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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Two K-pop hopefuls picked for Seoul

A Singaporean and an Indonesian chosen in Singapore leg of K-pop Star Hunt show
The Straits Times - September 5, 2012
By: Rachael Boon
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Two K-pop hopefuls picked for Seoul Anthea Wang and Rendy Lauwady impressed the judges with their delivery and personality. -- ST PHOTO: PANDORA WONG

Two K-pop hopefuls, Singaporean Anthea Wang and Indonesian-Chinese Rendy Lauwady, were shortlisted in the Singapore leg of reality competition tvN K-pop Star Hunt on Sunday.

They will fly off to Seoul next month to compete with other finalists from the region, including Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan. Before the show premieres on tvN (StarHub Channel 824) on Nov 24, here is an introduction to the two contestants.

Who: Singaporean Anthea Wang, 16

The Secondary 4 student emerged winner of the Singapore leg of the tvN K-pop Star Hunt auditions on Sunday, thanks to her apparent nerves of steel.

Mr Eddy Tan, vice-president of programming of Star World, FX, Channel V, tvN, Nat Geo Music, Fox International Channels, who was on the panel of judges, said with a laugh: "She should have smiled more, but perhaps it didn't go with her cool image. She displayed a distinct personality, which helped her to stand out. Despite audio difficulties, she could press on and show she can be a good artist."

Dressed in an all-black outfit and thigh-high white boots, Wong said: "I didn't plan to have a cool image. Perhaps I come across that way because I'm anti-social, but during the performance, my whole body was shaking."

The judges certainly could not tell during her slick and powerful rendition of Ugly by popular girl band 2NE1. The latter is one of the groups she looks up to because of their "punk style image".

Wong, who is preparing for her O-Level examinations this year, joined the competition on a whim and entered the first round of the competition through the walk-in auditions last Saturday. Some contestants were selected to perform after submitting their audition videos online.

She told Life!: "One of the reasons I joined was because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after my exams, like go to junior college or polytechnic."

Her parents, Winson and Linda Wang, both 44, have given her the green light to postpone her studies. Mr Wang, a general manager in a software company, said: "She is going to do what she wants to do and she is just putting her studies on hold, but is not going to give up schooling."

Mrs Wang, a housewife, said she is excited for her daughter because it is "an experience that not everybody has the chance to go through".

Wong said: "I'm going into this competition with no expectations because I like to be on stage."

Who: Indonesian-Chinese Rendy Lauwady, 20

Rendy Lauwady's heartfelt rendition of The Way You Look At Me by Filipino singer Christian Bautista hit the sweet spot with judges in Sunday's performance.

The events organiser, who flew in from the city of Bekasi, Indonesia, especially to take part in the competition, emerged runner-up to Singaporean Anthea Wang.

Of Lauwady, Mr Eddy Tan, vice-president of programming of Star World, FX, Channel V, tvN, Nat Geo Music, Fox International Channels, said: "There was a lot of emphasis on singing during the auditions and Rendy was one of those who was very consistent with a stable performance. His personality shone through too, as he is such a nice and sweet boy."

Lauwady, who borrowed about 5 million rupiah (S$653) from his grandparents to come to Singapore for the auditions, looked shell-shocked and was at a loss for words several times during the interview.

But he could not contain his excitement: "I like Korean culture and Korean girls. I'm so excited to go to Seoul. When they called out my number and my name, I was stunned and only remembered that I asked for so much help to be here. I still can't believe that I made it to Singapore."

He has overcome great odds just to be in Singapore. His grandparents brought him up as his parents were divorced. His father died of liver cancer while his mother runs a restaurant.

He tried out for Indonesian Idol in 2009 and last year but "didn't make it". He submitted a video online for the tvN K-pop Star Hunt and had to ask his friend to check his e-mail for the results because he has no Internet access at home.

The cheerful man, who fell in love with K-pop about two years ago - "all my friends love it" - hopes this will be his ticket to stardom. "I've loved singing since I was a child, and if there is a possibility of me making it and earning a lot of money after this, I will be able to pay back everyone. Hopefully, I can take my family to Korea too."


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