26-year-old Teoh Zetong crowned as winner of Star Search 2019

SINGAPORE – Star Search selected its winner on Sunday (Nov 3), as the Mediacorp talent competition makes its return after a nine-year break.

Malaysian Teoh Zetong, 26, an assistant manager at Carousell, won the competition, while dance student Herman Keh, 25, and 17-year-old polytechnic student Ye Jiayun, both Singaporeans, were second and third respectively.

The trio all secured acting deals with Mediacorp through their wins.

Teoh said in a post-win press conference that he is keen to join the TV station full-time.

Touted to be one of the favourites before the show, Teoh says: “It was actually a lot of pressure on me. I felt so stressed by those predictions and it was through the help of my mentor and staff that I was able to let go of those stresses and do well.”

The contestants were mentored by local actors Chen Hanwei, Christopher Lee and Huang Biren.

The competition was decided by a panel of judges that included Hong Kong actors Carina Lau, Simon Yam and Stephen Fung. Mediacorp’s chief content officer Doreen Neo and local media industry veteran Man Shu Sum rounded out the panel.

Lau, 53, says in a post-show interview: “I’m impressed by the quality of all the candidates given that they’re all rookies. I’ve done stageplays before and it’s not easy.”

The candidates were assessed on their acting, which accounts for 50 per cent of the results. Charisma, dance performance and eloquence in a question-and-answer segment made up the other 50 per cent.

The three mentors, who were each assigned four finalists, picked one of their previous dramas to be adapted to the stage for their charges to perform in.

Chen picked the 2011 drama A Song To Remember, Lee picked the The Guest People (1997) while Huang picked My Lucky Charm (2005).

Huang, 50, who teared up after her finalists acting segment, says: “I feel very touched and thankful. I’m satisfied with what they have put out.”

Star Search was last held in 2010, when Jeffrey Xu emerged as winner.

The talent competition was first held in 1988 for the local broadcaster to find new talent for local entertainment and the inaugural Star Search was won by actress Zoe Tay.

Tay was one of the past winners and contestants at this year’s finals, with others such as 2003 winner Felicia Chin and Qi Yuwu from the 1999 batch.

Head of The Celebrity Agency Ivy Low says this year’s competition attracted some 1,200 hopefuls to auditions.

She adds: “Aside from the top three winners, the other nine contestants are also very good. We hope to discover more talents via the competition and we will have programmes tailored to nurture and cultivate them.”

In addition to their acting deals, Teoh also won an Audi car while Keh won around $12,000 worth of prizes and Ye won $3,000 worth of prizes.

University student Vanessa Ho, 20, won the Samsung Galaxy Breakthrough Award. She walked away with $10,000 in cash and a trip to Seoul.

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