Star Search 2019 Screen Debut offers first glimpse at Top 24’s talents ahead of semi-finals

Who you should be looking out for at the two semi-finals, the first of which airs next week, Oct 6.

Star Search 2019 Screen Debut offers first glimpse at Top 24’s talents ahead of semi-finals
Star Search 2019 Screen Debut offers first glimpse at Top 24’s talents ahead of semi-finals
27 Sep 2019

Star Search 2019 Screen Debut offers first glimpse at Top 24’s talents ahead of semi-finals

If there’s one thing we learned from watching the first Star Search preview, it’s that auditioning is no walk in the park. In addition to the most basic task of memorising your lines, there’s also the challenge of looking natural and confident, as well as convincing the judges you have that elusive X factor.

That’s a lot of boxes to tick, which is why we commend the Top 24 for pulling through to the semi-finals. While waiting for the first round to take place on October 6, you have the chance to get a sneak peek of each contestant’s acting chops with two-minute-long (a minute and 45 seconds, to be precise) Screen Debut clips, where they share the spotlight with past Star Search finalists.

We recently watched all 24 of the micro dramas, and all we can say is... nothing beats experience. Looking at all the confident performances of everyone from 1988 inaugural Star Search runner-up Aileen Tan to 2007 runner-up Desmond Tan, we’re reminded of how far our Star Search alums have come since their rookie days.

Of course, some episodes and performers were more memorable than others. Read on to see which are our favourites.

Honourable Mention (female contestant): Gail Borjiet in ‘Wedding Gown’
Honourable Mention (female contestant): Gail Borjiet in ‘Wedding Gown’
27 Sep 2019

Honourable Mention (female contestant): Gail Borjiet in ‘Wedding Gown’

Partnered wth Star Search graduate: Apple Hong (class of 1999)

As a full-time model with acting experience, Gail did a stellar job as a bride-to-be trying on dresses. What impressed us the most was a brief scene where she snaps between two different facial expressions in a very nuanced yet noticeable way. And dare we say? She outshone Apple.

Watch the full clip here.

Honourable Mention (male contestant): Jared Soh in ‘Joy’
Honourable Mention (male contestant): Jared Soh in ‘Joy’
27 Sep 2019

Honourable Mention (male contestant): Jared Soh in ‘Joy’

Partnered with Star Search graduate: Zen Chong (class of 2001)

People who are perpetually positive can tend to come off awkward and fake, on screen or off. Jared, however, does a fabulous job of toeing the fine line between earnest and OTT in his portrayal of a perky repairman.

Watch the full clip here.

Honourable Mention (Star Search alum): Nick Shen in ‘The List’
Honourable Mention (Star Search alum): Nick Shen in ‘The List’
27 Sep 2019

Honourable Mention (Star Search alum): Nick Shen in ‘The List’

Partnered with male contestant: Kenneth Liew

If any of the Top 24 contenders need tips on crying on camera, they should turn to Nick, who really steals the show here. As such, there isn’t much room for Kenneth to shine, but he does his part well as the quiet comforter, looking fittingly somber.

Watch the full clip here.

Best chemistry between co-stars: Sunny Xu and Chew Chor Meng in ‘Smile’
Best chemistry between co-stars: Sunny Xu and Chew Chor Meng in ‘Smile’
27 Sep 2019

Best chemistry between co-stars: Sunny Xu and Chew Chor Meng in ‘Smile’

Sunny was lucky to get acting tips from Chor Meng, who advised her to refrain from over-exaggeration. She clearly took his lessons to heart, resulting in a natural and well-rounded performance, which contributed to nice chemistry with the veteran actor.

Watch the full clip here.

Most Commendable Attempt at Tackling a Challenge: Natasha Chandra in ‘Ambition’
Most Commendable Attempt at Tackling a Challenge: Natasha Chandra in ‘Ambition’
27 Sep 2019

Most Commendable Attempt at Tackling a Challenge: Natasha Chandra in ‘Ambition’

Partnered with Star Search graduate: Sora Ma (class of 2010)

Natasha’s script originally called for her to cry tears of both sadness and joy, but as Sora put it, “It’s very, very, very difficult for a newcomer to express a range of emotions like that.” So, in order to make things easier for her, the sad tears were scrapped, but Natasha still got to try her hand - or rather, her face? - at filming a close-up of being emotionally overwhelmed (with happiness). Not a bad effort at all.

Watch the full clip here.

Read on for our take on the rest of the Star Search 2019 Screen Debut episodes.

Decision (Herman Keh)
Decision (Herman Keh)
27 Sep 2019

Decision (Herman Keh)

Star Search graduate: Joey Swee (class of 1997)

Said Joey about Herman in the behind-the-scenes clip: he never - or hardly, at least - committed any bloopers while filming, which gave her pressure to not make any mistakes as well. Pretty impressive, we think. Watch the full clip here.

Educate (Christy Mai)
Educate (Christy Mai)
27 Sep 2019

Educate (Christy Mai)

Star Search graduate: Aileen Tan (class of 1988)

In her behind-the-scenes interview, Christy praised Aileen for being able to get into character so quickly and effortlessly - and little did she know that the veteran actress had said the same thing about her. Perhaps that is why their pairing seemed so effective, and they square off against each other nicely.

Watch the full clip here.

Furry Kid (Chang Hio Cheng)
Furry Kid (Chang Hio Cheng)
27 Sep 2019

Furry Kid (Chang Hio Cheng)

Star Search graduate: Priscelia Chan (class of 1999)

It is the graduate (Priscelia) who gets to shine as a heartbroken character mourning the death of a loved one (in this case, it’s a pet dog), while the newcomer (Hio Cheng) perfectly complements the performance in a supporting role.

Watch the full clip here.

Missed (Kiki Lim)
Missed (Kiki Lim)
27 Sep 2019

Missed (Kiki Lim)

Star Search graduate: Rayson Tan (class of 1990)

For someone who has acting experience (she’s in Toggle Originals series Last Madame), Kiki unfortunately does not get much opportunity to flex her acting chops in her clip, coming off rather one-dimensional in her role as a perky guardian angel. Strangely enough, she appears much more relaxed and natural in her behind-the-scenes interview.

Watch the full clip here.

Surmise (Alyssa Peh)
Surmise (Alyssa Peh)
27 Sep 2019

Surmise (Alyssa Peh)

Star Search graduate: Jeffrey Xu (class of 2010)

Hearing Alyssa’s saccharine, delicate voice for the first time took us by surprise because it did not match her more mature, elegant appearance. That aside, her convincingly dejected look of a woman insecure about her husband's affection for her made us want to wrap her up in a blanket and cheer her up. There, there...

Watch the full clip here.

Bill (Tan Hao Thian)
Bill (Tan Hao Thian)
27 Sep 2019

Bill (Tan Hao Thian)

Star Search graduate: Yao Wen Long (class of 1993)

Hao Thian’s delivery come across a bit wooden at times, but on the flip side, his portrayal of someone trying to gently convince his older brother to rethink a divorce was quite polished.

Watch the full clip here.

Image (Jernelle Oh)
Image (Jernelle Oh)
27 Sep 2019

Image (Jernelle Oh)

Star Search graduate: James Seah (class of 2010)

This episode had sunny Korean drama vibes all over it. Perhaps it was Jernelle’s perky drama heroine aura, which felt natural, contrasting nicely against James’s brooding demeanour.

Watch the full clip here.

Miniature (Ye Jia Yun)
Miniature (Ye Jia Yun)
27 Sep 2019

Miniature (Ye Jia Yun)

Star Search graduate: Felicia Chin (class of 2003)

At just 17 years old and with zero prior experience, Jia Yun can be forgiven for lacking the casual self-assuredness that usually comes with age, displayed expertly by her senior co-star (and no, we did not just call Feli old).

Watch the full clip here.

Marriage (Vanessa Ho)
Marriage (Vanessa Ho)
27 Sep 2019

Marriage (Vanessa Ho)

Star Search graduate: Lina Ng (class of 1993)

It’s easy to go over-the-top when you’re playing a grouch who’s questioning her decision to get married, but Vanessa (who, by the way, has the largest fanbase on Instagram among the Top 24 with 71,600 followers) serves up a pretty well-balanced depiction, complete with a deft softening of her expression as she warms up to her aunt’s advice.

Watch the full clip here.

Chamber (Joel Low)
Chamber (Joel Low)
27 Sep 2019

Chamber (Joel Low)

Star Search graduate: Ya Hui (class of 2007)

As a professional theatre actor, Joel probably felt right at home filming this rather dramatic episode, which started off feeling like a psychological thriller. His performance in the beginning is the closest we get to see any of the Top 24 playing a villain, and he does a pretty credible job.

Watch the full clip here.

Life (Juin Teh)
Life (Juin Teh)
27 Sep 2019

Life (Juin Teh)

Star Search graduate: Andie Chen (class of 2007)

According to Andie, his first impression of Juin was, “Is she really a newcomer?” Well, strictly speaking, not really - she does have some experience as she is the oldest female contestant (29) and she has taken part in other competitions over the years.

Watch the full clip here.

One Day (Sheryl Ang)
One Day (Sheryl Ang)
27 Sep 2019

One Day (Sheryl Ang)

Star Search graduate: Desmond Tan (class of 2007)

We agree with Desmond’s behind-the-scenes comment about Sheryl having a versatile look that would be suitable for playing either protagonist or antagonist. That said, we felt like she showed too much of the latter for the role of a gentle wife. Maybe tone down on the intense glare at your beloved husband?

Watch the full clip here.

Time (Tyler Ten)
Time (Tyler Ten)
27 Sep 2019

Time (Tyler Ten)

Star Search graduate: Romeo Tan (class of 2010)

A heart-stirring sequence can easily be ruined by bad acting, but that is thankfully not the case here. Part-time model Tyler shows that he’s more than just a good-looking face with his poignant portrayal of someone conversing with his older brother, whom we later learn - spoiler alert! - has passed away and is just a figment of his imagination.

Watch the full clip here.

Evade (Zhai Si Ming)
Evade (Zhai Si Ming)
27 Sep 2019

Evade (Zhai Si Ming)

Star Search graduate: Brandon Wong (class of 1995)

Si Ming learned a very important lesson making this clip: just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it will be easy to film (“Basketball is basketball; acting is acting!”). Still, we think he didn’t do a shabby job combining the two,showing off his skills on the court while nailing his presentation as an angsty kid.

Watch the full clip here.

Coffee (Lee Wenn Hon)
Coffee (Lee Wenn Hon)
27 Sep 2019

Coffee (Lee Wenn Hon)

Star Search graduate: Cassandra See (class of 1990)

Quipped Cassandra of Wenn Hon’s performance for their clip, which takes place in a cafe: “Like coffee, he still needs time to brew, but soon he’ll be like a nice cup of espresso!” We think that can apply to all the Top 24 contestants.

Watch the full clip here.

Forgather (Teoh Ze Tong)
Forgather (Teoh Ze Tong)
27 Sep 2019

Forgather (Teoh Ze Tong)

Star Search graduate: Cai Pei Xuan (class of 2003)

Our initial verdict of Ze Tong’s performance as a man who runs into his ex-girlfriend was that he came off as rather stiff. But then we thought – we’d tense up too if we had a chance encounter with a former flame after so many years.

Watch the full clip here.

Opportunity (Zane Lim)
Opportunity (Zane Lim)
27 Sep 2019

Opportunity (Zane Lim)

Star Search graduate: Vivian Lai (class of 1999)

This is the most meta episode out of the Screen Debut clips as it centres on a young aspiring actor (played by young aspiring actor Zane, looking suitably forlorn) who questions his abilities and future in showbiz, before watching an inspiring speech by Vivian. It’s almost as if this were a subtle PSA encouraging the Top 24 in their journey.

Watch the full clip here.

Martial Morality (Chin Yi Yang)
Martial Morality (Chin Yi Yang)
27 Sep 2019

Martial Morality (Chin Yi Yang)

Star Search graduate: Vincent Ng (class of 1997)

We know the Screen Debut clips are meant to highlight the potential of the Top 24 candidates, but Vincent really steals the thunder here with his cool wushu moves.

Watch the full clip here.

Flower Symbolism (Bryan Kok)
Flower Symbolism (Bryan Kok)
27 Sep 2019

Flower Symbolism (Bryan Kok)

Star Search graduate: Zhang Yao Dong (class of 2001)

Kudos to Bryan for admitting that he kept messing up his lines so much, he racked up a total of 30 NGs (no-good takes). Hey, Shaun Chen once told us that he needed 50 to 60 retakes for a scene in his very first drama, and he’s now the proud owner of a Best Actor gong. Just sayin’.

Watch the full clip here.

Star Search 2019 semi-finals will air live on October 6 and 13, 8pm, on Toggle and Channel 8.
Star Search 2019 grand finals will air live on November 3, 7pm, on Toggle and Channel 8.

Watch:
Star Search 2019 Preview 1
Star Search 2019 Preview 2

Visit our Star Search microsite for more!

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