Ken Lim: The Final 1 Season 2 has Singapore's best Top 10 ever

The finalists of the Channel 5 reality singing competition talk about fan encounters and reveal if they'd ever quit school for singing

Ken Lim: The Final 1 Season 2 has Singapore's best Top 10 ever
Judge Ken Lim (centre) and nine of the The Final 1 Season 2 Top 10.

Photos: Tammi Tan
Videos: Tan Shi Qi, Teng Siew Eng

Nine out of the top 10 contenders for the second season of Channel 5's The Final 1 were introduced to local media for the first time yesterday, and Hype Records head honcho Ken Lim, who returns as a judge on the singing reality show together with Idol winners Taufik Batisah (Singapore) and Jaclyn Victor (Malaysia), had something interesting to say about them.

"This season, I'm happy to say that we probably have the best Top 10 contestants in any local competition that I've seen," he declared.

High praise from someone who has been likened to Simon Cowell, a name synonymous with straight-faced and sharp-tongued -- albeit often painfully true -- comments.

And the reason for such polished quality, he deduced, is thanks to the programme's new way of whittling down its candidates: in the first season, public voting was responsible for selecting each week's hopefuls as early as the Top 40 rounds. This time, however, the three judges will be the ones to decide which two deserve to stand on the final stage before letting viewers decide on the ultimate winner of a S$100,000 recording and artiste management contract.

"This judging criteria has instigated the fact that they want to build on their talent, rather than their popularity," explained Ken.

WATCH: The finalists delight us with spontaneous singing performances

Another factor that could contribute to his generous appraisal is that a majority of the contenders already have a foot in the industry: 24-year-old Gareth Fernandez (who is the younger brother of local actor/presenter Brendon Fernandez and could not attend the press conference due to work commitments) released an EP last year; 21-year-old Lou Peixin and 19-year-old Charlene Su perform at weddings and events; and Isaac Ong, 26, has a few threatre credits to his name.

Perhaps that is why, when we asked if they would ever, like season one champ Farisha Ishak, give their studies or other endeavours a break to focus on music, most of them expressed their confidence in being able to handle both at the same time.

"Right now I'm playing a lot of gigs and doing well in school at the same time, so I don't see myself quitting school (for music)," said Charlene, who is studying journalism at the National University of Singapore. Peixin, a corporate communication major, concurred, saying she's already been juggling singing and studies for the past two years, while American-born Indonesian-Chinese Bernard Dinata, 19, hopes to pursue both simultaneously after he completes his National Service next year.

Ken Lim: The Final 1 Season 2 has Singapore's best Top 10 ever
Bernard Dinata, Lou Peixin and Shanice Hedger.

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