By Chenelle Fernando
Derana Dream Star Season 8 drew its conclusion on 8 March with its finale that took place at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.
Thanura Madugeeth was crowned winner whilst Raveen Tharuka and Krishadi Ranathunga were the first and second runners up, respectively.
Going back in time, the competition was brought to life at a time frame when the concept of reality television had spread onto television networks worldwide, including that of Sri Lanka.
TV Derana Executive Producer Kelum Darshana shared that the initiation of a competition of this sort created healthy competition between television networks.
“Hence, we decided to start our own reality television programme,” he added. The first ever season premiered in 2008 received great initial response, despite the existence of other reality television programmes by other television networks, with a staggering 60,000 applications from the get-go.
Ever since its first season, it had journeyed a long way and is now a forerunner in the discovery of newfound musical talent.
Contestants comprise mostly young individuals with vibrant personalities, and the competition has made its mark through the provision of a successful platform to showcase their talents.
As Darshana indicated, the contestants are provided with workshops starting from the final 72 all the way through to the finale round. The top 10, however, also receive guidance and voice training workshops conducted by patrons in the industry.
The competition has journeyed eight seasons over a period of 11 years.
Darshana said: “We don’t carry it out annually, but it takes place over a period of eight to ten months.”
Season 8 stood out for the outpouring of talent, where no individual stood second to one another. “The judges found it quite difficult to pick the contestants because their vocals were quite simply out of this world,” incited Darshana. Interestingly, a majority of the contestants happened to be university students who were aware of the subject matter, adding more value to the event.
Apart from the captivating performances by the finalists, performances by past winners as well as competitors continued to add colour to the night.