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A musical search

Get ready for some pulsating music on Vijay TV’s Super Singer 2008

Photo: R. Ravindran

voice test Show host Chinmayee with the participants

Young singer Nikhil Mathew has a long way to go. But he is already an inspirational figure for many wannabe singers around Tamil Nadu. As the winner of the Airtel Super Singer 2006 (on Vijay TV), he got to sing Enathu Uyire compose d by music director Harris Jeyaraj for Bheema. Encouraged by Nikhil’s success, those who can, or believe they can hold a tune have piled up demo CDs in the Vijay TV office for this year’s Airtel Super Singer (open for anyone above 16). The reward? An opportunity to sing for music director Yuvan Shankar Raja.

Judges had to sift through 10,000 of them and shortlist candidates for auditions in three cities. After auditions in Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore, 32 made it to the home stretch. At the time this article was written, auditions (June 27 to 29) for the Chennai zone were underway. From June 23 to 26, video booths placed in shopping malls and other places around the city gave some a last-minute opportunity to enter the contest.

In the Chennai Zone, 2,000 candidates attended the auditions. They were judged by playback singers such as Sunitha Sarathy and Deepan Chakravarthy.

Pradeep Milroy Peter, head of programming, Vijay TV, said: “As it is the same team that has been handling the event, we have got wiser with the years and have become equal to challenges, such as managing such a big fray of contestants. In Chennai, the number of entries has tripled. In 2006, only 600 took part in the auditions.”

In contrast to the 2006 edition (in 2007, the event was made exclusive for juniors), this year does not have many senior citizens in the fray. It almost appears like a singing contest for young adults. The good showing by participants of the 2006 edition marks another trend.

“Fabin almost made it to the finals in 2006. He has got selected from Coimbatore this time. He is so much better than he was the last time around,” says Peter.

Participants ranged from amateurs to semi-professionals to stage singers. Balaji, who did well in the first stage of the auditions, revealed that he was no stranger to stage singing. A friend who runs a troupe often trusts him with the mike. Trained in Carnatic music, a cheerful Maanasaa, who was coping with an illness, managed to impress the judges with her trained voice. Praveen, who just been placed in Infosys, was not so lucky. His sruthi was fine. But not his sangathi.

As Vijay TV plans to produce a music album with this year’s finalists, is the focus on looks too? “No, we’re just listening for good voices,” says Peter.

PRINCE FREDERICK

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