GIVE a kid a microphone and they will show you how to sing. Give them a stage, and they will put on one heck of a show. The finalists for the MY Challenge singing categories (Solo and Group/Duet) did just that last weekend.
All in harmony
It was truly a reason for the SM Sri KDU, Selangor, students to celebrate as they swept up the medals in the Duet/Group Singing category. The school’s supporters went crazy as they realised that the gold, silver and bronze medals in the category each went to one of their own.
Crowd favourites Yong Zheng Xi, 17, and Joanna Tan, 15, took home the gold medal with their rendition of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. The duo put their own twist to the popular song, which is originally a solo number.
“I had actually performed this song as a duet with another singer in a competition previously. Only after that did we realise that the singers from Glee also did the same duet,” explained Zheng Xi.
In second place were Lim Jodi and Loo Yik Herr, who sang a duet from the movie Tangled. The schoolmates searched high and low for a perfect song that they could do for the finals and decided upon I See The Light as it suited their tones the best.
“I remember hearing this song from the movie and thought that it would work well for us. And it did. We’re glad that the song turned out okay for us,” said Jodi, 16.
Initially, Jodi and Yik Herr were given different singing partners but in the end the teachers decided that they sounded better together.
“This is the first competition in which we performed as partners and we practised hard to get the performance right.
Rounding up the winners’ list were Teh Xin Er, 17, Nur Syahirah Khairuddin, 16, Tan Ei Men, 15, Natalie Law, 15 and Nur Sofea Athila, 16.
They performed Christina Aguilera’s Candyman in their striped tops and red skirts. The girls only had time to practise their routine a week before the competition but are still happy with their performance. “There were some initial technical problems but we overcame that. After that, the performance was quite good and we all had a wonderful time singing on stage,” said Nur Syahirah.
It is Lim Yin Yin’s dream to be a professional singer one day and last week, she took one step closer to achieving that dream. The SMJK Katholik, Petaling Jaya, Selangor student won the gold medal in the Solo Singing category and no one in the audience doubted the judges’ decision.
Her strong and clear voice resonated in the hall as she belted out Listen. Originally sung by Beyonce Knowles, Yin Yin proved that she could hold a candle to the award-winning singer.
“I don’t have a vocal coach but I’ve been to a few short vocal classes. My biggest fan and critic is my mum – she is the one who tells me when I do something wrong or right,” said Yin Yin, 16.
She practised the song many times in front of her mother who often corrected her when she didn’t get certain parts right.
“I love singing for my mother, she always gives the best comments and she’s a good listener,” she said.
Although Yin Yin wants to be a psychiatrist, she hopes that she could also achieve her dream to become a professional singer.
“Christina Aguilera is my idol and I would like to be a great singer like her one day.”
Yong Zheng Xi from SM Sri KDU not only emerged as the first runner-up but also won the Best Showmanship award after getting the crowd to sing along to his perfomance. He performed CeeLo Green’s hit Forget You which he said is a departure from his usual song style.
“I always perform slow and sentimental songs. But I decided that for MY Challenge, I would do something uptempo, something that would get me out of my comfort zone,” said Zheng Xi.
He took a chance with Forget You and it paid off.
Coming in third place was Sheena Siva Subramaniam of SM Wesley Methodist, Kuala Lumpur, who also performed Adele’s Rolling In The Deep (it was a very popular song choice that day).
Best Vocalist of the Year award went to Chan Tian Hui of SMK Subang Utama, Selangor.
The bands were the acts that the audience waited anxiously for during the competition. The band members got on stage with their swagger on and brought down the house with their guitar riffs, throaty voices and crazy beats.
Decked out in marching band uniforms complete with red berets, the boys from SM Sri KDU won the gold medal in the Band category. Their awesome performance of School Of Rock was deemed the best among them all.
“We chose that song because we related to it and thought that it would fit well with the competition’s ‘school’ theme,” said band leader Razlan Ashwyn Arif, 16.
“We had been practising a lot up until competition day, working on our performance and trying to get our gimmick right. We didn’t expect the win, but it’s awesome nonetheless,” he said, adding that they picked School of Rock because they have performed it before.
Divine Intervention from SM Stella Maris, KL, on the other hand wowed the judges with their original song composition titled I Miss The Girl You Used To Be, written by vocalist/guitarist Joel Christopher John.
“He wrote the song long before the MY Challenge final and it came up when we discussed which song to perform on that day,” said Axel Jonas Sivanathan, 17.
The band decided to take the risk of singing an original song, hoping that it would score them points in the creative department.
“We were quite disappointed that we didn’t win the gold medal but that’s in the past now. This competition is a stepping stone for us and a learning experience,” said Axel.
Taking home the bronze medal were the students from SM Wesley Methodist, who gave Adele’s Rolling In The Deep a rock twist.
“We had always messed with that song, and during a practise session we decided that it was the track to perform during the MY Challenge final,” said Isaac Miranda, 16.
The boys all got together to work on the song arrangement and help each other come up with the best version.
“We all know how to play more than one instrument, so it was easy for us to work on this song. We just shared ideas and experimented a lot before coming up with the final version,” he said.