Tamparuli’s 20-year-old Didi Moo [singer, songwriter and one of the four JADE Sisters], is in the middle of a fairy tale. While waiting for her Malaysian Higher School Certificate, or STPM, her friends asked her to do some covers of songs.
Didi was searching YouTube for Korean pop songs, known as K-Pop, when she found the YouTube page for Korea’s talent search “MBC Star Audition Season 2”. MBC is Korea’s national broadcasting network.
“I saw MBC Star Audition was open for auditions, so I just take a video and submit it. Just for fun.”
Didi’s big sister Joan [school teacher and fellow JADE sister] said, “I found my little video camera in the living room, and I was like: Who took my video camera? JADE hasn’t done any video covers for so long, so who is filming themselves at home?”
Didi laughed. “The audition asked for Korean songs, but they could be in any language. I already knew some Korean pop songs anyway, so I sang them in Korean, even though I don’t know what the words mean!”
Joan said, “When Didi got an email from MBC congratulating her on getting through this round, we were worried that it was spam. I mean, they say they’re flying you to Korea and will arrange accomodation for you. It’s almost too good to be true! But we thought, ‘Never mind, we’ll reply it. If they send a ticket we can go!
“My mum insisted that I have to go with Didi. There’s a lot of human trafficking cases these days and she was so worried about her safety. When we got there we found out some other participants had the same concerns as us!”
Didi and Joan had direct Malaysian Airline flights to Seoul. So the adventure in Korea began.
Joan said, “When we arrived at the place MBC booked for us, it was where all the foreigners were staying. Most of them were from the US – Korean Americans, some from the Phillipines, and Brazil. We didn’t get to mingle with the local South Koreans because they lived at home.”
Now, Didi is extremely shy and quiet. Without Joan to prod her to talk [“tell her about how that happened…”] I think this interview would be about three sentences long. So we can imagine what it was like for our Didi to meet the other overseas contestants…
“The Korean American kids were very talkative!” Joan continued. I think Didi was intimidated by them, because she had to be with extroverted people and she’s very shy! Besides, they can speak Korean and English because they’re half Korean and half American, so they’re multi-lingual also. We only know English, that’s it! Even the Japanese could speak some Korean.”
For the audition, Didi sang the same songs as the ones on her YouTube videos.
Joan said, “MBC had picked 29 videos for the shortlist, but I guess not everybody could make it to Korea, due to passport issues and all that. So only 21 made it.”
Many participants could sing and dance too.
Didi said, “I was very nervous, but I just feel like: I’m gonna try my best, if they say No, it’s ok. If they say Yes, then… yah!”
Before Didi left KK for Seoul, the organizers had asked her to bring a traditional costume. On the day of her audition, they asked her if she would wear her traditional costume, which was the Kadazan costume of black and gold.
Didi said, “They liked it because it’s very unique, and they asked me to dance the Sumazau. Right after I danced, they were also doing like this (putting their arms out) dancing! So it was kinda funny. I brought the CD of Jambatan Tamparuli. We didn’t tell them that we are from Tamparuli, because it was already difficult telling them we’re from Sabah. They know about Kota Kinabalu, but they didn’t know what Sabah was. [Smile]”
There were three judges on the voting panel. A contestant needed two ‘Yes’ votes to go through to the next round. Didi got two ‘Yes’ votes.
“When I finished, the judges talked to me in Korean. I just nodded and said, ‘Okay, okay’, without understanding them. Then they pressed their [voting] buttons, and I could see that I got through to the next round!”
All that with the tv cameras running. Stress!
Joan said, “From the foreigners group, five of them got through. Two boys and three girls. The two boys are Korean American. Of the girls, one of them lives in the Philippines, but she’s Korean. The other girl lives in America, but she’s Korean. So, in the youtube contestant category, Didi is the only non-Korean foreigner to go to the next round.”
The show’s producers asked Didi if she would stay until the next round, but she wanted to come back to KK to register at UMS to take her Music degree. So she will fly back for the next round by Sept 26, providing she gets permission to miss classes to continue in the competition.
What happens next?
Joan said, “We don’t know what happens in this show because MBC is not available in Malaysia. Astro is showing KBS and SBS – two Korean channels.
“We just saw the show on YouTube, They said the coming one on the 26th is ‘Camp Week’, which is almost like ‘Hollywood Week’ in American Idol. Maybe they give you assignments, like give you songs to sing. After that, the next round might including sms voting from the public.
“I told Didi to learn some basic Korean, because the assignment will include being given songs in Korean, which they have to sing. Whether she already knows the song or not.” Pressure!
Didi said the best moments of the audition were:
- Being able to share her roots over there, by wearing a traditional costume and dancing to traditional music
- Talking about Jade Sisters. “When I entered the competition, I had to fill out a form with my details, a photo and description of my musical background. So I said my talents were songwriting and some other stuff, except dancing! I wrote about Jade Sisters being on the top of one of the local charts. So at the audition, when they asked me, ‘Have you sung before somewhere?’ I talked to the judges about singing with my sisters. So in Korea, they know about Jade Sisters now. I like that.”
Watch this space to find out what happens when Didi returns to Seoul on Sept 26!
The ongoing story of Didi Moo’s progress in the MBC Star Audition is exclusive to SabahSongs. Initial media enquiries should be directed to Mr. Chris Pereira of Eyes & Ears Production. Information from this website should not be republished elsewhere without prior consent from Mr. Pereira and SabahSongs.
Chris Pereira: firstname.lastname@example.org
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