#Showbiz: The ultimate champion

THE all-new singing reality show Terpaling Juara is set to debut on TV3 this Sunday. It will see nine contestants vying for the title of the ultimate champion.

The format of the programme, however, is somewhat different from what TV viewers have been accustomed to.

Media Prima Television Networks' deputy chief executive officer Nini Yusof says: "After a brief pause from reality singing shows, TV3 is thrilled to announce a new entertainment programme with a fresh concept. I am confident of our production's workforce in producing the best of the best TV programmes that are of utmost quality and are undeniably entertaining.

"I am also certain Terpaling Juara will win the hearts of our loyal viewers and all Malaysians."

The contestants will be divided into three groups, where each will be led by a captain.

Each captain will have two contenders under his wing (an experienced singer and a newcomer).

And the three teams will be competing against one another over eight weeks.

Based on prestige

The concept for Terpaling Juara

was built on the success of TV3's prestigious annual song competiton — Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) ­— which is now in its 36th year.

Naturally, the three captains have been chosen from the list of past AJL winners — Akim Ahmad (AJL30 winner for the song Potret), Hael Husaini (AJL32 and 33 for Jampi and Haram, respectively) and Naim Daniel (AJL34 for Sumpah).

Akim, Hael and Naim are not only popular singers, but also talented songwriters.

The team captains are chosen to guide their teammates to perform every week under the theme #playlistAJL (comprising a selection of songs that made it into the past show finals).

"This will be a challenging task. To lead someone who has more experience in the industry than you is not easy. But this is certainly a good exposure for me when I do have to deal with it in future," shares Hael.

Fellow captain Naim admits he is still figuring out what sort of input to share with someone who is already very experienced.

"All I know is this will be one enriching experience for me, and that is the reason why I agreed to do the show," he says.

Akim may be the most senior of the three captains, but that does not guarantee him the advantage.

"While I may have been in the industry longer than them, there's no telling how well the other captains will do in the show," he says.

Contestants are tasked to breathe new life into the popular AJL songs with their own twist that will surely spark some nostalgia in viewers.

Maturity & youth

The three selected senior singers have all made it to AJL semi-finals in the past. They are Datuk Ifa Raziah, Hazami and Rahmad Mega.

All three are thrilled and honoured to be part of the show.

"It feels good to be actively singing again after the slowdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic," shares Rahmad, 52, who had competed alongside Ifa in Astro's Gegar Vaganza Season 1.

For Ifa, known as the dangdut queen, when she was first approached by TV3 about the show, it never occurred to her that the offer was for her to be a contestant.

"Initially I thought they wanted me to be the emcee or as a member of the jury, but definitely not as a contestant.

"I certainly think there are more deserving singers than I am. But all this is fated, and come what may, Ifa is ready to take the bull by its horns!" says the high-spirited diva.

As for Hazami who is known for his smooth and soulful vocals, he has no qualms in being led by a younger artiste with less experience than him.

"I don't see what the problem is. The fact that I've been a vocal instructor or composer or album producer in the past does not mean that I am incapable of taking in input for the betterment of my performance.

"One can learn something new at any age. So I'm ready to learn and improve myself as a singer," admits Hazami.

The young ones

Meanwhile, the three junior singers in the competition are Shaz Shaharum, 26, Aqmal Ramdan, 26 and Aqeesh Aleeya, 18.

They were selected from 380 aspirants who attended the two-day auditions nationwide last month.

To find out how these newcomers prevail in the presence of their senior line-up and the vast knowledge they obtain from their captains, tune in to Terpaling Juara, which will be broadcast live from Sri Pentas 2, Plaza Alam Sentral in Shah Alam at 9pm on Sunday.

Terpaling Juara will feature Haziq Hussni and Shiha Zikir as hosts, while singers Datuk Hattan and Fauziah Latiff will sit in the jury box.

The show will run for eight episodes and open with performances from all six contestants before the three captains announce the selection of two contestants of their choice.

The winner of Terpaling Juara will take home RM100,000, while the first and second runners-up will receive RM50,000 and RM30,000, respectively.

Terpaling Juara has Vivo as its main sponsor, with Nivea as co-sponsor, Hot FM as the official radio partner, and Berita Harian and

Harian Metro as official media partners, besides Xtra and Oh Bulan! as digital partners.

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