Photos: Tammi Tan
Additional photos: Channel 5, Melanie Ho
Video: Vina Chia
Three months after tying the knot with his own ‘Final 1’, Singapore’s first Idol Taufik Batisah is back as a judge on the second season of Channel 5’s The Final 1.
Re-joining him on the panel is Hype Records head honcho Ken Lim, and together with a mystery female judge (to be revealed on July 19), the trio will be responsible for whittling down the pool of hopefuls to just two before leaving it to viewers to decide the ultimate winner, who will score a recording and artiste management contract worth $100,000. In season one, public voting began as early as the top 40 rounds.
“We want to ensure that the right contestants get the opportunity to go through, because when it comes to voting, it becomes a popularity contest: someone who is not that great could get through if they have more friends and family members behind them,” explained Taufik in an interview with Toggle. “Now, it’s a fairer assessment.”
When asked what he makes of this year’s crop of talent so far, Taufik said that they are getting a lot younger (with the youngest being just 16) and that there is “a wider variety” in terms of genres and voices.
What remained and will continue to remain the same, however, is how he will perform his role as a judge.
“I’ve always been honest and tactful with my comments, and that’s not going to change,” he said. “I don’t want to bring them down or break their confidence, but at the same time, I want to give them a reality check. I hope the participants understand that this contest is the easy part, and if they can’t handle it, then maybe the singing industry is not for them.”
Married life is “a new discovery every other day”
Since marrying his long-time friend, production manager Sheena Akbal, Taufik reported that he’s been making new discoveries about him and his wife.
“When you live with someone every day, you learn new things about them, so we’ve gotten a lot closer,” the newlywed gushed. “The only thing that can change (about our relationship) is that we will love each other even more.”
So what are some new things he has learned about himself and his missus?
“I learned that I don’t move at all when I sleep, which is great for her because she can take up the entire bed!” he said with a chuckle. As for Sheena, Taufik got better acquainted with her great cooking skills (green curry and cream pasta are her specialties) and neat freak tendencies.
“She likes to make the bed every day, which is something I don’t understand because we’re going to sleep in it and mess it up again anyway,” he said. “But what do I know? I’m a man, and as long as the place looks decent, I’m good. (laughs)”
Taufik thinks raising a child won’t be easy
Despite the fact that they got hitched in April, the couple has not had the chance to go on their honeymoon (busy Taufik has been promoting his latest album Fique, filming his first movie Dukun Doktor Dani and penning songs for other artists in Indonesia and Malaysia), let alone start on expanding their brood.
At a press conference after his wedding, Taufik revealed that he would like to have three kids (“It’s a nice number”). That figure remains the same, but he had a little more to share about his parenting philosophies.
“The world has evolved so much, I think raising a child is not easy,” he mused. “Last time, people would just blame their peers for being a bad influence, but today, any child can influence themselves with the information in the palm of their hand – on a smartphone. It makes it even more difficult for parents.”
He also touched on finding the balance between supporting his kids’ dreams (should they ever aspire to enter showbiz like him) and setting their priorities straight. “As a parent, you have to encourage your children, but it is also your duty to remind them that studies come first. As cliché as it sounds, it really is important because it’s something you can fall back on.”
And he knows such a task won’t be a walk in the park, particularly with adolescents. “Teen angst is a crazy thing because they always believe they’re right – I’ve witnessed it!”
All that sounds like a tall order indeed. So is the 33-year-old up for the challenge of fatherhood?
“I’ve asked my brother and friends and they all told me that you will never be ready (for kids) – you just have to do it.”
Catch The Final 1 every Sunday at 9.30pm on Channel 5.