A take 5 with Chua Enlai and Yasminne Cheng

We sat down with the hosts of Channel 5’s new The 5 Show to learn more about their new gig

Chua Enlai and Yasminne Cheng
Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Teng Siew Eng

As part of their recently announced “local upsize” MediaCorp’s Channel 5 is launching info-tainment programme The 5 Show, which will cover issues that are close to Singapore viewers’ hearts in a more light-hearted and interactive way compared to the regular news.

Fronting the show as co-hosts are long-time friends Chua Enlai and Yasminne Cheng, who are working together for the first time. While neither of them are strangers to live presentations (Enlai has starred in theatre productions and Class 95FM deejay Yasminne is often on air), this is the first time they will be helming a live television show.

“When they asked me [to join the show] I thought, ‘Oh wow, that’s quite cool’,” Enlai previously told us at the unveiling of the revamp last month. “I’m so used to being a character on television so this will be interesting.”

The newly minted MediaCorp artiste (with continued management by FLY Entertainment) seemed to be a little more candid with his feelings on Monday, when we sat down with the duo for a hit-and-run interview between the show’s trailer shoots, which were running dangerously overtime.

“The fact that there’s no take two is quite scary,” he confessed. Yasminne, on the other hand, acknowledged that although there’s little room for mistakes, she chirpily maintained that their potential blunders could be “funny” (to which Enlai ruefully added, “I hope so”).

Chua Enlai and Yasminne Cheng

Read on for more from our brief chat with Enlai and Yasminne as they take five (well, around seven minutes, to be more specific) to tell us about their training for the show, the pros and cons of working with a pal, and more:

What is the downside of hosting this show with a long-time friend?

Enlai: Because we are friends, we speak in a very colloquial way, but on TV we’ve got to speak proper English.
Yasminne: Yeah, we can’t say our “lahs” and stuff.
Enlai: Even though that’s how we talk to each other sometimes.

What about the good?

Yasminne: We don’t need to get used to each other because we already are.
Enlai: It’s like, instead of hanging out at a restaurant, we’re hanging out at this studio.

Chua Enlai and Yasminne Cheng

Another upside to working with a friend: free massages whenever you're feeling tired.

What are some challenges you foresee in this new gig?

Yasminne: Because this is a live show, there is no chance to make a mistake, although at some point we might.
Enlai: I think that’s quite scary. I’m trying to think of how it’s like when I’m doing theatre.

Any other worries besides that?

Yasminne: I think Enlai is quite concerned that I will reveal things about him that he does not want me to reveal.
Enlai: Like what!?
Yasminne: I can’t say! He will kill me!
Enlai: I’ve got nothing to hide. And she’s seen me naked before so…
Yasminne: I have not seen you naked! Now I need to scrub that image out of my mind, it’s terrifying!
[Ed note: Here, they argue for a while about whether Yasminne has seen Enlai in the buff, before he laughingly concludes that he’s been talking about the wrong friend.]

How is hosting this live show different from being a stage actor or radio deejay?

Yasminne: On the radio, I can make funny faces and nobody cares. I’m also in charge of everything because [being a deejay] isn’t as much of a team effort as this live show.
Enlai: TV is a very intimate medium – it’s practically one-on-one between us and whoever’s watching. And I don’t have to be so LOUD [sings the word loudly].
Yasminne: And you don’t have to cross dress.
Enlai: Well, we have a lot of episodes, so maybe one day I will. We can just swap outfits! Although I don’t think I can fit into that dress.

What kind of “training” are you undergoing to prepare you for this job?

Enlai: Robb Weller (former host of Entertainment Tonight in the US) has been here for a couple of weeks to coach us.
Yasminne: He’s making us more aware of things we might not have noticed in a live studio situation.
Enlai: Such as the multi-camera setup, how to deal with interviewees, and keeping things tight yet elastic at the same time.

If you could have any guest on the show, who would it be?

Yasminne: Oh I know we’ll have the same answer for that one – Mariah Carey.
Enlai: If we could fit her in the studio.
Yasminne: So bad, you!
Enlai: Because she’s got a huge entourage! I don’t know what you were thinking.

Chua Enlai and Yasminne Cheng

WATCH: Enlai and Yasminne’s hilarious interview caught on tape

Catch The 5 Show on Mondays to Fridays at 8.30pm on Channel 5, starting 1 January 2015.

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