Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The last of the Tamizh TV shows that I watched with some degree of regularity, at last wound down last Thursday, the Airtel Super Singer Junior 2009 on Star Vijay channel. "At last", because of the impatience with how the talent show progressed and dragged to its end. I think our TV show honchos do not know the concept of a pacy progression without melodrama or the Occam's Razor (avoiding unnecessary things and keeping it simple). The winner, 'Alka Ajith' won for her consistent performance and capping it in the final with a superb rendering of 'Singaara Velanē' from 'Konjum Salangai', and a non-impressive 'Munbē Vaa' from 'Sillendru Oru Kaadhal'.

The finals had the eternal backgrounder, Shravan giving the only challenge to Alka with the others (Nithyashree the dancer-singer, the wonder-boy Srikanth and the silent Roshan) being their normal selves. I felt that Alka was tagged to be a winner early on in the show with constant praising by the judge trio of K S Chithra, Mano and Malgudi Subha, when compared to the others. (BTW, I never knew that Alka was in the Limca book of records for the most number of recorded songs for her age, has already sung in Malayalam movies and has won a few international awards as well)

Probably the hardest challenge to Alka (even could have been an upset) in the finals would have come from either Priyanka or SriNisha, who in spite of stellar performances in the wildcard (recall) stage were dropped from the final 5 over Srikanth and Nithyashree. I wasn't amused by the inclusion of the kid Srikanth into the finals, under the guise of public sentiment humbug. Priyanka or SriNisha who were improving leaps and bounds, round after round and with a pretty wide song range deserved a place in the finals. He is definitely superb for his age, but still raw. It was a small consolation that Priyanka and SriNisha were called and awarded separately on stage. It was sad to see that Srikanth's father not showing even a trace of happiness at Srikanth winning a special prize (3 lakhs!) and sat stone faced. One more proof that parents push their children to unreal levels on reality (actually, pseudo-reality) shows.

As is the norm during the finales of such shows, there was a lot of dance and singing slots by multiple personae to prolong the winner announcement which eventually happened somewhere at 11:45 PM. The Super Singer anthem sung by participants, past and current, sounded good (I love choruses and choirs); I recall Andrea and Ajeesh's rendering of 'Idhu Varai' from 'Goa' (lovely instrumentation and contrasting vocals), dance-song acts by Divya (the Airtel Super Singer compere) and the RJ/singer, Suchi. Amala was watching the finale and she looked jaded from how she was in her hey-day. Mano had become more of a clown as the TV show progressed and his clowning glory was at the finale. :-)

One aspect of all this was the lack of transparency in how the winner was shortlisted during the pre-finals and finals. Different figures flew on the finale stage itself as regards the number of votes received (3.5L, 13L) for the final and it sounded wishy-washy. :( Doesn't augur well for the program, or its host channel or its sponsor, Airtel. Hope they make it transparent in the future.

RIP Airtel Super Singer Junior 2009 and thanks for those moments of brilliance and panache from the children which made it worthwhile !!!


zeno said...

Wass the title intentional? Jus Assking? or is it jus my evil mind ;)
I thought this was a talent hunt! If it is a talent hunt, why have participants who are already talented and have proven their mark?
Wasn't the earlier ASS too dragged dragged?
Even during the last finale, people said the winner was pre-judged before the event.One of my friend's friend was a finalist!
உங்க பரந்து விரிந்த (கலை) ஆர்வங்களுக்கும் பொறுமைக்கும் தலை வணங்குகிறேன்.

Swaram said...

I hv heard a lot abt Airtel Super Singer 2009 too. My cousin's grandma used to talk abt it whenever I met her! So wanted to catch up with a few episodes but cud never do that :( :(

RS said...

I also did not like the selection of Srikanth in the finals....It sounded very much hyped...I did not watch it regularly, though! I very much hated his father's attitude, right from the beginning.

At the beginning I expected Prassana sundar to enter finals. that was not to be...I found him pretty good. Feel Shrikanth was retained just for the ske of TRP, due to which a lot of real talents were lost on the way....

Truly RIP ASSJ-2

RamMmm said...

@zeno - Ha Ha Ha. You should interpret this title like a Mani Ratnam movie (Raavanan?) dialogue. It may or may not be loaded and it is up to you. :-D ASS could stand for Airtel Super Singer, or the poor donkeys who watch it or maybe a capitalization miss or the word by itself means something. ;-)

True, it was supposed to be a talent 'hunt'. The earlier one dragged on like this, but my memory is short. :-) மறந்துவிட்டேன் அதை.

The apparent lack of transparency in the shortlist is what makes it awkward. :(

@Swaram - The program was fairly decent, the kids were good, but the judges should do a better job of pointing out mistakes for everyone and not favour anyone (Ever seen Simon Cowell on American Idol? Whiplash tongue and straight remarks!). Anyway, you can watch a lot of the ASS-J 2009 episodes on YouTube. :-) YouTube has become the public 'visual memory recall' tool.

@RS - Looks like TRP ruled in favor of entertainers rather than talent. :( I improved my judging skills (with zero knowledge of music basics) to the extent of predicting what each of the judges would say after a performance. ;) ;) True, Prasanna Sundar improved really well from what he was in the early stages and was eventually trapped in the recall swirl. :(

Old habits die hard. It will be time to watch ASS-3 in a few months from now. :) :) :)

ambulisamma said...

It was dragging more than it could,many rounds were just irritating,i saw only few,but did not had the patience to continue.

RamMmm said...

The dragging was what irked me. There never seemed to be a closure at one point in time.

zeno said...

உங்க போஸ்ட் கமெண்ட் எல்லாம் படிச்சப்புறம் ASS குரூப் பேசிகிட்டங்களாம் "இன்னமுமா இந்த உலகம் நம்மளை நம்புது" "இவர் ரொம்ப நல்லவர் டா" "நாம 100 சீசன் கொண்டாடறோம்" :P :D

Sandhya Sriram said...

Hi Ram

My mom was here from chennai on that day. while i have not been following this, she was totally at the tip of her chair nail biting to see who won.

i didnt miss much of it coz you have made such a elaborate narration of the affair anywhich case

chennaigirl said...

I followed the first season only. But IMO, the children lose their innocence and wear an adult hat which they find it difficult to shed.

Uttara said...

I second the Chennai girl. This is too early for them to be zoomed in to focus and out of it. As you say, parents become freaky if kids lose. Creates a very bad complex way early in life. Becomes too hard for them to handle failure and criticism.

Ramesh said...

Very nice. I happened to see one episode on one of my trips to India. I am always struck by how superb our singing talent is. Every show seems to unearth people who sing divinely. Similar shows in other countries usually produce awful singers. I think singing is in our bloog.

As you say, parents do push the kids crazily. I fell that there must be a minimum age limit for these shows. Kids very small can't handle the fame and the disappointment that these shows bring.

RamMmm said...

@zeno-ஏமாற ஆள் இருக்குற வரைக்கும் ஏமாத்துறவன் ஏமாத்ததான் செய்வான். என்ன பண்ண? :-( நான் ஒரு அப்பாவி. :-)

@Sandhya Sriram-:-D :-D Sometimes these shows make you take sides with someone after seeing them for a long long time.

@chennaigirl, @Uttara-True. But where is the border in-between? Either you get accused for over-exposing the kids or for not nurturing or discovering their talent. The hard choice is on parents. :-(

@Ramesh-True, some kids are gifted immensely. My ex-boss's kid sings so well and he has already sung a fair number of times during the Chennai music season at the Sabhas. He was also the Pogo Kid of the Year for Singing Talent, last year. And most important, he loves it, and is not pushed.