The grueling auditions and the tense theatre rounds have finally borne fruit—we now have faces to put to the Top 30. And kicking off the piano round were the 15 girls. But before we get to the singing, we have to mention how things were just a little different on Indian Idol this Friday—not least of which were the two new hosts.
Hussain didn’t have the vivacious Mini on his arm this time—instead he had the cheeky and bespectacled Meiyang Chang meeting him repartee for repartee. The ‘partner’ and ‘buddy’ kept the audience in splits with their gags and their jokes.
Queen bee of Fashion: Priyanka Chopra turned her back on fashion shows and walked off the ramp, right onto the Indian Idol sets, to give the contestants a well needed boost of confidence. Dressed in dark blue jeans and a silver top, she praised, applauded and offered constructive criticism wherever necessary. Hats off to you!
Ananya sets the tone for the evening: Birju Maharaj’s grand daughter proved that she, indeed, has music flowing through her veins. Her song, Suno sajana, had Annu exclaim, “Wah wah kya gaaya, lagta hain kahin se tufaan aaya,” while Sonali said, “You have lived up to our expectations… now keep bettering it.”
Bhavya also impressed with her Mal mal ka kurta. Priyanka felt that the 16-year-old had very naively added seductiveness into her song.
Pooja and Shini didn’t let the judges down either. Pooja’s Sajna ji vari vari was so well performed that Priyanka said she was “completely entertained and totally enthralled”, and the only advice Annu had to give was that she “challenge herself”. And Shini’s Dil hoon hoon kare had Javed Akhtar exclaim: “Only a girl from Gwalior, the city of Tansen, can sing like this.”
The Don professes his love: In the midst of lilting melodies and enchanting voices, Hussain couldn’t help but inject a lighter note. And he pounced on little Remo to provide the diversion. He claimed that the ‘little Don’ (why Don—because Remo believes he is a pocket-sized powerhouse) was harbouring a secret—a crush on Priyanka. Hussain and Annu teased Remo so much that he finally admitted to the actress: Chote Don loves you. Priyanka took it in her stride, saying: Meri history rahin hain ki Dons ko mujhse pyar hota hain.”
A discordant note: The naughty Megha, who is always on the lookout for victims for her jokes, failed to strike the right chord with Yeh hain reshmi zulfoon ka. Though she began the song with confidence, the judges felt that it sounded over practiced and that she lost her sur. In fact, Javed said it was the weakest performance up till then.
Torsha and Purnima, who followed her onto the stage, were not able to regain lost ground either. Torsha’s Baiya na dalo oh balma got mixed responses—while Priyanka thought she was so perfect in her sur that she was having fun with it, Annu felt that she went off key. Purnima’s Beedi jalaile got a very tanda response. Sonali said she was disappointed and Kailash claimed, “Gana utna gehra nahin laga.”
Akanksha brought up the rear of this group and she too couldn’t make a mark. The judges unanimously felt that her song, Tujse naraz nahin zindagi, did not have any expression or soul in it.
The tide turns: Sourabhee, the petite girl from Agartala with hopes of becoming a singer and entering the world of glamour, realised her dream—and how! Her song Tere bin nahin jeena marjana dolna had Javed in raptures. He said: “Here is a girl from Agartala, singing a Hindi song with Punjabi words, in Mumbai, and the whole of Hindustan is listening to her.” Priyanka admitted that she got goose bumps when she was listening to her sing.
When luck came knocking a second time: Nirali had been heartbroken at the end of the theatre round when the judges chose Srijita over her. She couldn’t grasp how she could have come so close to realising her dream, only to lose it. But things did not remain dark in Nirali’s life for too long. The lucky girl got a second chance when one of the contestants had to bow out of the competition for personal reasons.
She took the stage with the desire to make the judges see that they had made a mistake by rejecting her the first time. And her rendition of Aisa jadoo dala re did just that. The judges applauded Nirali’s confidence and her performance. But Kailash did advice her to move the mike away from her during the loud notes so as to avoid the appearance of shouting.
Coping with the ups and downs: It was Tulika’s turn to impress with her Urmila-esque matkas and jhatkas as she sang Rangeela re. An impressed Annu succinctly said: “Teri awaaz mooh se nikli aur meri dil mein bas gayi.”
However, Sreejita was not able to carry the momentum forward. She faltered with Leja sandesa. Javed felt that she was not able to hit the higher notes, while Kailash said she didn’t complete the mukhda.
Then it was the cutesy Sunakshi’s turn things around. The girl with the teddy bear (who incidentally got a seat beside her on the stage) rocked with the song Mast. Priyanka couldn’t believe that such a sweet girl could give such a power-packed performance.
The final two: Raina, who loves to sing so much that every given chance she breaks into song, was not able to hit the right notes with Mera dil ye pukare aaja. Though Javed felt her voice was a very individual one, the others felt that the emotion and the essence of the song were missing in her performance. In fact, Sonali felt Raina didn’t even know when to draw breath correctly while singing.
But things did not end on a bad note. Priyanka proved that she was determined to win the Race with her song, Khwab dekhe chote mote. And her namesake at the judges’ table exclaimed, “Aapki naam ki tarah aapki gaayki bhi badi sundar hain. Javed, too, had some high praise for her—one of the top three performances of the day!
The performances may be over, but the tension is not likely to go away any time soon. After the country has chosen its favourites, four girls with the least number of votes will be eliminated. It’s tough luck, but then that’s life and that’s competition. After all, the show must go on.