Shekhar Suman belongs to neither of these categories. But what he does have going for him is this punchy Hindi diction. He sounds like a Shakespearewalla. For every Urdu jab his co-judge Javed Akhtar can throw, Shekhar can counter with a heartland hook.
And while this held out a lot of promise for judge jhagdas on UKU, things didn't quite materialize as I expected them to. (Javed also looked under the weather).
Yet Shekhar was good judge presence - wearing a flowing Matrix robe, but in a bunny beige and with inexplicable Catwoman type buckles on the side, he was sharp enough and loopy enough to keep me entertained.
So who won? The children's competition went to Jayant. I have no idea if he deserved it, but boy that kid loves to sing and hogged all of the time that poor Vasundhara was given to sing a compensation ditty.
The dance competition went to Krushna and Kashmera. And while I happen to think Krushna is a fine and entertaining dancer, remember how Kashmera used to get slammed almost every time on Nach Baliye 3 before she began to realize she might just not cut the mustard? Well, she did nothing to enhance her reputation here, but a check is still a check (not to mention an amusing gift voucher that kept getting tacked on to the winner's check).
This saddened me: because there was another more deserving (Javed and Sandhya Mridul) and another more amusing (Shweta Salve and her strutting partner - some guy named after a cough drop).
The singing competition went to Raja Hasan. And here the dynamics were interesting. First Sumitra took herself out of the running by croaking to a halt in the middle of her song - the symbolic equivalent of impaling yourself on your mike. Amit Paul was not only out of his league but spliced together a horrific medley of songs. That left Toshi and Raja.
If there is one thing to be said about Toshi it is that he certainly likes what he does. On VoI, his copious improvisation - which often felt disruptive to the format of the competition - earned him some serious body slams from guest judges. But our man didn't change - and he was at it again in UKU. This time the body slam came from Javed Akthar. Since the winners' destiny was entirely in the hands of the judges, this spelt doom for Toshi.
To be fair Raja Hasan delivered two songs - the Kailash Kher sufi classic Teri Deewani and Pritam's grunge ballad Bheegi Bheegi from Gangster - in one terrific performance. He did a lot of jumping before picking up his decorative faucet, er, trophy. Ah yes, and we all got a glimpse of his wife - or as he called her "my jaana".
- Sidekick reviews Shekhar Suman's performance (and the men's singing)
- Sandhya Mridul's nimbooda reminded megan of this image
- What's with Smug Suman raising the anxiety level of the kids? asks meena
- .m.a.n.o is now a disappointed Toshi fan but hopes for the best
- Joules recalls taking her niece to a Lil Champs audition in Delhi. More.
- Sidekick recommends Spellbound for a look at the desi parent mindset
- Mind Rush rants about how the kids are dressed (and that Raja Hasan's wife)