Monday, August 17, 2009

Singapore Idol Piano Show Vocal Training Session : Group 1

Latecomers beware.

Its been a while since I've seen anyone from the Top24. Last time we met, it was a hi-bye thing, at The Esplanade, where one of them had a showcase (which I missed by a mere 5 minutes thanks to the mad maze that is Marina Square's sprawling shared carpark).

But that was like over a week ago.

On Saturday, I arrive just after 2pm for their vocal training session at Caldecott Hill. Whilst in the cab crawling up the windy road round the hill, I was silently cursing that I was gonna be late (silently telling the cabdriver "Oi, Uncle, late already la, can hurry up not?").

But when I pulled up outside Mediacorp, half the group of 12 that were slated for today's vocal session were sat outside yakking away. I thought to myself - 'sure kena wan later' - it was already 2.07pm. Producers don't like to be kept waiting and it would take another ten to fifteen minutes to change IDs for security passes and then walk to the Training School building where the session was.

Sure enough, once everyone settled in, producers made it clear that tardiness is not a desireable trait and that latecomers will not be tolerated, especially in a LIVE show environment (cannot imagine what would happen on the Live Piano Show if one of the 12 were late or did not turn up). Instant disqualification? Shudder to think about it!

The mood lightened up considerably when this season's vocal coach, Ann Hussein, took over. (I think she's adorable!) First up on the 'to-do' for the session - going over the show's 'Group Song' - Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Something".

As the group learned their parts (girls vs boys parts, harmonies etc) and I kept hearing certain lines over and over again ("I'm a vegetable! You're just a boofaaay (buffet)...I kid you not, check out the lyrics here), my heart sank for a minute when I realised come September 2nd, this group will be halved....*sob*

Check out this wooden cube. Got story k...
Mid-song, a tiny cockroach decided to make a scurry for the group. It headed right for Bellydancer who tried shooing it away with her lyric sheet, (I was thinking, "aww what a sweet girl, didn't kill the cockroach, how ni...") and THUMP! Bellydancer had picked up a wooden cube and just thumped it right on the lil' thing! "Murderer!"

About 20 minutes later, she declared "Eh, its hollow la! The thing is still alive!". Shrieks (real and laughter) filled the room. I have no idea where that traumatised lil cockroach went in the end. Probably still under there...'hello? anybody there? I'm under here...the idols locked me in here...hello?'

After the group session, it was time for each of the 12 to get one-on-one time with Ann and Music Director Indra Shahril (trivia : Indra is actually the little brother of Iskandar, Season 1 & 2's Music Director.) To ensure fairness for all, each contestant's time is set and timed to the second with a stopwatch (manned by none other than the Executive Producer).

So while someone is busy doing their one-on-one, what do the other 11 do? Practice or goof-off! What else?

The corridor and adjacent rooms/areas were filled with various tunes from Christina Aguilera to Rihanna to The Fray. Across the hallway, was the large mirrored dance studio (where Zaki will undoubtedly be teaching them choreo in the weeks/months to come!).

Lots of mirrors and lots of echo. Like fish to water, everyone headed for the big echo-ey room. We whiled the time away exchanging ghost stories and horror movie reviews.

Somewhere along the way, I caught a glimpse of Cackles having a heated argument with this vending machine. Note to Machine, you do NOT want to piss Cackles off.

Piano Show 1 (to be aired September 2nd) comprises the following 12 contestants :
6 girls :
Diva, Pussycatdoll, Bellydancer, Cackles, Ebony and Ivory
6 boys :
Momma's Boy, Goodboy, Glamourboy, Homeboy, Ben and Colgate

Tough competition. Viewers will vote 3 in and the judges will save another 3. Putting 6 through to the top 12 on the same night.

Ones to watch, a very awesome rendition of KT Tunstall's 'Blackhorse and A Cherry Tree', unique versions of Rihanna's 'Rehab' and Howie Day's 'Collide' as well as a pretty suave rendition of Van Morrison's 'Moondance'.

Full deets on who sings what closer to performance dates. This Saturday, I'll get to see the 2nd group of 12....lets see how many are punctual ... Idols, you've been given a heads-up, you don't want to get lectured :) ... tsk!

xoxo, s.

*pic of Ann Hussein and Indra Shahril at the piano, courtesy of SI Producer's twitpic from the vocal training session. Thank you!

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