Jackass of all ceremonies, master of none

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Yumi Duong (L) and Nguyen Vu are among the most famous emcees to have goofed up on stage

Yumi Duong spoke over the fast beats of background music as she asked the audience to remember victims of super typhoon Haiyan.

"I'd like to save a few minutes to talk about our brethren in the central region," Duong said on The Voice Vietnam, a reality singing contest, during a live session on November 10, as the typhoon took a diversion and spared the storm-weary central coast.

It was then that she began to put her foot in her mouth. Ending her introduction with a smile, she asked the audience to "applaud to show support to the contestants and love to the typhoon victims."

Duong had added herself to the failed list of young speakers in the showbiz industry, who apart from shiny appearances, have little else to show. Their nonsensical and insensitive statements and annoying jokes have irked audiences.

Le Minh Ngoc, a traffic news announcer on Ho Chi Minh City Television, tried to use the national funeral of General Vo Nguyen Giap in his broadcast on the night of October 12. The attempt bombed.

Ngoc stressed the need for following rules as he expected for high traffic on roads leading to memorials for the general who led the Vietnamese army to victory against the French and American armies. He asked people to behave on the roads "so we can have a national funeral with a lot of fun and safety."

Ngoc's slip-of-the-tongue was followed by personal and institutional apologies to the public, government leaders, soldiers, the general's family and the soul of the late general himself.

Sadly, such gaffes are not one-off things.

Duong, who had been a game show host for various entertainment channels before, has proved herself unprepared for The Voice on occasions other than the Haiyan incident.

She embarrassed some contestants once by mistaking one for another when interviewing them in pairs. She asked one contestant last month about the latter's mother without knowing that she had passed.

Veteran emcee Lai Van Sam, the first game show host on national TV screens who has kept his job for more than a decade now, has also invited public criticism.

Sam made an "interpretation disaster," as the audience put it, at Vietnam's first international film festival 2010 when he stood with Hong Kong actor and director Daniel Wu, who spoke in English on stage, live.

When Wu expressed his happiness in attending the event, Sam translated it as the former's joy on seeing a lot of fans Vietnam.

As the director spoke of the festival's mission to bring world-famous movies to local screens and vice versa, Sam said he was talking about long queues of people waiting to see movies at the festival.

The emcee later admitted to making up things as he could not hear Wu out.

Another "emcee fail" happened last month when Vu Hoang My, the first runner up of the 2010 Miss Vietnam beauty contest, was asked to speak live on stage for the first time at the finale of Vietnam's super model contest 2013. 

She misused words, forgot the script, and mumbled away, making it hard for the audience to hear, forcing them to rely on the other MC to understand what was happening.

Beauty queen Jennifer Pham, who was crown Miss Asia USA 2006, also made a scene as an MC at the finale of Miss Vietnam beauty contest last year, for her "funny and weird" way of speaking, a Lao Dong newspaper report said citing audiences' complaints.

Do Kim Huong, a member of the audience, told Lao Dong that with her beauty, Pham's presence suited the event.

"But she should have just stood still and smiled. She shouldn't have spoken, as that needed some charm."

Crossing the line

Some emcees have crossed the line in their interactions with the audience and people on stage like participants and game show judges.

Tran Thanh, well known emcee on local stages for the past two years, is favored for his sense of humor and spontaneous jokes, but even his colleagues said his performance at an episode of the Master of Conference game show last September was "too much."

As a judge told two contestants to learn from the experience in case they wanted to come back next time, Thanh turned to the judge and said, "You mean they just lost it this time, what a nice wish."

He teased another judge several times, saying: "You must feel inhibited. I as the host can speak anytime and you can only speak when I invite you to."

As a host, Thanh also gives himself the right to intercede with his own comments even when a judge is speaking.

Singer Nguyen Vu also had the habit of challenging judges when he hosted the Vietnamese version of Dancing with the Stars last season.

When a judge commented on a pair's rumba dance as "emotionless" on the finale night, Vu turned to the audience and asked "Do you think she danced well?" and turned immediately to the judge, saying: "You've become boring these days."

Then he challenged the judge to dance blindfolded as one member of the pair had done. He did this after the judge had criticized the pair's choreography.

Vu also ignored the judge's intention to speak more, saying the time was out and asked the contestants to leave, giving himself the final say, that the pair was "wonderful".

One member of the audience,  Manh Hai, described Vu's performance as "far worse than the weekly granting of "˜good kids' cards for children at nurseries."

Hai told news website VietNamNet that "Vietnam is really having an emcee crisis when it put such an inexperienced person to host an event aired live to millions of TV viewers."

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