Written by: Jen Yeh
Edited by: Celine Yeap
Photos by: KE Vision
Stardust 2012, aka, a night of epic talent, is an annual nationwide talent-search competition organized by the NUS Bizad Club to promote and encourage the music scene in Singapore. This year, over 200 people/bands auditioned via Youtube. Of these 200, a total of ten solo vocalists and five bands, including KEVII’s own Smoking Marshalls, moved onto the finals held at the Lasalle College of the Arts.
Of the solo vocalists, several really stood out from the rest. One was Iskandar Aziz, a guy whose unassuming appearance masked an incredible voice and great guitar skills. As soon as he opened his mouth and began to sing, the crowd was immediately won over. Another notable singer was Nurhayati Abdul Malek. Her smooth voice and emotional performance earned her compliments from the judges, as well as an extra comment from one judge that she was “really an eye-candy.” Boon Hui Lu performed a cover of Jessie J’s “Pricetag,” a song that had must meaning for her because of her family’s financial background. Her strong stage presence, cute appearance, and fun attitude won the crowd over. Last to sing was Tan Shi Yu who chose to perform a piece that differed greatly from all the other vocalist’s choices. She delivered a stunning rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables” causing the judges to declare that she had made the night “worth the money” for everyone present.
Following a very funny performance from the local duo Jack and Rai, it was time for the bands to compete. There was clearly much support in the crowd for various bands, some of which had come from within NUS, and all were noteworthy. The first band Chasing Daylight had many fans, with many of these appearing to be fans of the lead singer/guitarist (this reporter admits that he was quite cute and charismatic). The Kovan Leopards performed some jazz-inspired covers of Michael Jackson, even working in a twist on JB’s “Baby.” Quis, a band that originally did JPop songs, covered Kesha’s English version of SNSD’s “Run Devil Run”, followed by a mashup of Lady Gaga songs. Take Two, a band from Eusoff Hall, gave everyone a lesson in Indie music. Platonic π stood out from the rest by incorporating a cappella elements in their songs where all seven of their members showed off their great voices.
When it was the Smoking Marshalls’ turn to perform, the supporters from KEVII went wild. The rest of the audience, including the emcees themselves, seemed impressed by Sheik’s build as he strode out onto the stage in a singlet. As those who have watched the Smoking Marshalls’ performances before will know, a bit of stripping can usually be expected on Sheik’s part, so his initial appearance caused some confusion due to his lack of layers. However, he soon assured us by saying that the Smoking Marshalls would be trying something “different” this time around.
The band’s set included some older rock songs, including the classic “Eye of the Tiger” and an exciting crowd pleaser, “The Final Countdown.” Sheik’s vocals combined with his stage presence and bodybuilder antics helped to hype up the crowd, while the rest of the band dominated in their individual instruments. During the first song, Sheik began to put on more layers over his singlet, much to the consternation of KEVII fans. However, he soon began to lose the layers (to the delight of the crowd), even throwing his hat so high into the stage lights that it got stuck (leaving the next band paranoid that it would drop on their heads during their performance). As “The Final Countdown” reached its last screaming note, Sheik went one step further and tore his singlet in half. Cheers and screams resounded throughout the hall, while many guys in the audience bowed in the face of Sheik’s muscles.
The judges all said that the performance was very entertaining, with one jokingly asking if Sheik would punch him if he commented negatively. Though they stressed focusing on the musicality of the pieces more, all of the judges, and the crowd, had a very good time. Even though the Smoking Marshalls started out the night with a small group of KE supporters, they certainly won themselves some fans during their time on stage.
At last, the emcees read the results. Of the solo vocalists, the dark horse contender Iskandar Bin Aziz placed third. The cute and entertaining Boon Hui Lu placed second, while Tan Shi Yu, who performed “I Dreamed a Dream,” placed first. The audience waited in anticipation while the emcees waited for the judges to decide on the band placements. Finally, the results were delivered and promptly read: The Kovan Leopards placed second, while Quis placed third. After a long pause, the emcees and the solo vocalists all shouted out the name of the first place band: Platonic π!! There was much applause as all the winners showed their trophies and the night of epic talent showcasing ended.
Although the Smoking Marshalls did not place, it is clear that they and everyone else enjoyed themselves immensely. A big applause to all the contestants who poured their all into their performances; the results were undeniably amazing. As I left the hall, I was very impressed with the amount of musical talent present in Singapore. I look forward to the Smoking Marshalls other performances in the coming school year, hopefully complete with the ever present stage charisma and added hat tossing.
Regarding that hat, to my knowledge, it is still stuck in the lighting of the Lasalle College of Arts auditorium with no intention of coming back down to earth.