Tantalize: The 10th episode

Tantalize – Sri Lankan’s largest inter-university talent show – celebrated its 10th anniversary on 11 November at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.

Organised by the Student Activity Club of Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT), Colombo; since its inception in 2008, the event has become a fantastic platform for talented youth island wide.

Inclusive of more than 25 universities and private higher education institutions, the event sets the stage for exceptionally talented youth to truly shine.

The event featured two finalists each, for the five categories – solo dancing, solo singing, band, group singing and group dancing.

Solo dancing
Theekshana Thilakasiri (Kotelawala Defence Academy)

Kaushalya Ranasinghe (BCAS) WINNER

Solo singing
Malithra Wimalasuriya (SLIIT)

Tharuja Ranasinghe (APIIT) WINNER

Illuminate (NSBM) WINNER

C# (University of Moratuwa)

Group singing
Vocal Avenue (University of Moratuwa) WINNER

Pentatonics (APIIT)

Group dancing
Mora Dancing (University of Moratuwa)

Rhythm Pills (APIIT) WINNER

The finalists each performed a single set on the night of the grand finale, and each performance was put to an SMS vote which counted for 40% of their total vote, the remaining 60% of which was awarded by the judges.

The winners and runners up of each category were awarded valuable gifts. The singing category winners received a record deal worth one million rupees, while the runners up received a record deal worth Rs. 700,000.

To anyone looking in, Tantalize looked an absolute success; with an audience packed to capacity, and a target demographic of passionate young university students, all rushing the venue to support their peers. It’s a dedicated event with an infallible motive.

The event, overall, had very few shortcomings: There were recurring technical difficulties and tediously long set up breaks in-between each set. However, regardless, the night carried on without raising too many concerns and the few roadblocks were overcome quite smoothly.

Speaking to some of the audience members, they were all rather unanimous in their high praise of the event, and also the talent showcased for 2018.

Sachini Peiris from Uva Wellassa University, who took part in the Tantalize Preliminary Events in 2013, gushed about the dancing acts this year: “The dancers were fantastic, the acts have definitely improved over the years, and the competition looks very tough.”

Tantalize, it seems, is not only for the winners, as we spoke to some others who merely auditioned for the event and have received great opportunities as a result.

Ishara Jirasinha, a dancer who received his first big break after having auditioned for Tantalize, came to watch the show all the way from Kandy, by himself, out of gratitude for the event.

Ishara said: “I auditioned for the event during the preliminary rounds and one of the judges, Gayan Srimal sir, offered me the opportunity to dance at the Hiru Golden Film Awards, and I will be forever grateful for the kind of exposure I received as a result of that.”


The concert experience

The event was not all amateur performances; it also featured established music acts like Doctor, Bathiya and Santhush, and Daddy.

As was expected, BnS had an explosive set, also announcing a possible 20-year celebration concert coming next month, alongside Doctor who were also celebrating their 10th year in the industry, and had a special treat for the audience where they released their latest single “Mathvee”. The Tantalize audience was the very first to witness the brand new track.

Daddy had a disarmingly emotional performance with Viresh, a.k.a. ‘Chika’, running into the audience as they serenaded the band with their own song.

Suffice to say, the audience members were more than thrilled to see big-name acts perform live. Dhanuja Weerasinghe, from KDU, who was there with his friends who were all having a blast, said: “We loved the show and it was amazing to see all of these bands perform, and the free swag is definitely a bonus.”

Despite the talent show tradition of banning together to hate on the almost-always overzealous host – the show was a pleasant experience for all.

Packed with fantastic performances and a well organised itinerary, complete with free, but limited, food and a comfortable venue, Tantalize 2018 was a resounding success.

By Dimithri Wijesinghe