David Foster is one of the most illustrious composers of our time. With 16 Grammy Awards, including three for Producer of the Year, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and three Oscar nominations for “Best Original Song,” Foster has earned a reputation as a keen spotter of new talent, playing a key role in the discovery and career launches of Celine Dion, Josh Groban, and Michael Bublé.
So it is fortuitous then that Asia’s Got Talent has secured the talents of Foster for another season. Paired up with Anggun and Jay Park, Foster is tasked in weeding out and selecting the top contestants for the show. In between judging, we caught up with the talented producer to ask him about his expectations for this season of Asia’s Got Talent.
Looking back at the first season of Asia’s Got Talent, what spurred you on to take on the judging duties of the show?
I had a meeting with the people at Sony and they said, “I had to do this!.” I had a little pressure from them but it was gratifying and satisfying because they liked what I did in season one. But the main reason is I love coming to Asia and the concept of finding new talent, I love the chance to mentor and give advice. I also love my fellow judges, we have a great time and that’s reflected on screen because we truly are having a good time.
What were you expectations leading up to that first round of auditions?
I thought I was going to see the new Celine Dion. But the beauty of Asia’s Got Talent is that there were so many acts that inspired me that weren’t in the singing category. We had dancers, magicians, young children, instrumentalists…there were so many people that inspired me. Because of that I knew I had to broaden my expectations and experiences and open myself to not just discovering the next big singer. And that has been rewarding for me to be able to do that.
Were you pleased by the talents that appeared on the first season?
I was very pleased by the talents in the first season. The show sorted out thousands of contestants and we broke it down and found some great choices. Our first and second picks, the winner and runner up have great careers, we changed their lives. And we’re happy we just achieved that goal to give these contestants a platform to expose themselves and perform on the global stage and that’s exactly what happened and I would say mission accomplished.
What are your personal expectations for Season 2?
I would like to have the same outcome of season one but on a grander scale. Let’s hope for season two we can find a couple of acts that win and get to enter that world stage. That’s what the show is about – to allow people to realise their dreams and that’s what we did in season one and we hope to repeat that in season two.
What surprised you the most about Asian talents that went on the show?
The thing about Asian talent is the world has become a really small place. As a kid, I never used to think about places like Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore – they were all just names that meant nothing. But today it’s different because we’re all connected by the internet and social media. It’s truly become a small space and everyone is competing on the same stage and Asia is doing a phenomenal job of just that.
What can you tell us about this season?
I can’t talk specifically about the acts right now but I can tell you that there were some big surprises and some that truly shocked me. One of the contestants actually got hurt and that’s the thing about the show, because you need to expect the unexpected and we certainly got it.
With a new judge in play, what sort of dynamic is Jay Park bringing to the judges table?
If you look at the cross section of the three judges we have three generations siting there. The contestants should feel lucky that there are three generations there to give them a fair assessment and critique. Jay brings a lot of youth and edge to his chair and he’s a great dancer. But he’s also learned a lot about singing and music. Jay’s like a sponge and he’s learned quick and well and I think he’s learned a lot from me, and I’ve learned a lot from him. And Anggun learns a lot from us and vice versa. The people who put the three of us together, I don’t think they realized what a good job they’ve done. I don’t think they predicted that we could gel as well as we have.
Catch David Foster on Asia’s Got Talent every Thursday at 8:30pm on AXN.