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Don’t Forget Your Lyrics

19 Nov

SINGAPORE : Half a million dollars – that’s how much a forgotten lyric might cost you if you are a contestant on new Channel 5 game show, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”.

Hosted by local celebrity, Gurmit Singh, contestants are required to sing out – karaoke style – the words to fill in the blanks in the song. And if you can keep singing it right for 10 songs, you’ll walk away with S$500,000!

Easy peasy you say? Well, not quite.

“These people who come along thinking they know the song and when the music stops, the lyrics go away, they get stumped!” Gurmit said.

“My theory is this, when people see blanks, dashes, their minds go blank as well.”

Each game consists of three tiers which are divided into nine levels. The difficulty of the challenge increases with each tier and the tiers dictate how many blank lyrics contestants have to remember and sing within a stipulated time.

Contestants have to get every exact lyric correct to pass the stage, and like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, they can get help if they wish to.

Each contestant is entitled to three lifelines also known as “backups” that they can use when they are stuck at any point of the competition. But each backup can only be used once.

“Backup Singer” allows the contestant to bring a friend or family member on stage to help sing the missing lyrics.

If contestants opt for “Two Words”, they can choose any two words they have filled in to check if they are right.

The last, “3 Lines”, allows contestants to pick the correct answer from three multiple choice options.

“Every time you answer correctly, you keep going up (the different levels), higher and higher. But every time you lock in the words and they are wrong, any single word, any single punctuation is wrong, you go to either zero or S$10,000 threshold level,” Gurmit explained.

The game show also features celebrity contestants like MediaCorp actresses Fiona Xie and Jade Seah, characters from Channel 5 sitcoms such as Phua Chu Kang (Gurmit Singh), Sergeant Dollah (Suhaimi Yusof), Adrianna Wow and Barbarella Chanel (both played by Michelle Chong) and even “Singapore Idol” winners Taufik Batisah and Hady Mirza, as well as runner-up Jonathan Leong.

But the one to look out for is actress Andrea Fonseka who is “really good”. “She knows many songs, she’s like a walking encyclopedia,” said Gurmit.

“Don’t Forget the Lyrics” premiered last year in the United States, and Singapore is the 30th country in the world to showcase the popular game show. It premieres Thursday, 27 November, at 8pm on MediaCorp’s Channel 5.

– CNA/km

Channel News Asia

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Tay Ping Hui Is ‘Not Cool’

20 Jun

SINGAPORE: Beneath that suave and cool exterior, Tay Ping Hui is really a klutz who trips over himself, weirds people out with his OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and is “terrible with women”.

If you can’t imagine it, see for yourself in the MediaCorp artiste’s next dramedy where he plays a former CID officer on the wrong end of the cool-chart.

Filming started on Thursday after a prayer ceremony held at Caldecott Broadcast Centre.

Speaking to TODAY, Tay revealed that in reality, he’s not always the picture of cool collectedness he seems to portray.

“I’ve walked into a tree before,” said the 37-year-old of his clumsiness.

“I may be quiet and low key but I don’t think I’m cool at all. That’s so lame.”

In Crime Busters (its working title), Tay’s “witty” and “intelligent” character investigates cold cases in an ulu four-staff department together with his young partner (Dawn Yeoh).

For her role, Yeoh trades her saccharine sweet princess-y image for a more androgenous look, complete with a shorter do and a spunkier get-up.

The series also stars MediaCorp’s new face to look out for – Paige Chua. The 27-year-old model recently starred as Fiona Xie’s sister in Just in Singapore and can currently be seen on TV in La Femme alongside Zoe Tay.

You’ll be seeing lots more of the comely actress when the nitty-gritties of her contract with MediaCorp are finalised.

Shaun Chen, Pan Ling Ling, Alan Tern, Rebecca Lim, Zhang Yao Dong, Joey Swee, Rayson Tan and Michelle Chong round up the cast.

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He’s The Dominator

9 Jun

SINGAPORE: Dominic Lau is smitten by a MediaCorp hottie. Only, it’s not Fann Wong, Fiona Xie or any other lithesome beauty.

In fact, his crush doesn’t even own a set of ovaries.

“I actually got to meet Gurmit Singh and I was so blown away!” said the Eurasian good-looker (his mum’s English). “He’s a big star in the region you know!”

While Gurmit is indeed a bright, shining star on our sunny isle, it was surprising to hear the Hong Kong-based Dominic go on and on about him (“He’s such a funny, warm, great person!”) – especially when the highlight of his career was hosting a programme on the red carpet at last year’s Academy Awards.

“It must have been the biggest thing I’ve done,” said MediaCorp TV Channel 5’s latest hunk and Channel V VJ. “It was my first live telecast ever and I was so nervous. But it was amazing to get to interview big Hollywood A-listers, like Helen Mirren, Eddie Murphy, Greg Kinnear, Clint Eastwood, Steve Carell and Al Gore.”

As he went on about his Oscar adventure, thanks to his additional role as the host of Star Movies’ VIP Access – he has a manner of prattling on as if you were his newfound best friend – one couldn’t help but wonder: Isn’t going from Tinseltown to Caldecott Hill a bit of an anti-climax?

“Of course not. I got to interview some big stars of America. Now, I get to mingle with the big names of this region,” the 26-year-old former model said.

Dominic was in town to promote his newly-minted job as host of The Showdown, the Channel 5 game show that pits local celebrities against each other. The commercial music graduate told TODAY that all it took was one phone call from MediaCorp to get him on a plane to Singapore.

That and our pretty women.

“The girls here … Woah! So pretty and always in shorts and flip-flops!” he said, grinning mischievously.

But isn’t there a special someone in his life to keep him in Hong Kong? For the first time during the interview, Dominic’s cocksure but likable demeanour turned almost wistful.

“When I first started out with Channel V back in 2005, I met a very beautiful girl called Sarah (Tan),” he said. “I was very smitten and I am not usually like that with girls or people.”

Former Channel V VJ Sarah Tan and ESPN Star Sports presenter Soo Kui Jien got married in Bali on Dec 21 last year and are expecting a baby due anytime soon.

“I sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that she’s doing well. Kui Jien is a really lucky man,” he said.

And that was when the articulate host blessed with pretty-boy looks and who’s on the way to becoming a household name in Singapore fell uncharacteristically quiet.

“Sarah Tan is the one that got away.”

The happily-married couple politely declined to comment.

The Showdown airs every Thursday at 8pm on MediaCorp TV Channel 5. –

Channel News Asia

Look Beyond The Bikini

14 May

SINGAPORE : Talk about being sporting.

High-jumping into the spirit of the Olympics, MediaCorp TV Channel 8 will roll out a new sports-themed drama, Beach.Ball.Babes, on July 7, just before the Beijing Games kick off on August 8.

The 20-episode drama about volleyball boasts a “royal” cast that includes former beauty queens Joanne Peh and Jade Seah, two of MediaCorp’s “princesses” Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh, as well as Fann Wong’s groom-to-be, Christopher Lee.

Another volleyball show, you ask?

Well, it has been years since Chen Liping was seen in The Winning Team. Besides, this latest take serves up a lot more eye candy as a lot of the action takes place at the beach which means beach babes Joanne, Jade and Jesseca will be steaming up your TV screens in their bikinis.

But sports has always had a firm place in local Chinese dramas, from 1980’s Flying Fish which starred one-time TV poster boy Wang Yuqing to the more recent The Champions (2004), featuring hot young stars like Fiona Xie and Felicia Chin.

“We try to do one or two sports dramas every year,” Kok Len Shoong, MediaCorp’s Senior Vice-President for Chinese Drama Productions, told Today. “This year, it’s especially significant because of the Olympics.”

So, why volleyball, or beach volleyball, to be precise?

“Beach volleyball is a new item at the Olympics. We think it’ll be of great interest to our viewers,” Kok explained.

Channel News Asia

Nine Faces Of Channel 5

12 May

SINGAPORE : Here’s a quick pop quiz: What do Gurmit Singh, Adrian Pang, Fiona Xie, Michelles Chia and Chong, Andrea Fonseka, Utt, Aaron Aziz and Jas Arora have in common?

If you don’t know, you’re obviously not watching enough TV. Suffice it to say, these are the nine faces of Channel 5 who are tasked with spearheading the channel’s latest re-branding exercise, which aims to put more home-grown talent on air.

Their faces certainly are familiar enough: Gurmit is a 13-year Channel 5 stalwart; you could say that Adrian has been in almost every drama, variety, comedy and game show; Andrea became TV’s “it” girl just after one season on Deal Or No Deal; Fiona and Michelle Chia have successfully crossed over from Channel 8; Michelle Chong is known for her comic turns on TV; Utt’s perennial hosting duties have given him a wider demographic; while Aaron and Jas had impressive outings on Heartlanders and Achar!, respectively.

So why then?

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Caldecott Royalty Does The Fann-Cy Talk

6 Feb

SINGAPORE: Oh yes, Fann Wong is definitely in the mood for love. “I want that rose! It’s beautiful!” she gushed with excitement.

Then, she added coyly: “Valentine’s Day is coming … ”

Take a hint, Chris. And get your cheque book out.

The rose that has captured the heart of the Princess of MediaCorp is no ordinary flower – it’s really a painting titled Life Like Flower No 1 by renown Chinese artist Feng Zhen Jie, and it costs a whopping S$400,000.

“I’d like to receive that on Valentine’s Day. If not, then never mind,” said the actress, mock sniffing, before breaking into faux evil laughter.

It was 9.45 on a Monday morning when Fann met TODAY for this interview, and she was early. She had, in fact, been up since 5am to prep for her interview on Channel News-Asia’s Prime Time Morning, and it was to be a busy, busy day ahead – more promotional work for her latest movie, Jack Neo’s Ah Long Pte Ltd, followed by rehearsals for MediaCorp TV Channel 8’s Chinese New Year countdown show.

Yet, the actress, who just turned 37 two weekends ago, looked fresh as dew, and not a year older than 30. She looked a million bucks – even with minimal make-up – in a flirty white bareback Loewe dress under a matching white leather jacket.

Clearly in high spirits, Fann was uncharacteristically – for a superstar – candid and open, yakking and joking away without reservation.

“As long as the questions are not too personal, I’m okay with it,” she said, flashing her charming megawatt smile.

We took the opportunity to venture into personal waters and asked her why she seems much more open about her relationship with her actor beau Christopher Lee these days, and she teased: “I’ll kiss him back this year (at the Star Awards)!”

We pushed our luck a little further and asked her what her boyfriend thought of her “fanny-baring” scene in Ah Long Pte Ltd (for which she didn’t think it was “necessary to use my body”, so what you’ll be seeing is her butt double).

She volunteered impishly: “I wanted to pull his leg and tell him that it is going to be my butt just to test his reaction … and to see if he’d recognise that it’s not really my butt.”

My oh my. This is not the kind of talk we were expecting from the notoriously private Caldecott royalty who has starred in Hollywood movies alongside international celebrities like Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Maggie Q. But who’s complaining?

Behind that glamorous facade, Fann proved to be a goodie-bag full of surprises. We even found out that she sneaks into local cinemas to watch the occasional movie.

“I do! I just go. I don’t care,” she said.

You just celebrated your 37th birthday two weekends ago. Are you feeling the pressure of growing old in an industry that’s constantly thirsty for youthful beauty?

Is it my 37th? I’ve lost count! Age hasn’t bothered me since I turned 21, when I was really happy. I enjoy being where I am now.

I mean, you don’t want be in your 20s forever. I’d be very afraid if I had to keep doing the same things I did in my 20s. You grow older, you get to know yourself better and you become more confident. And I think it’s wonderful to have young people coming onboard the entertainment scene. New blood is a good boost for a small industry like ours.

So you don’t feel threatened by the so-called “Seven Princesses” of MediaCorp (Fiona Xie, Felicia Chin, Joanne Peh, Jeanette Aw, Rui En, Jesseca Liu and Dawn Yeoh) nipping at your Christian Louboutins?

I look at it very positively. You need a new face to represent every era. Yeah, I think every one of (the princesses) stands a very good chance.

I’m just very lucky as I happened to be in right place at the right time, meeting the right people. So, just three words of advice: ‘Hard work’ and ‘luck’.

Do you see yourself “stepping down” and retiring soon?

Being the free spirit I am, I think I’ll quit as and when there are no more fun and challenging roles left for me to play. Or, when I feel that there is something else that needs me to focus on, I’ll move on. It could happen tomorrow. Much as I love what I do, you never know ῅ passion can go out in a split second giving way to another.

Like family and motherhood, perhaps?

Maybe! I don’t know! Of course I’d like to have children. Ideally, if I can afford it, I would like to have enough children to form a football team!

But at the moment, time just doesn’t allow it. So, I’ll let nature take its course. I think I have ample time before I should start worrying.

As someone who can probably have anything you want, what is one thing you can’t have right now?

That’s not true! I can’t have that beautiful painting by Feng Zhen Jie (Life Like Flower No 1). It costs S$400,000! There’s nothing else I want.

Okay, seriously, I believe in being contented with what you have and being grateful … But I still want that art piece! I am going to steal it! –

Channel News Asia

Award-Winning Film-Maker Kelvin Tong Starts Work On New Horror Film ‘Rule #1’

19 Sep

SINGAPORE: Filming has started for Singaporean movie director Kelvin Tong’s new US$2 million horror flick ‘Rule #1’.

The film, set in Hong Kong, is co-produced by Kelvin’s Boku Film, MediaCorp Raintree Pictures, Fortune Star Entertainment, Scorpio East Pictures and Dream Movie Entertainment.

It stars Hong Kong actors Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue. Singaporean actress Fiona Xie plays a supporting role in the film.

In the show, Ekin and Shawn are cops in charge of dealing with hotline calls to the police about supernatural happenings.

Their job is to convince people of ‘Rule #1’, which is, that there are no ghosts.

Director Kelvin said that despite his record-breaking success in Singapore with his horror movie ‘The Maid’, he is under no pressure to replicate that achievement.

He said: “I actually wrote the film for Shawn and Ekin. I knew I wanted them from day one, but of course, the big question was whether they would want the film. But I was very pleasantly surprised because as soon as I finished it, I got it translated to Cantonese… sent it to Shawn, sent it to Ekin.

“They got back within a week and suddenly, I had a cast. So I think they were very attracted to the script, and they saw potential in this very strange mix of cops and ghosts.”

Ekin Cheng said: “I believe he saw my previous movies. I think he understands that I crave for new roles and directions. It’s a great opportunity for me.” – CNA/ir

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