[V] launches 'Super Singer' as counter to Sony's 'Pop Idol'

NEW DELHI: Seems the monsoons having hit the country pretty hard has had a ripple effect on the television industry as well. The difference being of course that it's raining talent hunts and how.

Yet another hunt was kicked off in the capital today by Star India's Channel [V] titled Samsung Super Singer. And by the looks of it appears to be pitted directly against Sony Entertainment TV India's Pop Idol in that it is a singer the music channel is hoping to unearth.

However, Channel [V] head Amar K Deb denied that the new announcement had anything to do with Sony's Pop Idol. "We are the ones who started reality TV and talent hunt shows in India and we are surprised that Sony has decided to get into music space," he said at a press conference here today when asked if Samsung Super Singer was a move to counter Pop Idol.

Samsung Super Singer is pitched as [V]'s hunt for a new voice in India and kick-starts in September with auditions across 10 cities. It is the third major talent hunt to come from the [V] think tank after Popstars (band hunt) and Get Gorgeous (model hunt). Popstars launched the all-girl band Viva (now disbanded) two years ago and Aasma this year.

Leading the quest for Samsung [V] Super Singer is one of the most gifted playback and pop sensations, Adnan Sami.

Samsung [V] Super Singer will kick start from September 2004 and will audition aspirants in 10 cities across the country, namely Mumbai, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata, Indore, Hyderabad, Cochin, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. During the auditions in every city, a local expert for the exhaustive selection process will join Adnan.

According to Deb, "We created the genre, we made it a success, and now, we are taking it to a new level. Its really can't get any bigger than this." Vivek Prakash, director, marketing, Samsung India added, "At Samsung, we have always looked at opportunities to connect with our consumers, one-on-one. Our extensive portfolio of products have wide appeal and with Samsung [V] Super Singer we look forward to reaching out to our younger consumers and providing them with a platform to realize their dreams."

The marketing and promotional blitz will follow the usual path --- on-air promos combined with on-ground activities. Deb said that in a couple of weeks' time part of the promotional blitz should start.

Successful entrants from the first on-ground auditions will be put through another round of auditions. Twenty aspirants will then be short listed and taken through a rigorous training and grooming programme. These 20 aspirants will get an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience. Based on audience polls and the judge's ratings, five finalists will be chosen.

These five finalists will then undergo another month of training, grooming and will receive a complete makeover. They will also be given an opportunity to compose their own original tracks for the final audition. During this period, viewers get the opportunity to become part of the judging process by casting their vote, via SMS.

The Samsung [V] Super Singer will walk away with the following awards:

A recording contract for the release of a music album with the country's leading composer and lyricist.

An opportunity to playback for a leading Bollywood producer.

Release of a music video to launch the album.

The other four finalists will also contribute one original track each to the album.

Television audiences can participate in the experience of Samsung [V] Super Singer through a special series that will air on Channel [V]. In the past two years, since Popstars 1, viewership has soared by over 200 per cent through these programs and has clearly established Channel [V] as the No.1 music channel in the country, channel executives claim.

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