Friday, August 6, 2010

Interview with OMG Host : Gurmit Singh


Every time I’ve seen Gurms this past month he’s had something or other with the ‘Superman’ logo on it. At our first meeting, he had on a ‘Superman’ belt buckle. Next time we meet, he was in a ‘Superman’ teeshirt. Today at the press conference, he has a ‘Superman’ tie. Maybe he’ll unveil the significance of his ‘theme’, another stage in his already very accomplished career?

Gurms is a household name not just in Singapore but across the Causeway too. Everyone knows who he is, as well as his most famous character, Phua Chu Kang, the lovable bungling Ah Beng contractor with yellow boots, curly hair and a mole. (Personally, my favourite character is the Uncle that would clean up the stage after TWG!) Singaporeans also know him as the host of a variety of successful live shows, most famously Singapore Idol and the annual President's Star Charity Show and National Day Parade telecasts. He has also hosted Singapore's version of Don't Forget The Lyrics, and weight-loss reality programme Lose To Win, and back in the 90s, he hosted his own talk show - Tonight With Gurmit (TWG).

So it was only natural that he'd be hosting this year's big talent search show on Channel 5 - OMG!

How do you feel about hosting OMG and what do you think about the show?

I’m excited about hosting the show, I’m always excited. Thing is, I’ve always been 50-50 about a show like this. I mean, I know there will be people out there who can do singing and dancing, but are there enough to do a full show? I don’t know, I’m hoping to be surprised. Maybe now's the time for a show like this to happen. Singapore’s more exposed now, we are exposed to more of what’s out there in the world, so we copy, imitate and explore, who knows what we’ll see on the show.

In Bintan, there was this lady who was a busker, and she had a metal plate on her crotch. She also had a portable grinder. She would grind the metal plate and there’d be amazing fireworks. She would control the pressure or something and make different patterns and displays and it was beautiful. And all the while I was thinking, “How did she discover that?”

Did you know licking a bullfrog is an aphrodisiac? How many animals did they lick to discover this?

Any expectations - in terms of the show/format/talents?

None actually. I think its more fun that way, more exciting.

I always think of myself as the underdog. Like Paul Potts, the guy is a mobile phone salesman, and he looks like a loner, like a guy with a big ‘L’ on his head. But then he opens his mouth to sing and the feeling you get when you hear him sing, it almost brings tears to your eyes. I’m hoping for this kind of moment on the show, an underdog just waiting for this opportunity to shine.

When I was in secondary school, me and four friends were in a band, and we were going to take part in the Rainbow Band Club Competition. We went in our school uniforms, just carrying our folk guitars, and when we got to the hall, we felt so inadequate. All around us, we saw others in costumes and other bands with electric guitars, we felt so overwhelmed by the ‘talent’ we saw that we never even took to the stage when our names were called out. We just pretended it was someone else they were calling.

But who knows, if we had performed, we may have won. It was the 'perceived' talent that held us back. We were actually quite good. So I would like to see an underdog get its day.

How would you judge the talents on a show like this?

Its gotta be the people who can make their pigs fly or who can roast a duck with their breath. An act that makes you go ‘what the..?’

What kind of acts do you think will be at a disadvantage here?

Singers and dancers. They really have to work really really hard to differentiate themselves from the rest because we’ve had singing and dancing shows before. They need to be really good but on top of that there needs to be a connection, eye contact, with the audience. It can’t just all be technical.

Have you got any hidden talents, OMG-worthy ones?

Who? Me or PCK? If its PCK, his hidden talent would be drinking 5 bottles of XO, .... and not getting drunk!

Gurmit’s hidden talent would be – breakdancing. (During one of the breaks in recording, Gurms actually proceeds to go onstage to show the audience, the difference between the ‘caterpillar’ and the ‘worm’. How cool is that?!)

What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing the OMG contestants?

Confidence. Any performer with confidence is half way there. Half the ‘perceived’ talent is gone without confidence.

Any last words before you have to go stand in front of the camera? (I walked with him as he headed to his photoshoot)

I want to emphasise that this is not just a singing/dancing competition, its an ANYTHING-GOES competition. So if you can roast a chicken with your breath, we want you on the show.

Trust a funny man to end the interview that way. In fact throughout the interview the jokes were fast and furious. The banter among the cast, especially when you put FD, Irene and Gurmit together, or even just Gurms and Michelle, is non-stop punchline after punchline. But seriously, I think next show, Gurms shouldn't just host, he should judge - he totally qualifies after all these years of hosting and acting!

OMG premieres TOMORROW, right after the National Day Parade - EXCITED!!!!!! - on Channel 5.

xoxo, s.

ps. Are you dying to know who are the 10 contestants vying for the 8 podium places? Imma release that info tomorrow! ;)


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