|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2011)|
|Format||Interactive Reality game show|
|Country of origin||India|
|No. of seasons||7|
|Running time||60 minutes per episode|
|Original run||2006 – ongoing|
Star Singer is a popular Indian Malayalam language music reality-television competition, broadcast on Asianet and previously sponsored by Idea Cellular Limited. The show, which selected contestants in the age group of 15–35 years determined the winner based on their skill in singing and entertainment. Text messages are sent by the shows' audience to vote for the best performing participant and a small weightage of this score is considered for a candidate to be shortlisted to next round. The show also features a panel of judges who are prominent personalities in the Malayalam music industry and they offer scores and evaluations of performance to the contestants in every stage of the competition.
Starting out in 2006 along the lines of Indian Idol, the chief judge on the show was Malayalam music director M. Jayachandran accompanied by a panel of veteran musicians like K. S. Chithra, M. G. Radhakrishnan, Tippu, Deepak Dev, Jassie Gift, Chitra Iyer, Sugeetha Menon and many other pioneers from the music industry.The show was co-hosted by singers Vidhu Prathap, Biju Narayanan and Rimi Tomy.Out of approximately 7,000 contestants participating from various states of the country the season was won by Arun Raj in the male category and Kavita Jayaram in the female category. The winners received Rs. 1 lakh in prize money, a contract for playback assignments in Jayachandran's upcoming film projects, a deal with Satyam Audios and deals for performing at concerts abroad.This season of the show was produced by Prathap Nair.
In 2007, Idea Star Singer returned with an improved show format and was hosted by Ranjini Haridas, a winner of the Miss Kerala pageant. In this season, the prize was an opportunity to sing in the next project by film director Vinayan, and an apartment in Cochin worth Rs 40,00,000. The judging panel featured playback singer M. G. Sreekumar, music director Sharath, and Indian pop singer Usha Uthup. A fourth judging spot featured different celebrity guests all of whom are people of importance in the Malayalam film industry. The 2007 season was inaugurated by popular Malayali actor Mohanlal and more than 20,000 hopeful singers applied to participate in this season. Only 45 contestants were short-listed from the 100 contestants that made it through to the preliminary round, and this was followed by a televised elimination round on based on audience's text message votes and the decision of the judging panel. During the season, contestants were involved in special grooming and choreography sessions.
The final round of the competition was held on 19 April 2008 and the final votes via text messages were close to 500,000 .Najim Arshad from Thiruvananthapuram won the final round, bagging the brand new flat which was sponsored by The Confident Group. The first runner-up was Durga Viswanath and she got a Ford Fiesta car sponsored by The Alukkas Jewellery Group. The second runner-up was Thushar M K and the third runner-up was Arun Gopan.
This season of Idea Star Singer was flagged off by Malayalam action hero Suresh Gopi, who also performed a song, along with performances by M.G. Sreekumar, Ouseppachan, P. Unnikrishnan, and L.R. Eswari. The inaugural episode started with a prayer and song by Najim Arshad, who won the previous season of the show.
85 contestants competed in the auditions round, out of which only 50 contestants were selected. In this season,two prizes were awarded, one each for a male and female contestant. The prize was an apartment either Thiruvananthapuram or Dubai City, each valued at Rupees 1 crore sponsored by the Confident Group. The main panel of judges was changed to introduce Ouseppachan, P. Unnikrishnan and a spot for a different celebrity guest judge for each week. At the start of the season M.G. Sreekumar who was a judge in the previous season was retained in the main panel of judges, but he was later removed, and Sharreth and Usha Uthup from the previous season were called back upon popular demand. The show was initially hosted by Ramya Raveendran but Ranjini Haridas returned to host the show under popular demand from the viewers, and this led to Ranjini becoming an iconic part of the show in its future seasons.
The final round of this season was aired live on 25 April 2009 from the Chandrashekaran Nair Stadium, Trivandrum and it was hosted by Ranjini Haridas and Vani Jayaram (a contestant from the 2007 season) a held at The special chief guest for the finale was Music Director MS Viswanathan.The 2008 season was won by Vivek Anand and Sonia in the male and female winner categories respectively. The first runner-up was Rahul R Laxman and he was presented with 101 tolas of gold sponsored by Josco Jewellers. The fourth prize of Rs. 2 Lac went to Gayathri. Consolation prizes were given to Jins Gopinath and Prasobh.
Idea Star Singer returned on air for its fourth season in 2009. The grand prize was a villa valued at Rs 1 crore villa sponsored by Travancore Builders. The Grand Finale was held on 1 August 2010 at Chandrashekaran Nair Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram and it was judged by S.P.Balasubramanyam, M.G.Sreekumar, K.S. Chithra and Sarath. The five contestants who made it to the finale were Joby John, Preethi Warrior, Sreenath, Anju Joseph and Vidhya Shankar. The season was won by Joby John. Sreenath and Preethi were selected as the first and second runner up respectively. Anju Joseph and Vidya Sankar who were eliminated based on SMS votes in the grand finale secured third and fourth runner up positions respectively.
Kalpana Raghavendar won the 2010 Star Singer contest. She won a villa worth INR 10,000,000. Mridula Varier became the first runner-up. She won gold worth INR 1,500,000. Immanuel Henry became the second runner-up. He won gold worth INR 750,000. Antony John became the third runner-up. He won INR 500,000. Akhil Krishnan became the fourth runner-up. He won INR 200,000. Antony also won a special prize of INR 500,000 from film actor Mohanlal but due to shooting and other problems, Mohanlal wasn't able to turn up leaving Ganagandharvan Padma Shri Dr K.J Yesudas to hand over the prize money.
Merin Gregory of Kozhikode won the ISS winner title in ISS season 6. 2nd prize was secured by Rajeev from Thiruvananthapuram.December 22, 2012 saw the grand finale of the season. The eminent judging panel consisted of playback singers KS Chitra, M G Sreekumar and music director M Jayachandran. The show was directed by Prathap Nair
The seventh season of Star Singer started airing in March 2014. The show is hosted by Rimi Tomy and MG Sreekumar, who also act as the judges, along with Anuradha Sreeram.
|Season||Aired from||Aired till||Judges||Anchor(s)||Winners||Finalists|
K.S. Chithra, Tippu
M. G. Sreekumar,
|Najim Arshad||Durga Viswanath,
Thushar M K,
M. G. Sreekumar,
M. G. Sreekumar,
|Ranjini Haridas||Joby John||Sreenath,
|5||September 24, 2011||Sharreth,
M. G. Sreekumar,
|Ranjini Haridas||Kalpana Raghavendra||Mridula Warrier,
|6||September 25, 2011||M. Jayachandran,
M. G. Sreekumar,
|Ranjini Haridas||Merin Gregory||Megha,Merin,Nandu,Rajeev,Shamshad,Sukesh Kuttan|
Asianet has not made clear how the SMS votes are attributed before and after on each contestants reaching the 'danger zone' leading to their elimination. It is alleged that the SMS votes received are not added to decide the ranking of the contestants. The number or the percentage of SMS votes received by each contestants are kept private from the viewers of the show. Since the channel has its reach over 60 countries including the Indian sub-continent, Sri Lanka, China, South East Asia, Middle East, Europe, USA, Singapore and the lower half of the former Soviet Union at various time zones, the SMS voting end-time was initially not announced. Asianet later clarified after the eighth stage that SMS voting deadlines are based on Indian Time.
According to Asianet sources, for the Grand Finale, weightage of SMS was just 5% of overall score with judges' score attributing the rest 95%.
After each stage of performance, the show has 'elimination' round. The candidates are eliminated from the next stage of performance through the 'elimination' round. Candidates are eliminated based on the scores given by the judges and the SMS votes each candidates gets.The number of SMS votes each candidate gets is not revealed to the audience. Initially the audience were not informed of the elimination date and venue in advance. However, the channel pursued its audience to vote even after the elimination process was over. This had affected the reputation of the channel and the programme was criticized for its malpractices. However after its eighth stage the project team behind the programme corrected this error as a face saving measure by making its elimination round public. The programme continued to be criticized through the online forum of the programme itself. Later, Asianet had to close the forum fearing negative opinions.
Every elimination round begins with the presentation of a few candidates as fallen into danger zone. A candidate falls into danger zone if the channel declares that person has not got either sufficient scores or enough votes. The elimination round is always presented as an emotional event where often the judges and participants end up crying. Often the judges use the emotional environment to persuade the audience to vote.
There are criticism from various corners saying that many of the winners didn't actually opt to receive the prizes because of the huge tax they had to pay for receiving the villa. That means the channel's advertisement of getting a villa through their sponsor is questioned. This got more visible in the case of ISS season 4 winner Joby John
Asianet's exclusivity rights on ISS contestants
The show appears to have lost some credibility when one of the contestants was eliminated without being present at the stage on the eighth round of eliminations. The reason behind this contestants deliberate absence remains unexplained to the audience and was told to be due to 'personal reasons' and 'not so serious matter' concerning him, the show & Asianet. They have confirmed that he was eliminated from show for violating one of the rules. There is a rumor that the contestant got booted off the show after he declined from signing the exclusivity rights contract with Asianet not to sing in movies, attend stage shows, or other television channel's programs for a period of 18 months.
Balakrishnan Shenoy's criticisms
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
Renowned film and media critic Balakrishnan Shenoy has, in several articles, severely criticized the show. "The show, and by extension its makers, have no respect for our time. Isn't it peculiar that they manage to fit in only four to five contestants in a whole hour long episode? So much of the show's runtime is wasted on the judge's ridiculous comments. They nitpick about the littlest things, discouraging the participants from making the songs their own. They'd rather have the participants reproduce the original songs without any form of interpretation," he writes. While fans of the show defend it by stating that the point of the show is that the participants have to replicate the songs, Shenoy argues that the art of singing should not be limited to being an act of exact duplication as is done on the show.
Shenoy has also boldly written negatively about the judges. He once described the judges as "fat vultures who eat everything up, from the participant's enthusiasm, to our time, to the show's runtime." He later published a retraction when the show's judges didn't take his article lightly. However, his retraction ended with the statement, "...and so, again, I apologize. They are not fat vultures. Well, not vultures for sure."
He also repeatedly refers to the show's attempts to move the audience emotionally as "pornographic". "The show," he writes, "tries so hard to squeeze emotions out of you. They play footage in slow motion with sad music in the background in an attempt to move us. The only moving it did for me was pushing me off the couch and into the kitchen. There are those 'special' episodes which, again, want to tug at our heartstrings. They show off people with disabilities and try to elicit our sympathy in the most obvious, and unintentionally insensitive ways. I suppose we do feel sympathy that they're on the show."
Shenoy is especially critical of the show's host Ranjini Haridas. "Ranjini is painful to watch and hear. Apart from how her fake laughs and smiles are an assault on the senses. I find the way she tries to comfort the participants after they receive their scores both amusing and extremely stupid. '66... ah, it's an... okay score. You can do better. Chalta hai. Practice will lead to improvement.' Your stupid auntie can say that to you after you mess up an exam paper. An obnoxious thirty year old woman with a fake laugh and an even faker accent cannot. And especially not on national television." In a famous telecast interview on NDTV, he said, "Did no one tell Ranjini Haridas that it's bad manners to talk and eat? [Because] she keeps yapping away as she eats through our brains."
Fans of the show have repeatedly written off Shenoy's articles against the show as the ravings of a 'hater', one response letter saying that he "find(s) faults with everything for no reason". Shenoy responded to this with a single sentence: "Point that statement at the judges of the show, please."
References and notes