Farisha Ishak & Shaun Jansen duked it out as the final two left standing in “The Final 1“, MediaCorp Channel 5’s reality singing competition on Wednesday’s finals at The Star Performing Arts Centre. In the end, Farisha outsang her way in front of a 5,000-strong crowd to win the title, a two-year recording contract under Hype Records worth $50,000 as well as a $50,000 cash prize. We were there and we lapped up every bit of the atmosphere!

Before the show, each member of the Top 11 (and some from the Top 40) went on stage for a pre-show, belting out performance after performance. After a solid half-an-hour of catching up with The Final 1’s contestants, the show opened with the Top 11 singing a mashup of Treasure and Boogie Wonderland. We see our faves: the soulful Yuresh, the indie chick Debbi, the alt-folk dude Glen and the ever-sassy Louisa, Faith and Gail (Faith, Gail and Farisha are self-coined as “the Kardashian sisters” whereas Louisa is mama Kris Jenner — more on that in our next article). We could see why this particular venue was chosen: The Star’s awesome acoustics lifted the performance, with the Top 11’s voices soaring in sync.

Farisha went first on Round 1 with a funky performance of “Ain’t Nobody”, bravely tackling her shaky lower register with an upbeat song. From the outset, Farisha clearly had a boost in confidence from her previous performances, and that helped power the performance. Shaun then delivered a rousing performance of “Viva La Vida”, embracing his rock roots — he is the lead vocalist of band Supernova — and looking much more comfortable on stage than before. (Plus, OMG FIRE.) However, Farisha delivered a more engaging performance and crushed her competition.

In Round 2, Farisha turned up her inner diva with a haunting performance of Leona Lewis’ “Run” and, once again, bravely used her lower register to good effect: her control over the verses was a much better use of the lower register than in her previous efforts. Hitting her top notes and powering through the chorus, Farisha showed she was in it to win it. We would have liked to see a more full vocal from her, but hey, that smokescreen effect gets a +100 XP. Shaun’s “Radioactive” performance was a great song choice, but sadly lacked the energy needed to carry the song’s swagger. The addition of dancers was also a confusing producers’ decision that made the performance more pop than rock.

The final round had both contestants singing different interpretations of Ken Lim’s original single, “Tonight”. Although Shaun delivered a sterling performance almost reminiscent of Kris Allen, three rock songs in a row had left us feeling a little tired and perplexed that he did not show other sides to his repertoire. However, we saw a future in Farisha’s dance version of the song: it was radio-friendly, had a pulsating beat and was led by a great vocal performance.

Although we believe the televised performance did not do justice to the energy present at The Star, both contestants still knocked it out of the park. In the end, Farisha’s win was hers from the get-go.

Watch all the hijinks below:

Look out for our interview article out soon with Farisha and Shaun, plus find out how former contestants from the Top 11 are dealing with life after the competition.

Photo: Channel 5

Related article:
The Final 1 Champion Farisha Ishak: “When I Hugged My Family, The Tears Came”