‘Better if you fainted’: Thousands want rude judge out of singing contest

Ajai commenting on Hafiz Zainal’s performance. Photo: Astro Gempak /YouTube
Ajai commenting on Hafiz Zainal’s performance. Photo: Astro Gempak /YouTube

More than 3,000 people signed an online petition demanding that 90’s singer Ajai be removed from the judging panel of local singing contest Big Stage after last night’s show. 

The 45-year-old celebrity judge, whose real name is Mohd Faizal Maas, gave contestant Hafiz Zainal a dismal 2 out of 200 points after telling Hafiz that it was better if he had fainted on stage than continue to sing to Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon out of tune.

Thousands who supported Hafiz then accused Ajai of being overly rude and critical towards the contestant and called for the judge to be canceled from the show. 

“Never in the history of Big Stage has anyone been awarded merely two points by a jury who pretends to be so generous,” Twitter user @KroolNizam wrote online. “Am I the only one who feels like Ajai is too much? I don’t have the mood to watch this.” 

The Remove Ajai as Jury member online petition called on the Astro TV network to fire Ajai, saying that it was not OK to humiliate contestants on national television.

“The comments are the ones that make people upset. Juries are supposed to either give comments that are encouraging or show them how to do what’s right, instead of downgrading people,” Twitter user @Amourliaaaaa wrote online. 

“I know that Ajai is an expert vocalist, but to give someone only two points? Is he serious? We’re live for the whole of Malaysia to see. Please be more professional Ajai,” Twitter user @ShaminNasran chimed in.

Neither Ajai nor the Astro Gempak channel immediately responded to Coconuts KL’s request for comment earlier today.

The singing competition entered its third season last week with 12 contestants vying for the RM100,000 prize in front of the three judges. Hafiz also failed to impress the other two judges,  singers Dayang Nurfaizah and Faizal Tahir, who awarded Hafiz with 54 and 78 points, respectively. 

“I can’t give you any points for your singing, because from the start ‘til the end, you’re out of tune,” Ajai spoke in Malay on the show. 

“Next time, don’t just feel it,” he later added. “You have to be alert. When you’re out of tune, don’t continue singing on the same key.”

“It would be better if you fainted (on stage),” Ajai went on. The singer-songwriter has written songs for the likes of singer Siti Nurhaliza. 

Dayang did not comment on his performance on air, while Faizal said: “There is a lot for you to work on.”

Hafiz’s performance may not be the best last night but some still enjoyed it despite the inconsistencies in his vocals. 

Guest judge and fashion mogul Noor Neelofa said it was a “brave first performance.”

Hafiz, who is a dentist, did not seem perturbed by the judges’ response. He took to Instagram this morning to reassure his 155,000 fans about his well-being, saying: “Don’t worry. I’m okay.”

Hafiz Zainal’s Instagram story. Photo: Hafiz Zainal /Instagram
Hafiz Zainal’s Instagram story. Photo: Hafiz Zainal /Instagram

Big Stage began in 2018 and had awarded Sarah Suhairi from Selangor and Jang Han-byul from South Korea in its first two seasons. 

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