Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Indian Idol 4: Piano Round

A week (or maybe two or three) ago, I watched a few Indian Idol 4 auditions.

These were quite amusing - a number of cartoony characters made their way through the show. Contestants were scared witless with tasteless pranks. Some forced camaraderie was established between contestants. Some performed well, others bombed. One guy emotionally blackmailed the judges and then cried incessantly on camera. A girl couldn't bring herself to sing a single line (generally a bad sign) and promptly asked for a "personal" meeting with one of the judges. Standouts, both.

Honestly its hard to judge the quality of the singers during these rounds. But I noted with some satisfaction that the judges were in tremendous self-congratulatory mode after it was all over. "This is the best batch!" they said and patted themselves on the back at having picked such a fine bunch of potential superstars. Heck, they picked a few more than the allocated number of slots. All because there was just too much talent to be ignored.

Excellent, I said to myself. We'll have some good singing and be spared the early round kaan-khajuras of last season.

Thus encouraged, I settled in to watch a random episode of the Piano Round. It was the girls' turn to sing. But Hells Bells - the singing sucked so bad it blew chunks. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

II4 is judged by four maharathis. There is Anu Malik, of course, who is an Idol fixture. He seemed to be in fine alpha male form. Fellow judges' opinions' are summarily dismissed by him if they happened to cross his. In fact, once he even dissed the junta for disagreeing with him. Then he pointed out that he was one of the junta himself - thus pulling off the considerable feat of castigating himself for disagreeing with him.

Javed Akthar also carries over as judge from last year. He is his usual low-key self and often picks up the mike with what looks like a heavy heart. He seems to be saying: "Wow, I'm going to have to make up something nice to say about this one too!"

Kailash Kher, fine purveyor of sufi songs and one of the finest talents of our generation, is the judge responsible for providing the singer's perspective. Kailash tries to retain a sunny, encouraging demeanor which he conveys with lines like "Hum prabhaavit hue!" Shades of Mogambo-like grandeur.

When Kailash speaks he acts like he's singing - he waves his hands around his face with the palm cupped upwards - like he's half-heartedly trying to catch a ball. He is also Anu Malik's nemesis - they once both fought over fellow judge Sonali Bendre!

Finally there is Sonali Bendre who tends to pretty much wait for one of the other three to say something before she aligns herself with their opinion. Ok, maybe I'm harsh here, so let me say this: she looks terrific, seems to have a fine sense of style and is more articulate and less giggly than last year's janaani judge: Alisha Chinai.

Anyways, back to the girls singing. I chuckled through the entire episode. Why? Because contestant after contestant came and sang badly. And the judges kept encouraging them instead of rolling their eyes and saying "WTF!? Go to your room (and watch SRGMP)!"

One singer came and howled through a song. Sonali gave her a standing ovation. Another squealed through an entire tune. Javed Akhtar called her voice "junta ki amaanat". Yet another played hide and seek with sur. Anu Malik hit on her. One more shakily navigated key parts of a song. She was given a silver coin.

Later all the contestants participated in product placement. This was done by inserting fake AirTel ringtones in what appeared to be a "hostel moment" where the boys and girls were just "hanging out" on a bed. (I would like to point out that two of the boys appeared to be making out with each other on camera. I kid you not - it all started with a head massage, but you should watch this show for yourself).

Fortunately II4 has the winning presence of co-host Meiyang Chang. Meiyang has the uncanny ability to build up an easy chemistry with almost everyone he encounters. He gives the show a lot of its youthful mojo. While he is clearly still fine tuning his act and once in a while tips over on the cuteness, he gives me enough indication he is going to be a huge star someday.

If Preity Zinta were an American and I were Bappi Lahiri, I would hold Meiyang's hand and say "Tum India ka Preeti Zeenta hey!"

Rest of the singers, aur mehenat karo!


Anonymous said...

It looks like they went for the cuteness factor this year instead of the singing. Except for the chubby girl who almost did'nt make it all the other singers are horrible.

I would like it if they had a separate group of people doing the initial selection. Imagine Atif Aslam, Alisha Chinoy and Mallika Sherawat being the initial screening team. Would love to see what the judges have to say then.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just read the article about Celina Jaitley acting with Orlando Bloom and Sean Connery. Is Hollywood having a dearth of good actresses or has the economy finally hit them?

maxdavinci said...

how dare you say anything bout annuji. Anu malik is the best aur yeh sabko pata hain!

Pathetic singers this time though, I don't see which bar they have raised in teh selection process!

I can't see more than 4-5 decent singers, and hence even the top 10 will be shabby.

But hten nothing beats VOI!

marina said...

Indian idol is a cool show but i am bored of the same concept i saw in this new show Hum Ladkiyan which i
thought is a fantastic has all the elements, which is required to prosper
a middle class family..actors are very well selected and direction is superb..
hopefully the story should be good and all i can say this is best show for the masses....
all the best..there are some interesting videos of the girls on the link below. check it out &

Anonymous said...

Director's Cut hosted by Kabir Bedi is another interesting Show on Desi TV

Unknown said...

I would pay to see Mallika Sherawat and Anu Malik judging Indian Idol together.

Related to Celina, I read somewhere that Celina can speak 11 languages and picked up a fine German accent for this role (which is that of an Arab princess I'll have you note). This leads me to believe we might be talking about a different Celina altogether.

Or she might be smarter than what I was led to believe in Janasheen.

Anonymous said...

Celina is the dumbest bimbo I've ever seen in my whole entire life.NO JOKE,

musical said...

I totally heart Meiyang! But am a bit disappointed to know that Alisha Chinoy didn't make for a solid "mahila" presence. As a singer, she's amazing!

Hmm, now that you say it, Mallika would actually be a fun person to have on such a show. This one may be a stretch, but imagine how much fun would it be if Preity Zinta were to be a judge!

Which is the most popular music reality show these days? (Sounds ignorant of me, I know, but I have only followed some of the shows on YouTube in bits and pieces) :-D.

"Celina.....picked up a fine German accent for this role (which is that of an Arab princess I'll have you note)."


musical said...

Aspi, a great one for the list of celebrity blogs:

Meiyang rocks!

Anonymous said...

No hot guys in Indian Idol either. EWWW and they sing same old song. Sonali seems genuine and non pretentious unlike other bollywood female judges.

on another note, i dont care what everyone else says but I loooooooove 90210 show. Its me, mom and sister's favorite guilty pleasure. Well for my sis its just pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Today , October 30, 2008,
Is a special day to commemorate...
The birthday of an institution-
That’s juicy and crammed with fun!
As Aspi’s Drift turns two years old
We hope it remains riotous and bold.
We love its creator and this community
Where else can we get such a high for free?
Akhtar, Vishal in candid interviews
Side-splitting HR and SRGMP reviews.
The art is inspired and the comments swift
Superb, Fantastic, Outstanding, Mindblowing Drift!
Wishing a happy, happy birthday to you!
And many more years of laughs for us too.

Unknown said...

Mind Rush, you always remember the blog's birthday. I am touched.

musical, I keep tabs on Meiyang's blog. He's a bouncing ball of sunshine that guy. I hope he gets to do the Galas as well.

Deepu said...

Aspi, you totally have to check out this season's Nach Baliye 4. Sure, it doesn't have Rakhi Sawant, but it has tons of director forced black&white moments, and enough cattiness to sour fresh milk.

Unknown said...

Deepu, I did watch one episode actually. And I have to say those personable hosts on the show had me yawning at hello. And then there was comedy about Kareena pretending to be Karishma that was so bad it was just bad. Then Jaspal Bhatti basically emitted some phattas just because thats what he's there for I presume.

But I didn't encounter any cattiness - perhaps thats why I didn't enjoy it. I'll give it another shot or two and hopefully some claws will be unseathed.

Anonymous said...

The quality of Dancers and their Shakals ( Faces ) are not Good this time vs Last Year in Nach Balliye.

Anonymous said...

OMG - You have to watch Ugly Dresses of all SRGMP Kids in this weeks show.
A Bale of Cheap Bedsheet Cloth , Ill Fitting Cheap Tailor , Bad Makeup and worst Ties was what every one was wearing.
It was disgusting and unbearable to watch despite a reasonable singing.
Bad Hairdo's on top addes more fuel to fire.

dockaul said...

LOL!! Aspi dear, Think you r being unduly harsh on the singers.. Ummm mebbe this will change your mind :-)

Happy Birthday to the blog.. Kudos for the awesome smorgasbord of Aspi-isms you bring to our lives. Thank you , Dil Se

I remain
An eternal fan

musical said...

Belated happy b'day to the drift!!

Kanan said...

Aww happy birthday to dear darling Drift! I did know it was October but didn't know it was the 30th, until now. :) Here's to da Drift... Long live Aspi's Drift!

Anonymous said...

Hey yawl.Are their any Rihanna fans out here?

Unknown said...

Hey everyone, thanks for the wishes. I really appreciate them all!

*~mad munky~* said...

i think i may possibly be the only person on the planet who's enjoying indian idol *must get brain checked*

Anonymous said...

Annya, it was a shocking result for me. i never watch this program again. i already make promise. i am going to tell you something dont be depreased carry on your life as usual oner day you will be succeed in your life.with in few days i am already make a friendship with you but you don''t know who am i? as like me lot of people know you in the world. my name is sumon. i am from USA. i want to make a friendship with you. please if you see or somebody who knows Annya please tell her to e-mail me or call to me. i am really want to be her friend. i am working with NYPD (New York Police Department). my e mail id is this is my e- mail number and my phone number is 001 usa code then my number is 646-683-0787. please,please,please call or contract with me. i have a surprise for you. i want to do satge program for you in USA so please Annaya or somebody else who knows her please let her know the situation. i know you are really sad i want to make you happy forever that''s why i make up my mind. December 6, you cry to much as soon as you or your parents contract with me i promise you will be happy forvever. so i am telling Annaya or her friend who wnows and who read the new. please make her to call. really i have a good surprise for her and who help me to do that i have also surprise for her,so please tell her or her parents to contract with me. please............i am waiting for whe call. anybody fron the idol Anu. Sonali. Javad bhai,khailas or any person in the idol.please .......................Annya please dont be upset with me,. this is the only one way how can i find you. plese dotn be upset with me. i am waiting for your call.

Anonymous said...

and whoz ur fav.singer in indian idol...............

Unknown said...

dil, unfortunately I haven't watched enough II to tell you who I like. They seem to go from miserable to borderline competent. But if I can get enough shows in, I'll be sure to do a rundown of the contestants.

Anonymous said...

ok now tell abt ur health???????wat u doing nowadayzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

hiiiiiiiiiiiiii aspi hw r u????????wat u doing nowadayzzzzzzzzzzzz......

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

hiiiiiiiiiiiii h r u???????