In the entertainment industry, no one is immune from haters. That adage even applies to the young winners of Astro’s Ceria Popstar.
Barely 24 hours after the third season concluded, the top three winners – champion Dayang Izwan Zawani, first runner-up Zackiddin Zachry or Zack and second runner-up Muhammad Fikry Izzudin – revealed how their newfound fame has made them vulnerable to haters.
“I’ve had friends accuse me of being arrogant because I didn’t reply their text messages. But really, it’s because I was in between rehearsals and we were not allowed to check our phones so often,” said 11-year-old Fikry, from Malacca, in an interview with Star2.com.
Zack, 13, who is from Sabah, shared that some of his friends have said that he has forgotten his roots because he chose not to speak in his original dialect on TV. “I have to adapt to the way people speak here, so they can understand me better.”
Fifteen-year-old Dayang, who is also from Sabah, added: “I’ve gotten messages from people claiming to be a cousin or distant family member.”
Despite all these biting remarks, the three youngsters agreed they cherish their time on Ceria Popstar.
Dayang, who won the first prize cash of RM20,000, said she is grateful for every opportunity and experience she gained on the show.
She and nine other finalists had the chance to showcase their singing talents to judges Datuk AC Mizal, Johan of Raja Lawak fame and Zizan Razak. The finale on June 12 saw iconic singer Ziana Zain joining in as a guest judge.
During the final too, the top five contestants had the chance to perform an original song composed especially for them.
“That was our goal,” said Zack. “To get to the second round in the finals so we can sing our own song. Most of us probably didn’t think about winning. We just wanted to be able to sing the original song written for us.”
He rocked Nur Nilam Sari, originally performed by Awie and Search, and for the final round he sang Cik Adik Cik Abang, which was composed by Omar K.
A jubilant Dayang said the show also brought her up close and personal with her idol, actor-singer Izzue Islam.
“He surprised me on stage after my performance! I’m so glad they did that cause otherwise I wouldn’t be able to finish the song. I got a limited edition pillow and novel of his movie (Suami Aku Ustaz) as gifts,” she said gleefully.
All three said they are huge fans of the singing talent competition show.
Ceria Popstar is open to participants aged 15 and below. Winners are decided by SMS votes and judges deliberation.
It should be noted that the level of dedication and passion the trio had for the show is pretty impressive.
“My parents have always wanted me to join the show. I finally decided to audition last year because I felt that I was ready,” said Fikry, whose favourite singer is Tan Sri SM Salim.
Zack, the eldest of four siblings, had his family in mind when he joined the show. Now that he won RM15,000 as the first-runner up, he plans to use it for the betterment of his family.
“My father works as a farmer. Sometimes, we perform at weddings together. People like to request for me to sing Pelangi Petang by Datuk Sudirman Arshad and Anuar Zain’s Sedetik Lebih. I joined the competition because I want to help my parents financially.”
Dayang confessed that she was intimidated by some of the contestants on the show.
“I think one of the toughest moments for me was when the judges said I didn’t show any emotions when singing,” she shared.
She was also often worried about whether she could hit the right notes when a song is vocally challenging.
She said: “To be honest, it came as a complete surprise when (host) Nabil announced that I won. I was looking at Zack and I remember telling him that he got this.”
Dayang was comforted when both Zack and Fikry agreed that she deserved her win.
Now that the show is over, they look forward to going back to school and catching up on studies.
Zack said he will miss the vocal classes and also the production team who took care of them.
The outspoken Fikry said he will continue to work on his talent and cited a newfound interest in acting. He also pledged to donate a portion of his second-runner up cash prize (RM10,000) to a Sabah earthquake fund.
“I feel somewhat guilty knowing that I have all this money while there are people who need it more than me,” said Fikry.
Dayang hopes to take her parents to Mecca with her cash prize.
As for the haters, all three of them plan to just shake them off.
Dayang concluded: “We are really proud and grateful of our experience on the show. We told ourselves that out of 6,000 people who auditioned, we made it to the final stage and won. The haters may assume it looks easy on television, but really, how many people could say they have done what we have achieved?”