10 eyebrow-raising moments from Star Awards Top 40 reveal

Snubs, shocks and surprises, as told by this year’s Top 40 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes

The Star Awards 2016 Top 40 artstes
The Star Awards 2016 Top 40 artstes
04 Mar 2016

The Star Awards 2016 Top 40 artstes

Photos: Zara Zhuang, Camelia Ting, Channel 8
Videos: Tay Yi Xuan and Charlene Chong


Ardent supporters of Ian Fang and Desmond Tan take heart, you are not the only ones reeling in disbelief at the duo’s non-nomination for this year’s Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste award. At the Top 40 Most Popular Artistes press conference held yesterday, the two actors’ glaring absence became the biggest talking points as nominees and fellow colleagues spoke up about their shocking snubs. But ‘tis a popularity contest and that’s the way the game goes.

The top 40 don’t have it any easier now that they’ve made the cut. All 40 would have to go through six to seven weeks of intense rallying and voting till the polls close on April 17 for the female artistes and April 24 for the male artistes. In view of the tough weeks ahead of them, the nominees share with us about their strategies to stay ahead in the fame game: an actress plans to make 20 calls each for her onscreen kids and some artistes are planning to bring lucky charms like stalks of broccoli and wearing the same “winning” underwear from last year. Read on for more! 

#1 Rebecca Lim’s head-turning appearance
#1 Rebecca Lim’s head-turning appearance
04 Mar 2016

#1 Rebecca Lim’s head-turning appearance

It was Becks’ first media appearance since the PR fiasco and all eyes were on her when she showed up at the 35th floor of Mandarin Orchard yesterday. Although, we honestly believe it’s her back-baring nautlcal-themed dress from Max Mara that caused heads to turn, literally. In the bare-it-all spirit, the actress, too, bared her heart and opened up about going through her first career setback. “It was like a trial for me. I learned a lot from this setback and I’m comforted by all the support that poured in from the veterans, colleagues, friends, family and fans.”

Work and family matters helped to take her mind off things during the past few weeks, said Becks, “We were rushing to finish filming Hugo’s scenes and we were filming every day. On the second day after it (NTUC PR fiasco) happened, my grandfather fell down and was admitted to the hospital as he has a weak heart too. I was in and out of the hospital after work every day and didn’t have time to brood over it.”

With granddad on the mend and one less worry on her mind, Becks expressed hopes to bring home another top 10 trophy this year and promised to continue working hard.

#2 Chen Tianwen returns to the nominations list … after 14 years
#2 Chen Tianwen returns to the nominations list … after 14 years
04 Mar 2016

#2 Chen Tianwen returns to the nominations list … after 14 years

Maybe it’s the baby, maybe it’s the broccoli, but Mr Unbelievable has done the (nearly) unbelievable and staged the most surprising comeback in recent history — his last Top 10 nomination was in 2002.

Yet the 52-year-old first-time father was clearly reluctant to get his hopes up for this category. “I’ve no confidence in winning (a Top 10 award),” he said without hesitation.

Out of three categories he’s up for — Best Evergreen Artiste, Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste and Best Supporting Actor — the last holds the most appeal to him. “In my 30 years as an actor, I’ve been nominated for (Best Supporting Actor) before, but I’ve not won it,” he said. “So it will be an honour if I do.”

And what lucky charm might he bring with him when the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes are unveiled during Show 2 on April 24? “Broccoli!” he said with a laugh. “Stun like vegetable!”

#3 Pan Ling Ling plans to make at least 10 calls for each of her 118 kid
#3 Pan Ling Ling plans to make at least 10 calls for each of her 118 kid
04 Mar 2016

#3 Pan Ling Ling plans to make at least 10 calls for each of her 118 kid

Although elated to be back in the Top 20 ranks this year, after one year of absence, the well-loved 118 character lets on that she was really rooting for both her onscreen husband (Chew Chor Meng) and son (Dennis Chew) to be nominated for their roles in said show and is disappointed at their nomination snubs.

“My heart really aches for them,” said Ling Ling, who is known to share a close-kit relationship with her 118 family. Apart from spending a small sum of money to vote for herself this year, Ling Ling also plans to make at least 10 calls for each of her 118 kids (we counted three Top 20 nominees so far – Xu Bin, Dennis Chew and Ya Hui) to support them. Once a mother, always a mother.

#4 Jeffrey Xu will kiss Felicia Chin if he wins
#4 Jeffrey Xu will kiss Felicia Chin if he wins
04 Mar 2016

#4 Jeffrey Xu will kiss Felicia Chin if he wins

While none of our celebs are likely to pull a Darren Wang and skinnydip to celebrate a momentous achievement, Jeffrey Xu might come the closest — the 27-year-old said he will rush offstage and kiss someone if he nabs a Top 10 award.

And the candidates? Ian Fang or Felicia. “We became closer friends after filming Life — Fear Not together, so it’s OK,” he said of the actress. But wouldn’t naming Felicia as his female target negate his denial of being her mystery man?

“Why is it that other people can have BFFs, but I can’t?!” he replied. Felicia, we hope you’re seeing this.

#5 Felicia Chin might be a no-show at the Star Awards ceremonies this year
#5 Felicia Chin might be a no-show at the Star Awards ceremonies this year
04 Mar 2016

#5 Felicia Chin might be a no-show at the Star Awards ceremonies this year

We’ll applaud him for his bravery but Jeffrey might not get a chance to plant a peck on Felicia because the actress is still unsure if she’d be attending the award ceremonies.

But that’s no reason to start panicking yet. The word here is “maybe” because this top 10 nominee will be based in Malaysia for an upcoming drama about lawyers starting from April onwards for the next four months. “I haven’t got clearance to attend the Star Awards ceremonies yet,” she let on.

“But I’m currently speaking to the production team and my manager and I hope to be able to return home for it too. I’m sure it’ll work out!” Felicia assured in her usual perky voice.

#6 Shane Pow hopes ‘lucky underwear’ will help him bring home second Top 10 trophy
#6 Shane Pow hopes ‘lucky underwear’ will help him bring home second Top 10 trophy
04 Mar 2016

#6 Shane Pow hopes ‘lucky underwear’ will help him bring home second Top 10 trophy

As far as superstitions go (we all know the power behind Chen Hanwei’s famed black rose brooch), you’d rather believe in them than risk it and two-time nominee Shane thinks his “lucky item” is the underwear he wore for last year’s awards ceremony. “I wore it, won an award and so I consider it as something that brings me good luck (he won his first Top 10 award on his first nomination). But the thing is I don’t remember which underwear I wore last year. (Laughs)”

His backup plan? “Last year my stylist gave me a bracelet even before I won an award. He was supposed to give it to me only if I win. But I wore it and I won last year, so I’m going to wear it this year too.”

#7 Sheila’s amazing streak of beginner’s luck
#7 Sheila’s amazing streak of beginner’s luck
04 Mar 2016

#7 Sheila’s amazing streak of beginner’s luck

She may still be considered an acting “newb” having only two years of experience under her belt, but with lady luck smiling on her it seems nothing is impossible.

Sheila bagged two nominations at this year’s Star Awards ceremony – she’s in the running for Best Supporting Actress and Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste awards. Although surprised and heartened by the first-time recognitions, the model-turned-actress said she daren’t dream about winning an award on the actual night itself and hopes to see Julie Tan, who is nominated for her role as Dong Zi Huai in The Dream Makers 2, go home triumphant instead.

For now, she is just counting her blessings. “It’s a very fruitful year… Chinese New Year just passed and I’m born in the year of the rat and by right it’s supposed to be a good year for me and its coming true,” she shared.

#8 Zhang Zhen Huan allowed himself a modest treat to celebrate his nomination
#8 Zhang Zhen Huan allowed himself a modest treat to celebrate his nomination
04 Mar 2016

#8 Zhang Zhen Huan allowed himself a modest treat to celebrate his nomination

The 32-year-old feels at peace with getting back in the race after last year’s absence. “Before the nominations were announced, I didn’t dare let myself think about it — it’s a complex feeling,” he said. “Last year I had high hopes, but I was let down.”

But when he found out he had made it after all, he let himself indulge just a little, and ate one serving of ice cream. “I’d been cutting down on sweets and desserts because I was losing weight to film The Dream Job,” he said.

So what will he do if he does win? “It won’t be anything wild,” he said. “Perhaps two helpings of ice cream?”

#9 Ian Fang left out of the race to Top 10
#9 Ian Fang left out of the race to Top 10
04 Mar 2016

#9 Ian Fang left out of the race to Top 10

In a shocking turn of events, this Duke was conspicuously absent from the nominations list, and it left many rather puzzled.

“When Ian first told me (he didn’t make the list), I thought he was pulling my leg,” said Shane Pow, one of the six Dukes nominated. “Then I realised he was being serious — I hadn’t expected this.”

Ian’s BFF/BGB, Rebecca Lim, said she might have been more disappointed than he was. And Romeo Tan, their The Dream Job co-star said, “Sadness and disappointment are inevitable, but I told him he’s stronger than this award.”

“It’s easy to get replaced — this year you’re in, the following year there’s no guarantee — but no one can replace you as a person.”

#10 Desmond dealt another blow after missing the Top 10 list last year
#10 Desmond dealt another blow after missing the Top 10 list last year
04 Mar 2016

#10 Desmond dealt another blow after missing the Top 10 list last year

The other Duke left out of the clubhouse this year has been on a bit of a decline where the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste award is concerned. Desmond, 29, snagged it the first time he was nominated for it in 2014, but last year he was bumped from the winners list, and now he’s nowhere to be seen among the 40 nominees.

Julie Tan stood up for Desmond, though she revealed she had felt slightly uncomfortable yesterday morning when they were filming together. “He said, ‘Never mind, I’ll try again next year,’” she said. “I think he’s got a positive attitude, so I admire him as a bro.”

(Though we did overhear this snippet at the press conference: “Desmond spent most of the past year working on Channel 5 productions, Mata Mata: A New Generation and Spouse for House 2.” “But that’s no excuse — look at new entrant Chua Enlai!”)

The Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste nominees
The Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste nominees
04 Mar 2016

The Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste nominees

Awards presented during Star Awards Part 1
1) Rocket Award
2) Best Evergreen Artiste Award
3) Social Media Award
4) Best Info-Ed Programme
5) Best Variety Programme
6) Best Variety Special
7) Best Programme Host (Variety, Info-End & Infotainment)
8) All-Time Favourite Artiste Award
9) Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes

The Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste nominees
The Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste nominees
04 Mar 2016

The Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste nominees

Awards presented during Star Awards Part 2
10) Young Talent Award
11) Best Theme Song
12) Top Rated Variety Programme
13) Top Rated Drama Serial
14) Best Supporting Actress
15) Best Supporting Actor
16) Best Actor
17) Best Actress
18) Best Drama Serial
19) Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes

Ya Hui
Ya Hui
04 Mar 2016

Ya Hui

“My chosen telepoll number (20) was the last on the list [for female artistes] but I was the first one to pick a lucky number today. 2020 feels like an easy number to remember too. I think I will make one call. Or maybe 20 calls or 2020 calls?” she joked.

Hong Huifang and Zheng Geping
Hong Huifang and Zheng Geping
04 Mar 2016

Hong Huifang and Zheng Geping

Huifang and Geping are one of the cutest couples on the hill -- they were spotted snapping selfies throughout the press conference and even said they are each other's best lucky charms. 

Kym Ng
Kym Ng
04 Mar 2016

Kym Ng

The vivacious host plans to get her husband to help increase her chances at the polls by making a few calls, "But not too many! What if he overspends and has no money left to spend on me?" she joked. 

Romeo Tan
Romeo Tan
04 Mar 2016

Romeo Tan

Tong Bing Yu
Tong Bing Yu
04 Mar 2016

Tong Bing Yu

Zhang Yaodong
Zhang Yaodong
04 Mar 2016

Zhang Yaodong

Yaodong makes it back to the Top 20 list after three years of absence.

Jayley Woo
Jayley Woo
04 Mar 2016

Jayley Woo

Lee Teng
Lee Teng
04 Mar 2016

Lee Teng

First-time nominee Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin
First-time nominee Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin
04 Mar 2016

First-time nominee Aloysius Pang and Xu Bin

Belinda Lee
Belinda Lee
04 Mar 2016

Belinda Lee

Carrie Wong
Carrie Wong
04 Mar 2016

Carrie Wong

Grateful to still be in the running for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award this year, Carrie shared that she's still in the midst of discussing her outfits but one thing is for sure -- she will definitely be wearing either a dress or a skirt. "My hair's too short! I need to balance it with a bit of girliness!" she quipped.

Paige Chua
Paige Chua
04 Mar 2016

Paige Chua

Jeffrey, Felicia and Romeo
Jeffrey, Felicia and Romeo
04 Mar 2016

Jeffrey, Felicia and Romeo

WATCH: Top 40 artistes discuss about Ian and Desmond's snubs
WATCH: Romeo hopes to win a 'Top 10' award instead of Best Actor award

Telepoll hotlines for the Star Awards 2016 Top 20 Most Popular Artistes is now open; online voting kicks off today (March 4) at 12pm, until April 17, 8.30pm (for female artistes) and April 24, 8.30pm (for male artistes).

Visit the official Star Awards 2016 microsite for the full nomination list and more information.

Related:
SA2016 Top 40: Two dukes in, two dukes out

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