After the elimination of Anish Jain, Padmanav Bordoloi, and, shockingly, Shantanu Sudame, Indian Idol began the next round of performances: the Top 9 girls.
Enter Mini Mathur, who welcomed everyone and went straight to Abhishek Kumar, who had forgotten some lyrics during his performance yesterday. Seeing this guy on yesterday’s episode, post performance, and today’s episode, I could feel how sick he must have been with worry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here: will someone please just give the guy a hug?! So Mini asked him what strategy he had for the next performance and he gave a pretty straightforward answer: to remember the lyrics! Mini told the audience that after his performance, he was completely down—hat in hand, eyes on the ground. I think he was still shocked that he was safe. Mini reminded him that it is because the audience loves him so much! Then they showed a clip of Anu Malik, who gave Bhavin a standing ovation and Emon a lot of praise. While everyone else was criticized, Abhishek was not even mentioned.
Okay, now before I move on to the performances, I want to make a disclaimer: I have been nice and liberal in giving good ratings. Why? I will explain at the end of this review. This doesn’t mean that I thought everyone was good. It just means that the weakest contenders got slightly higher ratings (not more than a point) than they should have except Deepali. Her rating was correct.
Deepali - Nisha
This girl really did come out of the woodwork and is now one of the fiercest competitors for the top spot. The girls were all asked who they thought would be their biggest competitor and Deepali topped every list, along with Puja and Charu.
She sang Nisha, an old Asha Bhonsle classic, and wow! What a way to start off this round! She was bang on with both her singing and performance. Mini gave her a hug. Alisha Chinai said that everyone is wishing in their hearts that this year, a girl becomes Indian Idol, and she’s right there…almost. Udit Narayan said that she’s very versatile and should make it to the gala round. Javed Akhtar said that in the last few episodes, all three judges have seldom been unanimous in their opinions. Here, they definitely are.
Deepali said that she was anxiously awaiting Javedsaab’s decision because even though she kept getting through, she knew that he had a problem with her breathing techniques. This time, she tried really hard to earn his positive remarks and she did succeed.
Deepa’s rating: 9.5/10
Then they made a poor effort to make up for yesterday’s bitch-fest by showing how all the contestants get along great and are so supportive. Deepa’s message to Sony: Really? The audience isn’t that naïve and you can’t play them. They shouldn’t have taken your word for it yesterday and they definitely are not going to take your word for it today. Moving on.
Charu Semwal – O Mere Sona Re
Charu is also one of the surprise packages of this season. She’s been consistently good and this episode was no different. She also picked an Asha Bhonsle song and performed it well! Javedsaab said that she started off too seriously because this is a playful song, but she fixed it as the song went along. Alisha agreed, saying she needed a little more spark. Uditji said that her singing was effortless and she had the right tone in the song. He pegged her as being in the Top 5. Javedsaab taunted Uditji by saying that this is the first time that the Top 5 will have 9 contestants!
Okay, and then they did something that I didn’t much care for: they asked Charu who her ideal guy would be to marry. She said she hasn’t thought about it but Mini pressed a little more. She responded that it would be someone who is understanding, ambitious, and passionate. Okay, good for you gal. Now let’s move on.
Deepa’s rating: 8/10
Harshida Madhaparia – Rangeelo Maaro Dholna
Now I have two things to say about Harshida in this episode. One, she is only one of two girls (the other being Deepali) who was the slightest bit of enthusiasm, but more on that later. And two, she chose a very risky song. Thank goodness she performed it well. It wasn’t a song that many people would pick, but Harshida did, and that’s what makes her unique.
With that said, she got on stage with attitude, style, and enthusiasm. Her singing was much better this episode than last episode. Alisha thought she was too hot to handle and she’s improved quite a bit, but she can work harder. Javedsaab thought that she didn’t sound like she came from England but from a village, because she sounded to authentic. He told her to be careful about the microphone when she is performing. Uditji said that she picked songs that suit her and that she performs well. He also said that she looks like some top film heroine.
Then Mini and Javedsaab teased her about her Hindi. It was all good fun and she took it quite well, but to translate all of that in English is a bit much for me! Sorry!
Deepa’s rating: 7/10
Shifa Ansari – Jaiye Aap Kahan
This is a beautiful song and I thought that Shifa didn’t put the effort into it that she could, or should, have. She was technically perfect, but it’s like she peaked during the first piano round and then has gone on a downward spiral. Uditji said that her performance was a little weak today but that she has a bright future. Alisha was disappointed and expected more from her. She seemed colorless. Javedsaab said it was missing the essence of the song: the flirtation, sensuousness, playfulness. Here, she started crying because she promised in the last episode that she would not give the judges a chance to find flaws in her performance and she let them down. She apologized to the judges for that.
Now I’m rooting for this girl and seeing her cry broke my heart. My plug: vote for her people. She’s the real thing!
Deepa’s rating: 7/10
Ankita Mishra – Golmaal Golmaal
I wasn’t very impressed with Ankita’s performance. It seems she, too, has cracked under pressure. In the bitch-fest that went on between the girls, everyone had something bad to say about Ankita. She was disheartened by the whole thing and it really showed today. Uditji, who is one of her biggest supporters, was in tears seeing Ankita so depressed and mellow.
As for her performance, the judges were not too impressed. Alisha said that Ankita always gives stunning performances but she needs to concentrate on sur because she goes flat at times. Uditji asked her what was wrong and why she is so sad. She said that nothing is wrong, but something clearly was. He told her she has the style, attitude, skills, and talent to shake the world but that today was a down day. Javedsaab said that he liked her performance because she sings from the heart and feels the songs she is singing. He feels that she sings for herself and with much enjoyment, but she was flat in a few places.
Mini came to her rescue by pointing out that in every performance, she does something different and we should recognize that. Javedsaab recited a small couplet that reflected this.
Deepa’s rating: 7/10
Smita Adhikari – Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho
If there was one big disappointment tonight, this was it. I agree with the judges – this was a poor song choice. And with it, Smita ends her Indian Idol career. Tomorrow, we should all prepare for her ouster because the audience has very low tolerance for such simple girls with beautiful personalities and immense talent but not much physical appeal. This is the sad reality and it really sucks because she has such tremendous potential. People like Smita have to work twice as hard for half the results while others, like Suhit, work less and reap more because of their looks. Suhit doesn’t deserve a spot in the Top 10, but Smita does. If she’s still in the competition tomorrow, I will HAPPILY stand corrected.
Javedsaab said that this is the first time that she’s been slightly off sur. He criticized her song choice as well, saying that it was really difficult. Uditji said that if you want to become Indian Idol, you have to choose difficult songs so the people can see what kind of talent you have. Uditji said looking at the totality, she was flat. Alisha said that she was singing well, but that her performance was lackluster and wasn’t one that touched her heart.
Smita was asked what she went wrong and she gave an unintelligible answer because she was so devastated. She also left the stage crying because yesterday, she got a standing ovation from Javed Akhtar and today, she was being crapped on.
Deepa’s rating: 6.5/10
Vartika Shukla – Aao Na
This song from Kyun Ho Gaya Na is so beautiful and I definitely think that Vartika could have sung it better. She was missing the softness that was required. I was glad to see that she sang in her original voice, unlike her last two performances. All in all, one of the weakest performances of the night, and that makes me so sad.
Javedsaab said that she sounded too mellow and that the performance was missing the throw and feeling. Alisha said that she had no confidence at all. Uditji said she seemed really depressed, like she was not enjoying the song at all. This poor girl was also holding back tears.
Deepa’s rating: 6.5/10
Puja Chatterjee – Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hai
This is such a soulful song and Puja had the right level of melancholy for it. But this wasn’t because she was trying to capture the right feeling, it’s because it was merely an extension of what she is feeling post bitch-fest. Javedsaab said she had the magic in her voice, and the X-Factor. He tried to cheer her up by saying that she is a good singer and will continue to be a good singer. He gave her a 9/10, cutting one mark because she still needs to work on her pronunciation. Alisha enjoyed her confidence and voice but told her to be careful because she got slightly nasal. Uditji felt like he needed to stand up for his comments and did so. He told Puja that he felt that she was singing all types of songs and was doing so straight from her heart. If she fixes her pronunciation, she has the potential of becoming a top singer in the film industry. WOAH! Right on Uditji! High five.
Deepa’s rating: 8.5/10
Richa Aneja – Pal Pal Har Pal
Richa is showing so much improvement from one performance to the next that I can’t help but feel proud of her. She said that her biggest competition is herself, meaning that she knows she has a long way to go and is working hard to improve herself. She was also questioned about the voting yesterday. She said that she had five names on her list of people that should be eliminated and that she was one of the five because she did not sing well. Well, now if that doesn’t show how much she has changed, then nothing will.
As for her performance, it was raw and she needs polish, and the judges told her so. But there is no doubt that she is talented. Alisha remarked that she is such a little star and that she is one of the gems. She was impressed by Richa’s singing and performance. Uditji pointed out that she went flat several times and out of sur. Alisha didn’t agree, but conceded that Richa was a little unpolished. Javedsaab said that this is the first time that she tried to get behind the feel of the song and mostly succeeded, but she did so at the cost of sur.
Deepa’s rating: 7/10
My elimination predictions for tomorrow: Smita, Vartika, and Ankita
Okay, now here are my thoughts on this whole debacle that is Indian Idol. First of all, the morale among the girls has definitely plummeted. There were only two people who seemed genuinely happy (or hid it well): Deepali and Harshida. As the girls came on stage one by one and left crying, I found myself teary-eyed too. Normally, I wouldn’t get this sad over drama on a TV show but something about this group of girls and what they have been through in the past couple of days has made me really upset.
First of all, they are all kids. The past two seasons, we’ve had older, more mature contestants. This year, they are mostly between ages 16 and 18. Did the show overlook this fact when they tried to manipulate their feelings to spice up the show? Probably not.
Second, it seems that the pressure is explosive. Is it just me or has it not been this serious in the past? Last year, when the contestants had fun, they genuinely had fun. This year, the fun seems fake and the drama much too real.
So I’ve had this on my chest all day and had to get it out. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s girls’ eliminations and guys’ performances. I hope that the girls start cheering up soon! Don’t you?
"Tomorrow, we should all prepare for her ouster because the audience has very low tolerance for such simple girls with beautiful personalities and immense talent but not much physical appeal. This is the sad reality and it really sucks because she has such tremendous potential. People like Smita have to work twice as hard for half the results while others, like Suhit, work less and reap more because of their looks."
You know, one of the reasons that I have always loved working with different world cultures is that I get to see first hand what is human nature versus what is cultural bias.
What you describe above, Deepa, is human nature. Many of us have frequently complained about the same situation on American Idol over the years.
It sucks, and yes, it is reality - anywhere in the world.
Finally i get to watch a show.....And Deepa you are spot on....I mean it was in the attittude, Body language and their stance and all......... I dont like ankita......I didnt like her one bit....But i admit that he has spunk....To have heard all that and to come out today and not change anything abt her style and to sing was great of her....I applaud her performance and i think she did sing the song pretty nicely if not perfectly.....
I have no comments to say on Charu, Deepali and Harshida.....They did a great Job......
Smita was not that bad as all makes it to be.....I liked her.....
Talent or not I dnt like Richa that much...I mean she sings the songs well but as i pointed out when she sings such songs, her voice somehow doesnt suit the songs.....I still think her audition was her best round.....
Puja- Above average though the factors were missing.....Somehow the feel was not getting across....
Vartika- She was one of my favourites....But she was so careful in making sure that she doesnt slip that she didnt pay attentio to other factors....Energy missing altogether....
Shifa - Lacklustre....Dont kill me but i felt bored watching her.......Sorry
This Indian Idol marathon is taking it's toll on everyone, including the Curlio.com staff. I cannot even begin to fathom how horrific this must be on the contestants. The fact that they are mostly 16-18 is just heinous, and I can imagine the public uproar in the US if under 18 yr olds would be put under such ridiculous deadlines.
I disagree with the judges and some contestants about Puja having sung well. It was a beautiful song and I think it fell short in every line, went down when it should have lifted off, even down to the notes being a bit cut off at the end.
Smita made a hash out of her demanding song. I think it was even more demanding for her. I don't know her mother-tongue but her pronunciation was very uncomfortable, sometimes comical. It is a pity because I think she has a nice voice and looks like a lovely person.
Lesson: look to see if you can pronounce the language before choosing a song.
Vartika is a nice girl, but her singing is limited and is showing more so everyday. Then she had to cut out all the repetitions in the mukhda and antara to fit into the time and that made the song a bit weird for me and gave the singer less of a chance to show off.
Ankita is all attitude and a very average singer, more so with every show. Really should be gone tomorrow. This is singing competition, not a karaoke dance thing!
Harshida did a much better job today, but I think she is going to be limited to just these type of songs. Bit boring, but I guess with such a strong UK blind block vote, she is going to be around for a while and we are going to loose someone far more talented.
So many of the others have shown that they can tackle a much a more diverse range.
Charu I didn't like that much today. "Me thinks she thinks a wee bit too much of herself". But she has proved herself for the next round. Also the song has been so well sung by Asha is heard so often that it leads to an automatic comparison.
Richa did very well today, Richa, go back to singing something more classical: you are good, show it with a meaty song!
I think for a 16-year old, she is also maturing very fast on a personal level. Deserves to go on to the next round anyway.
Shifa looks like another nice person with a beautiful smile but her singing needs to improve a lot.
My vote would be for Ankita, Vartika and Shifa or Smita, though I personally would like Smita to stay as she has shown she has something different to offer us in the earlier rounds.
All the contestants are young so I think Sony putting them into a reality TV situation is not on. Todays idea of strengths, weaknesses and strong competitors is a much better and healthier idea.
ok, i have to say this today... I was not happy with the standard of the performances last night, i really was expecting alot more, considering these contestants have been on training, etc.
But the flip side to this is that most of the contestants are really young, and this whole Indian Idol thing can be extremely stressful! Most of them are still kids and to bring this on suddenly can be very difficult. And to live up to these expectations...
I just hope that whoever gets chosen as the idol has the maturity to handle the fame and all the other issues that come with it.
Now to the performances... My best of the evening:
Harshida - Wow! She rocked! Her best performance, and the song suited her. I didnt realise she is gujarati till she was speaking in the clip they showed before the performance. So yay for the guju girl (since i am guju as well and not born in India :))
Deepali - She is brilliant. I hope she goes on to be the Idol, she has what it takes.
Charu - She has the stage presence and she has the voice. I wasn't all that impressed with her, but it was good.
Puja - I like this girl but her performance wasn't that great. She is extremely talented.
Smita - What on earth was she thinking??? I was dissapointed. This performance is going to get her eliminated. I expected so much more from her :(
Shifa - She is good, but there's something missing in her singing. Very cute girl.
Ankita - I must admit she has style, some sort of x-factor. But I find her irritating as well. She comes across as having an attitude.
Vartika - I really like this girl, I like her voice, but if she doesnt put some effort and make an effect, she is going to leave. That will be a pity though since I think she can make it good.
Richa - This song suited her, its a cute song and I think it was easy for her to bring the expressions into the song since it sort of suits her personality, from what I can see. But she needs some work on her. Compare her to Deepali, she is no where.
It seems like the judges already have their favourites, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out.
As for the eliminations, I would like Smita to stay in, that girl is good. Its a pity we dont have Indian Idol on radio or something, where you can't see what the person who is singing looks like. The results would have been very very different!
"I don't know her mother-tongue but her pronunciation was very uncomfortable"
Just a comment on the above remark. Smita is a Bengali girl and you are absolutely right that she had problems with the pronunciation - even i felt so. Being a Bengali I know that almost many bengalis who did not have formal Hindi training, have problems with hindi "B (Yaw)", "S (saw)", "R (Raw)". So if she gets selected today - she has to work on it. But I think she is one of the few participants who have a trained voice - doesn't go flat in the low notes.
I also disagree with judges about Puja's talent. I think she won't perform well on a fast paced masti song - she does not have the "khullamkhulla" attitude like Ankita which is required for a masti song . Good thing about her that she judiciously selects these slow paced song and performs ok.
About the song choices, if I am not mistaken, I think these contestants are given a few songs out of which they chose one. I really think that it would be really good to chose the songs themselves, and not from a limited list. This will prove how good they are at knowing which songs suit them and use that to their advantage. This will also show which of the singers are versatile.
Smitha should get another chance, she is good but not a good song choice for her. Deepa is right though, she may not get that chance.
The whole scenario for Girls is looking bleak. The fun part was what keeps me more interested in II3 rather than SAREGAMAPA challenge 2007. C2007 is very gloomy and every looks like they are carrying a heavy burden. No smiles. II3 was different until the candid camera caught up with them. Girls are very depressed. Smitha, Ankita, shifa, puja all look depressed.
Alisha is wrong, it will be a boy's idol again. Meiyang, emon, bhavin and Amit look like they are made of better material than the best of the girls.
I absolutely feel I am watching Kids Idol!!! Sorry, Deepa...I did not feel so sorry for a lot of them....except for Shifa!!!
True -- why do they have so many 16 year olds...the shows standards are getting low. They are unable to take cretiques...and start crying...jeezzz imagin Sonu, and Mastero being there....the girls would cry Buckets then!!!
Deepali - is great...I think this girl has her eyes on the ball....and she performs honestly and confidently!! (Keep up with this attitude)
Harshida - (Go Gujjus)...But this girl plays like there is nothing to lose...even if she would get eliminated....she will be smiling!!! She take criticism very constructively...and hence has shown improvement. Good attitude to have...plus as Sprout says...she got London on her back....she might run a little longer!!! And if she keeps improving I wont doubt for her to be in top 10s.
Puja - She needs to come with one solid performance!!! I would like it if she starts showing more attitude and confidence...instead of the plain look.
Shifa - She has good voice...and I like her!!!
Vartika is consistently performing bad...its her nervousness that is getting her. You cant expect a 16 yr old to handle this craziness!!!
My bottom three:
Smita, Vartika, Ankita...I am right on with you Deeps.
smita ,richa, and shifa......u guyz shud go now as u r boring..................harshida and deepali will be staying for the first 5 n deepali will be d indian idol n in guyz i want either parleen or chang to win (in guyz)
I didnt' think Smita performance was at all bad. She put dard in the song. As for performances go in comparison to others, she did as par with Puja and Deepali, but yes after Zubie Zubie this wasn't her (and only in comparison to her standards) the best thus far. Today I am glad Smita is getting another chance. The person I think might have to leave is Deepali. For one, I don't think she is exceptional or having that package deal. I would keep my hopes up for Puja. She is the only one among the girls who has been consistent thus far.
This season there is a stark difference between the male and female contestants. Almost all the boys are very very good (special mention: Emon, Prashant, Chang, Bhavin), while the situation is exactly the reverse with the girls. Overall I find the girls quite disappointing this year. As it is they are really really young (on avg 16 I guess), and on top of that they SOUND even younger...most of them have voices of 12 year olds! Even the so-called great ones like Puja, Deepali, Richa - technically they sing ok (still no Shreya Ghoshals in the making IMHO) but their voices are so thin, whiny and flat. Just compare that to Shreya Ghoshal who was in Sa Re Ga Ma when she was around that age (in fact younger!) - she had a very full sweet melodious voice even at that age. These girls are pretty flat in comparison. I don't get Udit's raving about Puja - I simply don't see what is so special about her. Sorry These girls sound way too pressed and nasal. I miss the Aditi Pauls, Prajakta Shukres and Antara Mitras of the last seasons.
Shifa's voice was the only one that sounded semi-sweet to me but unfortunately she was way too young. I am sure had she participated at the age of say 19-20 when her voice would be more mature she would be a very very strong participant. Just needed to work a bit more on her sur and emoting. I hope when her voice matures we will be seeing more of her
Also, some of the girls choose pretty easy songs (e.g Golmaal is far less challenging to sing on stage than say Jaiye Aap Kahan Jaayenge). The ones that sing plain songs pretty ok are praised to the skies by the judges, and the ones that stumble a bit on difficult songs are criticised - this is also unfair in a sense. Smita would have been able to belt out Golmaal with elaan but there is NO WAY Ankita would have been able to do justice to Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho. They should have them all sing songs that are equally difficult for real comparison. I don't believe the contestants are entirely free to choose what to sing; going by the previous two IIs it seems Sony gives them a list of songs and each contestant has to choose a song from that list only.
Anyway the competition will step up in the gala rounds and I hope we get to see better singing in the coming weeks.