16 September 2012

19 Year-Old Girl-Next-Door Mesmerises With Powerful Vocals 

Singapore, 16 September 2012 – After 10 weeks of leading a life under constant public scrutiny and cut off from the outside world, nine weekly concerts, and daily regimes of intensive training, Seah Hui Xian, 19, finally emerges victorious at the world's first Mandarin Academy Fantasia! For her win, she walks away with a two-year singing contract and a recording album with established music label Ocean Butterflies Music. To top off the icing on the cake, StarHub is awarding the winner, first and second runners-up with $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 cash respectively. All three will also win the latest iPhone 5 with mobile contract courtesy of StarHub.

Hui Xian, a pint-sized girl known for her soulful singing and powerful vocals, mesmerised the crowd with her renditions of A-Lin’s Give Me A Reason To Forget and Angela Zhang’s Pandora. Viewers would have remembered her transformation from a soft-spoken girl next door who was affectionally nicknamed “Stone” by her fellow contestants, to an all-rounded star performer tonight. Hui Xian gushed, “I am really grateful to everybody for showing me so much support. I would also like to thank StarHub, Refinery Media and all the sponsors for organising a meaningful production like this. I will work hard towards fulfilling my dreams of becoming a singer and I hope to touch more people with my performances.”

Irwin Fua, 25, is known as the versatile performer with his nifty dance steps and the ability to compose songs. His two performances, Wang Lee Hom’s The One And Only and his self-composed song Dream, were a departure from his usual energetic performances, and he was awarded first runner-up. Second runner-up, Zhang Chi, also 19, is a Chinese National who garnered many fans with his fresh appeal and a devil-may-care attitude. He wowed the crowd with his suave performances, singing A-Do’s Persevere Till The End, and Crowd Lu’s I Love You.

The panel of judges comprised of renowned lyricist Fang Wen Shan, acclaimed dance choreographer Lan Po, resident judges Billy Koh and Roy Li Fei Hui. Their scores were given a 30 percent weightage whilst public voting via SMS accounted for the remaining 70 percent. Other than SMS voting, StarHub also engaged fans and viewers extensively via social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Weibo throughout the competition, creating an active interaction of comments online, and making this a unique and fresh experience for the viewers.

Mr Tan Tong Hai, Chief Operating Officer of StarHub expressed, “This is an ambitious project for StarHub as it is our first major foray into content production. We are pleased with the results it has delivered. All of us have gained much experience from this project and I believe that this experience will be invaluable when we embark on similar projects in future. We would like to thank all our sponsors for believing in us and for coming onboard.”

Mr Tan added, “We are extremely proud of the three finalists for reaching this far, and of Hui Xian for emerging as the inaugural champion of Sunsilk Academy Fantasia. We have witnessed how she had worked very hard throughout the competition and today, it has paid off. We are confident Hui Xian will go on and do us proud in her singing career.”

To spur the finalists on during their journey, two ancillary contests were held. Hui Xian bagged the award for Sunsilk Most Transformed Contestant for embodying the essence of this competition, which is to transform oneself from an ordinary person, to one with star quality during the course of the competition. The public voted Hui Xian for her dramatic change based on physical appearance and personality, as well as a marked improvement in her stage performances. The contest was organised by title sponsor, Sunsilk, and she walked away with Sunsilk products and shopping vouchers worth $2000.

Hui Xian also won $3000 cash for winning Best Smile contest organised by main sponsor Darlie. The public was invited to vote via Facebook for one of the three finalists whom they think has the most dazzling smile. She clinched the top spot having garnered the most votes with her sweet and alluring smile.

The finale, held at St James Power Station’s Dragonfly Bar, was attended by some 600 screaming fans. The event was graced by Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of National Development who presented Hui Xian with a trophy.

Popular Chinese singer Yisa Yu Ke Wei, local singing sensation Rachel Chua and resident band of St James Power Station, Prince, were amongst the impressive line-up of performers. The 11 contestants who were eliminated in the earlier rounds of the competition reunited with the top three finalists on stage to perform the theme song and a medley of three songs separately after.

Viewers who missed the ‘live’ finale on Academy Fantasia Channel can catch the encore telecasts on E City (StarHub TV Channel 111/825) on 17 September, 1am, 18 September, 2.30pm and 22 September, 12pm.

For more information on StarHub TV, visit www.starhub.com/tv.

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