SINGAPORE - Project Superstar is back after a more than seven-year hiatus.
The local reality TV singing contest, which launched the careers of Mandopop's Derrick Hoh, Kelvin Tan Wei Lian and Kelly Poon, held its first round of auditions at MediaCorp in Caldecott Hill last Saturday. And 6,000 aspiring singers queued for hours for their stab at televised stardom.
Project Superstar premieres on Aug 18 on Channel U and will air every Monday at 8pm. The winner of the contest will be offered a MediaCorp contract and cash prize of an amount yet to be finalised.
Unlike past seasons - season one was in 2005, and season two between 2006 and 2007 - where showbiz wannabes took part as individuals, this time, auditions are open to groups too. There will be a few more rounds of auditions before the top 12 finalists will be revealed on July 5. The number of soloists and groups through to the second round was not available at press time.
Among the groups that have made it through to the second round, on June 2 at Square 2 shopping mall in Novena, are male quintet Five Shadows and girl group Mys*tar.
Five Shadows impressed judges with an a cappella rendition of South Korean boyband Super Junior-M's song, Blue Tomorrow. The group's leader, marketing and communications manager Clement Chen, 28, says: "Sometimes, as a solo singer you may not be strong in all areas. But, as a group, you can help to cover for one another."
Chen, who is also a singing instructor, is the group's strongest singer. His more boyish bandmates Alton Keh, 22, Poh Ding Chun, 23, Nigel Tan, 21, and Eric Kho, 24, have the dance grooves and draw in the female fans.
Fan support will be crucial, as winners in the later rounds of the competition are determined partly by public votes.
Mys*tar has girly appeal in spades, with their sweet faces and long tresses. An audition clip the quintet, with members aged between 16 and 24 years old, posted on Project Superstar's Facebook page on June 7 has garnered close to 250 likes so far.
The group's leader, Yap Hui Xin, 23, was a child actress in Channel 8 children's dramas and hosted a Channel 8 children info ed programme In Kids, and had a bit role as a new-fangled Lion Dance troupe member in Jack Neo's The Lion Men movies (2014). She has about 3,000 followers on Instagram.
"All five of us are part of a dance crew, so we thought it would be fun to take part together," says Yap, who recently graduated from Nanyang Technological University's Chinese studies department. "Our edge over others is our performing experience."
The solo hopefuls came with their share of talent too. Freelance graphic designer Elizabeth Low, 20, stood out with her powerhouse vocals.