Back to school, and singing

Juniors' symphony

Back to school, and singing
S a Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs, the popular music reality show, is back on Zee TV with Season 6! A platform for kids aged 5 to 14 to showcase their singing skills, the show has in the judges’ seats music composer-turned-actor Himesh Reshammiya, the singing sensation of the Kaala Chashma fame, Neha Kakkar, and playback singer Javed Ali, while it is anchored by Aditya Narayan.

This edition sports a ‘Back to School’ format wherein these li’l champs play ambassadors for their schools to make their parents and teachers proud, as they showcase their mastery over sur and taal.

It sees the kids putting up a 100-second performance, which is judged by the three judges and a 30-member grand jury in the initial round. If a performance gets majority vote from the judges plus 50% vote from the grand jury, then the contestant proceeds to the next round. The interesting feature of the format is that audience voting figures much later in the show.

Indeed, what makes this show stand apart from other reality shows is the jury comprising celebrated names from the field of music. It is a value addition to the show, and the concept of the jury giving medals to the performers who make the grade is a morale booster for the contestants.

The child artistes show diversity in terms of skills, styles and substance — be it a child rapper who can reel off 220 words per minute, or the youngest child composer who occupies the place of pride in the Golden Book of Records, or the folksy singer from a background as humble as being the daughter of a security guard... The inaugural episode did get off to a grand start with some  renditions like Bhar Do Jholi Meri by Adnan, Channa Mereya by Jayesh, Jugni by Navpreet, among others.

The subsequent episodes, too, did see some superb performances. Some of the child artistes who get a standing ovation from the jury are Bhumika from Odisha, who performs Aao Na, Gale Lagao Na... even as her school teachers become live witnesses to her rendition through a video call; Hasrat from Bathinda in Punjab, whose rendition of Main Jahan Rahoon wins a special applause from Himesh Reshammiya. The show has its share of melodrama and masti moments aimed at notching higher TRPs.

One of the fun moments sees a participant bringing his pet, in the shape of a mouse, to the show, giving the judges a ‘stage fright’.  Tear-jerkers are aplenty to punctuate the fun moments. For instance, the performance of Tanya Tiwari, who gets a standing ovation for her rendition of the folksy Namak Ishq Ka, moves the judges and the jury to tears. The girl sharing about the untimely demise of her mother turns the show into a sob opera, a staple scene on reality shows. The supporting role of the judges is laudable, though they don’t seem to throw up signature styles like other high-profile judges — like Madhuri Dixit’s “Perfect” punchline,  or Mithun Da’s “Kya Baat Hai” on dance shows.

Himesh’s lean look bespeaks a transformation and makes him the hunk on the panel. He is generous in his appreciation for parents and their kids. Javed Ali has earned the tag of ‘Jaadu Bhaiyya Mummywaale’, thanks to the huge crush that the mothers who accompany their kids to the auditions, have had on him.

Neha proves to be the showstopper on the panel as she leads with her emotional quotient and effervescence, even earning the tag of ‘Naughty Neha’. She is the protagonist bringing in the glam quotient with her designer wardrobe.

The only element of the format that proves to be a bit of a drag is the length of time to which the show is stretched. It would perhaps see the attention of viewers flagging. Overall, the show strikes the right chord, and is music to the ears.

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