby. Because you never know, that person might be the next Singapore Idol.
You know, usual pep talk.
At 9am, it was finally time to begin. And as luck would have it, there was another event going on at the Youth Park just across the road. And the MC's microphone volume was loud enough to interfere with the Singapore Idol side of things. So Gurmit and Daniel had to wait a moment for that side to die down before counting down.
Aside: the other event was a inter-tertiary institution (universities, polytechnics) round-the-island treasure hunt.
A brief spiel, 10, 9, 8, etc, blow air-horn, and the Idol hopefuls rushed forward... only to be stopped by a crewman. I couldn't hear what he said, but from his gesture, I think he meant "10 at a time!" The first group was led to a covered area next to Cineleisure, where I presume they confirmed their application and identity. And then it would be the audition, but I wouldn't know anything about it since it's a restricted area.
I walked to the end of the line, just to see how incredible this phenomenon was. Even at that time, more people were joining the queue. And the view from Grange Road/Orchard Link was simply astounding. So many people, eager to clinch the dream of becoming a pop star.
It is indeed a mania, and it has begun anew.
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