KUCHING: A dream to become a professional singer will become a reality for 22-year-old waitress Noorashikin Sekedar, after being crowned champion of the state’s biggest talent search programme ‘Spotlight Vol 1’ at its grand finals on Friday.
Noorashikin, popularly known as Ekina, beat five other finalists with her choice of song, ‘Nirmala’ by Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Celine Dion’s ‘All by Myself’.
It was her powerful and flawless rendition of the hit made popular by the French-Canadian diva that brought a standing ovation from the judges and audience.
Judges Dato David Arumugam, Dayang Nurfaizah and Indonesian actor Randy Pangalila applauded her performance which by far was the best of the night.
The judges agreed that Ekina has the potential to be a good artiste.
Arumugam, the Alleycats frontman, said Ekina did justice to the song while an ecstatic Randy rated her performance as a “double wow”.
“This is not a simple song but you execute the song perfectly. You deserve a standing ovation,” commented the former.
Ekina walked away with RM6,000 in cash prizes, trophy and other prizes worth up to RM500,000 in total, which includes a recording deal for a single, music video and collaboration with South Korean guitarist and YouTube sensation Sungha Jung.
“I am overwhelmed and excited at the same time. Thank God that efforts within these past four weeks’ training under our coaches and participating crews paid off.
“I look forward to the prospect of collaborating with Sungha Jung. I will prepare myself emotionally, mentally and physically before we meet up. Will learn English and Korean language as part of my preparation,” Ekina told reporters after the finals held at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel here.
The third of eight siblings, the Saratok lass started singing at 14. She inherited her singing talent from her father who was also a performer. Ekina has worked as a waitress at Wadira Food court for the past one year.
Second place went to Sibu lad Izzuddin Mohd Razali, popularly known as Ezzy.
The local performer rendered Search hit ‘Nur Nilam Sari’ and ‘Rahsia Perempuan’ made famous by Indonesian singer Ari Lasso.
But the 24-year-old’s highly energetic performances for both songs fell short due to minor pitching problems.
He went home with a RM5,000 cash prize, trophy and other prizes worth up to RM30,000 including a recording deal for a single and video clip.
In third place was 20-year-old Clinton Chua famously known as CJ who sang Hazami’s ‘Katakanlah’ and ‘When I was Your Man’ by Bruno Mars. His performances in both songs was met with nods of approval by the judges.
Randy said CJ possessed good technique and was ‘paralysed’ by his beautiful and heartfelt rendition of the 2013 global hit. CJ who had just completed his STPM, took home RM4,000 in cash prize, trophy and other prizes including a record deal for a single and video clip production worth RM15,000 in total.
Other finalists were Miri-born Thomy, crowd favourite Bryan of Kuching and Qiss who started the night with an energetic performance of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Mercy’. Bryan led other contestants in the public SMS-voting after the first round performances.
The student’s vocal coach Aina showcased her single entitled ‘Tahukah Kamu Cinta’ which was found to be quite catchy and met with approval from the audience.
Spotlight volume one is a talent search programme organised by Cinqasa Sdn Bhd and supported by the Tourism Ministry and Social Development Ministry as part of the state’s 50 years of independence.
Also present at the event were Deputy State Secretary Datu Misnu Taha and Cinqasa chief executive officer Amin Aznizan.