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17 December 2007 | 01:29 am
ROYAL ROUT

The New Paper, 17 Dec 2007

STAR AWARDS 2007

Four princesses left behind as veterans sweep popularity poll

weeteck@sph.com.sg

aviswong@sph.com.sg

NOT all princesses are equal. Some are really handmaidens who have been perceived to be princesses because of very good publicity.

And some had the veil of royalty lifted at last night’s Star Awards 2007 at Caldecott Hill TV Theatre.

MediaCorp’s Seven Princesses didn’t make the impact everyone thought they would in the much-watched Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes list.

Only three – Rui En, Felicia Chin and Jesseca Liu – cracked the list of the year’s 10 most popular actresses.

Earlier on, the Chinese press had crowned them and four counterparts – Joanne Peh, Fiona Xie, Dawn Yeoh and Jeanette Aw – as the the next leading ladies of the station, or the Seven Princesses.

The most popular list is determined by telephone votes (50 per cent) and a public survey (50 per cent).

The three that got in were tactful when asked about their wannabe rivals’ defeat.

Rui En, 26, was shocked about the exclusion.

“Everyone of them deserves to be in it. But I guess they would take it in their stride as there’s still a long road ahead.

“Many people have been talking about the seven princesses getting too much exposure and that we will surely win, but the awards results have proven to be the opposite.”

Felicia, 23, said: “I’m very happy I did (get in) but I was surprised not more of us got in.”

She named Jeanette Aw as the biggest shocker.

“It just goes to show that nothing is 100 per cent.”

Jesseca, 28, added: “The results are quite surprising. I’m lucky to be in the Top 10 but I didn’t expect Jeanette and Joanne (Peh) not to be in.”

Former The New Paper New Face 2003 finalist Dawn Yeoh, 20, was another of the seven princesses who crashed out.

She also thought Jeanette was a shoo-in.

Dawn said: “I was seated next to Jeanette and when the presenters said it was someone with a two-word name (Jeanette’s Chinese name is Ou Xuan), I congratulated her.”

It turned out that two-word name was Kym Ng (Zhong Qin).

Dawn sheepishly admitted: “It was a bit awkward at first but Jeanette took it very well.”

On her own chances, Dawn said: “I’m new in this business. I’ll work harder and hopefully get in in the future.”

Jeanette, 28 reasoned: “How would it be possible for (MediaCorp) to allow all seven princesses to be in the Top 10? I’m happy for the three who got in.”

Joanne Peh, 24, said not getting into the Top 10 for a second year running is a motivation.

“It’s something you may wish to have but you won’t necessarily get it. But it doesn’t mean I will give up.

“It’s a motivating factor for me to work hard.”

Fiona Xie thought it was “inevitable” that she didn’t get in.

The 25-year-old said: “There are only 10 places and seven princesses plus the other veteran actresses.

“I don’t think this is a good measure of how much talent we have or how much hard work we have put in. It’s only a telephone game.”

The fate of the princesses last night was a subject of discussion among the artistes.

Kym said she didn’t expect to get into the Top 10, “but I was hoping”.

Kym added: “When the presenters were reading the list, I thought ‘already five aunties got in, I sure got no chance’.

“I was so surprised when they called my name.”

She joked: “I wouldn’t be just be disappointed if I didn’t get it, I would be devastated!”

Not getting into the Top 10 is not the end of the world.

Veteran Zoe Tay said: “These girls are under a lot of pressure, so let’s not put them under more stress. They should take not getting in as a push to work harder next year.”

So it was that this year, the young and the restless would have to wait.

Although the nominees for the acting and popularity awards were littered with newcomers, MediaCorp was indicating that veterans were the way to go.

Zheng Geping – a 20-year veteran – won his first Best Actor award; Yvonne Lim – with 10 years experience – took home a much-deserved Best Actress award.

The Best Supporting Actress was May Phua, also a long-time actress. And the experienced Darren Lim was named Best Supporting Actor.

Geping, 43, joked: “I guess at this age, if I don’t get it now, there won’t be many more chances. The others don’t have to be afraid as they have more chances in future.”

May, 30, was elated she won.

“After 12 years, I finally made it.”

Categorised in Star Awards, Star Awards 2007, The New Paper.