New faces, triumphant returns in SA2017 Top 48

Meet the nominees of this year’s Star Awards’ Top 20 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes

New faces, triumphant returns in SA2017 Top 48
04 Mar 2017

New faces, triumphant returns in SA2017 Top 48

Photos: Tammi Tan, Toh Ziyi, Teo Sijia
Videos: Tan Shiqi, Tay Yixuan

Fans of Desmond Tan and Ian Fang can finally breathe a sigh of relief – both actors have made it back into the 2017 Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes nominations, after they were unceremoniously excluded last year.

The prestigious category also bids welcome to three new contenders: Getai Challenge winner Desmond Ng, double acting nominee Andie Chen and veteran actor/host Cavin Soh. There are even more fresh faces among the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes hopefuls, with Hong Ling, Bonnie Loo, Sora Ma, Seraph Sun and He Ying Ying entering the battlefield for the first time.

Other notable comebacks are that of Yao Wen Long, Ben Yeo and Love 97.2 DJ Wendy Xiao Ying, who were last involved in the Top 20 race in 2013, 2012 and 2001 respectively.

But the competition has intensified: instead of the usual 40 candidates, there are now 48 names vying for the sought-after final 20 spots. Supporters will once again need to pull up their socks and keep their valuable votes rolling in if they want to see their favourite stars walk home with trophies at the 2017 Star Awards ceremony on April 16.

Yesterday afternoon (Mar 3), many of the Top 20 entrants attended a press conference at Marina Square to pick their telepoll numbers and to share their thoughts on their nominations with the media. Read on for more:

Romeo Tan battles a painful eye infection
04 Mar 2017

Romeo Tan battles a painful eye infection

The sunglasses Romeo Tan wore were not meant to be a fashion statement – they were hiding a nasty corneal ulcer (an open sore on the surface of the eye) he suddenly developed the night before the media conference.

“I experienced a sudden pain in my eye and my vision became blurry, so I quickly went to the hospital,” he said. The 31-year-old was given eye drops to apply once every few hours, and his condition could take at least a week to a month to recover. “The doctor warned me that some people have gone blind in severe cases, so I just need to be extra careful.”

At least he has his Top 10 nomination – in addition to his Best Supporting Actor nod – to celebrate. “I’m happy, excited and anxious, but this year is particularly nerve-wrecking because I didn’t get into the Top 10 last year,” he admitted, adding that he will “definitely” make an effort to appeal for votes from his friends, family and fans. “I’ll also make at least a hundred calls for myself!”

Ian Fang: I’m back
04 Mar 2017

Ian Fang: I’m back

After his unexpected no-show in last year’s Top 1o shortlist, Ian Fang has returned to the race – but he doesn’t seem overly concerned about ensuring a triumphant entry in the finals, and neither is his mother.

“I’ve already been through not even being nominated, so there’s nothing to be nervous about,” he reasoned. “It’s not that I don’t care about the award, but I’m just not nervous. I just feel like, ‘Oh, I’m back.’”

The 27-year-old went on to say that he doesn’t like to make others spend money on voting for him, as it would make him feel bad if he didn’t win. “I’d be happy enough if fans just vote for me online for free,” he said.

Desmond Tan wants to bring his dogs as his Star Awards dates
04 Mar 2017

Desmond Tan wants to bring his dogs as his Star Awards dates

Also back in action is Desmond Tan, whose strategy to include more Channel 8 projects on his plate seems to have worked in securing a spot for him in the Top 48 this time around (he attributed his previous snub to his heavier involvement in other channels).

To “buy” himself a little peace of mind, the 30-year-old plans to make one or two calls to vote for himself. “You never know, perhaps those one or two calls could be the difference between winning and losing!” he said. “But I believe my chances of succeeding are higher now because I was on a lot of shows this past year, so viewers are more familiar with me.”

And, if he could have his way, Desmond would walk the Star Awards red carpet with his precious pet pooches Hoshi and Udon. “I want to let them see how hard their dad works to earn money for them,” he quipped. That’s something we’d definitely love to see!

Jeffrey Xu will vote for Desmond Tan and Ian Fang
04 Mar 2017

Jeffrey Xu will vote for Desmond Tan and Ian Fang

Jeffrey Xu was with girlfriend Felicia Chin when he received the good news of his inclusion in the Top 48. “She had heard about her nomination first and warily asked if I was going for the press conference today,” he recalled. And sure enough, he was able to confirm his attendance.

But unlike last year, the 28-year-old is no longer promising to pull any stunts if his name is called at the live ceremony, so we guess we shouldn’t be expecting any shenanigans like that infamous kiss he planted on Felicia’s cheek.

What Jeffrey will be doing is voting for his good friends Desmond Tan and Ian Fang as a way of encouraging them and welcoming them back into the Top 10 tournament. Awww – that’s what friends are for!

At long last, Andie Chen joins his “little brothers and sisters”
04 Mar 2017

At long last, Andie Chen joins his “little brothers and sisters”

Talk about a long time coming: a whole decade after emerging as a Star Search champion, Andie Chen is finally joining his “little brothers and sisters” (as he called them) in the popularity polls.

While the 31-year-old would be more than glad to have fans vote for him on the internet, he admitted that he is a little embarrassed at the thought of them forking out their hard-earned money on the telepoll lines, as it makes him feel as though he’s “buying” his award.

“If this were my fifth of sixth year, I might be disappointed if I don’t win, but now that I’m a father and have been in the industry for so long, I don’t think losing will have that big of an impact on me,” he said. That said, Andie also views the Top 10 honour as a way to boost his career, which in turn translates into more “milk money” for his family, wife Kate Pang and children Aden and Avery.

With Andie also up for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, which prize does he hope to bring home the most?

“I have completely no idea what it’s like to win an award, so I don’t know what to tell you! I’d be happy as long as I win something,” he said. When asked what he plans to do if he does triumph at least once that night, Andie said with a laugh, “I wish I could say I’d go out and party, but I’d probably have to go home to put the children to bed!”

Carrie Wong set to turn heads in self-designed dress this year
04 Mar 2017

Carrie Wong set to turn heads in self-designed dress this year

The third-time nominee shared that she’s always thankful for the support of her fans, and attributed her nomination to “good timing”.

“When the survey [for the nominations] was taking place, Dream Coder and 118 2 were both airing, so the timing was very good, and I’m very thankful for that,” Carrie revealed.

The 23-year-old also shared that she will be working together with her stylist to design a dress for the Star Awards this year.

“I’m really excited as I’ll be taking part in the creative process for the dress, from the designing to the drawing. The dress will be similar to my usual style, and it’ll have some masculine elements to it as well," Carrie teased. 

Hong Ling pledges to do charity work with her fans if she bags her first Top 10 award
04 Mar 2017

Hong Ling pledges to do charity work with her fans if she bags her first Top 10 award

“I only knew that I got into the nomination list last night. I’m very happy and excited, as I didn’t think that I’d get in,” the first-time nominee shared.

Hong Ling also shared that while she hoped that her fans will vote for her, she wants them to “vote within their means” as well. 

“I’ll probably call in to vote for myself once, I’m curious to find out how the process goes as well,” the 22-year-old laughed, before revealing that she actually asked her parents not to waste money and vote for her, as getting the award is “not something that we can control”.

The actress also pledged to do charity work together with her fans if she does get into the ranks of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes this year.

Julie Tan was confronted by a fan’s mother
04 Mar 2017

Julie Tan was confronted by a fan’s mother

Julie shared that she was both “surprised and afraid” when she knew she was nominated this year.

The actress had previously taken time off last year to jet off to New York for acting classes, and was fully prepared not to get nominated this year, so she was pleasantly surprised by her nomination.

However, she also shared an incident regarding the annual awards show that happened recently.

“I was shopping at Orchard recently when a fan’s mother approached me and told me that her daughter spent over a thousand dollars voting for me last year, and scolded me for that. Of course, I felt very bad and told her that her daughter can actually vote online for free instead of spending money,” Julie recounted, sharing that she wants her fans to vote within their means as well, and to just vote for her online instead.

Julie also shared that she’s currently in discussion with a movie company, and is set to be the co-producer and scriptwriter of her own movie if everything works out.

Rebecca Lim plans to make five calls for herself, just like previous years
04 Mar 2017

Rebecca Lim plans to make five calls for herself, just like previous years

Rebecca Lim, who’s nominated for both Best Actress and the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award this year, divulged that it still feels new to her even after so many years, and that she still anticipates getting the text from her manager telling her of her entry.

“This year, there are 24 nominees for the Top 10 Female awards, so naturally, the competition is stronger,” Becks mused, when asked how confident she is about winning this year. “[I’ve managed to win] over the past few years with the support of my fans, and I feel very fortunate [because of that], and I hope to get their support this year as well.”

The actress also shared that she’ll be making five calls for herself, just like previous years.

“I feel like five is a very complete number,” she laughed.

Terence Cao doesn’t want to “graduate”?
04 Mar 2017

Terence Cao doesn’t want to “graduate”?

While everyone else is probably counting down to the day they join the likes of Rui En, Zoe Tay, Chen Hanwei and Qi Yuwu in the coveted All-Time Favourite Artistes hall of fame, Terence quipped that it won’t be as “fun” after winning his tenth Top 10 trophy (his current tally stands at seven). “I won’t get to come to press conferences like this!”

On a more serious note, the 49-year-old took the opportunity to acknowledge fans’ tireless efforts in guaranteeing a spot in the Top 10 for their idols. He also said that he will call in to vote not only for himself, but for his fellow nominated stars. “I want to show my support for my fellow local artistes,” he explained.

Zhang Yao Dong would rather have people save their money
04 Mar 2017

Zhang Yao Dong would rather have people save their money

Five-time Top 10 victor Zhang Yao Dong confessed that he wasn’t feeling any special excitement, just calmness. “Us ‘old birds’ should give way for the younger ones to shine,” he said. “I’m just glad to see so many new Mediacorp artistes on board.”

The 39-year-old also revealed that he’s not in the habit of getting people to pay to vote for him, as he’d rather they save the money for themselves or to donate to charity. “But I do try to call in for myself sometimes, just to check if the line is working!” he said with a laugh. However, Yao Dong said that he’d be more than happy to settle with fans casting free online votes for him.

Desmond Ng is grateful for the extra nomination slots
04 Mar 2017

Desmond Ng is grateful for the extra nomination slots

“I never expected to become an artiste, let alone be nominated for a Top 10 award!” exclaimed Desmond Ng, who shared that he’s feeling completely stress-free about his chances of winning and that he’s still slowly adapting to his newfound status. “But I think I’m very fortunate – because of the additional spaces, I have this chance to participate in the game as well.”

Seraph Sun: I’ll kiss Sora Ma if I win!
04 Mar 2017

Seraph Sun: I’ll kiss Sora Ma if I win!

“My first thought when I knew I was nominated [for the award] was ‘Oh no, I don’t have clothes to wear for tomorrow’s press conference!’”, the first-time nominee laughed, sharing that she didn’t think that she’d get nominated this year.

“My family was the first to know that I got in, as I was having a meal with them when I got the call,” Seraph shared. “My mum was like, ‘How can it be? Are you sure you got in?’”.

When asked if there is anything she plans to do if she wins this year, Seraph laughingly said, “Since Jeffrey Xu kissed Felicia [Chin] last year, then I’ll kiss Sora Ma if I win this year!”

Sora Ma: The 118 family will probably have to take turns and call for each other
04 Mar 2017

Sora Ma: The 118 family will probably have to take turns and call for each other

“There’s actually quite a lot of nominees from the 118 family this year, so perhaps we’ll take turns to call in and vote for each other every day,” Sora jested, when asked if she’d ask her 118 cast mates to vote for her.

The first-time nominee also shared that she was still trying to digest the fact that she was nominated for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste Award this year, as she’s been pretty busy filming recently.

“This year, I took part in 118 as well as CLIF 4, as well as Royston Tan’s telemovie, Provision Shop, so I think all these played a part in helping me get nominated this year as well,” the 33-year-old revealed.

Zheng Ge Ping’s shocking exclusion from the Top 48
04 Mar 2017

Zheng Ge Ping’s shocking exclusion from the Top 48

While his wife Hong Hui Fang has garnered her tenth consecutive nomination, Zheng Ge Ping, who won his seventh Top 10 trophy last year, failed to receive a nod, something everyone – including his own colleagues – did not see coming.

Although the 52-year-old “hunkle” does find it a shame that he won’t have the chance to be up for his eighth award this year, he also seems to be taking his snub pretty well. In a phone interview with Toggle (he is currently in Kuala Lumpur for work), he shared that he thinks it’s good to make way for the younger generation of artistes. He also urged fans to vote for Hui Fang more as there are now more competitors.

Aloysius Pang is not eligible for this year’s Top 10 polls
04 Mar 2017

Aloysius Pang is not eligible for this year’s Top 10 polls

Another surprising absence is that of Aloysius Pang, who picked up his first Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes trophy last year. As it turns out, the 26-year-old NoonTalk artiste is not eligible for the accolade this year – all nominees need to have a Mediacorp contract that’s valid until April 16 (when the results are announced), and his expires on April 1.

In a phone interview with Toggle, Aloysius shared that he still needs more time to decide whether to renew his bond as he is contemplating his career path. “In the past, I left contract negotiations up to (NoonTalk boss) Dasmond (Koh), but he recently told me that I need to start making my own decisions about my own future,” he explained. “I usually go to him for advice as my mentor and my teacher, but this time, he didn’t really offer me much of an opinion.”

But fans need not worry too much: Aloysius reassured us that acting is still his passion, and he doesn’t see himself leaving the showbiz industry completely. He also expressed his hopes to continue being involved in Mediacorp dramas even if he decides not to renew his contract.

Aloysius’ label mate and close friend Xu Bin successfully made it into the Top 48, but did not attend yesterday’s press conference.

Lovebirds Felicia Chin and Jeffrey Xu get to celebrate their nominations together this year
04 Mar 2017

Lovebirds Felicia Chin and Jeffrey Xu get to celebrate their nominations together this year

This year marks veteran actor Chen Shu Sheng's 17th Top 10 nomination
04 Mar 2017

This year marks veteran actor Chen Shu Sheng's 17th Top 10 nomination

Chen Tian Wen returned to the Top 10 polls last year after a 12-year-absence
04 Mar 2017

Chen Tian Wen returned to the Top 10 polls last year after a 12-year-absence

Felicia Chin is up for her seventh award this year
04 Mar 2017

Felicia Chin is up for her seventh award this year

Jayley Woo picked up her first Top 10 trophy last year
04 Mar 2017

Jayley Woo picked up her first Top 10 trophy last year

The nominees for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes
04 Mar 2017

The nominees for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes

Lee Teng has four consecutive past wins - could he get his fifth this year?
04 Mar 2017

Lee Teng has four consecutive past wins - could he get his fifth this year?

This year marks Pierre Png's 10th consecutive year in the Top 10 race
04 Mar 2017

This year marks Pierre Png's 10th consecutive year in the Top 10 race

New restaurant boss Shane Pow is up for his third Top 10 award this year
04 Mar 2017

New restaurant boss Shane Pow is up for his third Top 10 award this year

Shaun Chen has been nominated six times and won once
04 Mar 2017

Shaun Chen has been nominated six times and won once

Sheila Sim was nominated for the first time last year but walked home empty-handed
04 Mar 2017

Sheila Sim was nominated for the first time last year but walked home empty-handed

This is Ya Hui's fourth nomination; she has one award under her belt so far
04 Mar 2017

This is Ya Hui's fourth nomination; she has one award under her belt so far

Yao Wen Long last took part in the Top 10 battle four years ago
04 Mar 2017

Yao Wen Long last took part in the Top 10 battle four years ago

Zhang Zhen Huan has been nominated - and won - twice
04 Mar 2017

Zhang Zhen Huan has been nominated - and won - twice

Veteran actor Zhu Hou Ren has been nominated 13 times
04 Mar 2017

Veteran actor Zhu Hou Ren has been nominated 13 times

Telepoll hotlines and online voting for the Star Awards 2017 Top 20 Most Popular Artistes are now open. Voting ends on April 16 at 8.30pm, and the results will be announced at the 2017 Star Awards LIVE ceremony.

Visit the official Star Awards 2017 microsite for more information.

Watch:
Star Awards 2017 Top 48 Most Popular Artistes revealed!

Related:
What’s new in Star Awards 2017?
Andie Chen scores 2 Star Awards nods for ‘Hero’, ‘If Only I Could’

Catch The Road to Star Awards 2017 LIVE every Sunday from March 26 to April 9, 9pm, on Channel 8 or Toggle.
Catch the Star Awards Walk of Fame on April 16, Sunday, 5.30pm on Channel 8 or Toggle.
Catch the 2017 Star Awards ceremony LIVE on April 16, Sunday, 7pm on Channel 8/U or Toggle.

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