taken from Malay Mail 26 November 2007
THIRTEEN is never a lucky number. Taking that into consideration perhaps, the 22nd Anugerah Juara Lagu showdown will have 14 songs, instead of 13 as originally scheduled, in contention following the surprise inclusion of an extra song in the Pop Rock category This brings the number of qualifiers from the Pop Rock category for the January finals to six.
In the twist, similar to that adopted by reality television programmes, organisers TV3 made the announcement of the additional composition to the AJL finals line-up after announcing the first five songs that made the list last night.
The six songs that qualified from the Pop Rock semi-final were Farhana (Bumi Kenyalang) composed by Denai, with lyrics by Andy Rahman and performed by Jinbara, Janjiku (Taja & Tass/ Sofaz), Sembunyi (Aidit Alfian/ Loloq/Misha Omar & Andy Flop Poppy), Itu Kamu (Estranged, Richard Lawrence Gimbang/ Estranged), Angan Dan Sedar (M. Nasir/Loloq/Mawi) and Destinasi Cinta (Lin Li Zhen/PSNN/Datuk Siti Nurhaliza).
TV3 Entertainment, Sports and Recreation senior manager Azhar Borhan, who was a member of the jury, said it was a unanimous decision at the 11th hour to have six instead of five compositions, due to the strength of the contenders in category.
“The admitted strength of the compositions in the category made us feel it was only right to include another song from the category in the final, especially since the genre had the most entries from the start.
“Secondly, we wanted to make the show more lively with the insertion of more tunes, as Pop Rock offers the most diverse sounds.”
Shrugging off speculation that TV3 was trying to cash in on the popularity of the tunes rather than focus on the quality of compositions, which is the objective of the song competition, Azhar said it was merely speculation.
“Going back to the roots of the Muzik Muzik series, it was always a chart show about popular songs. And the culmination in the Anugerah Juara Lagu is simply the best of those songs.
“All these songs have commercial appeal and are acknowledged as popular, so perhaps there is truth in that, though not as accusatory as it sounds,” he laughed.
On the supposed strategy of TV3 in making sure that compositions involving big names were in for the text message vote factor in determining Best Performance at the AJL, Azhar denied that the station had such ulterior motives.
“We never think of the profits. Before this, the choice was given to those in the auditorium to determine the winners of the Best Performance award.
“Later, we decided that we needed a balance, so the opportunity was given to those at home, who may have a different perception of the performances, and that was the real objective.
“We will not increase the significance of the public vote for the award, and it will remain 50-50 between professional jury decision and home audiences’ votes,” said Azhar, adding that the ‘perfect’ coincidental lineup of star performers was just for that and not an attempt to boost the ratings of the programme.
“Every year, we challenge ourselves and this year, we have to outdo ourselves again to give the best to the viewers.”
Singers of the compositions promised a star-studded finale at the Putra Stadium on Jan 27.
For pop phenomenon Mawi, often the butt of jokes for being an SMS champion and winner of numerous popularity public poll awards, it is an honour to perform in the finals.
“Angan Dan Sedar is a good song and since the competition is about the quality of compositions, as a singer, I will perform to the best of my ability and hopefully do justice to the tune.”
Pop queen Siti Nurhaliza echoed the sentiment, saying it was recognition enough to be in the semi-finals, let alone the finals.
“I did my best and I will try to do better in the finals. I’ve been in all three categories for the AJL, so it doesn’t matter which category I’m performing in.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity and am also glad I only have to focus on one song,” laughed Siti, whose other song — Bisakah — failed to make the finals in the Ballads category.
For Misha Omar and Andy of rock group Flop Poppy who will perform Sembunyi in the finals, they are hoping for composer Aidit Alfi an to repeat the magic of his earlier composition Keliru, which was named Pop Rock category and overall champion in AJL 2003.
“When we thought it was only five songs getting in, we were getting butterflies with every song announced. It’s my first time through to the finals in this category and I’m excited,” said Misha.
Andy said: “I usually perform alone or with my band, so a duet is going to be something different. I’m enjoying myself and am glad the song got in.” Former underground act Estranged frontman Richael Gimbang was enthusiastic about his compostion making the AJL finals.
“It’s a great honour to be in. I’ve watched it (AJL) as a kid and I can’t believe I am actually in it, with my own composition.”