SA2016 Top 40: two dukes in, two dukes out

Aloysius Pang and Jeffrey Xu receive Top 20 Most Popular Male Artistes nods for the first time


It’s that time of the year again when fans muster their voting superpowers to try and get their favourite Mediacorp celebs into the Star Awards Top 10 Most Popular Male and Female Artistes rankings. Today (March 3), the list of this year’s 40 contenders was released, and the rundown includes four new additions who are up for the honour for the very first time.

After his Best Newcomer triumph at last year’s ceremony, Aloysius Pang has finally found a place among the other Top 20 Most Popular Male Artistes nominees. He is joined by fellow duke Jeffrey Xu, who took home Best Supporting Actor at the 2013 Asian Television Awards for his role in Channel U’s Marry Me, as well as Not The 5 Show host Chua Enlai, who will soon be seen in live stage production The Noose & Kakis.

Over at the ladies’ side, first-time Best Supporting Actress nominee Sheila Sim, whose most recent role was as Jesseca Liu’s onscreen sister in The Queen, is the only new kid on the block.

Speaking of Jesseca, this year marks the newly-attached actress’ return to the Top 20 Most Popular Female Artistes nominations since 2010, where she picked up her fourth award in this category. For those scratching their heads over her sudden comeback, Jesseca, who is managed by HIM International Music, recently signed a new acting contract with Mediacorp last year.

Other stars who are back in the game after previous absences are Mr. Unbelievable Chen Tian Wen (whose last participation was in 2002), Zhang Yao Dong (who last won in 2012), Zhang Zhen Huan, Pan Ling Ling, Aileen Tan and Kate Pang.


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Sadly, there are also a handful of folks who will not be back despite being nominated – or even winning – in 2015. Two of the most shocking eliminations are that of dukes Ian Fang, who scored his first Top 10 trophy last year and first Best Supporting Actor nod last month, and Desmond Tan, who was touted as a hot favourite last year but ultimately walked home empty-handed. Other names that are nowhere to be seen in the 2016 selections include Dasmond Koh (who did not renew his Mediacorp contract earlier this year), Marcus Chin, Terence Cao, Lin Pei Fen, Lin Mei Jiao, Tracy Lee and Priscelia Chan.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed,” Ian admitted in a phone interview with Toggle. “I worked very hard this past year and besides, who doesn’t wish to be acknowledged in their career?”

Despite the inevitable let-down, he manages to remain optimistic. “At first I was worried about what my mother would think, but she’s fine with it; just because I do not receive an opportunity now, does not mean I will never receive one again. In her eyes, I am always the victor.” He added that he is also comforted by his Best Supporting Actor nomination.

When asked if there’s anything he’s going to do differently to ensure his inclusion next year, Ian said, “As people mature, their image may also change, so there is no need for me to change myself for the sake of squeezing into the Top 40. After all, I am an actor and I want to act well; you can only be an idol for so long.”


Desmond was also candid about his disappointment in a separate interview, but added that it was not a huge surprise as he did not appear in a single Channel 8 drama in 2015. “The company was revamping Channel 5 and they needed someone bilingual, so I was part of their strategy to help out,” said the actor, who was on Spouse for House 2, Mata Mata: A New Generation and Channel U’s Second Chance.

As a result, his managers have made sure to place Channel 8 gigs as the main focus of Desmond’s roster this year, such as upcoming long-form drama Peace & Prosperity, The Truth Seekers (where we will see him bare his bod in a bikini), and another pending project. With these new works, Desmond hopes that they will garner him not just a Top 40 nod next year, but also a nomination in the professional acting awards.

Through it all, Desmond is still able to maintain a philosophical outlook. “Life is like a poker game: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I don’t think that not being nominated would destroy my career in any way. I believe this defeat is temporary, and what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. And like what Leonardo DiCaprio said at the Oscars, there are always more important things to focus on, such as dogs that need help [Ed’s note: Desmond recently adopted a new puppy].”

Both dukes showed the most concern for their supporters, who will no doubt be upset by this news. “I feel the most sorry towards my fans, but I just want to say to them: we still have next year! This is not the end,” said Ian. As for Desmond, who was heartbroken when he saw fans crying over his Top 10 loss last year, he said, “I hope they won’t be sad over this and I just want to promise them that I’ll keep doing my best to not disappoint them next year.”

They also assured us that we will see them at both Star Awards 2016 ceremonies. “Putting on a no-show is a big no-no for me,” said Desmond. “I want to be there to congratulate all my friends who did well.”

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Perhaps the most nail-biting challenge is reserved for supporters of Elvin Ng, Joanne Peh and Quan Yi Fong – if they win their 10th Top 10 gongs on April 17 and 24 respectively, they will be inducted into the coveted All-Time Favourite Artistes hall of fame next year. So fans, you know what to do in order to help them get there!

Devotees of Rui En and Qi Yuwu need not worry any longer – thanks to their tireless efforts over the past decade, their idols are finally able to join the likes of Zoe Tay, Fann Wong, Chen Han Wei and Li Nanxing as All-Time Favourite Artistes. Jeanette Aw and Vivian Lai were the last stars to “graduate”.

Like previous years’ ceremonies, the Star Awards 2016 will be held in two parts on April 17 and 24, but the line-up of awards presented will differ slightly and technical awards will be done in an off-site presentation ceremony instead of live on TV.

Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes nomineesTop 10 Most Popular Female Artistes nominees
Shane Pow
Shaun Chen
Romeo Tan
Chen Shu Cheng
Chen Tian Wen
Chua Enlai
Aloysius Pang
Guo Liang
Elvin Ng
Lee Teng
Pierre Png
Zhang Yao Dong
Thomas Ong
Xu Bin
Jeffrey Xu
Zhang Zhen Huan
Zheng Ge Ping
Dennis Chew
Zhu Hou Ren
Joanne Peh
Belinda Lee
Paige Chua
Felicia Chin
Aileen Tan
Julie Tan
Hong Hui Fang
Jayley Woo
Carrie Wong
Jin Yin Ji
Kym Ng
Rebecca Lim
Jesseca Liu
Pan Ling Ling
Kate Pang
Quan Yi Fong
Sheila Sim
Tong Bing Yu
Ya Hui

The numbers will be announced at today’s Top 20 press conference so stay tuned for more!

Voting for the Star Awards 2016 Top 20 Most Popular Artistes commences after the telepoll numbers are revealed this afternoon, while online voting kicks off tomorrow (March 4) at 12pm, until April 17, 8.30pm (for female artistes) and April 24, 8.30pm (for male artistes).

In the meantime, voting for the Favourite categories and Best Theme Song is now open here.

Visit the official Star Awards 2016 microsite for the full nomination list and more information.

Catch the Star Awards 2016 Prelude starting in April, every Friday, 10.30pm on Ch8.
Catch Star Awards 2016 Part 1 Walk of Fame on April 17 (Sun), 5.30pm, LIVE on Ch8/ChU or Toggle.
Catch Star Awards 2016 Part 1 Awards Ceremony on April 17 (Sun), 7pm, LIVE on Ch8/ChU or Toggle.
Catch Star Awards 2016 Part 2 Awards Ceremony on April 24 (Sun), 7pm, LIVE on Ch8/ChU or Toggle.
Catch Star Awards 2016 Part 2 Post Show Party on April 24 (Sun), 10.30pm, LIVE on Ch8 or Toggle.

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