You've seen veteran artistes Chen Hanwei, Huang Biren and Christopher Lee in various television series. Soon, they'll be playing another role in real life: As mentors to the top 24 contestants of talent show Star Search 2019.
The mentorship was announced on Thursday (Jul 4) at Gillman Barracks, along with the unveiling of the budding talents. The 24 contestants were picked from 1,200 hopefuls from Singapore, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, UK and Macau at two auditions that took place in May at Ngee Ann Civic Plaza and Bugis+. Celebrities Quan Yi Fong, Dasmond Koh and Irene Ang also hit the streets scouting for talent.
The 24 contestants are:
The opportunity to play mentor to the 24 newcomers took the three veteran artistes down memory lane. Veteran actor and six-time Star Awards Best Actor winner, Chen Hanwei, recalled his own beginnings: “Just like how we took our first steps to pursue our dreams, I am sure with grit and hard work, they will unleash their potential to scale greater heights”.
Three-time Best Actress winner Huang Biren was honoured to show the newcomers the ropes. “I am more than happy to be given this opportunity to help groom our next generation of stars”.
Christopher Lee is the third mentor to join the fold. The Best Actor winner at Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Bell TV Awards 2014 said: “This is a meaningful assignment to me. I discovered my passion for acting through Star Search and it is an honour for me to contribute as a mentor to the young talents”.
The journey for the 24 contestants will begin with a training programme with their mentors, which will hone their rhythmic, articulation and acting abilities. The group will then be whittled down to 12 contestants vying for the Star Search 2019 champion at the Grand Final held on Nov 3. The top prize consists of an Audi Q2 car and a Mediacorp contract.
There will also be a new Samsung Galaxy: Breakthrough Talent award to be given out, courtesy of Samsung Electronics Singapore, which is the presenter of the talent search. “Star Search has a proven record as a star-making platform, where many of its alumni celebrities have gone on to carve their niches and achieve new heights for their careers, even beyond the local shores,” said Eugene Goh, Samsung Electronics Singapore president.
Irene Lim, Mediacorp's chief customer officer, said: “Over the next few months, we invite audiences to journey with contestants across Mediacorp’s multiple platforms, and witness their transformation as they compete to be crowned as tomorrow’s stars".
Doreen Neo, the chief content officer of Mediacorp, commented: “With their wealth of expertise and experience, the mentors add dimensions to their learning, coaching them on acting, performing and acquiring the confidence to become public profiles. Beyond skills, our mentors are also a source of inspiration, optimism and vision for the wellspring of talent we have uncovered".
The Mandarin talent contest ran till 2010 when it took a hiatus for nine years before returning this year. Zoe Tay, the very first Star Search winner from 1988, was one of the judges at the audition at Ngee Ann Civic Plaza. Other notable winners included Chew Chor Meng (1990), Ivy Lee (1993), Jacelyn Tay and Ix Shen (1995); Felicia Chin (2003); Andie Chen (2007) and Jeffrey Xu (2010).