Sony and the makers of Indian Idol [ Images ] once again proved that they are far ahead of the competition when it comes to marketing and packaging.
We have seen stars appearing on reality shows to promote their films just before the film's release, but this is perhaps the first time a television premiere is seeing the presence of its leading cast and director! Sony made sure that if the singers did not pull viewers, Aamir Khan would!
Having said that, there is no denying the fact that this week's gala round did prove to be good from the musical aspect as well.
It started with Rakesh Mani delivering a near-perfect rendition of Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya. Surprisingly the judges were not very benevolent in their praise. Sunidhi Chauhan [ Images ] felt it could have been better. Anu Malik [ Images ], however, said Rakesh may go on to become the next Idol. Raju Hirani, on the other hand, thanked Rakesh for singing his favourite number. He even recalled that just after coming to Mumbai [ Images ] he used to walk on the streets of Mumbai and hum this song.
It seems the viewers were also not very much impressed with Rakesh because he was the contestant who received the least number of votes. The same judges who had criticised his performance brought him back from the verge of elimination. Thankfully they used their veto power at the right moment to retain Rakesh in the competition. Thus, there were no eliminations this week.
Swaroop Khan was the next in line and he managed to impress everyone. The song -- Mitwa from Lagaan [ Images ] -- was straight up his alley. Everyone was happy, but one does feel the severe limitation in Swaroop's voice. He just cannot sing anything else apart from folk or rustic numbers. A very big disadvantage for someone who is in the Top Five.
The disappointment of the day, however, was Shivam Pathak who started Zoobi Doobi on a slow tempo, lost track midway and stopped for a while. But to his credit he did bounce back and finish the song. Anu made him sing the mukhda once again in the original tempo, which he did justice to. Needless to say everyone was happy. Judge Salim Merchant [ Images ] even predicted that Shivam will become the Indian Idol.
Sreeram -- Mr Consistent of this season -- sang Zindagi Ek Safar and yodelled his way to glory. He did everything right and even won the judges' praise for it.
However, the performer of the day was undoubtedly Bhoomi Trivedi. She was pitch perfect with her rendition of Nayeen nayeen nahin yeh from Parineeta [ Images ]. Not only did she bring about the sensuousness of the song, she sang it with so much feeling that everyone started applauding. The low confidence that plagued her last time was completely gone. Was it because of the tip from Baba Ranchordas before the performance? Who knows! She also won the Performer of the Day award.
The battle for the top slot has surely begun.