Media insiders pick their top duke: Xu Bin

As the competition heats up for the Toggle Outstanding Duke Award, we polled our fellow media friends on the 8 dukes

Xu Bin at the Star Awards Top 40 press cnoference

The 8 dukes were put in the hot seat last week and were dealt a few sticky questions, and the results were hilarious (watch their videos here), to say the least. This week, as we head into the second week of voting for the Toggle Outstanding Duke award, we polled a few familiar figures from the industry, our fellow media friends, who have interviewed and/or interacted with these 8 dukes and saw them mature over the past year.

A few names were mentioned but one stood out and that is Xu Bin, who was nominated by three out of five media representatives as one of the most outstanding duke – based on his past year’s performance— when compared to his peers.

Lianhe Zaobao’s Ang Ming Hwa feels that Xu Bin appeals to the audience because he has the “entire package” and makings of an “idol”, while YES 933’s Cruz Teng called him a well-rounded performer who has benefitted from doing 118 and a wide range of activities such as commercials and recording his first single.

Added Cruz: “Out of the 8 dukes, six of them have been part-time DJs with YES 933 and Xu Bin is a natural (on air) when he interacts with our listeners during the call-in sessions too.”

Xu Bin in Against the Tide (L) and 118 (R)

Commending Xu Bin for his acting, too, is Sharon Toh from Toggle, who said: “Xu Bin has also improved tremendously in his acting skills this year, especially as the cop with a hidden past in Against the Tide, and he was pleasant and a natural to watch in 118 as his character gets caught in a love triangle with three girls.” Likewise, Sharon also commended Shane for proving his “versatility” in a wide range of acting and hosting jobs over the past year.

On the other hand, Han Wei Chou from Channel NewsAsia (CNA) had a different take on the dukes and chose the “Two Tans” instead. “Desmond Tan had a good run in Second Chance where he played a lawyer and Romeo was also quite convincing as the villain in Tumultuous Times. But I think Desmond Tan wins by a hair because he improved more, and had some great moments in his sitcom Spouse For House,” he shared.

Jonathan Fam from 8 DAYS shared his sentiment too: “To say Desmond Tan had a good year is like saying the sun is hot. There isn’t another young actor as loved by both the media and product sponsors as he is and credit has to go to Desmond’s charming personality and how he oozes leading man presence ― an important and formidable combination in showbiz.”

So who has biggest room for improvement?

“It has two possible interpretations,” said Han from CNA. “Zhang Zhen Huan has the biggest room for improvement because his acting is average and he doesn’t seem to be able to find a connection with his audience yet. He may need to be more active when interacting with his fans online to get their support, and feed off their energy to become better.

Shane Pow

“The other way of looking at this question is “Who has not yet reached their potential”. I would say Shane Pow. He looks good, has the physique and generally very personable. He has a long journey ahead of him but looks like he has what it takes to carve a niche for himself in the industry.”

Similarly, both Cruz and Jon commented that Shane lacks an anchor project.

Said Jon: “Shane has been flying under the radar for a while now, which is a pity ’cos he has a lot of potential. He’s good-looking, bilingual, and gives great sound bites during interviews. All he lacks is a memorable role.”

Overall, both Ming Hwa and Sharon feel that the eight actors still have plenty of room to grow and need to work on immersing themselves in the characters they play. “Take for example, Jeffrey Xu,” said Ming Hwa. “Despite winning the Best Supporting Actor award at the Asian Television Awards, he has yet to try more deep or serious roles. I look forward to see how he’d fare in this area.”

We (also) did a fun straw poll amongst our TV production colleagues to find out who is the “duke” of their choice. Watch the video below to find out!

These views expressed here do not represent Toggle and have no claim to the final results on April 26.

Toggle Outstanding Duke Award’s online voting poll closes on April 26, 11pm. Voting is free and can be done online on a daily basis, one vote per NRIC. The winning duke will be presented with a trophy at the Star Awards Show 2 Post Party and the winner is determined based on 50:50 votes from the public and the Toggle editorial team.

The five media representatives interviewed for this story are Lianhe Zaobao’s veteran entertainment journalist Ang Ming Hwa, YES 933’s Assistant Programme Director Cruz Teng, Toggle’s Editor Sharon Toh, 8 DAYS’ Assistant Editor Jonathan Fam and Channel NewsAsia entertainment reporter Han Wei Chou.

Down and dirty with the 8 dukes
All hail the 8 dukes: Who will reign supreme?

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