Sonu Nigam and the co-judges Anu Malik and Farah Khan staged a walk-out from Indian Idol on Tuesday after prized contestant Ameya Date was eliminated.
just Sonu explains, "Very honestly, as a judge on Indian Idol I can't afford to be particularly fond of anyone. But yes, Ameya has a great future. He got eliminated because he didn't sing well enough on Tuesday. That's it.
Having said that, I must say I don't regret walking out after Ameya's elimination. We had to ring a warning bell in audiences's minds.
Humse raha nahin gayaa. We don't know what stand to take now. We're confused. The Sony people argue that we've to go by audiences' 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 apologized to Anuj. We can't bring Ameya back. But they cannot disqualify good talent like this.
In fact rowdies at the recording got very aggressive saying things like, 'This is Sony channel not Sonu's channel.' We're such foolish people. We choose and select on regional religious and caste lines. That's why Britishers ruled over us for 150 years.
At least another deserving contestant Karunya is getting noticed. He's one of the most talented young singers I've heard. As for Ameya, I remember anchoring Zee's Sa Re Ga a Ma Pa many years ago where Ameya had come second. I support talent like Ameya because I never got a similar support.
There's a 13-year old boy Ranjeet from Jaipur whom I've taken under my wings. He's not a singer. He's a miracle. Yeh koi aatma iske andar mein. Don't you wish you heard Lataji sing as a child? Well, this boy will give you a glimpse into that talent. I don't think I've anything to teach him.
There's so much singing talent around. But no dedicated gurus. I've watched Ameya go from my feet, to my knees. Then he started shaking my hand when he was a chorus singer. Now he's started touching my feet again. The guru-shishya equation shouldn't change. To this day I touch Suresh Wadkarji and Sachin Pilgaonkar's feet."
Ameya Date speaks
Ameya Date refuses to see the "defeat on Indian Idol 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 apologize to them for not having lived up to their expectations.
"At the same time I feel happy to have got as far as I have. I feel I've received more love and attention from people than I ever dreamt I would. Sonuji has been specially supportive. I don't know how to thank him.
It's just my bad luck that I got eliminated. Every day can't be the same. And maybe on Tuesday my performance wasn't up to the mark. I was eliminated as per the rules and regulations of Indian Idol.
So I've no reason to complain. 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 now. But whatever I do will have to do with music. I owe my entire life and career to Suresh Wadkar. He's my guru and god. I want to sing in films.
After I was eliminated on Tuesday Anuji promised he would look out for me. Thank God I reached the Top 4 in Indian Idol. I feel I've gained in ways that this immediate defeat of elimination can't take away from me. Seeing the people's reaction today my eyes my filled up with tears. I'm not the Indian Idol. But I'm the people's favourite."