Sun, 27 Feb 2000

'Pesta Bintang' attracts gifted children

JAKARTA (JP): Nine-year old Panji cheerfully performed Elton John's I Just Can't Wait to be King taken from the soundtrack of the popular film Lion King.

Another contender was Anes, whose crystal-like voice mesmerized members of the judging panel at the audition for Pesta Bintang (Star Party) singing contest.

Wearing pink tulle teamed with a black velvet party dress, Anes, 7, was confident when singing James F. Sundah's Lilin Lilin Kecil (Little Candles), an song originally performed by Chrisye in the 80s.

Panji and Anes were among hundreds of kids participating in the auditions for Pesta Bintang.

Pesta Bintang, jointly managed by PT Joshua Enterprise, Sony Music and SCTV, is a talent contest aimed at finding fresh and gifted young singers and entertainers.

For pushy parents eager to see their offspring on TV screens or billboards, the program, which airs every Sunday afternoon at 4.30 p.m, is an open door to a glittering showbiz world.

Anita, a 30-year-old mother, patiently accompanied her six- year-old daughter Nindya, who looked bored after waiting for her turn for more than five hours.

"I registered my daughter at a favorite music school where she has piano and vocal lessons from professional teachers. Now I want her to try her luck at this contest," insisted this young mother while putting more powder on her daughter's weary face.

Anita was not alone at the studio. Dozens of parents share her dream of having their sons and daughters appear in television programs or commercials.

"I love Joshua and Sherina. I think my son's voice is better than Joshua's. I hope he can win the contest so he'll get a chance to be accepted by recording company," said Atang.

Helmi Yahya, executive producer of Pesta Bintang, explained that through the program, children learn to sing and to perform well.

"If they are talented enough, the road to a successful singing career will be wide-open," said Helmi.

Winners are given the opportunity to record with Sony Music Indonesia.

Pesta Bintang features famous children stars like Joshua, Maisy, Sherina, Trio Kwek-Kwek; as well as adult artists like Utha Likumahuwa, Tri Utami and Ricky Johaness; and the Purwacaraka Big Band as guest stars.

"We want to encourage these wannabe-singers. If they practice and work hard they can be as famous as Joshua or Sherina," said Helmi, who is also Joshua's manager.

Yet, Helmi warned parents to be realistic. "Many parents often force their kids to take part in the audition here, even though they know that their kids are hopeless," he said.

He said many rich parents were willing to pay a lot of money to get their kid's record produced. Helmi recalled a tycoon once asked him to promote his kid as a singer or a commercial star.

"I suggested he took his son to a music and vocal teacher," Helmi said. (Endi Aras)