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Celeb judges in place, mega marketing plan for 'Indian Idol' laid out

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MUMBAI: Sony's biggest show of the year, Indian Idol, a music-based reality show kicks off in October for which a marketing blitz has also been lined up beginning mid August.

 

Music composer Anu Malik, singer Sonu Nigam and choreographer- cum-director Farah Khan are going to be the judges. They will have an unenviable task of reducing the number of contestants from many thousands in the four city auditions of Mumbai, Kolkatta, Delhi and Ahmedabad to 100-160 for the second round.



This number will further come down to 30 during the Theatre Round. After this point the TV viewers will take over.



"Music is music. I don't really care if a person sings pop, rock or film music. The person should have loads of attitude and talent. There will, of course, be grooming involved for the chosen participants who make if through the auditions. However we will not be teaching them how to sing," Malik said today at a press conference organised here to formally announce the launch of Indian Idol.



According to Malik, it will mainly be about making the participants more camera friendly.



"For me the winner could be someone with a face like Julia Roberts and a voice like Lata Mangeshkar or someone with a face like Elvis and the voice of Mohammed Rafi. I want to see the kind of voice that will make the nation sing along. I will be very frank in my views. Hopefully this will not be taken personally by the participant," he added.



Nigam said that he would take the straightforward route, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings. Khan, however, said that she would be both rude and funny. Image wasn't everything she maintained. The example of Portugal was given where a 'street singer' came out on top.



Indian Idol has been adapted from Pop Idol that found huge success in different countries most notably in the US on Fox's American Idol.



It is a fact that one of the main reasons American Idol worked so well was the acerbic, uncouth nature of the judge Simon Cowell that gave Fox's show its edge. As Fremantle Media Asia operations director Patrick Shult said, "The judges have been in the music industry for quite a while. They have loads of experience. They can be rather abrupt and downright rude in telling someone that he/she is not good enough or just plainly sucks. Magic though happens when someone looking disheveled comes in and sings in an angelic voice. Then you see all the judges raise their heads in astonishment."



The point that arises is that Indians are not given to being rude. One only has to look at Star's game show Kamzor Kadii Kaun where Neena Gupta's acidic sarcasm truned off viewers. However, going by the three judges that Sony has chosen, it should be interesting to see how they interact not just with the audience, but also amongst themselves.



MEGA MARKETING ACTIVITY LINED UP



Sony has lined up massive on ground activity to create awareness about the show. This will kick off in mid-August.



As part of the initiative, vans will go to the 10 cities where entries have been invited from. The shows hosts Aman Verma and Mini Mathur will travel to popular youth hangouts getting the message across that they should vote.



The second phase kicks off in October. Through the various media outlets like print, radio and outdoors viewers will be told to watch the show. The most common route will naturally be on air where the show will be pushed heavily across the One Alliance Network.



In fact, ads about the show have already started running on Sony. Speaking this morning to indiantelevision.com, Set senior vice president marketing Albert Almedia said that the third phase of marketing, which is as crucial, comes during the 'down to 30' stage.



It is here that viewer interaction on the show comes into

play. "It is very important that we get out the message that even if they cannot appear on the show they can still determine who stays and who goes. Marketing activity here will be stepped up further the 360 degree route. We are also talking with various youth targeted retail outlets for tie ups. We will be creating a high level of awareness about the numbers they should call," he said.

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