In yet another twist to the Celebrity Name Drop Game saga — where a man who did not win said contest hunted down the celebrity whose name he was judged to have mispronounced to get his buy-in — the man has been offered a generous gesture by the organising radio station for his passionate pursuit.
GOLD 905 has offered a tenacious contestant of its Celebrity Name Drop game $5,000 as a gesture of goodwill for his “exceptional commitment to the contest” and loyal support for the station, following the contestant’s extraordinary quest to make his point that he should have won the contest.
To recap: From March 16, the radio station ran the Celebrity Name Drop contest, in which listeners had to identify 14 celebrity voices in the correct sequence. To win, they also had to pronounce these celeb names correctly. The bounty? $10,000 worth of cash and shopping sprees.
Here are the celebs the contestants had to name in the correct order: Tony Hadley, Madonna, Maggie Wheeler, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, David Bowie, Belinda Carlisle, Julie Andrews, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Meryl Streep, Michael Buble, and Rebecca Lim
When Jerome Tan was eventually crowned the winner, Muhammad Shalehan protested the verdict. Jerome ultimately beat Shalehan to the money pot because, of the 14 monikers, Shalehan’s pronunciation of ‘Tony Hadley’ — the lead singer of the ’80s British group Spandau Ballet — was judged as incorrect.
Shalehan then took to social media to challenge the verdict, maintaining that he did not mispronounce Hadley’s name. Most recently, he took the exceptional move to contact Hadley himself to verify his enunciation… We wonder: what if the name in question had been ‘Madonna’?
But we digress.
Not only did Shalehan manage to reach the singer, the accommodating star even recorded a video reply to endorse Shalehan’s pronunciation of his name. “You might say [my name] with a slight accent, but as far as I am concerned, you said my name correctly.”
You can decide for yourself by listening to both Shalehan and Jerome’s pronunciations of ‘Tony Hadley’, which GOLD 905 has posted on their FaceBook page.
Along with the audio clip, GOLD 905 released a statement: “In the case of Mr Shalehan’s entry on 21 Apr, his pronunciation of ‘Hadley’ did not meet the criteria as stipulated in the rules of the contest. As a result, his entry was judged as not having all the correct answers. This rule was applied consistently across all the entries.
We would like to assure listeners that all entries have been reviewed fairly and objectively by our judges, and our decision remains final.
However, we are heartened by the passion shown by Mr Shalehan, firstly in participating in the contest and then in reaching out to us several times. Although we had communicated to Mr Shalehan that our decision was final according to the rules of the contest, we are touched by his commitment and resourcefulness — including reaching out to Tony Hadley.
We value all our listeners but every once in a while, the kind of passion that Mr Shalehan showed made us realise how much connection we have with our listeners. So while our decision remains final, and this would not be something we normally do, as a gesture of goodwill, we have reached out to Mr Shalehan with a token of appreciation for his exceptional commitment to the contest and loyal support for GOLD 905.
We thank everyone again for your interest and feedback, and hope you continue to support GOLD 905.”
At press time, it’s not known if Shalehan has accepted the offer. But we’re quite sure he has made Tony Hadley famous again.
Read GOLD 905's full statement here.