Indian Idol judges Sonu Nigam, Anu Malik and Farah Khan staged a walk-out from the hit reality television show on Tuesday after the audience voted out popular contestant Ameya Date.
"Honestly, as a judge on Indian Idol, I can't afford to be particularly fond of anyone. But Ameya has a great future. He got eliminated because he didn't sing well enough on Tuesday," Nigam explains.
"Having said that, I must say I don't regret walking out after Ameya's elimination. We had to ring a warning bell in audience's minds. Humse raha nahin gayaa (we could not take it lying down). We don't know what stand to take now. We're confused. The Sony organisers argue that we have to go by the audience poll since that's the format for Idol all over the world. If Anuj got more votes than Ameya, it's not his fault. I apologised to Anuj. We can't bring Ameya back. But they cannot disqualify good talent like this. At least, another deserving contestant Karunya is getting noticed. He is one of the most talented young singers I've heard. As for Ameya, I remember anchoring Zee's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa many years ago where Ameya had come second. I support talents like Ameya because I never got support like this," the singer adds.
Meanwhile, Ameya Date refuses to see the Indian Idol defeat as anything but a challenge.
"As far as Indian Idol is concerned, I've come as far as destiny had to bring me. That Sonuji, Anuji and Farahji actually protested on my behalf moved me deeply. I want to apologise to them for not having lived up to their expectations," he says.
"At the same time, I feel happy to have got as far as I did. I feel I have received more love and attention from people than I ever dreamt I would. Sonuji has been especially supportive. But it's my bad luck that I got eliminated. Maybe my performance was not up to the mark on Tuesday. But I have no reason to complain," he continues.
"I know people had a lot of hopes pinned on me. I hope I can fulfil their expectations from outside Indian Idol. I haven't thought of what to do next. But whatever I do, it will have to do with music. I owe my life and career to Suresh Wadkar. He's my guru and god.
"I want to sing in films. After I was eliminated, Anuji promised he would look out for me. Thank god I reached the top four in Indian Idol. I have gained in ways that this immediate defeat of elimination can't take away from me. Seeing the people's reaction made my eyes fill up with tears. I'm not the Indian Idol, but I'm the people's favourite!"
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