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'Let voice help decide the singing talent'

Indian Idol 2 voters should start listening with their ears instead of their eyes, writes Uma Nair.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 10:28 IST
Uma Nair
Uma Nair

The Indian Idol show on Sony was full of drama, debate, dismay and disgust on Tuesday night. While the mediocre voices of Anuj and Sandeep were voted to the top, Amey Date of the rich baritone was voted out by a nation that wants to keep its eyes instead of ears on the two contestants from Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

Following the tremendous popularity of the first version of Indian Idol, the judges have again selected a limited number of Idol wannabes out of the thousands who have braved angst and sleeplessness in hopes of getting to Bollywood. But that is where the similarity stops.

The two top contenders of last year - Amit Sana and Abhijit Sawant - were not only great singers and performers but they had perfect sur (pitch). This year the nation has voted out the perfect pitched Amey and instead kept Anuj and Sandeep, who are both weak voices.

The sterling voiced Karunya is left, but knowing the sad reality of voting by the masses, the contestant from Hyderabad may also be voted out and we will have to endure the off key voices vying for the title.

The first season gained notoriety because of Sonu Nigam's merciless, but faultless and highly accurate criticism of the young contenders.

On Tuesday night as the judges rightfully protested, it was even more shocking to see that the hostess Mini Mathur appeared to take her responsibility a little too seriously, and the show was shot through with a sense of pompous melodrama.

However, Mini proved she was hostess for the bucks she earned and not for the truthfulness and devotion to good music, as she announced janta ki vote hai!' .

Amey of course bowed down with grace but the fireworks between a member from the audience and the graceful Farah Khan seemed to convey a case of vindictive opposition and venom more than justice.

At it's heart, Indian Idol 2 is an interactive piece of theatrics, that positions itself as a new-time "star maker," discovering some ingenue along the fame fountain of Bollywood.

Expertly engineered by a team of drama-savvy producers to deliver thrills, chills and occasional off-key renditions of adult contemporary standards in equal measure-this time it is ugly and divided. This time the magic is missing because the wrong people have gone to the top with the exception of Hyderabadi Karunya.

With this earnestness, Indian Idol 2 makes celebrity fame look both accessible and entirely selective. You don't need to sing well you only need to be of ordinary quality. That is, it challenges the idea that anyone, especially the idiotic or self-embarrassing, can be a star.

Rejected candidates might get a quick few seconds of notoriety, but finalists with no good voices like Anuj and Sandeep get a shot at becoming more respected stars with lesser voices.

Combining the dream of music, stardom and the brutal smackdown of the talentless, Indian Idol 2 is all set to reward the fresh-faced youth of India and viewers seeking someone to cheer on even if they can't sing.

Indian Idol 2 voters should perhaps start listening with their ears instead of their eyes and identify talent, rather than the talentless.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 09:00 IST