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Oct 262014
 

DaveGrohl

It’s easy to get a lil cynical about Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters‘ marketing their upcoming new album Sonic Highways by way of a eight-part documentary series on HBO. But the cynicism will evaporate when one watches the first episode as Grohl and co record in Chicago and proceeds to pay tribute to the Chicago musicians who made a difference – from Buddy Guy to Cheap Trick to Steve Albini to Naked Raygun. This is done with a love, respect and fervour that demonstrates once again that Grohl has his heart and soul in the right place – he’s one of us…

Check out the complex yet visceral opening track from Sonic Highways, “Something From Nothing”….

GEEK OUT!

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Sep 082014
 

HBO’s The Leftovers has polarized both viewers and critics with an unflinching look at the impact of loss on a small community. The main supernatural factor of the series relates to the critical event of the Sudden Departure – similar to the Christian concept of The Rapture.

In ten episodes, the series delved into the response of the town folk of Mapleton, New York, the individuals most affected and the social phenomenon that developed to make sense of it all, specifically The Guilty Remnant, a cult group whose main purpose is to ensure that the Sudden Departure is never forgotten.

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GEEK OUT!

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Aug 242014
 

THE DOCTOR IS IN

Peter Capaldi makes his debut as the new Doctor Who in the latest episode of the long-running BBC scifi TV series. The main talking point about Capaldi’s casting has been his age. At 56 years old, he is the eldest Doctor since the re-launch of the series in 2005 (after an absence of 16 years) and this episode – “Deep Breath” places a lot of weight on the age of this latest regeneration of the Doctor.

At the end of the episode, it is clear that this new direction is a wise one as it sets up story ideas especially concerning the relationship between the Doctor and current companion Clara Oswald. There are also hints that the latest Doctor may have a character twist that somewhat at odds with his previous incarnations.

The primary story itself (for the Season 8 opener) finds Doctor Who and Clara in Victorian London wherein a T.Rex is rampaging after the Doctor indadvertedly brought it from prehistoric times with the TARDIS. The duo encounter the reptilian Madam Vastra and gang, clockwork repair droids stuck in the past, not to mention a tenuous relationship that needs re-building.

A good start, overall.

GEEK OUT!

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May 122014
 

CONSTANTINE

“Based on the wildly popular comic book series Hellblazer from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine specializes in giving hell… hell.”

Comic book fans can breathe a sigh of relief as this TV adaptation of Alan Moore’s occult anti-hero delivers a more faithful version than the ridiculous Keanu Reeves movie did. A look at the trailer makes it clear that the series will take its cues from the highly rated Hellblazer series penned by Jamie Delano. Yes, he’s English, has blonde hair and relatively unknown Matt Ryan (who is Welsh) seems to have Constantine’s characterization down pat. Debuting this Friday on NBC. Do not miss it!

Official Site

 

PoPINIONS

 FILM, MUSIC, PERSONAL, TV  Comments Off
Mar 192014
 

image001-4

 

SAVING THE SINGAPORE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Copyright piracy is not new. Back in the 60s and 70s, this was rampant in Singapore. We had pirated LPs and cassettes selling at a fraction of what the original releases cost. Also, pirates were able to compile hit songs across various record labels – something the labels could not compete with. Also, many record stores would offer copying services to their customers, providing mixtapes at an affordable cost.

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Jan 192014
 

TRUE DETECTIVE (Starring Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey & Michelle Monahan)

From the epic surrealistic opening credits, it’s clear that HBO’s new series True Detective is going to be something different. However, the moment one sees the first murder victim, one’s mind is immediately cast to the first season of Hannibal! In addition, for some bizarre reason, McConaughey’s Rust reminds me of an Americanized Sherlock Holmes (i.e. Benedict Cumberbatch).

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TUBEWATCH

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Jan 112014
 

Sherlock302

 

It is universally accepted that some of the best screenwriting can be found on the tube nowadays. The latest episode of BBC’s Sherlock (“The Sign of the Three”), it must be said is probably the best one yet. Using the platform of John and Mary Watson’s wedding, the writers manage to push pointed characterization, complex non-linear plotting and a dramatic whodunit with finesse and aplomb.

Throughout, Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a razor sharp performance that conveys all of Sherlock’s complicated thought processes, his other-worldly demeanour and ultimate sad loneliness, with Martin Freeman’s Watson the perfect foil, as usual. There is of course, a cost to being as brilliant as Sherlock is and the story never ever lets you forget about that. But that’s what makes the character completely relatable to an entire spectrum of misunderstood savants.

One wonders what is in store when the season 3 finale is dropped, very very soon. A mouth watering prospect!

 

TUBEWATCH

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Jan 042014
 

Shelock301

SHERLOCK: SEASON 3

As a young kid, I loved the Basil Rathbone version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective. Subsequently of course, Sherlock Holmes fans have had no shortage of versions to choose from. Perhaps its the unsmiling Jeremy Brett one or the Steven Spielberg’s vision of the Young Sherlock Holmes or the latest Hollywood incarnation with Robert Downey Jr or even the quirky Elementary US TV series (where Lucy Liu is Watson!)

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GEEK OUT!

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Dec 302013
 

I am probably going to be lynched for saying this but… I never quite got into Dr. Who. Sure, as a child of the sixties, I can remember Peter Cushing and the Daleks being on TV and found the stories twee and totally lacking any edge. The only thing I liked about the series was the theme song!

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May 272013
 
Courtesy of MTV Asia/Aloysius Lim

Courtesy of MTV Asia/Aloysius Lim

Are the first words that come into your minds and out of your mouths the same as mine? “Sweet Disposition”? Or, to be precise, “sweeeeet dissssspooooositionnnnn”?

The MTV Sessions is an MTV Asia original series which showcases intimate sessions with the featured artiste and a studio audience, consisting primarily of contest winners, typically die-hard fans. Previous featured artistes include a dynamic Vanness Wu, a charming James Morrison, a very clickable Kyle Patrick, a sweet indie songstress by the stage name of Russian Red, a “make-the-girls-go-wild boy that is other than Bieber” Greyson Chance, and to join the niche gang, Australia’s very own indie rock favourite The Temper Trap.

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THE MTV SHOW

 MUSIC, TV  Comments Off
Apr 192013
 

“The MTV Show” Season 2 Premieres Saturday, 20th April 2013

Two weeks ago, Power of Pop was invited to the preview of the second season of The MTV Show at the Waterfront Studio at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). MTV’s popular original series, The MTV Show, a weekly music and lifestyle show that features top-rated music videos, movies, celebrity news and popular culture, returns for its second season with a new format. The refreshed programming format enables its millennial viewers to determine what goes on the show, through active social media engagement.

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 Posted by at 12:01 pm  Tagged with: ,
Apr 092013
 

You might say it began with Dexter.

Remember how it felt all those years ago when you first watched Dexter? You mean, the hero of the show is a serial killer? Mind-blowing, wasn’t it?

Considering how unique and groundbreaking Dexter was, it’s rather amazing that it’s taken almost seven years for more tv series involving serial killers to show up. In 2013, we’ve had The Following, Bates Motel and Hannibal take up Dexter’s challenge. Truth be told, it’s been a mixed bag so far from these three offerings.

The Following actually presents us with an entire cult of serial killers led by the charismatic Joe Carroll (James Purejoy) and pursued by the FBI and former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). The series started out promisingly enough but since then has degenerated into a totally implausible tale, where the FBI is constantly represented as incompetent and helpless whilst Carroll, is somewhat portrayed as an infallible super-villain! Utterly preposterous – the inherent flaw in the plot requires that Carroll never be caught which results in ridiculously unrealistic stories. What is truly amazing is that the series has been renewed for a second season already! Now that is a crime…

Bates Motel is obviously based on elements taken from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho movie. A prequel of sorts but set in modern times (the movie was, of course, filmed in the early 60s), Bates Motel is a strange beast and so far rather mystifying. There is a general creepiness about the town in which the Bates (mother Norma and young son Norman – not forgetting older son, Dylan) reside in and there is a sense of a dark underbelly to the town in question. The leads (Vera Famiga and Freddie Highmore) do credible jobs with their respective roles and there is enough brand awareness to keep viewers interested (as evidenced by the series being renewed for a second season) but overall, I am waiting for the series to deliver a more than average impact.

Although only the premiere has aired thus far, Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon holds the greatest promise of the trio. Focusing on the relationship between special FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen), there is much to admire in Hannibal. The genuine attempt made to connect the audience with Graham’s fraught psycho-analytical experiences and Mikkelsen’s deliciously dark portrayal of the sinister Lecter, makes Hannibal one of the more surprisingly successful TV series revolving around a serial killer.

With Dexter on its last legs, I am betting on Hannibal to deliver the thrills, spills and yes, the kills, in the weeks to come.

 

 

 

Dec 292012
 

Point of order. Despite the title above, this is not a year-end ‘best-of’ review of 2012. Why? It’s simply too much effort and after years and years of putting these features together, it all becomes pretty tedious and pointless. Fast. As you can guess from the featured photo above, pop culture is getting increasingly ridiculous with each passing year, so here’s my attention deficient summary of the year that we say farewell to in a matter of days…

Lunarin – The Midas Session, Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, Laneway Festival (Laura Marling, Feist and Girls), Jeff Litman – Outside, Cheating Sons – Time Trails (Live at Esplanade Recital Studio), Lambchop – Mr M, Sweet Diss and the Comebacks – Emerald City Love Song, Brad Brooks – Harmony of Passing Light, Friendly Fires (live at Avalon), The Observatory – Catacombs, Shelves – s/t, OMD (Live at Esplanade Theatre), Orbital – Wonky, James Morrison (interview), Bitch Magnet reissues, Music Matters, ShiGGa Shay – They Call Me ShiGGa, Rick Murname – Wednesday Child, Pugwash – The Olympus Sound, Keane – Strangeland, Marvel’s The Avengers, Fringe Seasons 4 & 5, Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here (DVD), The Newsroom Season 1, Hot Chip (live at Avalon), Empra – s/t, Amazing Spider-Man, SING A NEW SONG, Prometheus, Breaking Bad Season 5 (Part I), Indus Gendi – I’ll Be Good If You Say Yes EP, Stone Roses (Live at Indoor Stadium), The Dark Knight Rises, Rufus Wainwright – Out of the Game, Peter Lacey – Worlds End Amateur Melodramatic Society Ball, Metric – Synthetica, Baybeats Festival, The Beach Boys (live at Indoor Stadium), Cosmo Jarvis – Think Bigger, Peter Doggett – The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s, Metric (Live at the Esplanade Concert Hall), The Pretenders (Live at F1), Joe Bonamassa (Live at Esplanade Concert Hall), alt-J (∆) – An Awesome Wave, Regina Spektor – What We Saw From the Cheap Seats!, The Whigs – Enjoy the Company, Nelson Bragg – We Get What We Want, Ingrid Michaelson (Live at the Esplanade Concert Hall), Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 2009, The Sam Willows – s/t EP, Kate Miller-Heidke – Nightflight, Looper, Mumford & Sons – Babel, Simon Townshend – Looking Out, Looking In, Chromatics – Kill For Love, Thunder Band Slam, The Bootleg Beatles (Live at Marina Bay Sands), Jersey Boys Musical, Christmas in Singapore, Fred Perry 60th Anniversary Party, Classic Albums: Peter Gabriel – So (DVD), Sarah Cheng De-Winne – Brand New, Troy Chin’s Bricks in the Wall, Tay Kexin – Get Set Go EP, Uncanny Avengers, Regina Spektor (Live at Esplanade Theatre), Another Sunday Afternoon – The Bookmark, The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness reissue.

*whew*

…still there’s more…

 

 

Oct 272012
 

(Nickelodeon Press Release)

Nickelodeon launches an all-new, CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on Friday, November 16 at 6.30pm (SG/MY) in a special thirty-minute television event, bringing the turtles up from the sewers with the mythology and comedic sensibility for a new generation of fans.

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Oct 152012
 

I was rather intrigued by the pilot of the Arrow TV series, based on DC Comic’s Green Arrow. It appears that the producers are intent on making the series as grim, gritty and realistic as possible whilst being true to the DC Universe in which Oliver Queen/Green Arrow inhabits. IGN revealed this exclusive first look at one of DC’s favorite villains- Deathstroke – and it’s encouraging to see the character’s mask accurately depicted as well. Very promising!

 

GEEK OUT! GAME OF THRONES

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Jun 062012
 

Season 2

At the end of Games of Thrones Season 1,  fans were given the iconic image of a naked Daenerys Targaryen standing with three baby dragons having survived her husband’s funeral pyre. That final scene was the perfect icing on the cake for a very successful first season and set up great expectations for the second.

Now, from the standpoint of having finished up ten episodes of Season 2, I have the sense that the show has somewhat lost the plot or to be more accurate, has come up with too many plots that makes it difficult to follow even for a wizened geek like me, never mind a casual viewer.

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GEEK OUT! FRINGE SEASON 4

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May 122012
 

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY TOGETHER…

(Spoilers abound, so beware!)

About a year ago, I grumbled and lamented that the Season 3 finale had been so disappointing. Basically, I opined that removing Peter from existence did not make any sense whatsoever and was wondering how the writers would resolve this in Season 4. Well, over the course of the 22 episodes of the excellent Season 4, I’ve had to eat my words numerous times.

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ELVIS COSTELLO

 MUSIC, TV  Comments Off
May 092012
 

PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING!

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE SPECTACULAR SPINNING SONGBOOK CONCERT

TO PREMIERE ON CABLE’S PPV AND VOD

Special Pay-Per-View Concert Performance with Surprise Guest Stars & Surprise Songs

Will Air Exclusively On Cable Starting May 7

Elvis Costello and The Imposters’ unique concert style wows audiences when he allows his set-list to be chosen by The Spectacular Spinning Songbook, a monumental game-show type wheel spun by fans. Now, for the first time, cable audiences around the country can join the fun with his first-ever Pay-Per-View (PPV) and Video On Demand (VOD) special, Elvis Costello & The Spinning Songbook, an hour of surprise guests and surprise songs. It premieres on May 7 in High Definition PPV* and starts May 24 on VOD. The PPV concert will be available throughout May and June at various times in both SD and HD. (Highlights of the PPV and VOD schedule below).

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LEWIS BLACK

 TV  Comments Off
Mar 132012
 

(Press release)

EPIX, the premium entertainment service available to subscribers on television, video-on-demand, online and consumer electronic devices delivers another high profile original comedy event in March as comedian Lewis Black marks his return to the premium service. The new special follows up his Grammy winning special, Stark Raving Black, which continues to be a top performing original event on EPIX.

Filmed at Minneapolis’ historic State Theatre, In God We Rust features Black’s inimitable comedy tirades as he jumps up and down and wags his finger at the absurdities of our lives. With topics taken from the front pages, Black leads the audience on a hilarious, cathartic journey from politics to Valentine’s Day to Facebook’s popular application, Farmville. “People do this, because really, everybody’s always dreamed of having a fake farm,” says Black.

“Lewis Black connects with our audience,” said EPIX President Mark Greenberg, welcoming the return to EPIX of the bestselling author and The Daily Show contributor. “His last special continues to draw heavy viewership on the network, on demand and online. Now, as EPIX expands to Internet connected devices like Xbox, Roku and others, we are providing fans with even more ways to see him.”

“I’m thrilled to be back,” Lewis Black added. “I don’t claim to understand the technology behind EPIX and all the platforms, but I’m thankful that they do. And I’ve been told by people barely out of diapers that it’s actually not complicated.”

In God We Rust joins a growing roster of A-list comedy events on EPIX which include “Craig Ferguson: Does This Need to be Said;” “Louis CK: Hilarious” (nominated for two 2011 Emmy awards); “Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story” (nominated for a 2010 Emmy); Lewis Black’s “Stark Raving Black” (which received a Grammy nod) and shows featuring David Cross, Seth MacFarlane, Janeane Garofalo and Kevin Smith. Music related events have included exclusive concerts by Britney Spears, Usher, Bon Jovi, Black Eyed Peas, and Madonna.

Check out what Lewis Black has to say about… Farmville.

Lewis Black‘s In God We Rust Premieres on EPIX March 17

GEEK OUT! COMIC BOOK MEN

 COMICS, TV  Comments Off
Mar 062012
 

Nerds of the Square Table

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a GEEK OUT! but watching the new AMC reality series Comic Book Men has inspired a return of sorts to all things geek at Power of Pop. What’s Comic Book Men about? According to AMC, it’s an unscripted one hour series, which dives deep into fanboy culture by following the antics in and around master fanboy Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. The series also features features Secret Stash employees Walt, manager and de-facto leader; Mike, a comic book virtuoso; Ming, the store’s technical expert and go-to whipping boy; and Bryan, who doesn’t actually work at the Stash, yet can always be found perched on a stool behind the front counter.

Having worked at a comic book store in the mid-80s (and enjoying every minute) this is like a geek fantasy/reality show and will definitely appeal to all the hardcore geeks out there. So far four episodes have aired and the latest one where Ming pitches his idea of a Zombie-themed store promotion to Walt is probably the one I’ve enjoyed the most. The show intercuts scenes from the store and the round table discussions, which includes Smith as well. Along the way, customers will be featured either buying or selling comics or toys to/from the store. An interesting segment found Walt actually paying top dollar for rare John Buscema Silver Surfer original artwork.

It’s a lot of fun with loads of laughter and even if you’re not a comic book fan, you will appreciate the banter amongst the various characters and of course, Smith is always good for a laugh or three! Only two more episodes before the first season wraps up – hopefully there will be more to come… Check out the trailer below.

MTV EMA 2011

 MUSIC, TV  Comments Off
Nov 072011
 

I watch award shows because I feel the need to keep abreast of current pop culture affairs. And as far as music is concerned, they don’t get much glitzier or crazier than the ones put together by MTV. The EMAs represent Europe’s own music awards for each year and this year’s show was par for the course.

Host Selena Gomez was well, boring, and frankly a waste of space and a needless pandering to the pre-pubsecent out there in TV-land but I guess being Justin Bieber’s lesbian lover does have its perks! The performances were also varied in quality. I personally enjoyed Jessie J (mainly for her figure hugging costumes and big… voice) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and everyone else was lackluster. Well, Lady Gaga did what she does best with a top notch dance production – that woman is hot!

However, the best bits (!) of the show will be something you probably won’t get to see. Basically, a streaker invaded the stage whilst Hayden P-the cheerleader from Heroes – was presenting. Quite obviously the whole thing was a setup (surely security cannot be that easy to breach) and for a rather long time, we were ‘treated’ to the spectacle of pale white Irish junk!

In any case, the primetime re-telecast happens tonight at 10pm Starhub Ch 533, sadly without the Irish junk. If you’re watching it, you can follow my commentary on twitter timeline this morning at http://twitter.com/#!/powerofpop. Just keep scrolling down…

Thanks again to Dawn and Cammie for being great hosts at this morning’s broadcast.

MTV EMA 2011

 MUSIC, TV  Comments Off
Nov 062011
 

You know the drill. Melissa @melloasis and I @powerofpop will be tweeting about the (delayed) telecast of the MTV EMA 2011 tomorrow morning from about 10am. So if you have decided to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight (or even if you did not) make a date with us online and with StarHub TV Ch 533.

Seriously.

MTV VMA 2011

 MUSIC, TV  Comments Off
Aug 292011
 

MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS 2011

What greases the wheels of the record machine in 2011? As the compact disc goes the way of the dinosaur and the buzzword is now the ‘cloud’, the marketing of pop music has undergone numerous reviews and reconsiderations. Music sales will continue to plummet making revenues from live performance more important than ever to the pop music artist. Gone forever are the days of the recording artist who does not tour – well, nowadays said artist would simply starve. So pop music is still important but the question is now the platform of delivery.

MTV continues to be a vital cog of the record machine though less so as a music video channel but largely through shows like the Video Music Awards, in which pop music stars and wannabes obtain critical exposure not only for their music but also their public image. The annual VMA has gained a reputation for notoriety and controversy which at times overshadows the musical performances themselves. Hardly surprising as reality TV programming has audiences demanding more and more shock value from scripted realism. So surprisingly enough, there was very little of that in VMA 2011.

In fact, overall, the main theme was dressing down as highlighted by Lady Gaga’s star turn as her male alter-ego Joe Calderone. Dressed in white tee and dirty suit, she launched the VMA with a raucous You & I and even paraded Queen’s Brian May (never forget where the Lady got her name from) for a glorious tribute to anthem rock. As always, Gaga went against the grain in a show that was as usual largely dominated by garish outfits and inane hip hop. Better still, Gaga stayed in character throughout and never appeared in a attention seeking costume this time out making Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj look over-dressed! This out-maneuvering by Gaga was a delight to witness proving that she is the undisputed Queen of pop, not Perry, Minaj or even the newly-pregnant Beyonce.

Apart from Gaga’s show-stealing antics, highlights were slim but for those who want to catch the repeat telecast, do look out for –
1. Brit singer Jessie J’s intermission appearances

2. Adele’s under-stated brilliance

3. Justin Bieber’s non-plussed reaction to Joe Calderone

4. Tyler the Creator’s obscenity-laced acceptance speech for Best New Artist

5. The fake Beastie Boys viz. Will Ferrell, Jack Black and Seth Rogen!

REPLAYS:

Monday, 29 August 7pm (WIB), 8pm (SIN/HK/PH), 9pm (MAL)

Tuesday, 30 August 2pm (WIB), 3pm (SIN/HK/PH), 4pm (MAL)

Wednesday, 31 August 9am (WIB), 10am (SIN/HK/PH), 11am (MAL)

Thursday, September 1 10pm (WIB), 11pm (SG/HK/PH)

Friday, September 2 12am (MAL)8pm (WIB), 9pm (SG/HK/PH), 10pm (MAL)

Saturday, September 3 7pm (WIB), 8pm (SG/HK/PH), 9pm (MAL)

Sunday, September 4 2pm (WIB), 3pm (SG/HK/PH), 4pm (MAL)

Thanks to the kind folk at MTVAsia (Dawn, Cammie, Mitchell, Utt & Holly) who made us all feel right at home.