Monday, March 30, 2009

Campus Superstars 3 Episode 12 Performance Commentaries

Alright, it's the special revival round tonight so as per usual practice, performance commentaries would be written and posted as soon as I can find them during the commercial breaks. So for those blog readers who are following real time, do be patient.

As with all the previous rounds, I have already listened to all the songs and let's hope the four contestants can give their best renditions to impress to reach all the way to the Grand Finals!

Good luck! ^__^

C1 林瑞敏 Rachel - 《我不难过》 原唱者: 孙燕姿 Stefanie
- 柔 sounded weaker than necessary
- 走, 解 ended prematurely
- 说 enunciation could be better
- overall enunciation was much better
- emoting was by far the best seen from Rachel
- Judges' scores were totaled at 34.5 out of 50 marks
- I would have given Rachel a 7.5 because there was quite some improvements made about her enunciation. There were still problems here and there but I definitely felt a sense of release from Rachel's singing because she could concentrate more on emoting the song than worry about the enunciation. The emoting was done with more detail and variation and I could feel her immersing in the song during the performance. Zhanlun Laoshi was right - Rachel has her own style of portraying songs and she has every right to be comfortable in her own shoes. Keep that smile shining.

C2 黄慧婷 Joselin - 《失恋无罪》 原唱者: A Lin
- 忍住,尊重 were too low and the necessary lift was not there
- 拉音 was done a little too deliberate to my ears
- chorus was not projecting as much strength as I would have expected
- Judges' scores were totaled at 39.0 out of 50 marks
- I would have given Joselin a 7.0 because Joselin had convincingly cleared a very difficult song on the stage. Her singing has stabilized much more compared to her previous performances and I could tell her pushing herself to do better than ever before in this rendition. Considered her struggles during her practice rounds, Joselin did show her potential to do better than before, which greatly pleased me personally because I was waiting for Joseling to show what she could do. However, her concentration was subsequently split between trying to reach the high notes and emoting and thus I felt that her emoting was not as strong as I would expect from this song. I was holding my breath in worry that she might lose the notes during the high notes portions but she did not disappoint. Good job on those portions.

C3 郑琪颖 Benita - 《一笑而过》 原唱者:那英
- eye contact was dulled out during first few verse lines as she tried focusing holding back
- 懦弱 could have more buff within
- 言 note was broken
- 你, 就 trail were not done properly
- 过 and final line trail was well commandeered
- Judges' scores were totaled at 33.0 out of 50 marks
- I would have given Benita a 7.0 because Benita was finally able to gather her emotions. Xiaohan Laoshi was accurate enough to point that Benita was always singing with too much force and could not really gather back her emotions to give that kind of emoting distinction. This time round, Benita was able to do so for the song and the quality of her vocals was distinctively pleasant. However, what was intended as an 8.0 was whetted down due to her repeated mistakes so I hope supporters of Benita can understand. Jia you~~

C4 蔡艾珈 Rachel -《Open Your Eyes》 原唱者:张惠妹 Amei
- 寸断 was clustered together when they should be spaced out more
- bye at last second line was sung slightly off-key
- rest of the performance was competently completed without notable hiccups
- Judges' scores were totaled at 42.5 out of 50 marks
- I would have given Aijia a 8.5 because Aijia overcame what Qiyu Laoshi was trying to help her - her enunciation of vowels. Coupled with Rachel's own control of techniques, the song came out very well. There were a few notable mistakes that scratched out some grades as pointed out in the above but all in all, I will not hesitate to give Aijia the highest score for tonight because she was the most competent in terms of vocal control and utility of techniques. Congrats to Aijia for being graded right into the Grand Finals at the time of typing! ^__^

Here begins the ferocious voting round - a solid 45minutes from time of typing. Good luck to all the contestants! ^__^

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Song Dedication To Another Prominent Music Figure in Singapore

Song Dedication:

I want to dedicate the new blog song 《真心》 by 叶倩文, Sally to another prominent music figure in Singapore after a surprise contact was established.

I just thought the song was suitable to a certain extent about what was discussed.

Enjoy the beautiful song. ^__^

(Maybe I will just sum up those points that can be mentioned without compromising the confidentiality of the contents in another blog post. But it won't be today. I need to think of how to rephrase things carefully so that prominent music figures can continue to trust me not spilling important beans about important things. Hope my readers can understand.)

Flaming The CSS 3 Judges:

Much to my chagrin, I also found out (thanks to reliable sources) that some supporters of CSS 3 have been going around trying to flame judges of the competition for giving certain marks to certain contestants. -__-"

I thought it was really uncalled for because I am sure the judges are fully qualified to think what they consider to be good performances. Threatening judges are thought to be low form in any country and culture.

If there are any supporters who wanted their Superstar idols to get into the rounds, they should voice their support in the respective fanclub websites and vote accordingly to their support level, not go around hunting down judges' sites and shooting them in their own websites. I know it's a free world but there are still such things as respect and decency.

I can only pray that none of my ardent readers of my blog have been doing such silly acts.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Appeal To All My Beloved Blog Readers: Earthhour on 28 March 2009 8.30pm to 9.30pm

And yes, Earthhour is upon us - a united effort by the peoples of the world to switch off all lights and lighting appliances within your human reach for 60 minutes in a bid to help reduce the pressure on Earth's natural resources. Do help spread the word on the internet and blogs and let everyone participate in this event.

This blog post is an appeal from me to all of my beloved blog readers to join in the effort to make the world a more sustainable place for us all. Since the beginning of mankind, Earth has given us water, food, shelter, and whatever natural resources she could spare in creating the lifestyles we are enjoying right now. I thought it will be nice for all of us to do her a favor and let her rest for a good full 60 minutes.

All I ask of you blog readers is 60 minutes of your time without the use of any electrical appliances which can generate light. I believe with the creativity and intelligence all of you have out there, we can make do without lights for 60 minutes from 8.30pm to 9.30pm Singapore Time on 28 March 2009 Saturday.

So what can you do with 60 minutes of self-imposed blackout to return the favor to Mother Earth? Here are some suggestions:

1) Take a stroll outdoors. When is the last time you took an after-dinner stroll instead of rushing to use the television (which generates light as well), or the computer (which generates light), or take a hot shower (if it has indicator lights, it uses light too)? How about a nice stroll outdoors, weather permitting, to digest that heavy dinner this coming Saturday? Bring along your family and friends and have a good chat along the way.

2) Sing or play your musical instruments or even draw in the dark. For those music enthusiasts blog readers, why not try to sing in the dark or play your musical instruments in complete darkness? Get in touch with the song, piece of music, or even piece of drawing and you may be pleasantly surprised how it sounds or feels in a situation of darkness.

3) Talk on the fixed line phone (remember to switch off the lighting features in your phone, if applicable or possible) and have fun talking to your family, friends or loved ones over the phone in complete darkness. Seduce each other using your voice or have a good laugh over a good joke in darkness.

4) Hold a candlelight vigil session. If you really need to use lights during Earthhour for any emergency issues at hand, let's get back to the basics and use the more sustainable candle again. It's romantic, environmentally-friendly and it's fun. Use candles to move around during Earthhour and become the explorer of your house in the dark. Do be careful and remember to stick to fire-safety rules because of the naked flame of the candles.

5)Take a nice short nap during Earth Hour. So many people in Singapore are constantly sleep-deprived. Since you are participating in Earthhour, it would be a good idea to use the opportunity to grab some good, well-deserved rest from all the lighting intrusions or online devices. Switch off your handphones (most of which would have lighting) and sleep tight. When Earthhour is over, you will be much more energized and doing Mother Earth a favor as well.

Have a fun and memorable Earthhour! ^__^

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reply To Tags About 23 Mar 2009 Campus Superstars 3 Performance Commentaries

lollipop: may i know whr can i download aijia's songs ?

- I think you can try and request for the links at Aijia's fanclub website (see my bloglist under Rachel Chua on the left hand bar).

known: please lorh, i can say that aijia and jarod are about the same standard and you gave both of them 2 different marks:D:D abit biased here seh... anyways, jarod still got in.

- Same standard? Maybe. But so far, I thought Aijia was giving really consistent performances whilst Jarod fluctuated frequently and was not so stable in his performances.

leraine: uh it's just cos the CSS3 production team want a boy in the finals. it's so obvious.on the other hand Sean, I really agree with the scores you gave Aijia =)

- Thanks. It's not easy trying to be a critic or commentator. I have reasons for giving 9.5 and 9.0 for Aijia, which I will explain later on. I don't know about the true intentions of the CSS 3 production team. Let's find out in the next two rounds ba.

shaox: just a correction: the original singer for the qian shou that aijia sang is su rei, not a*mei

- Thanks. I knew it was Su Rui when Aijia started singing but I was way too busy grading to make the correction then.

windy: yea agreed! obviously they will have JAROD crowned the champ la. shi li wise, he's definitely not the best

- Still too early to tell. There is still Jiamin and the special revival round. There's Jarod himself and his performances too.

FN: i think jiamin slip down le. from the top now being overtaken... OUCH! i got something to say... ITS kinda unfair u know.. guys get the camp everytime. Why? cuze girls mostly go gugugaga about guys. But guys dun go gugu gaga about girls get wad i mean?

- Jiamin seemed faded during last night's round. Perhaps her emotional breakdown earlier that day was taking a toll on her morale and spirits. I have already sent her a tag message, hoping she would recover in time for the Grand Finals.

passer: personally, i feel that joselin, aijia and benita quite strong

- Should be an interesting round. Rachel Lim had a decent showing for her performances as well.

cssfan: 6th april i heard is live show for zong yi live?

- Beats me. Perhaps you can update us with a link or two if that was the case?

cp: omgosh, i like brian mcknight :D especially one last cry (:

- I love his free-styling for the Youtube video. Check out his vocal range and technique command.

FN: OMG! Nx week super duper BIG BIG BIG fight sia.. i am sure 100000000% sure sia... must watch must watch. wondering why mavis not selected

- Should be an interesting round to watch. Let's hope they can outdo their previous performances for a really good special revival round.

valerie: hey guys:D is not the end of the competition yet. so lets just not keep saying that the guy will get the champ.and also, jarod did prove to us that he got the potential in singing.and i actually thinks that all the top 12 contestants are already a winner. cause they make it thrg from thousands of people during the audition.

- Yes. It's still too early to tell. It's not easy to stand onstage and sing to people, especially strangers so let's cheer them on. Jarod did give a new spark during his fast song but can he continue to grow and make his performances better? That is the question hanging onto not just him but the rest as well. By the way, I could not post my congratulatory tag on Jarod's fanclub as well because I was banned from tagging. Hahaha.

comments: sean ho i think you gave jarod marks are too low.. maybe you dont think so, but sometimes i think your judgement isn't as good as you yourself think so.please do your homework by seeing how hard the songs are to sing.. and you always overrate the rest and i think its not reasonable.whatever it is, i felt that jarod did well today, much better than the past times. and though i think aijia and jiamin sang not bad, 9 & 9.5 of marks you've given is too high. anyways, not having a fight here. just telling you my thinking. thanks.i felt jarod did better for the fast song too! (=

- 9.5 and 9.0 are very high marks. The reasons are because Aijia managed to claw her way back from the revival round with good, consistent performances all the way with very negligible mistakes and showing a good attitude towards the entire competition. If you check the song lists, Aijia currently stands as one of the two contestants who fielded the most number of difficult songs and still manage to pull them off. I want to reward Aijia for her hard work.

- Jarod's slow song was relatively easy to sing but he still made some basic mistakes and thus losing marks in a relative comparision when the others did not make such obvious mistakes. Jarod's fast song was surprisingly entertaining but based on song difficulty level and effort to uniquely make the song his, Aijia did surpass Jarod.

- I had never said that my judgement was good. I just gave my honest opinions. And no, contrary to your belief, I did my homework about the song difficulties. You are free to write your own commentaries and grades if you wish to. I still stand by my thoughts there and then for last night. Those were my honest words too. ^__^

wendy: obviously sean is being fair. aijia and jiamin sang better than him. in my opinion, Jarod is a good boy and singer having his fate manipulated by CSS producers. what a pity that is.

- Thanks. It's not easy to grade the contestants because all of them are trying very hard but sometimes, small differences means great efforts and thus there were still differences in the grades given to the various contestants. I really want to try and accurately reward those great efforts. Maybe Jarod was really being manipulated but I still hope he can give performances worth of a Grand Finals level.

- I am not against the little chap and I know his supporters love him but any attempt to shut others up may backfire. It reminds of Geraldine See of Campus Superstars Season 1. I have already met Geraldine See in person and she was a nice person and a genuine performer but her supporters then were stubbornly wild, wrathful and vindicative, sadly eroding Geraldine's public image during the Season 1 competition. Those who had attended the Campus Reunion Concert would have realized Geraldine, despite her vocal weaknesses, could definitely hold the stage if she was given the chance to grow in the public's eyes.

Good luck to Jiamin and Jarod in their preparations for the Grand Finals! Both of them have a lot of work on their hands till then. Good luck to the special revival round contestants too! I hope they can come back stronger than ever, and give us astoundingly good performances. I want to give high marks and good commentaries but each and every one of them will have to earn it fair so they can hold their heads straight up.

I remember one of my teachers told me, "A superstar is but a star who keeps shining." ^__^

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Still Love Music and Singing

I know some blog readers would not be happy about the turn of events tonight so I would like to use a Youtube video (thanks to Kewei for reminding me about such a singer through her blog) to console all those unhappy souls out there.

No matter what happens, I still love music and singing and the following video will show all of us how much beauty and potential there is in the art of singing and bringing all the best to everyone else.


Campus Superstars Episode 11 Performance Commentaries

It will be two songs per contestant tonight so I'll separate this blog post into two segments to prevent any confusion. I will do separate performance commentaries for each of the performances and will try to update them as soon as I have time (usually during commercial breaks) so for those blog readers who are following live during that period of time, do be a little patient because I can only type so fast.

Good luck to all the contestants tonight! ^__^

C1 李李美子 Mavis - A.《庆幸有你爱我》 原唱者: 蔡淳佳 Joi
- 候, 过后, 把握 notes did not have the necessary energy
- overall song sounded feeble
- 昼 was too low
- I felt that Mavis could have been saving up energy for her fast song but this strategy ended up hurting her slow song because it sounded as if she was not paying enough attention for her first performance.
- Judges' scores were totaled at 28.5
- I would have given Mavis a 6.5 because the overall energy of the song was way too low to impress upon on anything.

C2 李奕贤 Jarod - A.《走出黑暗的世界》 原唱者:陈伟联
- 走 did not come out right
- 片, 芬芳 were unstable
- 心 was sung off-key
- 给 was sung incorrectly as another word
- there was a strange kiddish background sound which I do not understand why.
- Judges' scores were totaled at 33.5
- I would have given Jarod a 6.0 because he sang off-key at quite an obvious chorus portion and he had forgotten a couple of words of the lyrics. Considered the late stage of the competition, those were grave mistakes in my eyes.

C3 蔡艾珈 Rachel Chua - A.《牵手》 原唱者:苏芮
- breathing was done through the mouth rather through the nose so it was too loud.
- Judges' scores were 32.5
- I would have given Rachel a 9.5 because besides her hard breathing during the performance, there was really not too much to pick on.

C4 叶嘉敏 - A.《海阔天空》 原唱者:张惠妹 Amei
- 风 trail was done very beautifully
- was wondering if 平静 was sung as something else?
- 过 at the last line was held on for a little too long
- Judges' scores were 29.5
- I would have given Jiamin a 9.0 because I felt that Jiamin did not seem to follow through the song completely and was holding back on a couple of notes towards the end which prevented a higher score. Her beautiful trail behind the verses was superior to Aijia but Aijia commands the overall spread of feel of the song better than Jiamin.

C1 李李美子 Mavis - B.《Love*3》 原唱者: F.I.R.
- 抖音 during the verse lines were too strong
- 勇敢 note did not reach as high as it was intended
- love sounded unstable during some portions of the chorus
- the song was rushed through
- Judges' scores were 28.5
- I would have given Mavis a 6.5 because the song was rushed through, preventing any feelings to be connected to the song. Considered Mavis' past performances for fast songs, this was definitely not one of her best showings.

C2 李奕贤 Jarod - B.《完美世界》 原唱者: 杨培安
- mouth was not opened fully during verse lines
- 界 was enunciated incorrectly
- overall performance was smoother and much more enjoyable
- Judges' scores were 33.5
- I would have given Jarod a 8.5 because he managed to emote the song correctly and even though there was a few mistakes here and there, the performance was apt for the song and the proper drive to push the song through was noted.

C3 蔡艾珈 Rachel Chua - B.你的微笑》 原唱者:F.I.R.
- starting two verses were a little too low
- good distinction between notes and good effort in showing vocal command of techniques
- 有了 sounded unstable
- song sounded slightly rushed towards the end
- Judges' scores were 32.5
- I would have given Rachel a 9.0 because I felt that even though the song difficulty was very, very high, it was still within the grasp of Aijia's ability but she did slightly poorer in the fast song because the starting verses were a little too low and the pace of the song did not vary enough so it sounded slightly rushed towards the end of the performance.

C4 叶嘉敏 - B.《一个像夏天一个像秋天》 原唱者:范玮琪
- 抖音 for most of the verses prevented reach of song
- song was not impressive enough compared to other contestants' choices
- 我的 sounded unstable
- Jiamin did not really seem to be truly immersing herself in the song
- Judges' scores were 29.5
- I would have given Jiamin a 8.0 because it was firstly not exactly a fast song so it was not really a suitable song to showcase Jiamin's improvements in fast songs (if any) so I deduct points as Jiamin did not challenge herself any further. Secondly, Jiamin did not really seem to enjoy the song or at least manage to transmit the emotions in the song to the audience as well as Jarod's or Aijia's fast song.

Congratulations on Jarod for being the first to enter the Grand Finals of Campus Superstars Season 3!

Although his grades on my performance commentaries were not the best, I suppose the judges and MediaCorp Singapore have some other plans in store for him so my blessings for him nevertheless. I can only hope he can deliver performances worthy of the Grand Finals when 12 April comes along. ^__^

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Campus Reunion Concert 2009 @ Raffles Hotel Jubilee Hall

Alright, I just got home from the above-mentioned event and I'll need to sleep soon because I have to wake up early tomorrow.

It was a good concert and I enjoyed myself. I will blog more about the details of the concert tomorrow when I come back. ^__^


I met up my concert partner at Raffles City Starbucks at around 6.00pm for a slow dinner. I shall just appropriately nicknamed her as a patroness of local music. We went over to The Soup Spoon for a nice dinner of mushroom and pumpkin soup with nam (it's some sort of Indian-styled bread very similar to roti prata) and spent a good hour over there before we strolled along The Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade to work off dinner before the concert.

Both of us finally entered Jubilee Hall at around 7.50pm and the singing portion of the concert opened up with Yiyuan of Campus Superstar Season 1 leading with a Cantonese song by Jacky Cheung. The concert ended with three encore songs at around 11.10pm but we did not stay for the signing of the posters because the patroness was tired and wanted to go home early. She was not the kind of people who wanted to be photographed so I did not really get to meet the Campus Superstars performers after the concert.

I believe a handful of the Campus Superstars performers are still interested to know how their concert fare through my eyes and I even received an sms wanting to know when I would be posting my concert review. So here it is:

I won't be doing a detailed performance commentaries for each of the performers during the concert, not because I did not have my notebook or my headphones, but because these are actually Campus Sueprstars graduates and thus have moved beyond the competition commentaries. Moreover, by staging a public ticketed concert, the review would be based on a different format as appropriately matched against their new statuses as young singers and performers of Singapore.

Quality of performances:
Overall, the quality had definitely improved since the last time these CSS seniors had stood onstage. Notably, Geraldine, Yiyuan, Keely, Agnes and Joanna had improved in terms of stability of singing and performance vibrancy.

Geraldine had markedly soothed into her rocker image with very solid control of the stage mood and momentum of the rock songs she had fielded.

I was duly impressed by the amount of suitable emoting done by Yiyuan for both his sentimental and rock songs.

I liked the breakthroughs made by Keely when she fielded her very sensual performance during the third item as well as her duet with Zijie.

Agnes improved considerably in terms of her techniques and stability in singing. Her strong commitment onstage to entertain the audience was also noted.

Joanna was impressive in her English song when I heard her singing mature smoothly into a nearly country-styled singing.

The rest of the performers had also some improvements made since I last saw them.

Zijie was doing much better with his falsetto skills.

Choon Keat was slightly more confident sounding whenever he was singing.

Huixian was able to commandeer beautifully high notes for her Japanese song.

Guohao was finally enjoying himself onstage, singing his heart out.

Javin could not be commented because he opted himself out from the concert due to some throat lesions but he bravely participated in two of the group songs despite his condition and I would like to compliment him on his dedication as well.

There were a few obvious hiccups though:

a) Group songs were not fully rehearsed, ending up with some performers missing their parts more than often

b) Some songs' keys were obviously too low for some performers, who inadvertently could not reach those notes at all.

c) Most of the performers did not rehearse their stage movements so whenever there was an interlude during the songs, they would fidget uncomfortably, shifting their legs, not knowing where to stand and look.

Concert Management:

Unfortunately, both the patroness of local music and I have fewer good things to say about the overall management of the concert. I understand that GW agency is the organizer of this concert but I would still comment about concert management because it was still a component in the overall enjoyment of the Campus Reunion Concert 2009.

a) Emcees - I personally do not like the emcees to speak behind the curtains because it seemed rather impolite to merely use voice alone to address the audience when even a few seconds' worth of appearance onstage to announce the next performance would have seem more polite and sincere.

b) Exit Strategies of Performers - Strangely, none of the organizers seemed to realize that most of the performers had trouble knowing when and how to exit the performing stage. I thought this issue should have been resolved during the full-dress on-site rehearsals and not reveal such an obvious weakness during concert day itself.

c) Sequencing of Performances - Twice, the performers had mistook their performances sequences, exiting and re-entering the stages awkwardly. I was wondering if there was actually a Program Manager who was supposed to remind and cue them.

d) Background Music - Both the patroness of local music and I agreed that the background music was too loud that it drowned out the performers' singing more than four times. It would be much better if there was a volume tester during the full-dress on-site rehearsals to make sure that such volumes were coordinated to give optimal entertainment.

e) Giving away of posters - What was intended for members of the audience who wanted autographed posters turned out to be a dangerous exercise as the performers hurled over 50 rolled posters into the audience. It seemed that there was no plan in hurling those posters and most performers were literally rocketing posters which landed like throwing spears and javelins, pummeling members of the audience who did not notice those flying posters. I personally blocked two incoming posters from hitting the patroness of local music but a senior member of the audience was hit right on the face because she was too old to react. If someone was badly hurt from this exercise, it would definitely blemish the concert and the organizers.

I understand that GW agency has had organized quite a number of local and regional events so it definitely had some experience behind it. If the organizers could work on the above-mentioned points further, I am sure the next Campus Reunion Concert would be even more successful and enjoyable.

That's all for the concert review. I look forward to the next concert. ^__^

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reply To Tags About 16 Mar 2009 Campus Superstars 3 Performance Commentaries

(:: happy that aijia did really well todayyy (;

- I am happy for Aijia too. Having a good performance onstage means the competition still have things to look forward to. The same goes to the rest of the contestants - I still look forward to better things for all the top 4.

Someone: D: I feel that it`s a pity that Joselin got out .. she's really talented IMO. & like the last judge said, she`s one of those who improve a lot each episode.
- I am a little saddened about Joselin because a lot of people have been telling me how talented Joselin is and I was really waiting for that to happen. Unfortunately, she did not seem to grasp her opportunities well and kept on giving a series of below-par performances. If she was holding back anything, it was not exactly a wise decision.

passerby: hi there, i just feel that jiamin should not even venture beyond her strengths, now it jeopardises her chances of staying in the competition.. i dun get what u mean by a singer should explore different genres.. the purpose of the competition is to stay in it right.. why do something that will harm your own chances?

- To qualify as a Superstar, one must be daring to attempt new things, challenge one's limits and breakthrough future performances to surprise, excite and intrigue audiences. From Campus Superstars Season 1's Ng Chee Yang, Teresa Tseng, Campus Superstars Season 2's Shawn Tok and Keely Wee, all of these seniors did what they could to show judges and audience that they were willing to take calculated risks onstage to show versatility as a Superstar.

If Jiamin had tried to play her safe cards last night, I would not hesitate to give a straight 6.0 (a fail grade) because her fear to try out new things would mark her as a timid contestant. Although she did not exactly fare well, I believe the audience were impressed enough to give her the swing votes to help her through (which did happen).

pb: indeed, if jiamin is voted out this round, i dont see the need to watch this program anymore, ha.
passer: yeah.. i feel that jiamin if voted out, no need watch css le...
fan: ya lor, agreed..

- I personally believe that the Campus Superstars 3 is not about Jiamin, but about contestants who are willing to make enough sacrifices and improvements to stay on the competition. Jiamin could have been voted out last night but survived marginally. All the contestants have their due strengths and weaknesses so I am not too quick to label anyone as critical to the continuance of the competition. Aijia, Jarod and Mavis may still make significant breakthroughs to over-run the current lustre of Jiamin.

passer: hurray... jiamin not out.. rachel LIM OUT
- I am not exactly happy that Rachel Lim was out last night because although her enunciation definitely needs more polishing, she was one of the contestants who were constantly making genuine attempts to improve themselves, daring to take on new styles of singing, presentations and still graciously accept tough criticisms, braving close elimination again and again without breaking into pieces. She might not have been the most vocally-talented contestant but she was a very memorable and sincere contestant onstage.

YL: hmmm sean, how you feel abt the top 4 for this season? btw, will there be com nxt mon? how many pple they gonna eliminate? thnks!

- I think perhaps I can do a separate blog post about the strengths and weaknesses of the top 4 contestants. There is definitely another round of competition but I don't know how many would be eliminated. Could be one or two, depending on the organizers' intentions for the Grand Finals. For now, I must say the top 4 are a very interesting group for Season 3 so next Monday would definitely be a worthwhile round to watch.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Campus Superstars 3 Episode 10 Performance Commentaries

Alright. The only song that I have more or less forgotten how it sounded like was Jiamin's oldie song which I had already refreshed by listening to it just now.

The rest of the songs are familiar enough and a couple of the songs are really difficult ones to field onstage. Looking forward to tonight's competition to see how the contestants are going to sing those songs.

Good luck to all of them! ^__^

C1 李奕贤 Jarod -《隐形的翅膀》 原唱者: 张韶涵 Angela
- 一直, 希望,轻 were enunciated incorrectly
- 拥有 was sung really shakily
- 让梦 was sung with a drop that was unnecessary
- 鼻音 influenced a portion of the choruses
- song was surprisingly suitable
- performance was done in a much relaxed manner compared to past performances
- Judges' scores were totaled at 30.0
- I would have given Jarod a 7.5 out of 10.0 because the song was actually very suitable for him and he was able to emote it properly this time round. My compliments to him on finally choosing a suitable song.

C2 蔡艾珈 Rachel Chua -《Dear Friend》 原唱者:顺子
- 朋友 was sung shakily
- breathing was a little too loud during the first verses
- emoting was done very convincingly
- chorus was stretched out beautifully and steadily
- Judges' scores were totaled at 30.5
- I would have given Rachel a 9.0 out of 10 because Aijia once again surprised me with her strong command of slow sentimental songs - this time on an extremely difficult song to sing because the emoting must be done very well. As Fei Hui Laoshi said, her vocal reach was beyond doubt very well-controlled.

C3 林瑞敏 Rachel Lim -《启程》 原唱者:范玮琪
- 程 was sung too low when it should be given a little lift
- overly-low notes for most of the verses' last two words
- 启程 was sung as chi cheng
- chorus sounded a little breathless and rushed
- Judges' scores were totaled at 26.5
- I would have given Rachel a 7.0 because I felt that the song was slightly more difficult than what she could competently handle so she was struggling with the enunciation of some of the words and she could not really reach the low notes to complement the emotional buildup during the choruses. Yet, I still think she was one of the contestants who truly challenged herself with so many different genres and styles of singing so my salute to her for that.

C4 黄慧婷 Joselin -《爱》 原唱者:莫文蔚 Karen
- 会 was enunciated incorrectly
- 怕 was sung off-key
- most of the song from then onwards was sung off-key
- performance sounded strained and the stretch notes were done fairly badly
- perhaps Joselin was thinking too much of her friend till she choked on her own emotions
- Judges' scores were totaled at 24.5
- I would have given Joselin a 6.0 because the song was running off-keys at critical portions of the song and she emoted the song too close to bitterness rather than matured retrospection. The overall enjoyment of the originally light till expressive song was tripped up by the repeated mistakes Joselin had made, which unfortunately could not go unnoticed at such a late stage of the competition. Even though she was graded off immediately after the show, I believe she did sang with sincerity though she knew it herself she fared unfavourably in terms of technical command of the song.

C5 叶嘉敏 -《飞向你飞向我》 原唱者:锦绣二重唱
- gesticulation looked weak and under-practiced
- stage confidence looked slightly dented as she focused on getting movements right
- 雪白 was sung slightly off-key
- 微笑 stretch seemed a little short
- gesticulation was definitely in the way of overall enjoyment of performance
- good breakthrough from her original stage image
- emoting seemed a little less convincing due to mostly weak gesticulation
- Judges' scores were totaled at 27.5
- I would have given Jiamin a 8.0 because she was really tripped up by the gesticulation which she performed quite awkwardly. Her singing style had finally broken off from the sentimental love song genre and I could even see her genuine enjoyment in her rendition through her smile. However, the relative lack of practice in stage gesticulation and her facial expression coordination with her stage movements at this stage of the competition is noted and thus pulled down some points here and there.

C6 李李美子 Mavis - 《姐妹》 原唱者: 张惠妹 Amei
- 俏 reach was not done properly
- the third portion of the verse lines could have a little bit more vocal differentiation
- 我的 note seemed dropped unnecessarily
- 珍爱这份 line could have sung with a little bit more conviction
- Judges' scores were totaled at 29.5
- I would have given Mavis a 7.5 because Mavis enjoyed her performance onstage as well and was able to capture the essence of the song with the correct portions of high and low notes. Her confidence onstage was also a plus given the difficulty level of the song, which I recalled too few to have even attempted on competitive stage performances.

Good luck to all the contestants for the voting round! ^__^

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mild Audio Concussion From St James Boiler Room

St James Boiler Room Drinks Outing:

Just came back from a social drinking gathering with my VIP friends at Boiler Room at St James Power Station.

The music is punishing for my sensitive ears so I am like half-deaf from the outing, smelling of Chivas and vodka and slightly dazed from the spotlights, noise and body-crunching.

Sacrifices like these are necessary in my life - attend such events to see and be seen, to experience and be experienced but it's still punishing for one's health. Still, it was an enjoyable outing.

That is one of the reasons why there is an age limit to places like those - if you are too young, you may not have the discipline to know when and how much is enough.

There is still some problems uploading two of the photos that I have taken so I think I will just describe some of the highlights of that outing on last Friday night.

We were trying to finish one of the VIP friends' liquor - vodka and Chivas and we spent a good half of the outing playing the 猜拳 guessing game, having a lot of fun sabotaging one another. The game became increasingly difficult to concentrate as the liquor started to kick in and we actually increased the difficulty by disallowing anyone playing from pointing at the losers or risk drinking with the losers as well.

One of the VIP friends played a naughty prank by asking a very beautiful waitress to sell some tequila shot drinks to me and being the good sport and not wanting the beautiful waitress to keep persuading, I caved in for one of those really hard-knocking stuff. It was really powerful but thankfully I finished in one mouthful as the group desired.

The main highlight was the cross-dressing act by some of the resident entertainers and the jokes went really wild, sparking laughter and applause throughout the dark audience area as everyone crowded to watch. Three members of the audience were struggling to keep up with the extremely quick-witted entertainers and were made to do some dances and stage acts to please the crowd before they could be released back.

The Counseling Session For The Confused M60:

I spent a good number of hours over the phone and two extraordinary long outings to try and help the Confused M60 because she was still vacillating over her next career move as well as struggling to put her complicated past behind. The counseling finally reached an end after a long talk over nine hours where most of the time was spent listening to The Confused M60 pouring out all her grievances and letting her thoughts bounce back from my perspective.

I suppose sometimes, when people are down, all they need are a few words of kind advice and aplenty of listening time. As she finally settled down to her decisions, I was glad to be of help and hope she could move on in her life and eventually find her goals of success and happiness.

I took the above shot of trees against a blue sky and beautiful streaks of white clouds in the background whilst I was on the move during the week, thinking of how to help the Confused M60 without letting her sink into depression and despair.

We are in some ways like trees, with more or less the same life functions yet unique in our own ways - our thoughts, actions and behaviors branch out in so many different ways. Some of us will have more leaves; some may have more branches; some may have deeper roots. I told the Confused M60 "Your life may be different from many of your peers, but you are destined to live your life, beautiful in its own way. The moment you stop comparing against other people using invisible criteria, you will start enjoying the life you are given"

The Three Kingdoms Story:

I finally took enough of my remaining free time to finish up one of the three campaigns of the game, defeating Cao Cao and rescuing Emperor Xian from captivity. The end campaign reward animations were really funny with Cao Cao throwing a tantrum at one of his generals and hurling that general straight onto the camera lens until the latter slided down in pain.

The following screenshot showed a more benevolent Cao Cao as he looked at another general with concern as they retreated from the campaign map. And yes, all those characters you see in the screeshot below will be present during the game and you will have to defeat them in various scenarios - check out their dull-looking eyes of defeat. I loved the illustrator's work.

Campus Reunion Concert 2009:

I met up with one of the Campus Superstars graduates to collect the tickets for the abovementioned Concert, scheduled on this coming Saturday 21 March at Raffles Hotel Jubilee Hall. It's nice to see these graduates continuing their passion for singing way long after their stincts as contestants and culminating into a concert. I heard response for the concert is good despite the recessionary times and I want to give them the due support to cheer them on.

Undoubtedly, I will also be looking forward to see how far they have improved since the last time they sang publicly and hope I'll get a good night's worth of entertainment. ^__^
The Campus Superstar graduate was held up when we met up and I camped at this nice cosy cafe at the basement, taking a shot of the beautiful round mirrors decorating the walls and sipping my iced chocolate drink.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reply to Tags (As many as I can)

pew: For me i feel that overall aijia is better den jm.. OVERALL. lookin from stage presence and stuff like that.

- Well, stage presence may be developed and lost depending on the quality of each performances. Let's hope the good ones can sustain and the weaker ones can improve.

wp: i think jm shld focus on her As. its not worth it if css ruined her future (:

- Wah..not so serious ba? It's hard to say because only Jiamin will know if it is worth it for her or not.

grace: i like ai jia. cause she sings really well. (:

- she has her plus points being one of the most experienced contestants.

passer: rachel not very good..

- Don't know which Rachel you are talking about and which area you are talking about though.

Stella: honestly i dun haf any fav today... all seem flat ><>
- Well, quite a few of them did not perform up to expectations, at least my expectations.

passer: ridhwan out... mavis should out lor

- Mavis has a good supporter base behind her?

SHARON: ya lo, Mavis didn't sing that good today

- Well, my commentaries have said most of what I felt about her performance yesterday night.

Leraine: I noticed you gave Benita the higest of all the contestants today, and I agree with you, really. But sadly, the judges didn't. Her renditions might not sound like the originals but that's what so special about her. Benita, jiayou =)

- Sometimes, such competitions are really unpredictable. What to do? 70% meant Benita had very little chance to continue.

SOMEONE: rid is out? sad... oh well.... all i can say is jiayous for the rest of the contestants!

- Jia you!!! ^__^

valerie: 2dae's css09 is still alright, but i believe, judges should not be like always giving jm such a high marks. and also, the judges shld not label jm as a singer, cause if they do so. they are just telling us that in their heart, jm is already a singer. if is so, then whats the use of the competition.? and they shld not always pick on jarod, saying that he always choose a sad song to sing, but it don suits his age cause he is young. but i don think this matter, cause as long as jarod is able to express the feelings of the song out, it does not matter the age at all. then jm always sing sad/slow songs, but why didn the judges ask her to sing a rock/pop song?

- I agree that the labelling of Jiamin as a singer is too premature at this stage because at least from my perspective, although she is a stable singer, she has not demonstrated versatility onstage. I am worried for Jarod because even until now, Jarod could not completely settle down to a good genre that is suitable for him. Although Peter Laoshi said choosing songs for Jarod is difficult because of his unbroken voice, I felt Jarod's limitations onstage will be a bigger problem as the themes become more challenging.

passerby: yes, jm gets the highest score all the time and they're kind of biased towards her.

- Perhaps they wanted to give more encouragement for her stability in performances.

passerby: yea ... mavis sang like nt well tdy but she neva out xia... and benita really sang quite ok tdy leh ... hmms

- Sigh for Benita....

Leraine: Yea, benita ): really don't deserve 24, at all. I'm sure she's not the weakest...

- I gave Benita a 7.0 for my commentaries because I felt Benita did a proper job.

valerie: yuppie, i think so too, her performance 2dae is not bad

- Nods.

JK: yeh.. smth abt the judges.. tat time aijia sang fast song twice they complain.. but looks like the other contestants are sticking to their same old song type... hmmmmm

- I believe the judges have their reasons ba.

J: Let's be fair, Benita shouldn't have been out. Mavis and Rid should have been out. Mavis should be out next week.

- Someone must be out for each round but I really felt it should not have been Benita last night. Sigh.

Stella: wow, i agree totally with Valerie's comments about judges towards jiamin, jarod, etc. bias towards some of e contestants. based on this time elimination song "yu jian", i think Mavis sing this type of song quite nice.

- Mavis has potential but I kept thinking she could not display her potential properly because of her choice of songs.

-: Totally agree with Valerie on what she(?) had commented. Being an artist is being an overall-performer, so far in CSS09, I suppose only Rachel Chua can make the grade. (no offence to other contestants !) Jm on the other hand, from what we've seen so far, can only sing that fixed category of songs. To be honest, Jm is good, but I wouldn't say she's suitable to be a singer yet. Not until she proves she has the stage charisma and ability to move the crowd. Yes, she was tactful in her singing approach but I didn't really get moved, so far. Jy to all the contestants! And, this is not purely a singing competition. It is a hybrid of both singing abilties and crowd-popularity. It's time to shine now contestants!

- Superstars competitions are like this - a mix of talent, skill, luck, popularity and opportunity.

jen: sean, dont you feel tired of mdc's repeated use of such cute, small, inmature boys for com? he is just smth like the previous champion. there is no doubt that yes, be will be the winner but as usual The winner of such competitions is not the one with the best ability/future

- I suppose there is still a business model behind the competition to pay for the expenses for organizing and sustaining such competitions. It's too early to predict this season's winner yet but I sincerely hope the best contestant wins. ^__^

passer: probably judges gave benita a low score due to her personality

- I don't know the true reason but Benita did mention in her MDC blog that she was getting tired....

Passer by: Anyway Jarod voice not even break yet .

- Yes, it's a worrying problem.

Leraine: From my point of view, I see that Benita is one that keeps to herself. She is not exactly stubborn, but more strong-willed and doesn't do things the conventional way

- I believe so.

unknown:D: okayy, i kinda feel that the judges are abit biased towards jiamin, ytd was okayokay, and yet she got such a high score :C no offence

- I only gave her a 6.0 in my commentaries.

valerie: yeah, i wont deny that jm has a good voice, but sometimes the mistake she made, but the judges didn even point out, and all they say is that she sang well. and sometimes, i feel that the judges did not talk straight to the point, they never exactly point the mistake out, but all they do was only to say that your pitch didn hit the note you didn choose the correct song etc, but shouldn't they as a judge be more skillful, eg, give advise on how should the contestants improve. and, why must there be a voting system? and since this is a campus superstar event, why can't MDC organise on fri instead of mon when the students and parents have to work the next day

- Well, I think your questions are more appropriately answered by MediaCorp itself. =)

passer: css09 may be the last superstar programme on channel u

- Possibly. Let's see what happens ba.

About valerie, jen, passer and Jarod

- valerie has a valid point - nobody will know for sure what will happen to Jarod's singing abilities when and if his voice breaks. However, it is true that Jarod faces a tough problem in convincing a portion of the audience that he really did understand what he is singing. There is still a difference in one being able to sing and being able to convince others about what one is singing. I believe MediaCorp knows this and even deliberately included a segment immediately behind some of Jarod's performances to let Jarod explain the meaning of the songs he sung.

jen: its just that as an audience, i feel tired of watching kids singing, yes kids, if you compare to css1's ncy that is. im just worried that he may suffer permanent damage to his vocals if he continues to strain his voice before he matures. Nevertheless, jm has alr proven to us and the judges that she is the best, so she shld get out of this comp asap and focus on her As, which is far more important

- Jiamin proven to us that she is the best? I felt that that part remains to be seen. Getting out of a competition at this stage would prove disastrous for Jiamin because it's equivalent to abandoning ship and her responsibility as a contestant. It will surely bring ruin to her name and condemn her out of the singing industry - her word of honour is at stake. I don't know about which is more important in Jiamin's life but I remember everything is a learning journey if one chooses to look at the world that way - be it GCE A Levels or a Superstar singing competition. ^__^

I really appreciate all the taggers who have managed to keep their discussion and online behaviour civilized and polite even if they disagreed with one another on certain issues. This is by far a great improvement from CSS 1 where rampant flaming and insults were hurled across the Internet with zero regard to anyone else. Once again, thank you to my readers and taggers for keeping this up!

May every contestant improves and the best contestant wins! ^__^

Monday, March 09, 2009

Campus Superstars 3 Round 4 Performance Commentaries

Blog post to be updated as soon as performances are over tonight. As there are a total of eight contestants onstage tonight, commentaries may be slightly delayed due to the additional effort needed to analyze the performances so please be patient.

There is some strange script error in the poll which prevents Chinese characters from being displayed. I can't fix it on my side so hope the voters don't mind the weird ??? characters.

C1 叶嘉敏 -《如燕》 原唱者:Olivia Ong
- 碎片 was sounding rather unsteady
- there was a rush in the song which was really odd
- 挪 was not clearly eunciated
- judges' scores were totaled at 31.0
- I would have given Jiamin a 6.0 because there was no breakthrough in her choice of songs - sentimental love ballads and I am beginning to penalize Jiamin for not daring to showcase any versatility onstage. The song is also technically more difficult than what she could manage because she could not hold the right notes, nor drag the correct ones and the unnecessary rush in the song ruined the beauty and lightness of the song mood.

C2 李李美子 Mavis - 《不见不散》 原唱者: 孙楠
- 徒劳 was sung too low
- verses sounded strained on the low side and too heavy to perk the song up
- 不见不散 had the vocal projection but not the emotional projection hence sounding unimpressive to my ears
- judges' scores were totaled at 25.5
- I would have given Mavis a 5.5 because her song was really too cold in terms of popularity in Singapore and in terms of the range of emotions. Although she was projecting her voice, she did not project the emotions level needed for the song to be impressive enough.

C3 李奕贤 Jarod -《拥有》 原唱者: 许美娴
- 样, 命 not fully enunciated
- 么, 相扣 was sung off-key
- judges' scores were totaled at 28.5
- I would have given Jarod a 6.0 because he reverted back to the earlier genre of matured ballads which are not suitable for his age and image and I still cannot be convinced by his portrayed emotions of the song which he seriously cut off by shutting his eyes away from the camera angles. Such emoting blindspots, deliberated or not by Jarod, becomes jarringly obvious at this late stage of the competition and it will not do if ballads are not convincingly emoted by the singer.

C4 林瑞敏 Rachel Lim -《自己》 原唱者:李纹 Coco
- unnecessary breaks in the verse lines which breaks the flow of the song
- sounds out of breath managing some of the note variation in the song
- emoting was much better during chorus but made verse struggles more distinctive
- 放手 was sung off-key and was shaky
- judges' scores were totaled at 27.5
- I would have given Rachel a 6.0 because the song was obviously too difficult for her. Like what Qi Yu Laoshi said, the range of notes of the song was too broad for Rachel to commandeer properly and I felt that she was overly-cautious to really release the song's potential power. However, I liked her emotional conviction invested in her singing and I could feel the genuine emoting so even though she did not fare as well in the technical aspect, she made it up with decent emoting.

C5 郑琪颖 Benita -《你没想象中爱我》 原唱者:石欣卉 Sing
- emphasis on lyrics were done at the seemingly correct places
- 痛 could have dragged out more properly
- general control of the song was comparatively stronger than the rest of the contestants
- judges' scores were totaled at 24.0
- I would have given Benita a 7.0 because she demonstrated a good control of the song's techniques and gave an equally good show of her emoting. I disagreed with Fei Hui Laoshi because I felt that Benita did not have to sing word-for-word, technique-for-technique with the original rendition. At the time of typing, Benita was graded by the panel of judges as the lowest scorer which is completely opposite of my grades but I stand by my analysis. Oh well, such is the way of such competitions. Good luck in your future endeavours, Benita!

C6 蔡艾珈 Rachel Chua -《曾经太年轻》 原唱者:蓝又时
- 不懂 was enunciated too hard into the microphone
- facial expressions were too strained at certain portions of the song
- kept feeling the song was too constrained to showcase her strengths
- judges' scores were totaled at 29.5
- I would have given Rachel a 6.5 because although Ai Jia showcased her stable high notes but she did not pick a song that could continue to showcase any further strengths in her slower song performances as the song choruses kept revolving around that narrow range of notes which I felt was of zero challenge for the girl. I rated Ai Jia slightly lower than Benita because of the lack of technical challenge Ai Jia gave to herself in this round.

C7 Ridhwan -《从开始到现在》 原唱者: 张信哲 Jeff
- verses were way too low and brooding when the key ought to be higher
- verses and choruses were not distinctive enough
- emotional buildups were not properly managed to give song the necessary personality
- judges' scores were 25.0
- I would have given Ridhwan a 5.5 because I really really felt he made quite a mess of the song by hovering overly low on the verses of the song. Although I appreciated his creativity to instil Malay lyrics into the song to give the song a fresher feel, I could not understand Bahasa Malay to even comment whether he was actually singing the right lyrics or giving the right feel to the lyrics or not. The overall feel of Ridhwan's rendition was very flat and bland even though the song actually contained several emoting buildups which he had missed out on. I know this song very well because I had performed this song onstage before and even though I had then practiced the same song for more than a dozen times, I still could not completely nail the song but Ridhwan really fell short of the basic crescendoes within the song.

C8 黄慧婷 Joselin -《你要的爱》 原唱者:戴佩妮 Penny
- 虽 note did not come out right
- 那个 trembled unnecessarily
- 会 note enunciated too hard into the microphone
- 坏, 赖 were sung off-key
- judges' scores were 27.5
- I would have given Joselin a 6.0 because although I really enjoyed the breakthrough Joselin gave onstage by singing slow sentimental songs, she did not hit the necessary song persona's emotions of youthfulness and coyness portrayed within the lyrics. The sunny feel was obviously missing from Joselin's relatively cold, expressionless look during the performance and she did not really pick up the subtle nuances in the playfulness of certain parts of the lyrics. Add these to the technical errors she committed, it was only a reasonable performance even though one of the judges said she was sounding great. I felt it was only an average rendition of a highly-popular song.

Good luck to all the contestants! ^__^

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sociological Trip to Career and Education Fair 2009 and Mall Exploration of Kallang Leisure Park

Sociological Trip to Career and Education Fair 2009:

A couple of days ago, I met a old friend whom I had lost contact during my school days by chance on a MRT platform. I'll name this friend as the Indecisive M60 because she comes across to me as a very indecisive person who considers her options in things, reconsiders those options 30 minutes later, re-reconsiders those options 1 hour later and starts all over again in another two hours. And she speaks fast with a quick temper, just like a General-Purpose Machine Gun (one of which is known as an M60).

Still, the Indecisive M60 is my friend and I believe in fate, believe that our chance meeting has a purpose because she was in trouble then - needing a job to tide her over as she was dependent on her parents on and off for quite a number of years ever since we last parted. Apparently, her character seemed to have a disconcerting effect on many of her colleagues and workplaces and she could not fit into any of those jobs thus far. The Indecisive M60 made a couple of calls to me after our chance meeting and she mentioned about going to the Career and Education Fair 2009 at Suntec City on last Friday to see if she could find some direction for her life there. Being the only friend who was available on Friday to accompany her, I said yes and off we went to Suntec on that day.

The Career and Education Fair 2009 was not that crowded on a Friday morning at 11am because most of the more enthusiastic and eager 120-000 strong crowd came in on Thursday itself. The Indecisive M60 and I began touring the place and she went on speaking to the various exhibitors and recruitment executives of a number of booths there. While she was busying herself, I was observing the rest of the crowd doing their work - Economy seems to be worser than what the news reported because I could see the tinge of desperation in many of their eyes - hellbent on getting jobs, sitting anywhere on the floor to fill in whatever forms they could lay their hands on and listening extremely intently to the various speakers there giving mini-speeches about their recruitment drives' expectations.

Two hours later, we were driven out of the Fair by our hunger pangs and we settled at New York New York for lunch. As she was jobless for the past three months, lunch was on me and the Indecisive M60 was so happy that she ordered her favourite foods there - some salmon tuna sandwich, orange crepes dessert and green tea while I had the recommended cranberry turkey sandwich and some blueberry float drink. A nice relaxing lunch later, we roamed Orchard Road in the afternoon where she related how she had spent miserable months in her house with nothing to do and how lonely she felt after graduating from school as so many of her friends parted ways due to the diverging responsibilities of life.

I advised her the following: Do what we humanly can and leave the rest of life to work things out themselves because the more we try to grapple with life, the more struggled we are and thus we will never be as happy as we wanted ourselves to be. The indecisive M60 finally made her decision at 4.30pm at a Long John Silver's restaurant where we stopped for a drink (her treat this time because I wanted her to still remember the pride to pay for oneself and the joy to pay for others - and gladly she understood my purpose). We parted ways at 6pm on Friday and I wished her all the best in her new direction in life.

Ta-da! The title board outside Career and Education Fair 2009 at Suntec City. The sun just came up inside the exhibition hall.
The Marina Bay Sands Resort recruitment booth was packed with people trying to fill in forms to go for interesting jobs like croupiers, theme park managers and event management executives. I took zero photos of people because I thought it was not the right place to have people's faces in such places - most of them seemed with their belts tightened already.
The Blueberry Bling Bling Drink at New York New York - I was jokingly teasing the waiter "How come it's blackish and not bluish in colour?" And the waiter was smiling away as he left without answering.
This is the Cranberry Turkey sandwich with Foccacia bread which I ordered. Pardoned the blurred shot because I was really hungry by then so I could not wait to get started. Believe it - it's absolutely delicious but I did not manage to finish both halves (sobs) because the Indecisive M60 grabbed one half of it and shoved one half of her Salmon Tuna Sandwich on my plate instead. Boohoohoo...

Mall Exploration at Kallang Leisure Park:

Yesterday was a study appointment with The Busy Bee because she had wanted to study for some finance course but could never bring herself to do so given the kind of distractions she always surrounded herself with - sleep, tv, food, movies. Hahaha. And as I was one of those few friends she had who could sit still for hours on end to study (well, I had my game design to think about at least) so we went to try and study at Kalland Leisure Park because there were Coffee Bean and Starbucks Coffee outlets there.

We met at Kallang Indoor Stadium at around 12.30 pm and lunch was the first item on the agenda. Having a good, non-foodcourt meal was important to both of us because we made the effort to travel all the way to the fairly-deserted Kalland sports area to study, we chosed Mushroom Pot to have our meal. We ordered a Deluxe Set Meal for Two which had quite a spread of food (I did not take photos of the food because I wanted to have a day off from photographing my outings) - there was two small bowls of rice, two bowls of herbal-tasting mushroom soup, a plate of beansprouts fried with mushrooms, a plate of deep-fried sotong with wasabi sauce dip, a plate of chilli fried chicken pieces, a plate of beancurd steamed with mushrooms and we topped those off with tea and orange juice. It was one good meal over a quiet restaurant and when we had our fill, we hopped over to Kallang Leisure Park which was just across the road.

It was my first time there because it was not one of my favourite mall haunts but I liked the place - medium-sized with spacious interiors and there were actually very interesting niche sports competitions being held there - a remote-controlled auto race and an figure-skating competition at the ice-ring. The Busy Bee gave me a quick tour of the place and being the movie fanatic she always is, she tempted ourselves enough to buy movie tickets for Marley and Me at this independent movie theatre called Flimgarde and we went off to Starbucks Coffee to study before the movie began in an hour's time.

One hour at Starbucks Coffee brought some solace from walking and while The Busy Bee was reading and writing notes to prepare for her examinations for her finance course, I was browsing through my magazines, reading the theory of evolution as well as crusader maps because I was still trying to find some realistic settings for my medieval game design. I finally settled on a choice of five cities and the time was up for the movie.

The movie was very simple and touching because it was so realistically portrayed without any deliberate action or CGI - about the highs and lows of life and how a dog managed to interwine its life with chaos, mischief and loyalty until the final days of its live. The ending was less than satisfactory because it did not show that much about what happened to the family after the death of the dog but I loved the parts where the family had to struggle with their ideal lives, made incredible sacrifices and got all frayed up when the dog, Marley, started all its havoc in the house and out of the house again.

The movie ended around 5pm and we went off to the Cold Storage Supermarket, trying to complete ingredients for a cake the Busy Bee was trying to make and after a hour of running around the shopping aisles, we left Kallang Leisure Park with two plastic bags of food and ingredients. The Saturday outing ended at 7pm when I helped the Busy Bee lugg the stuff back near her place because she was already exhausted and still nursing an injuried hand.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Campus Superstars 3 Revival Round Performance Commentaries

Blog post to be updated after performances tonight as soon as possible.

Good luck to all the revivalists contestants! ^__^

C1 丁文淞 Jeremy - 《我可以》 原唱者:蔡旻佑
- 2nd verse onwards has a good release of energy and reach which I liked.
- 要 's volume control was sudden and jarring, not gradual enough
- 分离 was sung unsteadily
- 你 was sung a little too slow and causing slight out of breath
- I concur with Peifen's analysis that Jeremy used more nasal support, which dimmed his chances of reaching the song properly.
- last few chorus lines were badly out of syn.
- judges' scores were totaled at 31.0
- I would have given Jeremy a 6.0 because he did not push himself to improve at his singing. The genre of songs are still the same; his singing style is still the same; his singing feel is still the same. If he makes it through to the revival round, he must have a breakthrough - it's not merely about sticking to one's style but daring to challenge oneself to explore music and entertain others at the same time.

C2 李李美子 Mavis -《3-7-20-1》 原唱者:曹格
- 奏 was a little low
- 感觉 lyrics seemed to be missing from the singing
- suitable song which brought out her confidence and voice range
- good technique management for her end-notes and high-notes
- judges' scores were totaled at 37.5
- I would have given Mavis a 7.0 because she managed push the song's enjoyment level to a good high. Stage, audience and camera interaction were done well and she was fearless in delivering a difficult song with zero hesitation. I like her rendition for her entertainment value but she did not break the 7.0 barrier because I could still see a shadow of the original singer's note management within her singing - the way she accented the song was still not creatively Mavis-styled yet.

C3 蔡梦真 Shelly -《我知道你很难过》 原唱者:蔡依林
- 爱一个人 was rushed in
- 令人 , 最美 was sung off-key
- lyrics were sung quite flat without distinctive emotional buildup
- there is a strange nasal humming behind her singing unheard of before
- breathing breaks were not appropriate, splitting the lines unnecessarily
- did not seem attentive enough to watch the rises and falls within the song
- judges' scores were totaled at 28.0
- I would have given Shelly a 5.0 because she made a very serious mistake - not paying attention to what she is singing. To me, being onstage means getting the attention of everyone who is listening to you singing and she was actually squandering her time away onstage without any noticeable effort in wanting to entertain and impress the audience. No technique handling, stylist effort or determination to challenge the harder portions of the song. Her rendition was just muddling through as it goes away. Yes, I am harsh on performers who are not keen even at revival round but I speak my mind as truthfully.

C4 黄力生 Adrian -《终于说出口》 原唱者:小宇
- reach of song was not done properly, lyrics keep slurring within mouth
- there was a sudden volume burst out of nowhere
- verses and choruses were not sung distinctively from each other
- the song was overall feeble and the climax did not impress or come as striking
- judges' scores were totaled at 28.5
- I would have given Adrian a 5.5 because it was still a bad rendition. The song actually has quite some high and low portions which Adrian could have made use of to showcase whatever he wanted with his voice but he kept so rigidly stuck in his version which neither had power nor style distinction to make an impressive stand. One of the judges were right to point out that Adrian may not have fully made use of the revival round. For me, it was a normal rendition not impressive enough to wow me at such an important round in the competition.

C5 蔡艾珈 Rachel Chua -《你是爱我的》 原唱者:张惠妹
- 等 seemed to end prematurely
- 问号 was held onto beautifully
- alteration of certain parts of the song were blended in comfortably
- final line sounded less sure and commanding but ended well eventually
- judges' scores were totaled at 40.5
- I would have given Aijia a 7.5 because she finally made a breakthrough and started singing sentimental love ballads onstage. Her rendition was very steady and even though she made some modifications here and there but these were minor alterations which did not adversely affect the overall enjoyment of the performance. High-notes were done beautifully and the falsetto climax, though not as powerful as the original, was very satisfactorily done and up to my expectations. A skilful demonstration was just marred by overly-closed eyes which prevented audience interaction and eye contact. If Aijia had maintained longer eye-contact and invited the audience into the state of the song, I would have easily given a 8.0.

C6 张慧诗 Rachael - 《我想有个家》 原唱者:潘美辰
- 在我疲倦 was sung too low
- 我 lyric seemed to be missing in the singing
- 曾 was distinctively too low, affecting the buildup in the chorus
- 自己 pitch was a little too high
- invested a lot of emotions towards the end and could be felt
- judges' scores were totaled at 29.5
- I would have given Rachael a 6.5 because Rachael was really struggling with the low-notes at the verse portions of the song and she made a couple of technical pitching mistakes here and there, especially the part where the chorus buildup was marred by a wrong low-note. However, her emotional buildup was strong and she was one of the three revivalists tonight who truly invested their emotional energy into their songs onstage. For that, I am willing to give her a 6.5 as encouragement. Some supporters may feel that I may be stingy with the grades since it was quite moving rendition and I knew the reason for her song choice even before tonight but I cannot reward Rachael that much if she cannot surpass her own ceiling for technical command of singing.

Good luck to all the revivalists for the voting round! 15 more minutes to closing vote lines! ^__^