Veteran rocker Rahim Maarof did not take too well when his protege Aiman from Group B was eliminated two weeks ago during the Mentor Season 5 semifinal qualifying round. Rahim was clearly disappointed with the result which was telecast live from Majlid Bandaran Shah Alam and decided to throw a challenge to the Head of jury, veteran musician and arranger Datuk Ramli M.S to be a mentor for the next Mentor season.
Many were caught off guard and baffled by Rahim's statement at the end of the show when he voiced dissatisfaction and challenged Ramli. However, when asked what prompted him to say what he said, the rock singer who popularized the song Cinta Kristal said the comment was made in jest. "I was half-joking. But the challenge did cross my mind. I felt Ramli M.S should be given the chance to groom a talent and see how he fares.
"The comment was not intended to create a controversy but I just want him to know how difficult it was for me to groom someone like Aiman who knows zero about singing. At least Aiman showed a marked improvement but sadly this point was not highlighted," said Rahim who had made a similar controversial statement earlier on in Mentor.
During the earlier rounds, Rahim will never failed to snap back when Aiman is criticized. However this time around, his protege Aiman only managed to accumulate 190 marks and failed to qualify for the next round.
Aiman, who is one of three proteges competing in the Mentor Group B and sang I’ll B and Sesuatu Janji, lost to Erra Fazira's protege Salmah A Asis (Salma) and Edry Abdul Halim's protege Nursyafiqah Nasratullah Mohd Nor (Iqa). "To train a green singer like Aiman takes a long time. I am pleased with his progress and I believe all his supporters could see this transformation through out the show," said Rahim who admits Aiman has received much exposure during the Mentor show.
He added, because of the Mentor exposure, Aiman has received many offers for radio advertising. "There is a lot going on for him after Mentor. I'm glad his talent is noticed and both of us will sit down to plan his next course of career move," said Rahim.
All said, Rahim said, he still has regards of Ramli who has earned a reputation as a remarkable arranger and musician.
When asked how he felt about Rahim's comments, the cool, level-headed Ramli felt it was natural for Rahim to react that way. "Everyone wants to win in any competitions. Rahim's outburst is understandable. But he must know that I am not a professional singer to be a mentor in the show so I have to decline his challenge. Anyway, I can't sing and what I studied are mostly theories with no practical lessons for singing. What I have is 35 years of experience as a musician," said the 54-year-old arranger.
He added, when he first met Aiman, he had chosen him over Iqa. "Aiman is tall and has the right personality. He just has to work on his vocals. But sadly, his progress is too slow compared to Iqa," said the most sought after arranger.
The other proteges who will be competing in the semi final rounds are Nurshiha Mohd Zikir (Shiha) who is Datuk Sharifah Aini's protege and Afdlin Shauki's protege Ratnah Awal or Ratna. Both are from Group A.
The new season of Mentor have created a buzz when a few heavyweights have been chosen as mentors. However, the format remains the same where marks are given from a professional jury (50 per cent), SMS voting (30 per cent) and public jury (20 per cent). The public jury comprises music students, journalists, and semi-professional musicians.- By Zieman