Even Star Awards host Dennis Chew's mother did not think her son could make it onto the annual event's popularity polls on Sunday.
Chew beat the odds and ousted hot favourites actor Romeo Tan and host Pornsak to get a coveted spot on the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes list.
"The competition was really intense this year. When the nominees were narrowed down during the show, my mother calculated my odds of winning and thought I wouldn't make," said Chew, 42.
He was speaking after the annual glitz ceremony at the new Mediacorp campus at one-north.
He went home with other "trophies" - congratulatory kisses from colleagues such as comedian Mark Lee and actress Rui En, with whom he won Toggle Most Beloved Celebrity BFF Award.
"I was really nervous, my hands were cold. Rui En was sitting by my side, holding my hands to keep me warm. She was more excited than anyone else when my name was announced," said Chew.
Tan - who is one of the TV station's hot young male stars marketed as the Eight Dukes - was visibly crestfallen when the camera panned to him after all 10 winners were announced.
But the 31-year-old, who told The Straits Times he had planned to dedicate his award to his mother, was touched by the outpouring of support from his colleagues and fans.
He said: "Fellow actors and staff came over to give me a hug. Actress Joanne Peh and actor Qi Yuwu comforted me, saying that there were years that they did not make it to the Top 10, either.
"When I met fans to pass them tickets to the ceremony, I saw that they had dark eye circles. They kept many late nights voting for me. I'm really thankful for their support. I will continue to work hard."
The winners of the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste Award were Zhang Zhenhuan, Xu Bin, Zhang Yaodong, Zheng Geping, Aloysius Pang, Jeffrey Xu, Lee Teng, Dennis Chew, Shane Pow and Elvin Ng.
Ng's win is his 10th, which means that he will receive the All Time Favourite Artiste Award at the Star Awards ceremony next year.
Pornsak, who is one of Channel 8's most popular hosts and has five Top 10 Most Popular awards so far, took his loss this year in his stride.
His fans appeared to be more devastated than him. A smiling Pornsak could be seen comforting his sobbing fans in an online video posted by actress-host Michelle Chong, the boss of his talent agency Left Profile.
Pornsak, 33, said in jest: "I can't believe my fellow Left Profile artiste Lee Teng got in and I didn't! I think our boss Michelle Chong must have promoted him more than me this year. I'm definitely going to put in a complaint to the Left Profile HR department, which is, er, also headed by Michelle Chong."
This article was first published on April 26, 2016.
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