Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roopa, I am floored! Idea Star Singer, are you listening?

Oh God! I must get this out before it is too late or before my head bursts in excitement. How many of you watching Idea Star Singer thought high of Amrutha's performance (for which she got a 90) in the Fusion round? You guys need to check out this performance from another contestant attempting the same song in another competition. What? Another competition? Yes, Asianet is not the only one that is conducting a reality contest show. There are scores of others. Last September I had seen the much talked about SuperStar Global on Amritha channel in Kerala and I was blown by some of the performances there, particularly one singer Teena. But I was hardly prepared for stuff about which I am going to write about now.

After reading my blog my wife's cousin sent her a link to a video on YouTube about a singer called Roopa (sorry I write "a singer" because in Chennai you need to have Tata Sky or DishTV or the Set Top box to watch the Amritha channel). I did take a look and was very impressed. I was also impressed with the way the judges passed their comments, the telecast, the host and the music accompanyment (just keyboards, synth and software, and sometimes purely acoustic accompaniment too). Judges would give standing ovations and many times loose inhibitions and egos to appreciate the superb perfomances. Even the guests that show up are veteran singers, UnniKrishnan, Karthik, Gayathri to name a few. This is a rare thing on Asianet's Idea Star Singer. It is sad that Amritha channel has lesser coverage. Thanks to Asianet's marketing and reach, Amritha channel's videos gets fewer comments even on YouTube. Furthermore Asianet's also focusses on non-music things like Dance, Costume, Gimmicks, Acting, the audience and the orchestra. The orchestra in many places does not provide perfect support either. On the other hand Stephen does a great job on the keys and software to support performances on Super Star Global. This emphasizes the singers performance instead of the orchestra hogging the limelight.

Back to the main story. As I hadn't watched Amrutha's performance fully I decided to check out YouTube. Here is her performance that you may check and later make your own comparisions.

As I watched I couldn't help reading the comments comparing her performacnes to that of Roopa's on Super Star Global where several viewers have indicated about Roopa's superior performance. Next Stop, checking Roopa's performance and here's my conclusion. If judges on Idea Star Singer could give Amrutha 90 on 100 they would have given Roopa a 150. The performance was mind blowing. Check it out here.

and the comments, from the Judges.

Actually Amrutha's performance on Idea Star Singer literally pales in comparison to that of Roopa's. Amrutha's performance is hardly enjoyable after you watch Roopa's. Roopa is also more in control and seems to enjoy the song and delivery than Amrutha whose face is writ with tension and anxiety. The only consolation for Amrutha I have is the fact that she is only 17 whereas Roopa is 23. But as they say "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". What ultimately is expected is the better song and Roopa clearly wins.

In fact Roopa's performance even suprasses the original song sung by Sudha Raghunathan. Bear in mind that Sudha Raghunathan's song was made IN THE STUDIO. So it could have been done with a hundred or more takes and retakes. They could have even recorded Sudha's part seperately (though this may not be the case) and then fused it to the music track to create the complete song. Not to forget that Roopa does the English part of the song too which Sudha does not do in the original.

Simply put Roopa's version makes Sudha Raghunathan's version a "screaming version" and Amrutha's "cacophony".

However the best part is this. Roopa's performance is enjoyable both visually and aurally. Her voice and singing is perfect and enjoyable at the same time, something which both the studio recording and Amrutha's performance lack. Amrutha had also stretched her song making it longer while Roopa's is tight and crisp. Roopa also sings Malayalam lyrics (making the performance even longer) which are neither in Amrutha's song or Sudha's making me wonder if there was a Malayalam version sung by Chitra. Let me know if you have any information and I will report a comparison on the same.

The best part of Roopa's lovely and very beutiful voice is that it is extremely soothing and pleasant to hear. Looks like you could give her a bad song and Roopa could come out with a better version of the same. Personally I am not against Sudha Raghunathan or Amrutha but I must say when Sudha R sings I cannot stand regional intonations and accents such as as "Ishai" instead of "Isai" and such. It is just a turn off. Check out the three songs and compare yourself.

Next I dug up more of her vidoes and I couldn't believe what I saw. Performance after performance of excellence and mastery. Be that English, Tamil, Hindi or Urdu her pronounciation is near perfect. Just check out the comments (you will have to search them on YouTube) and you will know. The reaction from the audience and the judges tell it all.

I have to mention my friend Tee Pee (man are you listening?) who used to tell me about Thodi Raagam and how Thodi Ragam veteran TNS could make you cry singing Thodi.
This song is based on the Thodi Raagam. Here is another Thodi based song, originally sung by Yeshudas. The audio and video aren't very good on this one.

Here are her other memorable and unbeatable performances you cannot afford to miss.

Mana Mohana


Comparing her ghazal to that of Najim Arshad on Asianet I must say it was as good as if not better. Najim is the best on Asianet and very good too but I would rate Roopa better than Najim anytime.

She makes songs sung by other artistes sound better. In one of the comments session Unni Menon even said to her that after judging her for so long he was waiting to hear a better performance from Roopa than S Janaki who sang the original.

Songs sung by other artistes that I have ignored seem and sound much better. Here is one of them.

Tharamakumbil - terrific singing, great keyboards,

Sundara raavil, an acoustic delight with Stephon on the piano. Check out the judges comments where Chithra Iyer even confesses she doesn't feel she is in a competition but in a concert. Unni Menon thanks Roopa for giving him and other the good fortune of listening to this song.


And to top it all here is a song sung by Roopa who had only been out of the hospital with 5 shots (wonder why she took 5) half an hour earlier before her scheduled performance. Check out the comments video for the standing ovation from the judges plus comments. Roopa is almost shaking. Thank God she didn't collapse.

Raavil, Veena Natham pole...

After I dug more info on her (I just couldn't restrain myslef) I also understand Roopa is good violinist having won consistently awards for both her singing and playing from 2001 to 2005. A fan has even promoted a website on her. You can check it at

Here is an overstatement. Roopa will be the next big sought after singer music directors will be see gunning for, more than any of the other contestants in the two competitions, Idea Star Singer or Super Star Global. Music director Jaychandran, actor Lalu Alex, and singer Chithra Iyer, all judges on SSG have already adopted her as their daughters. C'mon all this cannot be some conspiracy or a strange coincidence either.

Oh my God, I am on a total Roopa trip!.... Maybe I am so overwhelmed because I got it all in one shot whereas regular viewers were seeing things gradually. It is Saturday morning and I am still writing..I have been doing this for almost three days now.

I say just give her the Merc and close the competition. Really don't know what the organizers are waiting for. Maybe to let us listen to more of her, because we may not get to see more of her soon? She is just too big for the competition. No wonder Jayachandran in a gesture even wanted to leave indicating he is too small to judge her.

Final words. This is a highly opionionated review. Feel free to comment. For days now I have been blogging only about the singing contests on T.V but sorry guys I will write about other topics too. If only I had 48 hours a day. But the new posts will come soon. I value your patience.


Biju said...

Just happened to see this article on a routine google search. Nice one :)
Roopa is a really talented singer, and yes, a lot of other singers in SSG as well. But Roopa is the best. Just listen to the "Bahon mein chale aao..." that she sang last week, and you will really be impressed. She is the best.

Anonymous said...

Admit that Roopa is a fine singer, but if you are serious about the rest of your comments, I mean about judgment and the rest of the "singers", I would say you've not really sat and watched more than a couple of shows.

Further, if you have ever had the opportunity to watch the SS program the first time, you'd know the tremendous difference between the two.

As much as you've praised Roopa, you have got to bear in mind that Amrutha sang while truly performing and Roopa performed but with her hands (as she always does). It should also be noted that Amrutha was not the only singer who got 90. How come you never considered the others who got 90 as well (Najim & Hesham, specially while "performing". How many of the other singers of SSG can stand up to these? How many of the final 10 can match up to the final 10 of ISS singing and performing?

Anonymous said...

I admit with anonymous comment, that ISS singers are much better than SSG contestants. But, in the case of Roopa, she is far far better than any contestants in ISS.

I hate SSG, only because of Chitra Iyer and M. Jayachandran. these two judges are simply "Un-sahikable" :)

thanks Mr. Subash for this wonderful write up and links..

archangel said...

take ISS and SSG... leave the count on both sides... roopa is the best...

Subash S L said...

Hello friends,

Thanks for all your comments. I welcome them all 'cos I really wrote this article with a lot of passion. I could and would still write a lot but I'll try and be as brief as possibe.

Biju, I did watch "Bahon mein chale aao". It was a great performance though I did find two mistakes which are easily forgivable. Look out for my newer posts.

Anonymous (the first one). It is true I haven't watched many SSG shows. Having watched too many crap shows of ISS I honestly regret. ISS in now plagued with too many non-musical stuff which is really putting many viewers off. SSG has some other very good singers. I am very impressed with Teena but Roopa clearly stands out. In fact these days judges and viewers are just sitting there savoring as much performances of hers as possible than find fault with her. She is above all these competitions. And I don't buy the Roopa performed with her hands thing. You will need to watch both the videos (Amrutha's and Roopa's once again to know who sang better). If you have noticed Jyotsana moving your hands (like playing air guitar and stuff) I don't know what you'll comment.
By the way I did mention about other people who got the 90 on ISS in my earlier posts. For your question how many people can match, my answer (like anonymous 2 said) is that there is no match for Roopa on any competition anywhere that is currently going on. Furthermore I am more concerned with singing than the other stuff like dancing, acting etc. Afterall aren't these supposed to be singing contests.

Please note that music directore and judge on ISS, Sharath will be reading my blog and if possible I will try and talk to him and post details of the coversations. Look out for the posts.

Rgds, Subash.

Anonymous said...

Ok, So I am Anon 1 :)

Just to quote the last part of your reply Subash ". Afterall aren't these supposed to be singing contests."

I really do not think so, cause if it was why would all these variety of rounds be included. The rounds do not just include pure singing rounds but also property round, sing and dance rounds, a round with the family and many more. In the case of SSG, while it was singing rounds in the earlier stages, at one point the performance rounds began and the idea behind it was to get it in line with the original SS which really had a big viewership purely for the entertainment value it brought. Truth is that in those days people compared ISS with SS and was very much against the "boring" entertainment and the outrageous "judges".

I therefore firmly believe that both shows as originally intended by both directors is not about pure singing only and that performance is a key factor as well.

Subash S L said...

Hello Anonymous 1,

I wish I could address you by name.

One thing is clear. Every program needs viewership. Advertisers are paying top Ruppee and they want their money's worth. So programs are being unecessarily prolonged. Sometime towards the end of last year I spoke to Sharath (judge on ISS) when they were having just three performances. When I complained why there were only 3 performances in the one hour program, he would tell me it is going to become just two subsequently and it did. Just 2 performances and they were filling in with footage of details of the contestants like home, college, family and friends etc. Then they followed it with the contestants singing in the studio and videos and such. Certainly I have been seeing more of ISS (in fact hardly any SSG) and it got to ridiculous levels that I even would stop watching it. I still wonder what rounds exist for the semi finals. The sad thing is that both ISS or SSG can restrict their rounds to music if only the co-ordinators could think more creatively. Why not have an all English round afterall the worlds most popular songs are in English. Why not have an other language round (other than Tamil, Hindi, Urdu or Malayalam). Why not have a foreign language round? See those are three different rounds already. Then you could have a round where the singers themselves compose a song. Instead the family and friends, property etc were such ridiculous rounds. One round particularly Arun Gopan's "Amma Enru Azhiakatha" I avoided. So also Vani's family round. They were unbearable to watch. How many of these things are these singers going to do in their later singing lives. Did other singers that we know do these to become singers? Definitely alternative rounds will have be thought of creatively.

Anil,Saudi said...

Dear Subash.. Appreciating your efforts to bring up a talented singer. .well done. .I must say 90% of her songs in SSG were upto the talented girl..yes its true such fancy-dress n family oriented songs keep many away from ISS..

To become a good singer, as you said no need to be a performer or a dancer...just good singing..thats wat Dasettan, Chithra, Sujatha all are proving...

Anyhow, it’s not worth comparing both programs ISS & SSG…the style differ as the directors differs in their views and thoughts…

Anonymous said...

yes Ofcourse...i do agreee with u 100%..even i gotto watch all her videos in one shot and i was totally blown..extremely talented..very much gifted..its too sure shes going to be the next voice of kerala, south India or for tht matter India..May God shower her with even more blessings for years to come..
and i do agree that amrita tv's superstar global stands too high in standard than that of asianet's star singer..the whole package is just too good, that at times a touch of divinity is felt..whereas starsinger is more or less like a mere song and dance program..hmmm..good to find an equally excited person on Roopa!

Biju said...

Thanks for your comments Subash. Your passion for music really reflects in the article. I've already added your blog to my google reader :)

Anonymous1, I'm not in for a comparison between SSG & ISS. Each person's perception is different. For me, SSG is definitely better than ISS. Regarding the other participants, I would definitely rate Roopa, Teena and Ratheesh better than others at ISS. If you want to see Roopa "performing", just watch her singing Jawanejaneman... jaanejan.... etc.. the videos will be available at
devi... you are spot on! You will find a lot of people becoming her fans after hearing her singing :)

Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous1:

U had said..

" How many of the final 10 can match up to the final 10 of ISS singing and performing? "

With respect to performance.. I dont think anybody among ISS can come up to Ananth in SSG. And even rashmi. Send all these singers from both show to a packed stage show, and you will understand what i mean.. Ananth, Arun Gopan, Vani, Rashmi.. all of them can dance.. But thats not all. Ananth and rashmi has the power to man a concert crowd.. pep them up with their creativity..

But I admit that they have had problems singing non-performance songs.. probabbly the reason why they are out by now..

Watch.. bhul bulaiiya, neruppe sikki, mayya mayya, konjam nilavu.. etc.. u will find out..

Anonymous said...

Fully support you Subash. I'm an ardent fan of Roopa, nobody to match her talent in ISS. The write-up is really good.

Ajay Nair said...

Excellent write up Subhash.

Roopa is truly a gifted singer. I am watching the SSG [Super Star Global]just because of her. I am avoiding the other musical comedy show ISS [Idea Star Singer]. There is no comparison between these two shows.

Please try to watch other songs sung by Roopa especially "Manmohana", "Meghame meghame" and "Sundara raavil". Like you said Karthika is doing a fine job by uploading all her songs in you tube.

Anonymous said...

I was listening to Rupa'z and Najim'z Ghazal performance is roopa'z better I didnt feel that way. Infact I felt the rendition was not smooth.
She is a great singer esp her voice is clear. But I do think she 'z little overrated............


Subash S L said...

Hello Anita,

I am a bit divided as to whose Ghazal performance was better i.e Najim's or Roopa's. That is the reason I wrote as good as if not better but Najim could have avoided the hindi words he spoke at the beginning. As far as Roopa being overrated, no way. If you read my blogs (I have two others on music) you'll know that I listen to rock and several other categories more than Indian film or classical music. I can say with all conviction that Roopa is a force to reckon with. Yesterday I received the mail I was waiting for so long from my friend in the U.S who is bothe a carnatic singer himself and a big fan of Sudha Raghunathan. He had these words to say after watching only one video, the Thaye Yashoda video"...In a nutshell...Roopa Rocks" and that's all I wanted to hear.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for posting all those clippings.We have no Malayalam channels in this part of the world.
I skipped office and watch all those in You Tube.For a while it was just me and the monitor. Nothing else could matter while you hear such music.Let me put you in just one sentence.
In this inescapable seducation for life's sole purpose to prolong,here comes a humble sweet singer,who has immense potential make you feel that' how many dreams have you lost to be called a desire, how many tears have you gained to be called a woman,how many promises have you broken to be called a lover'
Thanks Subash

Anonymous said...

Hi Subash
I wrote the last msg.My name is Priyadarshini.I was wondering whether you will be able to post the the song she sang for finals.
Once again thnx

Subash S L said...

Hello Priyadarshini,

Thanks for the poetic lines on Roopa. As for her final performance, are you refering to the Grand Finale. She had three performances that night. 1. Singara Velane, the one she did on SSG, 2. A medley which I think was done too hurriedly and 3. A group song with Teena and Jeethu which I also think isn't worth it. You can try YouTube but they certainly aren't enjoyable as the ones she did on the competition on SSG.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I just watched that song,originally sung by Janaki amma and Namagiripettai Krishnan.Very challenging song, I have seen many singing that in competitions including Chennai's own Sreenidhi(small girl).

Thank u so much Subhash

ravi said...

Amrita SSG should be proud of themselves to introduce a singer like Roopa. She is extremely talented and better than any other contestants in South Indian music reality shows.

rajan pv said...

all these thing about idea star singer got me to your blog...and i must say, you seem to be a passionate follower...:-)

check out seem to have a lot of star singer view content and related malayalam channels. you can rate your star singer videos too.

i guess its time for you to be the judge
eh ? :-)

enjoy ! and all the best..keep blogging...

balakrishnan said...

Dear Subash..

I read your comments Roopa.. excellent.... I am leading a spiritual life. I really took vow myself to think always about the supreme god head Krishna. But for the past few months she (roopa) stole about 6 hrs from daily life. Now i am an addict of her music. Mesmirising voice..

I am spending lot of time to hear her music and comments by eminent judges..

How did you forget to attache the link of ' KUHU KUHU '. for me it is the master piece..

Well done

Hare krishna....
I pray him for her great success bcoz he is the priveal cause of all causes.


Ram from dubai

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Pefecto!!
I was an ISS fan before, I saw Roopa's song on youtube on a routine search. I was more curious to find out who she was... I used to post Roopa's songs(youtube links) on ISS forum and I guess, few of the ISS fans got offended!! Who cares??..
I absolutely adore Roopa! She will be a great success!!

Proto said...

Thanks for the wonderful post, Subash. I have updated my blog post about Roopa to refer to your far more comprehensive post:

mukund said...

hello Subash,

Thanks for all info on music and other sub. Being on reality shows, I adv all music lovers to watch Munch ISS Junior on Asianet. Kids performing/singing better than seniors.

Also Gopinath Muthukad's magic and tips to the children are lovable.