When Jien announced, "Your Malaysian Idol is... Daniel!" I screamed and screamed while no. 1 and 2 sat stunned on the couch. We were rooting for Nita whom we believe had more oomph and talent. But Daniel Lee had 1.2 million voters, most of them teeny-boppers presumably. He had 68% of the total votes. Looks like the online poll on the Malaysian Idol website was quite accurate : 66% had casted their votes for Daniel.
This year's result wasn't as clear cut as last year's. In MI 1, when Jien asked "who's the Malaysian Idol?" before the result was announced, the audience was unanimous in shouting out "Jac!" This year, we couldn't make out the name.
But all is not lost for Nita. In an Idol competition, second-best doesn't mean obscurity. (In the first place, this isn't about talent per se, not when you reach final 11. When the sms voting kicks in, it becomes a popularity contest. That's why LaToya London went out so early in American Idol 3. She should have been in the final two with Fantasia Barrino.) Look at Clay Aiken. He was the runner-up of American Idol 2 but he's more popular than Ruben Studdard. Ruben who? Have you ever heard his song on our radio? Nope. In fact if you go to the Reality TV World for AI 2, you'll find Clay dominating the news.
But the reality of this type of program is that it hinges on popularity. That's how Mawi of Akademi Fantasia won. I didn't watch the show but that's the general sentiment portrayed in the media.
Now I like Daniel too. He has some things going for him : a soothing voice, cute puppy-dog looks and a pleasant personality. His singing ability, showmanship and confidence had improved tremendously since the workshop stage. But would he be able to hold a candle to singers like Fantasia and Jac in World Idol? The answer is pretty obvious, isn't it?
Daniel should just take MI as a stepping stone to launch his Chinese-singing career. His voice is made for Chinese ballads. For a small town boy who's had no professional training in singing, Daniel has done well for himself. He owes it all to his fans. But how successful will he be? As Roslan said, "let's see if the 1.2 million votes translates into sales."
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.