One of the nation's most prestigious awards for singers will this year look beyond talent and achievements to how the artists relate to the public, organizers said at a Ho Chi Minh City press conference Tuesday.
This means that behavior that scandalizes the public will push the singer out of reckoning for the Lan Song Xanh (Blue Wave) Awards instituted in 1997 by The Voice of Ho Chi Minh City.
The 15th edition of the annual award will be celebrated this year on December 20 with a three-hour concert, organizers said.
They also said that the new move to ignore singers who irk the public with their behavior aims to win back public trust and confidence in the awards, they said.
For the first time in its history, the Lan Song Xanh Awards, granted to the Top 10 Most Favorite Singers will ignore those who have been voted into this select list, but have "been punished for violating performing art rules" this year.
That pushes three nominees out of the race Dam Vinh Hung, Thu Minh and Cao Thai Son, representatives said at the press conference.
Hung was fined VND5 million (US$250) for kissing a Buddhist monk on the mouth at a charity event last month. Thu Minh was fined VND3.5 million ($175) for wearing revealing costumes in April, and Cao Thai Son was fined VND4.5 million ($225) for lip-syncing during a live performance in July.
Journalist Van Tien, a representative of the organizers, said Hung was the leading candidate for the "Most Favorite Male Singer" category.
"However, he did not meet the award's criteria since he was caught in the kissing scandal and fined for indecent behavior," Tien said.
However, Tien failed to explain clearly details of the criteria adopted by the award's jury, which decides the nominations.
Tien also had a surprise announcement that could stir further controversy.
He said no award will be granted in the "Most Favorite Male Singer" category because the number of public votes for the first-runner up lagged far behind Hung.
The press conference also revealed that said Hung had decided to withdraw from the Lan Song Xanh Awards nominations, a fact confirmed by the singer to VnExpress the online newspaper.
"Actually, I did not violate any performing art rule. The kiss was an unintentional snag and we cannot use it to assess a singer's year-long activities. But the scandal made me think a lot and I finally decided to withdraw," VnExpress quoted Hung as saying.
However, Hung said that he will perform wholeheartedly at the Lan Song Xanh Awards concert.
"I will sing for my audience, not just for awards. They will be impressed, for sure" he said.
Pop singers My Tam and Ho Ngoc Ha will tussle for "Most Favorite Female Singer" award.
Lan Song Xanh Awards also has the "Best Promising Singers" award voted by the local press, the "Most favorite Music Band," "Most favorite Songwriter" and "Best Album of the Year."
The concert on the night of the award ceremony will gather the artists who have won the awards several times in the 15 years.
"The artists will make a perfect review for the award's journey," said songwriter Le Quang.
However, according to many reporters, the fact that just 12,654 votes, including emails, letters and text messages were cast this year, show that Lan Song Xanh is slipped from the lofty perch it once enjoyed.
Whether the dropping of "controversial" singers will win it any public sympathy remains to be seen.
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