A Politically-Questionable Reflection on Singapore Idol

I just finished watching the second episode of the third season of Singapore Idol twenty minutes ago. Honestly, I’m not sure if having a month-long back-ache is worse than sitting through one episode of it (yes, I did suffer from a month-long back ache, and it’s still there).

I feel as if something has gone terribly wrong in the production of the first two episodes of this year’s Singapore Idol. Yes, I watched the first episode as well, and my take on that is the same as my take on the episode I watched just now. There’s … something … about this year’s Singapore Idol that leaves a very bad aftertaste. When I watched the first episode of Singapore Idol three days ago, I was close to seething. The same occurred just now when I finished watching the second episode. In both episodes, it was the same thing: my brain was mostly busted by the end of the show, and I couldn’t focus on anything.

There’s nothing wrong with the format of the show – it works in Europe and America, and it’s worked here for about five years now. It’s not the contestants, because there are definitely much odder people in the West. It’s not the judges either; Dick Lee, Florence Lian and Ken Lim were judges in the first season of Singapore Idol some years ago, so this is nothing new to them.

And yet I noticed that the post-production team has gone into overdrive. Throughout the episode, I noticed a lot of visual effects being employed. Monochrome, stop-motion, slow motion … these were used frequently throughout the show, to a point where it becomes a nuisance and a torture to both my eyes and mind.

MediaCorp can do away with 99% of all the visual effects they used in the making of the first two episodes of Singapore Idol. America’s Got Talent doesn’t need visual effects to be entertaining. It’s entertaining because everyone’s doing what they are supposed to be doing in the first place. Nick Cannon’s presenting the show in a quirky, but otherwise completely appropriate manner, Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff are judging the contestants as they have done for the past seasons of America’s Got Talent, and the contestants try to impress the judges.

What I find especially disturbing is how the judges of Singapore Idol seem to mock the contestants. I mean, why was Dick Lee wearing the glasses of a contestant? She might have given her consent, but do you think, for even a nanosecond, that it’s entertaining?

I would also like to question the importance of Hady Mirza this season. In sneak previews of Singapore Idol between shows, I garner that he is supposed to serve as a “consultant” of sorts to the contestants. That sounds a bit redundant, when you already have Gurmit Singh as the presenter. In American Idol, Ryan Seacrest presents the show and serves as a consultant of sorts, and both jobs are strikingly similar.

Singapore Idol is the same as American Idol. It’s primary purpose is to find a pop star among the five million of us Singaporeans. Yes, you can engage in some light humour, but when it gets overboard, do not expect me to sit on the couch watching it, because I’d rather waste my time somewhere else.


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