Monday May 3, 2004
The Star Online

The making of Malaysian Idol is finally in full swing, with the announcement of the judges and auditions that will take place this month, reports RUBIN KHOO.

The three judges for Malaysian Idol


The judges for Malaysian Idol are (from left) Roslan Aziz, Fauziah Latiff and Paul Moss.
AFTER much anticipation the judges for the Malaysian Idol were finally revealed last Thursday. Who will the contestants have to face? They are award-winning producer and composer Roslan Aziz, performer Fauziah Latiff and Paul Moss, the former Artiste & Repertoire (A&R) director for recording company Positive Tone.
A word of warning from Moss: “Be prepared, do your homework and do your best. Don’t waste our time and yours.”
These words of advice are an indication, perhaps, that Moss could be the one to assume the role of that “tyrant” Simon Cowell, while the sweet and personable Fauziah takes on the job of being encouraging like Paula Abdul and Roslan becomes the Randy Jackson of American Idol.
“That’s what we want you to think,” quips Ahmad Izham Omar, chief operating officer of 8TV, the channel over which the show will be aired. “They don’t have to be anybody else.”
They certainly don’t. The selection of the judges was based on three main criteria. Top of the list was that they should be credible. At the press conference announcing the judges, Ahmad Izham said that a key objective of the show was to be a creative platform. They thus needed judges who have at least 10 years experience in the music industry.
Their knowledge should also not be confined to our shores. Instead, they should be aware of global trends and possess a global outlook.
The final criteria was personality: the judges should be able to display wit and look good as well.
What qualities will the judges be looking for in the many hopefuls?
Says Moss: “I’m looking for someone who can represent Malaysia, has a good voice, is disciplined and has a work ethic.”
For pop queen Fauziah, confidence is very important. “How they carry themselves on stage, the way they sing and whether they pick the right song,” she says.
Personality and good stage presence are important characteristics for pop idols but Roslan recaps that contestants should first be able to sing.
Roslan says: “It is at the end of the day a competition of singing, not of fashion or personality.”
The show is expected to generate a huge following. In anticipation of this, 8TV has already cranked up the power of its transmission station at Bukit Besi, Kuala Lumpur, to 20kW. That, says Ahmad Izham, will ensure that all the key market areas in the west coast are covered.
The Malaysian Idol is part of the “Idol” phenomenon that swept the globe in recent years. It is based on Britain’s Pop Idol. The show is different from other talent shows in that it does not provide the winner with a cash prize.
“It makes you earn a living,” says Ahmad Izham.
The winner will receive a recording contract with BMG and a chance for international exposure when he or she competes in World Idol, the competition that sees Idols from all over the world competing for the global title.
The local version, which will see three yet to be revealed hosts helming the show, will be bilingual and have a Malaysian touch.
Malaysian Idol will be produced by a specially assembled team, featuring some of the best in the industry. Its executive producers are Michael Christian Simon and Sunil Kumar.
In less than four weeks, the response has been phenomenal. More than 8,000 applications have been received. Auditions will begin at the Penang International Sport Arena from May 12 to 14. The next stop will be in Sarawak at the Sarawak Tourism Complex from May 19 to 21 and then the Johor Tourist Information Centre from May 26 to 28. The final auditions will be held at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur, from June 9 to 11.
Hopefuls can turn up at the venues but will be second in line to those who have submitted the registration forms.
Registration for contestants from Peninsular Malaysia closes May 7 while registration for those from Sabah and Sarawak closed on April 30.

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