While there"s no disputing their quality, as many as five contestants in Indian Idol 5 have made their appearance in a reality show before.
29-year-old Vishwas Rai of Allahabad appeared on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005, Shashi Suman(Patna) and Manisha Karmakar (Kolkata) participated on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009, Ludhiana"s Arvind Gujral was part of Sony"s Waar Parriwar. Delhi"s Yashraj Kapil won the unheralded show Choona Hai Aasmaan that aired on the now defunct Real TV.
Inevitably questions were raised as to what is the merit in having reality show discards (except Yashraj) in Indian Idol. Shouldn"t such a show encourage just raw talent? Judges Anu Malik and Salim Merchant were quick to defend the presence of these contestants.
“The judges have chosen these 17 contestants purely on their singing ability. We"ve said that this year, it"s the V Factor that we"re looking at. When these contestants came to perform, we weren"t aware of their history. Even if they"ve appeared elsewhere, don"t they deserve a second chance if their singing has improved? We found them to be good enough singers to make it to the final 17." said Merchant.
Anu Malik adds, “At every audition, we were having thousands of applicants. They get barely few minutes to impress the judges. Then we don"t ask them about their history. We had few former Indian Idol contestants too for the auditions but they weren"t selected as they didn"t sing well. Voice is the sole merit for selection. Besides, I"d like to point out that the rules state that you need to be in the age group of 14-29 to participate in our show. Rules don"t bar a former reality show contestant to appear in our show“
We agree with the two judges but the issue here is not their voice but how can you have these guys as Indian Idols when Indians themselves didn"t voted for four of them in those shows. Yashraj Kapil may have won Choona Hai Aasmaan, but the only time the show made news was when he fought with a female contestant, who accused the guy of bitching about her. Apparently, before this spat, the two were caught cozying to each other on camera. Now, such tainted figure certainly doesn"t deserve to be Indian Idol.
To be fair to Kapil, that footage appeared to be scripted. Despite their reality show experience, if these five contestants have improved as singers, they deserve to be on Indian Idol.
Anu Malik proudly claimed that this years Indian Idol will lay emphasis on the 'V factor". Indian Idol"s resident judge acknowledged that the show faced such criticism in the past, but this year they"ve managed to unearth 17 singers who"ve made it to the competition purely on the merit of their voice.