Competing trio in Mentor

By AZHARIAH KAMIN

IT was only several hours since the three of them were announced as finalists of the second season of TV3’s Mentor.

Protégés Fiq, Kat and Nieyl, when met on Monday, were still digesting the fact that they made it to the final and will be competing against each other this Sunday at Wisma MBSA in Shah Alam, Selangor.

When they first took part in Mentor five months ago, it was to pursue their dream of becoming a singer and the last few months have been a journey of continuous learning and forging new friendships.

“We are going to miss this (joking around) a lot as we have only a one week to go before the final,” said Kat or Siti Khatijah Hassan, referring the newfound friendship among the protégés.

Finalists of Mentor 2006 (from left) Kat, Fiq and Nieyl will be fighting it out to become the champion this Sunday. – Photo by T.K. LIM
Nieyl or Nuriylia Zailani, and Fiq whose full name is Mohd Firdauz Abdul Halim, shared her sentiment.

“When we first met during the preliminary round (to select 12 out of 28 contestants), Nieyl and myself became friends almost immediately and it kind of grew in the past several months while Fiq appeared to be shy and very quiet,” recalled Kat.

“That’s true. Fiq used to be so shy when we first met, but the past few months we start seeing the other side of him,” quipped Nieyl.

It seems that the bond these three protégés developed in the recent months made them look like siblings more than competitors.

But one thing is for sure, they are out to win!

As Nieyl put it: “We are here to compete and do our best but it doesn’t mean that we have to be enemies and hate each other.”

The champion will secure a recording contract with EMI, RM50,000 cash and a trophy. The second place winner will receive RM20,000 cash and a trophy.

The champion will compete with the winner of Indonesia’s answer to Mentor, Bintang Cari Bintang, in Kuala Lumpur. The showdown, Juara Antara Juara, will be held here in late December.

Let’s check out how the protégés see their chances in the final.

Kat (Siti Khatijah Hassan), 19

Despite her livewire performances on stage, this Penang lass admitted that she is still weak in terms of vocal techniques.

“My strength lies in my showmanship but I must improve on my vocals,” said Kat whose mentor is Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.

Kat said that her mentor is a perfectionist and demanded her total commitment.

“She encouraged me to try out other music genres apart from my favourite rock music and she has taught me how to connect with the audience,” she added.

“And in the past few months I have learned a lot in terms of vocal techniques and showmanship. And one most important thing I learned was I have to be sincere in my performance.

“I really have high hopes of winning as this is my first time taking part in a big-scale reality show.”

Fiq (Mohd Fairuz Abdul Halim), 24

“I always have this dream of becoming a singer, but I stumbled upon the Mentor audition while looking for a job in Alor Star, Kedah,” said the Sabahan with amazing vocals.

“And never in my wildest dreams did I see myself here (to reach the final) today,” added Fiq whose mentor is Amy of Search.

Despite being a clear favourite since day one, Fiq feels that he has so much to learn.

“I’m just happy to reach this far. I feel very blessed to have Amy as my mentor. It has been really good working with Amy as he always treats me like a son.

“As everybody knows, I’m a big fan of Amy’s, but working with him made me respect him so much more. He’s just unbelievably cool and collected all the time.

“He never pressures me and would allow me to sing within my capability.

“My strength is my vocals and my weakness is my showmanship, so I really have to work hard this Sunday and I really want to win.”

Nieyl (Nuriylia Zailani), 21

“I’m still digesting the fact that I’m in the final!” said Johorean Nieyl.

“I was quite sad initially when they announced Fiq and Kat as the two finalists. But that’s a competition and I accepted the result. So when the host announced my name as the third finalist I was just dumbfounded and I couldn’t stop crying,” said Nieyl whose mentor is Nurul.

“I took part in Mentor because I wanted to see how far I could go. I have been taking part in several small-scale singing competitions but without much luck.

She added that working with Nurul was an invaluable experience. “Nurul is very firm and strict when it comes to work. But she also gives me freedom to select songs for my performances.

“As I’m a bit of a slow-learner compared to the other protégés, I have to work extra hard.

“I really want to win. But even if I don’t, in my mind, all the finalists are already winners out of the 4,000 hopefuls who gave Mentor a shot.”

The Mentor final will be aired live from Wisma MBSA in Shah Alam, Selangor on TV3 at 9pm on Dec 3. For SMS voting, type Mentor protege name and send to 39003. For fixed line vote, dial 13710 for Nieyl, 13720 for Fiq and 13712 for Kat. SMS voting closes at 6pm on Dec 3.