From 3rd to 2nd to 1st: S'pore teacher is world karaoke champion
He has gone from singing "with" Jessie J to being crowned a world karaoke champion.
But even though it has been a few days since he won the Karaoke World Championships (KWC) 2015 men's title here in Singapore on Sunday (Nov 22), Mr Muhammad Fairus Adam is still pinching himself to convince himself about what happened.
The 32-year-old, who teaches Malay and music at Wellington Primary School, told The New Paper: "I was quite shocked when they announced that I had won as I didn't expect it.
"I came in third at the KWC Singapore Finals and I wasn't supposed to be there as I was sent to the KWC Asian Championships in Bali, where I finished second.
"However, one of the two Singapore winners dropped out and I took his place around two or three weeks before the KWC.
"I'm still in disbelief, really."
PHOTO: ALLURING MEMOIRS PHOTOGRAPHY
First Singaporean champion
The KWC is described on its Facebook page as the world's largest international amateur singing contest and Mr Fairus is the first Singaporean to win it since its inception in 2003.
This year's finals took place from Nov 20 to 22 at the Asian Boutique in Orchard Plaza, where 59 contestants from more than 30 different countries squared off across four rounds to determine a male and female champion.
While he felt under-prepared for the competition, Mr Fairus' fellow contestants helped put him at ease.
"It was intense for me because I didn't think I had enough practice," he said.
"Even though it is a karaoke competition, I prefer not to look at the screen to get a better feel of the song.
"However, I felt very relaxed as the other contestants were friendly and approachable."
Mr Fairus, whose virtual duet with singer Jessie J via a singing app went viral on YouTube in May, signed up to participate in the KWC after watching a friend take part in last year's contest.
During Sunday's finale, the educator sang Michael Bolton's How Am I Supposed to Live Without You to clinch his win, earning him a US$5,000 ($7,041) cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to perform as a guest singer at next year's championships in Canada.
He will also be producing a single early next year with the help of contest organisers KWC Asia and the Asia Pacific Innovation Centre.
Mr Fairus, who usually hits the karaoke lounge with his friends once a month, picked up his love for singing when his parents bought a karaoke system while he was in primary school.
He said: "My parents always sang duets together, so I used to partner my mum and take my dad's place whenever she wanted to sing when he was not home.
"Singing means so much to me – it's a way for me to express myself, to tell a story and for me to let go."