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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Singapore Idol auditions part 3: I'm out

Singapore Idol
I'm out of Singapore Idol.


Not that I was pinning my hopes of the future on this shot to "superstardom". Still, it would've been nice to progress beyond the first stage and meet the four celebrity judges.

That's right, I didn't meet Dick, Flo, Ja or Ken. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I arrived at Toa Payoh just past 8:30am to meet another contestant. We then made the one-minute trek to the neighbouring HDB Hub, where the audition was held. I thought that there would be a separate queue for those who had already registered. But there was only one queue for everyone. Depressed. I mentally prepared myself for another long wait under the sun.

Meanwhile, I sat down, napped a bit, chatted, waved for the camera, and just idled (Idol... idle...). And then, good news! Those who already registered last week would be moved up to the front! Whoopee!

Still, it was a two-hour wait before we were ushered away to the auditorium. This necessitated a trek to the other end of the Hub (about a minute's walk, but still, quite brainless, when the queue just could've been placed over there!), then down to the car park (where I thought we would board buses, be waved good bye, and given free rides home, ha!), and then to wait in line to verify our identities.

And then we were brought into the auditorium, where we sat in groups of five. A producer -- who really needs to speak better English, but then I guess that's not a prerequisite in Singapore anymore, even for an English language channel -- went through some rules, like no contact with unescorted media people, no prior contract with modelling/acting companies.

And the most interesting rule: no blogging about the audition experience!

So why am I blogging about it? Since I'm already out of the game, they can't possibly disqualify me any further. But I wonder about the other bloggers who got through this first round? If the rules are the rules, then Mediacorp has to disqualify them. If it doesn't, then those rules are just a waste of paper and ink.

Anyway, back to me.

Each of us was given a huge sticker with our four-digit number written in thick black marker. Mine was 3380. We were told -- repeatedly -- to stick it on our chest, not stomach, and over any jacket and jewellery.

Inside the auditorium, the most requested wish was... toilet break! Even though I hadn't drunk much, I felt that my bladder was going to burst. Row by row, we were allowed to go to the loo. But first, we had to give our number to a crew member, then upon returning, we had to "report back" to her. Just like in primary school!

Some people were interviewed in the auditorium. I chatted with a few contestants, and we were all nervous, but we said we were gonna treat it as just another fun experience. Most of all, we were tired of the waiting and just wanted to get it over and done with.

Oh, and Daphne, from the previous Singapore Idol, was there too, accompanied by a crew member with a handheld camcorder. Why? I think I'm not supposed to reveal this, lest I incur the wrath of Mediacorp.

But it rhymes with "flog". And maybe "broadcast".

Soon, each group of five was ushered out of the auditorium, accompanied by supportive applause from everyone else. A half hour-wait later, my group was led out too. We were seated outside Audition Room 2, where we were given further instructions about where to stand and "remember to look at the judges, not the camera".

Our bladders were bursting again. Another toilet break.

And then it was my turn.

My heart was beating fast. I did as we were told: walk in, say my name, say my song title, say the original singer's name. In the end, I had selected "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. It was easier on my throat than my original choice, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Andy Williams. I faced four people: two middle-aged female producers at a table, and two male crewmembers in the shadow.

I composed myself for a moment, then started singing. I sang with (some) emotion, remembering to gaze in the producers' direction, and just did the best that I knew how.

Two verses later, a producer said the magic words: "Thank you." So I left.

Next stop was the Results Room. Another group was there and when the results were read out, that entire group of five had been eliminated! Wow. This was as real as it could possibly get, I thought. It was about a five-minute wait, though it felt like an hour, before my group's results were read. If a number was called out, that person would have to leave.

I crossed my fingers.

She said one number. Not me.

Then "3380".


Dejected, I pulled the sticker from my shirt and gave it to a crewmember, who tore it in four and tossed the scraps into a rubbish bag.

So that was it. Eight (cumulative) hours of waiting later, it came down to a half-minute audition, which led to my elimination after only one round -- without facing Dick Lee, Florence Lian, Jacintha Abishegenadan, or Ken Lim. Nuts. I would've liked to hear what Ken Lim had to say. He's the only one worth listening to, unless Ja is good this year too.

But I must say that this was a truly interesting experience. It's probably the craziest thing I've ever done. No one, including me, would ever think of waiting hours upon end just for a slim chance of winning a singing contest, let alone the chance to be a local celebrity.

And yet I had done it. As I had reasoned: this was probably my last chance to try something this wild. I'm getting on in my years, as it has been drummed into me repeatedly. Pretty soon, God-willing, I'll be married and a father and then would I still want to queue up for hours just to be in another contest? I think not.

Yes, mathematically, I have one more chance for participating in Singapore Idol. Check back with me then to see if I'm still crazy.


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jeffyen said...

Wah! Great effort nonetheless!

Isaac said...

Don't give up! Try again next year,

Cheers to all Singaporean bloggers,

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