Babe, you sure are going places.
ESTHER, you are one amazing babe and you sure have my vote. You may have been pipped by Tomok, but you are a million ringgit winner in my eye.
Esther was leading for the most part of the singing competition which offered a million ringgit winner-take-all package. Even when she started the last leg of 8TV's One In A Million competition, Esther was the one, the SMS votes had decreed. Why, even the past two champions of One In A Million were female.
But it was not to be Esther, who is also known as Elizabeth Applunius Chin.
Tomok was the man of the hour. A later surge of SMS votes proved that lady luck was shining on him and boy, was he good too. So close. Yes, such are the vagaries of showbiz, Esther. Still, all is not lost for Esther. The Sabah lass is a winner for the exposure she got and the promises that hold. Just look at the previous "first runners-up", multiple-award winner Faizal Tahir and Shila Amir Hamzah, and Esther should know that she is in great company.
When I talked to her on Wednesday, she sounded a trifle disappointed. But she soon got out of it. The pocket dynamite Esther -- standing at a little below five feet -- has solid vocals, the result of having sung since the tender age of 9. Boy, what a voice. She has that raspy voice with a wide range and it sounds sweet and sexy, like when she belted out a medley of One Night Only, Semua Jadi Satu and Keeps Getting Better.
You got me there, babe.
"Taking part in One In A Million was the best thing to have happened to me," she said. "I have taken so much from this competition. Yes, I am frustrated that I didn't win. But I made so many good friends, learnt many things about showbiz and I sure had the best time of my life. Working with a bunch of professionals like music director Aubrey Suwito, performance and motivational adviser Juita Jalil, wardrobe stylist Peter Lum, vocal trainer Ning Baizura and the production crew was simple amazing! Taking part in One In A Million also gave me a chance to be involved in music arrangement. For instance, when I decided to sing a Maroon 5 number in the earlier rounds, I did it in rock 'n roll blues style. I never thought that was possible before. Yes, I've learnt so much from the show."
Esther also remembers the less "serious" moments which were simply fun. "Sometimes after finishing class, we would all go to the rooftop of our apartment at midnight and take a dip in the pool!"
Esther was also not ashamed to admit that she was constantly late for appointments, until she joined the competition. "I would take my own sweet time to get things done but in the competition, everything moves really fast! I'm now punctual and am able to organise my time better."
Esther can now look forward to the possibility of cutting an album with 8TV's Monkey Bone Records. The petite singer is keeping her fingers crossed that this will come through. Hmm, what kind of album would she be doing? "I'd love to do something like Amy Winehouse and Duffy. Soulful, R&B-based with elements of jazz. And it would be lovely if I could do a duet with Faizal (Tahir)."
Esther, who idolises local acts like Jaclyn Victor, Anita Sarawak and Yuna, said that the competition reminded her of her younger days. Those were the days when she followed her musician dad who did gigs all over Kota Kinabalu. Her dad, who played bassist, has his own band made up of his siblings and close friends. "I had so much fun following him around, performing at weddings and the likes."
Well girl, you are no longer just a wedding singer!
THE ESTHER TRIVIA