While the show will see Anu Malek, Salim Merchant and Sunidhi Chauhan taking the judges' seats again, it will have a fourth judge in singing legend Asha Bhosle. "This year's 'Indian Idol' will leave you shocked with the kind of talent it is going to have," Malek said at the launch of the show here.
He said they were looking for someone who has a unique voice quality. "Our focus this year is the voice quality. The quality of the voice of the singer should not resemble as that of anyone else. It has to be unique, something that is their own," said Malek.
Malek, Chauhan and Merchant have travelled across 21 cities auditioning people and picking up the right talent among thousands of aspirants. While some were from small towns, some belonged to villages where there is no electricity. The judges said their focus remains on finding a soulful and contemporary voice rather than just good looks.
"I don't think we will watch the performances keeping in mind good looks. This time it is only about the voice. The standard of this season is much higher than the previous ones," said Merchant. Chauhan, who recently got hitched to composer Hitesh Sonik, said she was amazed to see that all the aspirants that they got a chance to audition had come fully prepared for it.
"The journey to hunt for the right voice was difficult. But it was interesting to see how all the contestants had come with full preparations for their auditions," said Chauhan. "I am looking forward to helping them (contestants) by sharing my personal experiences and what I have learned so far in my career," she said.
The Sony channel has tried to develop an emotional connect with their tagline: "Sach he toh kehte hain, har idol ke peeche hote hain na jane kitne idol." (So true, there are so many idols behind one idol). The TV commercials show a father leaving a well-paid job to shift to another city with a lower salary so that his daughter can learn music, while a friend financially helps another, without hurting the latter's self-esteem.
Apart from travelling across the country, the channel officials have also conducted video auditions for aspiring singers, who due to some circumstances could not make it to the auditions in person. The show goes on air Friday.