The Indian Idol piano rounds begin

As my Rave Out would have made apparent, I’m a fan of Indian Idol, especially from the piano round stage onwards. Today was the first piano round, involving 14 girls, and I was somewhat disappointed. Three reasons for this:

1] Though they called it a piano round, it no longer had just a piano as accompaniment, but a full orchestra. This is disappointing. Singing with just a piano as accompaniment is more challenging for the singers, and the combination of piano and human voice is one that I rather like.

2] Anu Malik was absent due to illness, and the other judges, all brought in for this season, did not balance criticism and praise. A few of the performances were quite underwhelming, but Javed Akhtar, Udit Narayan and Alisha China were uniform in their praise. It made their presence redundant. Halfway through the show, they began to make an effort to point out mistakes, as if they had been told as much by the producers.

Malik, who now calls himself Annu Malek, plays the Simon Cowell role, but even his fellow judges of the last two seasons, Sonu Nigam and Farah Khan, didn’t shy away from criticism. They paid attention to nuance, pointed out minor technical errors, set the bar quite high, and that made their praise all the more valuable. It wasn’t cheap.

Perhaps these new judges were swayed by the youngness of the girls who sang today. And that brings me to my next point: