Centerstage Preview: Behind this Critic’s Metaphorical Glasses

by Crystal Chang

So instead of my usual tradition of watching as part of the audience, I got to do a little something special for Centerstage this year. Despite being part disappointed about not being able to continue my age old tradition (I have been watching Centerstage for 5 years mind you!) I was, of course, more than excited and honoured to be able to attend their rehearsals and critique them all for the sake of you readers. So instead of sitting amongst hormonally imbalanced teenagers with big opinions on every small detail – do not even try to object, I have, of course, been there and have definitely done that – I found myself sitting in a brightly lit and empty Performing Arts Centre listening and watching the dirty that goes behind the scenes.

Trying to impersonate Anton Ego from Ratatouille, I settled myself in a covert spot and waited. And then waited some more. As it turned out, rehearsals are not even half as interesting as the actual concerts. Rehearsals are slow; rehearsals are repetitive and rehearsals are full of screaming people and breaking voices. Now, before I bore you with unnecessary ranting, here are a few things to expect this coming Friday:


This year’s competition reveals many familiar faces, albeit some from too far back a year for the bulk of Dunmanians to remember. I am not one of those Dunmanians though, as I would like to remind you again, I have been watching Centerstage for these 5 years. Qin Jing Huang, a solo finalist from this year was the winner of the solo category of 2009. Vive la Revolution’s Chew Yew Huei is also a repeat, but from last year’s solo category, in which I remember her singing dramatically against the grand piano.

Junior High talent

Although biased towards my generation in the A-lined skirts and pleated pants, I was thoroughly amazed by a few of the younger contestants this year. Any Dunman High veteran can tell you that one’s age is inversely proportional to skirt and socks length for the girls and pants width for the guys – yes, entirely due to our amazing growth speed. However, do not let appearances fool you this Friday. Some of the sweetest voices I heard came from people I least expected. A personal favourite of mine is a tiny little girl from the group FourFifth.

Beautiful harmonising

Not all of us can pull of harmonising as well as Jayesslee – although some still try – but I heard some pretty sweet harmonising yesterday. Hint: male – female duet but not from a duet!

Absolute lack of stage presence

This is truly Dunman High’s greatest weakness reincarnated on the stage: lack of confidence. We may have the biggest talents, but the outside world will never know because most of us are far too humble – too much to stay a virtue – to show them off. Have fun on the stage you fought hard to get up on! Be proud that you have been chosen and of course, bask in the spotlight for you have been given the centerstage!


Honestly, this year appears far from the best year in my book. However, I can only hope that all the contestants and organisers pull up their socks in time for the final showcase on Friday. After all, I am the only one that has to care about rehearsals; everyone else out there is only concerned about the big day, right?


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