“I thought they got the wrong Diana.”
That was Diana Ser’s response when we asked the TV host-presenter how she felt about making it into the Top 40 Most Popular Artistes list for this year’s Star Awards. The list of artistes who made the cut was announced today at a press conference held at Mandarin Orchard Singapore.
Not that we blame her. While there’s no doubting their popularity, stars like Diana, Joanna Dong, Hongkong actor Ha Yu and Jack Neo aren’t exactly names you would expect to be in the running for the Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes category at the Star Awards. (Click here for the full list.)
“For a moment, to be honest, I had no idea what my connection to Star Awards was. They had to remind me that I actually appeared on TV last year,” recalls Diana with a laugh. The 44-year-old had hosted two seasons of Ch U’s Innocence Lost, a documentary series on child workers around the region.
Her former actor-turned-banker husband, James Lye, was away when she received the news. “I texted him,” says Diana, “He replied, ‘Are you serious?! Ha ha. Sure win!’ with a winky smiley emoji.” When asked how her kids felt about her nomination, Diana said, “They watch Ch 8 dramas so they know some of the artistes, and they have met some of my ex-colleagues, but they’re not really aware of the awards lah.”
Her nomination may come as a surprise, but this isn’t Diana's first time to be in the running for the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award. She had been up for the award in 1997, 1999 and 2005 but didn’t bag a trophy all three times.
It’s a different story for local singer Joanna Dong, who made the shortlist for the first time. Before finishing third place on Sing! China last year and seeing her popularity skyrocket, the 36-year-old was travelling around the world hosting Ch U travelogues. Last year, she hosted Ch U documentary National Flavours, where she savours local cuisine from around the world.
“The news of my nomination took me completely by surprise. I’d like to thank my fans and supporters who voted for me,” says Joanna.
She added: “I don’t think my chances of placing in the Top 10 are very great. (Laughs) But it’s my first time being nominated for this category, so it’s still pretty fun. I look forward to hearing about the final results.”
Meanwhile, shocking omissions from this year’s list include Jesseca Liu and Jayley Woo, who both won a Top 10 award last year. On the other hand, Jayley’s twin sister, Hayley, is a first-time nominee this year. Also, MIA are Ian Fang and Shane Pow — like Jess and Jayley, both actors made it to the Top 10 last year — as well as newly-married Xu Bin.
Apart from Mediacorp artistes, this year’s award nominations also comprise of artistes who have worked with Mediacorp on a project basis in the last year. The move is part of Mediacorp’s push to recognise the contributions to local television more broadly, and also to evaluate local artistes based on their merit, notwithstanding of their contractual backgrounds.
Each year, a poll of 1,000 people representing a wide demographic of Singapore’s population, conducted independently by an accredited market research company, is used to identify the Top 20 Male and Top 20 Female artistes (aka the Top 40 Most Popular Artistes list). The slate is then wiped clean and the results of the final Top 10 Male and Top 10 Female artistes are based solely on public voting. This year, 50 per cent of the final results will be derived from this pool of 1,000, while the other 50 per cent will come from the telepoll and online voting results.
Telepoll voting starts from 16 March 2018 and ends on 22 April at 8.30pm.
Online voting starts from 17 March 2018 at 12pm and ends on 22 April at 8.30pm.
Star Awards 2018 airs on Apr 22, 7pm, Ch 8, followed by the post-show party at 10.30pm.