Siti's back

THE pop/rock genre dominated the Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL) 22 as six of its performers who had competed in the semi-finals recently marched into the finals.

They are Datuk Siti Nurhaliza who sang Destinasi Cinta (composed by Lin Li Zen and Rozie Abdul Razak), Mawi with Angan Dan Sedar (M. Nasir and Loloq), Misha Omar and Andy (Flop Poppy) with Sembunyi (Aidit Alfian and Loloq), Estranged who sang Itu Kamu (Estranged and Richeal Lawrence), Sofaz who performed Janjiku (Taja and Tass) and Jinbara with Farhana (Puteri Bumi Kenyalang) (Denai and Andy Rahman).

“We had no intention of springing any surprises. It was a last minute decision by the judges to add another finalist,” said TV3 Entertainment, Sports and Recreation senior manager Azhar Borhan, commenting on the six songs — and not five, as expected — that made the cut.

“We are acting in the best interests of the competition by adding more songs. The Ethnic Creative genre category has minimal participation while Pop/Rock has the strongest selections for the year,” he added.
“Most of the songs in the category have been receiving massive airplay throughout the year. This is an important criterion for the song to make it to the finals,” he explained.

Despite the songs’ popularity, the performance in the semifinals played a crucial role in determining the finalists.

For Sofaz, the band nearly didn’t qualify as lead singer Ameer gave a below-average show.

The band did not perform well at the semi-finals but the song's popularity from the start of the competition helped to pull it through, said Azhar.

As for Ameer, he wants to redeem himself by giving his best at the finals. “I was nervous and I regretted not giving my best,” he said.

Bands such as Jinbara and Estranged gave remarkable performances to seal their positions in the finals.

“We are glad that we made it despite the stiff competition,” said vocalist Tia of Jinbara.

Meanwhile, Rich, the lead singer of Estranged, is overwhelmed by the band’s achievement in the competition. “I have always been a big fan of Muzik-Muzik since I was in school. It is a dream come true for me and the band to make it to the finals,” he said.

The show also received a major boost by the inclusion of the country's leading female vocalist, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.

“I am happy to make it to the finals of AJL. I do not have any preference performing in any genres. I have done all categories, from Ethnic to Ballads, and they are all equally hard,” said Siti who didn’t make the cut in the Ballads category recently.

“I am going to give my best and I am thankful to the composers who have given me a great song,” she added, as Destinasi Cinta marks her comeback to the competition after a two–year absence.

The other finalists included Nora (Samudera, composed by Johan Nawawi and Fedtri Yahya), Aishah (Kasihnya Balkis, composed by Adnan Abu Hassan and Moharis Yaakup) and Ramlah Ram (Dirgahayu, composed by Radeen Sri and Hairul Anuar Harun) in the Ethnic Creative category.

The remaining finalists included Sahri (Izinku Pergi, composed by Azlan Abu Hassan and Sulu Sarawak), Jaclyn Victor and Lah VE (Ceritera Cinta, composed by Ross Ariffin and Habsah Hassan), Fazli Zainal (Harapan, composed by Hazami) and Faizal Tahir who made it with two songs – Kasih Tercipta (composed by Ajai and Shuhaimi Baba) and Maha Karya Cinta (Audi Mok and Shah Shamshiri) in the Ballads category.



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