Alexis D'Souza reviews the KroaKING 5 CD!

Roshan - Clynton - Sanam - Phillip - Ashwin - Mark - Christabel - Neha - Ramya - Anoo - Sunshine 


A unique group of singers graced the KroaKING stage this year, a group that has proven to be different, for more than one reason. Firstly, every single participant belonged to the 18-26 age group and so became the youngest assembly of finalists in the history of KroaKING. This led to some unforeseen but heart-warming bonding between participants, which lasts even weeks later, after everyone has returned to their own cities and lives. The best thing, however, that came out of a young bunch like this was a compilation of recordings that sounded newer and fresher than we’ve heard before. Secondly, something you might notice about this CD is that you will at no point mistake one voice for another. This year’s finalists have shown us that there is an individual personality contained within each of their voices. KroaKING has been known to produce some of the most distinct character voices in the past and there is no exception with Season 5. 

She’s just a girl, claims Christabel Menezes, who sings angrily and with one of the most character-laden voices on the compilation. Christabel is an adventurous, confident singer who has experimented with song choice, attempting Aerosmith one day and Justin Timberlake the next, but seems to have really found her own with this particular song.

Vyshnav Balasubramaniam has established himself as the rock ‘n’ roller of season 5; from his sound right down to his look. His track on the CD, a Presley song, simply reiterates this fact. Singing ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, Vyshnav sprinkles the song with hiccups and almost-yodels; trademark Presley tricks, but does not at any point attempt an imitation and hits you right between the eyes with his interpretation. 


We have a rapper in our midst, ladies and gentlemen, and his name is Philip Zuzarte. He wowed the judges at the Goa leg of KroaKING, came to Bangalore and did no less here either. The general response to his track on the CD was surprise, to say the least. After listening to his near-perfect rap, one assumes that his singing must be lacking. But one stands corrected. Philip is one of the few finalists this year who has made himself at home with a genre and nobody wants him to move out any time soon.

Ramya Ns, Chennai winner, delivered a close to flawless vocal at the finals. She was known by all the finalists for her clean, perfectly controlled voice. On her recording of ‘That’s The Way It Is’, Ramya traces the contours of the song superbly while maintaining that sweet, wholesome tone; something that not so many people managed to do in this competition.

Roshan Thomas, AKA Cutie Pie, is electricity personified on stage; quite literally. The level of energy within this one small person totals more than every other finalist put together. Solid and clean, Roshan’s track shows off an impressive range and strong personal style, but this is one firecracker you must watch live.

Give Nisha Idicula a pair of pom-poms, and she’s all set. The normally very perky singer shows a different side of herself in her recording of ‘If I Ain’t Got You’. She tries her hand at a slower, more soulful sound, without attempting to imitate the original and proves her versatility and awareness of her limits and capabilities as a singer. Give yourself a cheer, Nisha!


KroaKING runner-up, Ashwin Thomas, more than breaks even with his recording of a song by The Script. Ashwin has a nice, singer-songwriter tone and his voice fits perfectly in this song. Showing off a very impressive range and an even better falsetto, the Lee Wild Card entry from Bombay is left with a fine recording and a well-deserved 2nd place at the KroaKING finals.

Our online Lee Sing-a-Ling entry, Diana Priyadarshini surprised us all with her innocent sound. When listening to each other’s tracks, one of the finalists upon hearing Diana’s song, said to the others, ‘that’s pure feel, man’. Her recording of ‘Yellow’ makes you stop what you’re doing and listen. It seems that we have found another character voice, one that really stands out. 

Anoo Bhuyan appeared to be the smash-hit of the season, stirring curiosity in every corner. ‘Where did she get that voice from?’ people ask. Nobody knows and nobody’s trying to find out, so long as she keeps on singing. Her soulful, husky voice took on a Stevie Wonder song with ease and in turn, bagged herself not only a huge fan following but also the Radio One Audience Vote for the best finalist at  KroaKING Season 5.

Allow me to introduce to you the first metal singer in the history of the KroaKING finals. Singing ‘Breaking the Law’ in Chennai, Mark Thomas converted judges with the least inclination toward metal music, came to Bangalore and taking on a song that we were sure would be neglected at the KroaKING finals, Mark’s rendition of ‘Helter Skelter’ left quite an impression here too. His recording of ‘Breaking the Law’ has become the favorite track of many a deprived metal fan and of non-believers too.

Hyderabad winner, Neha Jacob provides us with a really nice tune and a calm, mellow tone on her recording of ‘What if God Was One of Us’. No matter what kind of music you like, this is a track that you wouldn’t want to skip past, simply because it is so easy to listen to. But don’t get fooled into thinking that easy listening means easily forgotten. Neha’s song is the kind that will leave you humming it for hours after.

6 foot five inches tall Clynton Fernandes had no problem getting on top of a song that was equally tall. With a no fear attitude, Clynton took on some of the highest notes in the entire compilation, leaving listeners stunned. Even without the towering 6 feet and 5 inches, or the hairography on stage, attempting this song and doing it well is something special all by itself. 

The name says it all. Little Ms. Sunshine Kiara was quite possibly the prettiest thing on that KroaKING stage. Sunshine has attempted Leona Lewis and Lady Gaga in the past and has done it well, but choosing to record ‘Put Your Records On’ gave her an opportunity to show off the warmer side of her voice, which as it turns out, is lovely.

One knows not where to begin with this beautiful boy with a beautiful voice. Sanam Puri from Bombay, winner of KroaKING Season 5, mesmerized men, women, children and possibly even animals, when he sang at the KroaKING finals. He recorded ‘If You’re Not the One’ on the CD in his own living room in Bombay and ended up with evidence of the most skillful voice in the compilation. With, by far, one of the best falsettos and upper ranges we’ve heard in a long time, Sanam is the deserved winner of KroaKING Season 5.

Niharika Parthasarthy, or Nina, as her friends call her, has what one would call a genuinely ‘pretty’ voice and in her recording of ‘Angel’, she shows us just what her voice is capable of. With a beautiful airy tone, and some spectacular dynamics, she has covered an already stunning song in her own way completely. Interpretations are never free of criticism but ‘Angel’ seems to have generated more good reviews than bad.

The final recording on the compilation is brought to us by the KroaKING himself, Carlton Braganza, who sings the Eva Cassidy version of 'Imagine'. Those of us who are familiar with Carlton are familiar with his unbelievably high, operatic voice which never fails to create some impact; be it good, bad, or ugly. This song is the perfect conclusion to a spectacular compilation. Once again, KroaKING has gone out into the depths and come back with a full and fresh catch of talent. This brings us to the end of the KroaKING Season 5 CD, visit and check it out for yourself!



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and let us know what you think!


Lionel says 06-Sep-2010

Very well written Lexi!! Cheers!

jose sebastian says 06-Sep-2010

such a great write up!! missed all the action! hope to witness the next season!! way to go guys.

mark says 01-Sep-2010

beautiful write up!!! great job lex!!

Aish says 01-Sep-2010

I had a super time that night! Very cool article lexi!

Linda says 19-Aug-2010

Very nice CD! nicely written review also