Last September, the first season of “The Masked Singer Malaysia” made its debut in the country, featuring 12 golden-voiced contestants vying for the coveted eponymous title.
This show, which ran from 18 September until 6 November, marks the first localised version of “The Masked Singer” franchise, which originated from the 2015 South Korean programme “King of Mask Singer”, and has been adapted by various countries from all over the world including China, Thailand, Cambodia, Bulgaria, India and the US.
Malaysia puts its own spin to it by covering the contestants from head to toe, concealing not just their faces, and their costumes are inspired by some of the nation’s iconic food, symbols, and flora and fauna.
We already know Aina Abul was named the champion during the show’s eighth and final week of competition earlier this month, now let’s get to know a bit more about the top spot winner as well as the other four singers who made it to the final round with her!
Champion: Aina Abdul
|How cute does Aina Abdul look posing next to her Bunga Raya costume?
(Photo source: Aina Abdul’s Facebook).
At age 27, Aina Abdul has already achieved several impressive milestones in her singing career. One of them is, of course, being named the first champion of “The Masked Singer Malaysia”.
Born on 25 October in Jempol, Negeri Sembilan, she started her singing career as a contestant on 2014’s “Mentor Legend”, with rock star Ella mentoring her. She then represented Malaysia at the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) 2014 in Los Angeles, US, where she once again wowed everyone with her powerful voice and was named Vocalist of the World.
In 2015, she dropped her first single, “Ini Yang Kau Mahu”, after signing with Indigital. The next year, she hit pause on her singing career to make her acting debut in TV3 drama, “Seindah Takdir Cinta”. She returned to singing in 2017 and has been releasing several songs almost yearly since. She faced a bit of a controversy last year when her performance as a finalist on “Anugerah Juara Lagu ke-34” was seen by some as ‘suicidal’ as it involved fake blood gushing from her chest. She has since explained that it meant to portray a bleeding broken heart.
First Runner-up: Vanessa Reynauld
|“Sayonara Rajah Brooke. I’m gonna miss you,” Vanessa captioned this photo showing her
next to her “The Masked Singer” costume. (Photo source: Vanessa Reynauld’s Instagram).
Vanessa Ben Reynauld, 20, is no stranger to singing, having been belting out songs after songs with her powerful voice since the tender age of 4. The Klang-born singer of Malaysian Chinese Indian descent has been sweeping up awards at local singing competitions since young and in 2016, she even participated in China’s “Water Cube Cup” Chinese Songs Singing Competition in Beijing, making it all the way to the final round and winning second place.
It was her fluency in Chinese again that propelled her to further fame earlier this year, when her TikTok video showing off the different types of Mandarin accent went viral. Even though she only joined the platform in September last year, she has quickly become a TikTok star and to date has 227.2K followers.
On her YouTube channel, which she started in 2014 and to date has 29.8K subscribers, she not only uploads videos of her covers (made up of popular English, Chinese, Indian and even Korean songs!) but also entertaining and informative How To videos.
Just before starting her stint on “The Masked Singer” in September, Vanessa signed with the record label Sony Music.
Second Runner-up: Tuju (K-Clique)
|Tuju couldn’t have made the clue to his identity more obvious with that Orang Utan costume.|
While the judges were stumped, netizens were already guessing that the singer under the Orang Utan costume must be someone who hailed from Sabah – and they were not wrong. Tuju, a member of the MTV Europe Music Awards-nominated Sabahan hip hop group K-Clique
, was unmasked as the third place winner at the inaugural season’s final show.
Born Muhammad Azree Shah bin Awang Zamri on 22 April 1996, he is now better known by his stage name and holds the rapper position in K-Clique, which also comprises MK, Noki, SoMean, KDeaf, FareedPF, Gnello, and NastyNas. Prior to reaching fame, the 24-year-old had had to do odd jobs, including washing cars.
There was a bit of a controversy surrounding the rapper this year, after his then-girlfriend, singer Loca B a.k.a. Hani Azali, shared several photos and videos on social media back in March showing the bruises on her body, which fans purported were caused by Tuju. Confusingly, the singer denied that the rapper hit her, but later did call their relationship “toxic” when she admitted that they had broken up the same day she posted the images. The rapper lodged a police report in April when netizens continued accusing him of assault. However, the roller coaster ride didn’t end there. The duo not only got back together about four months later in August, but it was also revealed in September that they were already married! Tuju declined to share their exact wedding date, only stating that they have been married for a while now.
Finalist: Datin Alyah
|Wow, Datin Alyah sure captivated everyone as the golden-voiced Wau.|
Datin Noor Hasliah “Alyah” Abu Hasan, otherwise more popularly known as Datin Alyah, finished fourth in the singing competition, having successfully charmed everyone with her beautiful voice week after week while obscuring her identity behind a Wau-inspired mask.
Her singing career, which spans two decades, kicked off following her win at Bintang HMI 2000. She did appear in TV3’s “Asia Bagus” in 1999, even nabbing second spot, but it was the 2000 RTM singing competition that really boosted her career. She has since participated in several reality singing shows, such as “One in A Million” and “Mania!”. She joined as the vocalist for hip-hop group The Fabulous Cats in 2007 but did not stay long due to conflict within the group.
Hailing from Johor, where she was born on 3 January 1981, the singer is also a busy entrepreneur and can often be found promoting the latest hot products on her Instagram, which currently has 903K followers. She got hitched in Indonesia in 2013 but managed to keep the marriage out of the public eye for more than a year. It was only in 2014 that it was discovered she has tied the knot with legendary singer Dato’ Ramli M.S, who served as the Principal during the second and sixth seasons of popular reality singing show “Akademi Fantasia”.
Finalist: Vincent Chong
|Turns out the singer hiding under the Enggang mask is none other than Vince!
(Photo source: officialriax Instagram).
Speaking of “Akademi Fantasia”, remember when Vince went all “Kita semua adalah pemenang, tiada pengalah” after winning the first season back in 2003? He didn’t quite get to say that again on “The Masked Singer Malaysia” but the singer, dressed as Enggang (hornbill), did make it to the finale, coming in fifth with his 87% score. (It should be noted that Datin Alyah scored 88%, Tuju 94%, Vanessa 95% and Aina 96%).
Born Vincent Chong Ying-Cern in Kuala Lumpur on 30 September 1979, the 41-year-old is more often known as just Vince or Vincent Chong. As mentioned above, he was the first champion of “Akademi Fantasia” and remains one of the more successful stars that emerged from the Malaysian reality singing show, which ran for 13 seasons from 2003 to 2016.
Possessing a strong and smooth voice which he often utilises in R&B songs, Vince has not only released a number of singles and albums, but he’s also lent his voice to movie soundtracks, such as “Keranamu Kekasih” for the 2004 epic “Puteri Gunung Ledang”, the special Asian release edition of “Breaking Free” for Disney’s “High School Musical”, and “You’re the Music in Me” for “High School Musical 2”. Vince has also expanded into acting, starting with a lead role in “Sembilu 2005” and was most recently seen in last year’s TV movie, “Dilema”.