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'YOLO': Nervous Singapore Poly student who 'had to go poop' and other hopefuls at Star Search 2024 public auditions

'YOLO': Nervous Singapore Poly student who 'had to go poop' and other hopefuls at Star Search 2024 public auditions
(From left) Koh Boon Wun, Jonathan Chung, Yong Jack Hao, Jaymes Lye and Priscilla Tan were among some of the hopefuls who participated in the first Star Search 2024 audition at Funan on July 6, 2024.
PHOTO: AsiaOne/Yeo Shu Hui

For the many hopefuls who went for the Star Search 2024 open audition at Funan last weekend (July 6 and 7), it was an opportunity to showcase their talents, charms and suitability for showbiz.

For Singapore Polytechnic student Koh Boon Wun, it was also a lesson on courage and perseverance after she got stage fright and told hosts Lee Teng and Herman Keh she wanted to "give up".

When the 17-year-old Singaporean took to the stage with dozens of curious bystanders watching her, she was visibly nervous. Star Search 2019 first runner-up Herman, 28, encouraged her by telling her to take a deep breath.

She performed a scene believed to be from a local drama, before apologising to the audience for forgetting her lines.

"Don't be sorry!" Herman told her, while Lee Teng urged her to try again.

Lee Teng also got Herman to perform with her, but after another try, Boon Wun said apologetically: "I give up."

The Star Search auditions this year included an initial screening, where participants introduced themselves to a panel. Those who passed this first round would be brought to a preparation room to memorise a short script which they would perform on stage later.

While everyone thought that it was the end of Boon Wun's chance at Star Search, Lee Teng and Herman immediately told her: "It's okay! You can ad-lib."

Boon Wun's script involved her character confronting someone who had assaulted her. While she couldn't remember her lines for the scene, she gave it another try ranting at Herman's character.

When Lee Teng asked if she was very anxious, she expressed candidly: "I was very nervous and had to go poop earlier."

This drew a wave of laughter from the hosts and audience as everyone was surprised by her frank and innocent answer.

"I think our variety show team can consider her, she's a natural," Lee Teng laughed as Herman said that she would make a good co-host with him.

Lee Teng also told Boon Wun encouragingly: "Actors also forget their lines occasionally. But they would imagine what they would do in that environment… and just say their lines accordingly."

They gave her a few other scenarios to ad-lib, such as one where the three of them discussed homework while doing Asian squats.

Boon Wun also showcased her guitar skills and played rock renditions of Teresa Teng's The Moon Represents My Heart and Taiwanese band EggPlantEgg's Back Here Again in an impromptu performance with singer-host Yang Guang Ke Le.

Speaking to AsiaOne before her audition, Boon Wun said she only knew about the auditions a week ago.

"The staff from Mediacorp came to my school… They saw me at the canteen and told me to bring my guitar here," said Boon Wun, who is currently studying in the Media, Arts and Design course.

She added that while she's never acted before and did not prepare any performance in advance, she hoped to impress the judges with her guitar skills.

"YOLO. I have no expectations either," she said, adding she was just trying out new experiences.

Other hopefuls at the audition included Singaporean Priscilla Tan who was the first in line to register at the audition that morning.

The 19-year-old student, who just graduated from junior college, shared: "I think it's important to come early so I can be mentally prepared."

Priscillia is classically trained in ballet since primary school and later expanded to other genres including street jazz and hip hop.

She added that she's been trying to build her portfolio since graduation and participated in auditions for small productions and commercials, including starring in a fashion commercial with national sprinter Shanti Pereira recently.

"I like to experience being another character. I think it's very exciting and meaningful. It's not easy being an actor because it really requires a lot of depth and emotions," Priscilla shared, adding that she has had aspirations to become an actress since she was 12 years old and looks up to American actress Angelina Jolie as a role model.

Also at the audition were three friends Yong Jack Hao, Jaymes Lye and Jonathan Chung, who stood out among the participants for their height and good looks.

The three of them were at Funan at 9am, 30 minutes before the start of registration. When asked about turning up early, Jaymes, 28, a Singaporean marketing director of Thai-Chinese ethnicity, shared: "I am a bit nervous and excited, so I think going first would give us a better edge. There are also less crowds in the morning."

Malaysian producer Jack Hao, 25, said that he has wanted to become an actor since stepping into the industry two years ago and has since appeared in small roles on screen: "I like the feeling of immersing myself into a character and want more opportunities, so I decided to give this a try."

Singaporean Jonathan Chung, who played the guitar and sang during his audition, shared that his first experience with acting was when he was around 13 years old in Mediacorp's children television show Home Of United Nations (2012).

"I kind of enjoyed acting, and throughout the years of watching movies and seeing what actors really do, it piqued my interest and I feel like maybe this is something that I want to give it a try before it's too late," said that 25-year-old swimming coach.

Among the applicants on Saturday, there were also some who had to put their starry ambitions aside for now.

Singaporean Lee Shin Yin did not get past the initial screening and told AsiaOne that she registered for the audition hoping to learn new skills, such as acting and hosting.

The 29-year-old, who currently works as a cashier, said she felt at ease despite not being chosen.

"I felt so nervous, but after the screening was done, I felt so much more relaxed now," she added.

The next Star Search 2024 open audition would be held at Orchard Central on July 13 from 9.30am to 7.30pm.

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