In a photo finish of a musical race that had to be played in slow motion to decide the winner, Rinu Razak inched ahead by a hairbreadth to snatch the famed title in the Grand Finale of Amrita TV’s Super Star Junior-3 , held on the evening of September 12.
Rinu returned to Manjeri loaded with the spoils of a well deserved victory which consisted of the coveted prize that she received from Chief Guest Khusboo, whose charm is undimished by age ; a hefty purse of Rs.5 lakhs and a gilt edged certificate which conferred high profile celebrity hood to a talent that had been buried in a small town.
Lekshmi Pradeep, who had booked a sure berth in the finals with a chain of amazing melodies in the previous rounds, missed the crown by a whisker to take the second spot but became richer by the prize money of 3 lakhs in the bargain; Malini,the Lilliputian finalist with the big heart came in third to win a cash prize of Rs 2 lakhs.
The Grand Finale, the final conclusive forum for settling the months long competition consisted of 3 rounds: the Challenging Round in which the competitors had to render pure Carnatic classics; the Performance Round where the emphasis shifted to their ability to perform impressively on stage and the Combined Round in which they sang successive lines of the same song in turn.
Rinu inaugurated the lyrical evening appropriately with ‘Omkara Naathana’ which she sang with breathtaking precision to take an early edge ; Lekshmi drew level with a riveting number in her forte the Performance round, to leave the game even in the final round that facilitated immediate comparisons of classical mastery between the three.
The Jury Panel of Anuradha Sriram, Madhu Balakrishnan and Bijibal who had witnessed the unfolding of these wunderkids through different genres and styles found it difficult to cast their votes.
The competitive rounds were interspersed with foot tapping numbers from Franco; dazzling dancing medleys from Roma and the TV actress Archana, with the judges Madhu Balakrishnan and Anuradha Sriram also pitching in with classical melodies to make the evening engrossing.
When Khusboo who fully sympathized with the Judges dilemma gave away the prizes made warmer by a congratulatory hug to each contestant, it brought the curtains down on a neck to neck competition, in which the better of the two outstanding performers won the day.