“The annual music event, Juara Lagu ’99, saw precise preparations were made by each of the contestants especially in the Irama Malaysia category.
All four artists made elaborate preparations, backed by dancers, back-up singers and also traditional musicians to spice up their performance. The four contestants for the category are Kopratasa (Dondang Mustika), Siti Nurhaliza and Noraniza Idris (Hati Kama), Jamal Abdillah (Samrah Mentari) and Noraniza Idris (Dondang Dendang).
Suhaimi Mohd. Zain or better known as Pak Ngah, a well-known and prolific songwriter in traditional music, has an almost complete monopoly in the Irama Malaysia category as three of his songs contested in the category while Siso of Kopratasa was the other contender.
Graceful and colourful dance moves decorated the stage when all the four contestants in the Irama Malaysia category came up and performed their respective songs but credit must be given to Jamal Abdillah as he put up an outstanding performance and the crowd gave a loud and resounding applause to his performance. Many thought that Jamal had the upper hand but the final result by the judges proved otherwise as Siti Nurhaliza and Noraniza Idris (Hati Kama) came up tops as the winner for this category.
In the Pop Rock category, Indigo with their renditon of “”Istimewa””, composed and written by Norman, Edry and Yusry (the KRU brothers), put up a decent performance but the music by the local Ambang Klasik band (which backed all the artists for the event) somehow failed to deliver the desired impact upon the audience. However, the strings section, consisted of Shah,(guitarist for rock band, Search) and two other musicians, which accompanied Indigo were very professional in their delivery.
Besides Indigo, Siti Nurhaliza (Satu Cinta Dua Jiwa), Erra Fazira (Jendela Hati) and M. Nasir (Andalusia) also competed in this category.
However it was M. Nasir with his own composition “”Andalusia”” and lyrics by Loloq, that stole the limelight from the other artists as he showed his musical prowess, great stage control and energetic performance to snatch the winning trophy from the others.
Shima performed with barely no gimmick at all and no back-up dancers but relied heavily on her good vocals with her rendition of “”Aku Tetap Aku”” in the Balada category. Nora, with her song “”Hanya Satu””, written by her husband Johan Nawawi, put up a good performance with her strong vocals and great appreciation of the song but somehow Siti Nurhaliza was the choice of the judges as she was picked to be the winner for the Balada category with her song “”Purnama Merindu””, composed by Azmeer and lyrics by Lukhman S.
And the moment that all were waiting for anxiously was the overall winner of the competiton or the ‘Juara Lagu’ of the event. As the hearbeats pounded, suddenly M. Nasir was announced as the ‘Juara Lagu’ and he emerged victorious and honoured by the award. As many had expected, M. Nasir proved to the audience that he was the “”Sifu”” or master and had perfect control of the stage when he delivered his performance.
Although, Juara Lagu ’99 took place smoothly, there were few problems that did arise a few days before the final day took place. During rehearsals, complaints were made by all the composers and singers that the Ambang Klasik band was incapable of performing the respective songs and had great difficulty to synchronize with one another. Their string section was also in shambles as they often sounded off tune. Insufficient monitors onstage contributed to some of the problems as not all the band members could hear one another perform.
On the actual day of the event, the string section had difficulty to synchronize with the band during the first two songs which were performed by Indigo and Shima respectively. But on the whole, they did perform better than the rehearsals.
Another source of complaint is the interlude which consists of the dance segment performed by dancers of Prima Muzik under the direction of Wah Idris. The theme of the interlude does not seem to fit in with the theme of this year’s Juara Lagu ’99, “”Hiburan Sensasi Ke Alaf Baru (Sensational Entertainment Towards The New Millennium)”” especially the opening theme when they danced to the beat of Indian classical music, fused with modern sounds. The concept seems to be out of touch.
Though there were disappoinments, many agreed that this year’s Juara Lagu ’99 went on quite smoothly and the results were not as controversial as previous years. Except for the case of Jamal Abdillah’s failure to even receive a complimentary award, such as the best performance award, which eventually went to Noraniza Idris for her song “”Dondang Dendang””, and Siti Nurhaliza’s win with “”Purnama Merindu”” in the Pop Rock category, many thought it would go to Nora for her special effort, everything else just went on smoothly and it can be said that the Juara Lagu ’99 was a success for all parties involved.