500 hopefuls at Asia's Got Talent open auditions here

500 hopefuls attended the open auditions of Asia's Got Talent season 2 held at Marina Bay Sands.

After a two-year wait, sassy eight- year-old Julka Phoenix Lee-Zidov is back with a vengeance and ready to show more of her skills on the new season of Asia's Got Talent.

Julka, who made it past the initial auditions in the first season in 2015 to appear in front of judges such as Canadian composer David Foster, says: "Last season, I was six and did only belly-dancing. Now, I'm going to sing too as I'm older and can do more."

The girl's name may not be familiar, but her ambition may ring a bell with viewers of Singapore Idol. Julka's mother is Ms Maia Lee, a contestant of the inaugural season of the local talent show.

Dressed in a bright and shimmery blue belly-dancing outfit, the girl was among the 500 aspirants at the open auditions for the second season of Asia's Got Talent, held at Marina Bay Sands' MasterCard Theatres on Sunday.

The open auditions will also be held in four other cities: Kuala Lumpur on May 20, Manila on May 21, Taipei on May 27 and Bangkok on May 28.

Participants will be told at a later date if they have been selected to perform at the judges' auditions of the reality TV contest later in the year. The judges for this season will be revealed later.

Although Sunday's event was the first leg of the open auditions, some participants could not wait for the auditions to reach a city nearer to them.

Young contemporary dance and gymnastics group The Next Eclipse are from Selangor, Malaysia. The quintet aged 11 to 17 were the first in line at Marina Bay Sands.

"We arrived at 5am as we were so excited," says Charlotte Wong, one of its members. She adds that it was a last-minute decision to attend the auditions in Singapore as their parents were initially against the girls participating in the show which takes place during the mid-year examination period.

Dancers and singers seemed to make up the majority of the hopefuls.

In the holding room, which The Straits Times was given access to, the voices of Singaporean sisters Ariane, 12, and Anne-Sophie Cazaubon, 10, could be distinctly heard as they rehearsed the popular Flower Duet from Leo Delibes' opera Lakme.

Ariane says: "On many occasions, people have told us how much they love our singing... so we want to show the world that we can sing."

Another family affair was the band made up of guitarist dad Chris Lesslar, 44, keyboardist mum Monica, 43, and singer daughter Camille, nine.

Among those who turned up at the auditions were Mr and Mrs Chris Lesslar and their children - Camille and Craigston.
Among those who turned up at the auditions were Mr and Mrs Chris Lesslar and their children - Camille and Craigston. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

The family missed the opportunity to audition in the first season and have been "eagerly waiting" since, says Mr Lesslar, a music teacher. His youngest child Craigston, seven, was there to offer moral support as the Lesslars performed pop anthem Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

Other singers included Madam Zana Rahmat, 51, a mother of six and grandmother of 10, who joined the auditions with her friends, Ms Siti Rahmat, 34, and Ms Sue Abdul Rahim, 34.

The three housewives met on karaoke app Smule and decided to perform together. They sang Alicia Keys' Fallin'.

"In this industry, it's always the younger ones who get the opportunities, but we see that shows such as Asia's Got Talent and American Idol don't care about age," says Ms Siti.

Amid the many singers, there were also performers such as Singaporean illusionist Ran Superman, a 36-year-old full-time variety entertainer, whose real name is S. Chandran. "I have built up a lot of distinctive acts all these years, and today, I want to show them to the world," he says.

The talent show, a spin-off of the popular international Got Talent franchise, is slated to premiere in the second half of this year on AXN.

Ms Virginia Lim, senior vice-president and head of content, production and marketing, Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia, which owns AXN, says: "Expect the show to be bigger, better, glossier, with more exciting stage designs and behind-the-scenes content."

•For more information, go to www.axn-asia.com/AsiasGotTalent

WATCH THE VIDEO: Meet the performers at the auditions http://str.sg/46Lj

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2017, with the headline '500 hopefuls at Asia's Got Talent open auditions here'. Subscribe