Scores of talented singers and their families gathered over three days for a competition to pick out the best among them at the 2nd Meri Awaaz Suno America contest held May 10-12 at the Jo Ann Magistro Performing Arts Center in New Brunswick, N.J.
Eighty two contestants from 22 states in the United States, and from Canada and the United Kingdom signed up for what was a highly competitive program which featured famous performers as judges. Approximately 600 people came over the three days to enjoy and participate in the show.
“This is a very popular and biggest competition of its kind – a pan-American event,” Tarang Soni, CEO of Jhoom Events, the main organizer, told Desi Talk. “It has grown from last year when we had 62 contestants from just 10 states in this country. And the quality of contestants has improved since last year,” Soni added.
Singers were given a choice to sing from any of the four categories – classical, semi-classical, Bollywood, and folk.
The semi final was held on May 10, where 10 singers from the adult and kids categories were to be picked. But because there was a tie between some of the singers, it turned out to be 11 finalists each from the Adult and Kid categories.
Despite the large number of contestants, the judges made sure to give feedback to each performer, also giving them tips on how to improve. Organizers ensured that every contestant was given an equal opportunity.
May 11 was dedicated to holding stage rehearsals for the final competition, Soni said. Those who won the semi-finals were interviewed by media, and were also instructed on what was the aim of the competition, which was envisioned and started by Jhoom Events CEO Tarang Soni.
“I love singing. It is my passion. And since childhood, I wanted to do something for those who have the passion but not a platform like this to showcase their talent,” Soni told Desi Talk, adding, “I also wanted to make sure it was a transparent competition where the judges were of the highest quality,”
The Grand Finale was held on May 12 where the top 11 in each category performed. They were judged by renowned singers and performers Lalit Pandit (who has more than 500 hit songs to his credit, Soni noted), Parthosarthy Mukherjee, Prashant Soni and Parmjit Hans.
Aric Diamani was the host of the show and emceed the event.
Sarika Kansara won the special award, “Voice of New Jersey” for her contribution in the field of music for the last 20 years. It was presented to her by Lalit Pandit and Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and chairman of ITV Gold. Dr. Parikh was also felicitated during the event, presented with a plaque by Pandit.
Lalit Pandit launched his elder son on the platform of Meri Aawaz Suno America season-2 with his new song “Dil ye mane nahin” a coming-of-age song about a teenager falling in love for the first time.
There was also a RAP song written and sung by 8-year old Atharva Soni. Meri Awaaz Suno America wants to be the platform for kids who love to sing and one where talent speaks for itself.
In the Kids Category, Srushti Gubbi from Michigan won First place; Manasi Pujari from New Jersey was 1st Runners Up; and Shohini Chakraborty from California and Nandan Pujari from New Jersey shared the 2nd Runners Up position.
In the Adults Category, Nandan Shastry from New Jersey won the first prize; Sahana Harikrishnan from New Jersey won the 1st Runners Up; and Sonia Keshwani from Washington won the 2nd Runners Up prize.
Dr. Parikh presented the “Pt Pratapnarayan Award” along with Pandit, to Nandan Shastry for best classical singing.
All the contestants received T-shirts emblazoned with the word, ‘Meri Awaaz Suno America,’ and other gifts.
The Jhoom Events CEO thanked all judges, sponsors, participants and the audience for their support and the months of hard-work, persistence and patience required to conduct a fair and transparent competition, the press release said. She urged the community to support, sponsor and spread awareness about the initiative.
Parikh Worldwide Media was the Grand Sponsor of the show and will telecast the episodes on ITV Gold in coming days.