Thursday, January 6, 2011

TVB New Talent Singing Awards?

It's like TVB's been reading my Cantopop rant! *shudders* totally creepy Well, not really. I doubt that anyone's eyes have fallen onto this blog, apart from mine, of course. Anyway, I was ranting about how the New Talent Singing Awards show The point is, it's too late, much too late for TVB to 'buy back' the NTSA. By changing the format of the show, they've pretty much just killed it.
FTV's Super Star. Woot.
The TVB NTSA is something of a cross between Hong Kong's The Voice and Taiwan's Super Star except the standard is much lower than either of the two shows on their own. Instead of a one-shot contest where contestants in the past would choose one song to sing to impress the judges in a do-or-die deathmatch, the contestants perform every week, much like Super Star. The difference though, is talent. I much prefer to watch SS because the standard is much higher - even those singers who come in second-best are better than most of the singers in NTSA, considering both groups of contestants actually receive training.
The TVB International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship. What a mouthful. 
The scoring system in SS is much more easier to understand, as opposed to that of TVB's The Voice or NTSA. In fact, I've been watching for a few weeks now and have only just realized that the scores are out of 40. Because no one has even come close to this score, it's confusing. Why set points in such a weird manner that none of the contestants can reach? It would be better ranked out of 100 like SS. And yes, before you go on telling me that it's always been ranked out of 40, I must say it used to make sense in the past, because past winners and other competitors would actually get somewhere close to the maximum score. The first winner of NTSA, Anita Mui, was given a perfect score by lyricist James Wong while composer and friend, Joseph Koo gave her a near-perfect score (-1 point).
...and The Voice.  Is it just me, or is the newly remodeled NTSA look really based on this logo? 
The thing is when you take away the death element of a one-strike-and-you're-out match is that participants who stay back, tend to get a little bit lax about things. There are no real mentors who help the contestants out with choreography when it comes to dancing or generally performing on stage, like in past NTSA competitions. In fact, most of the contestants these days don't really know how to move. Since NTSA started accepting international entrants (regional winners from different countries), you would expect a vast array of talent. But unfortunately, it seems that past groups of contestants all solely from Hong Kong were more talented. Weird.

Hubert Wu
The competition is also partially slightly biased. Hubert Wu, sent as Hong Kong's representative for the NTSA has gone through many rounds during The Voice 2 competition and faced familiar judges. And if you're from Hong Kong, you're not going to tell me you're going to give Hong Kong a bad name, are you? That would just make HK lose face. And losing face = not good. They've got a variety of judges but there goes consistency being thrown out of the window. Judges opinions vary. Keeping a good handful of judges and leaving them that way will do. Heck, American Idol did well with just 3 - but perhaps Simon Cowell is worth more than one judge.

Sheldon Lo
The problem with song choice is still there. Many of the overseas participants are only comfortable  singing in Mandarin and thus, they commit a kind of suicide, damaging their versatility as performers. It's pretty much like what Sheldon Lo did on The Voice 2. Not that he couldn't sing, but his repertoire was restricted because his Cantonese wasn't fluent and everyone knows that the dialect relies on proper (or somewhat decent) pronunciation to get the (right) message across. Throughout that whole season of The Voice 2, I really only remember him singing one song in Cantonese with Julian Cheung. The other times was when he was forced to sing sang with the other contestants as a group. I don't think HK would ever accept someone like Sheldon into their music industry as a Cantopop singer, even though English pop music was pretty popular in the 70's or so in HK.

Vivian Chow singing Yoshie Kashiwabara's "Most Beloved"(Saiai/最愛)

I'm not against contestants choosing songs other than Cantonese to sing. It's been done plenty of times by past contestants of the past, including Vivian Chow and Rita Carpio who sung in Japanese and English, respectively. But that was one song that each sung for one performance. Just one. But that's not so for the revamped NTSA. No-siree. Contestants will pick the same types of songs to sing each time - Mandarin, Mandarin, Mandarin. Or English, Mandarin, English, which makes you really start questioning, can the contestants sing in Cantonese at all? Or any other Chinese dialect for that matter. Or even another language. I forgot to mention the fact that I like how divisions for Tai-Yu and Mandarin - really encouraging those who want to sing in the Taiwanese dialect to do so. If it's a weekly competition, as an audience member, I would much rather switch up your repertoire - songs, styles, languages. Performers exist for the sake of the audience. And remember, the name of the show is called New Talent Singing Awards. I'm just waiting for someone to show me something new and slap me in the face with their talent.

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Video credit: sonic1109 (

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