Historic win for Leganes

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Allardyce to 
look at form first

England manager Sam Allardyce (left) watching the Chelsea-West Ham match with assistant manager Sammy Lee.
“He would love to come — because he’s already told me!” - Allardyce on Jermain Defoe (above), who wants to return to the England fold
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One Fm food fight

What makes ONE FM DJs go 'mmm'? They slug it out with their favourite culinary discoveries of the week

Buah Keluak Ice Cream
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Fast Track to Stardom

After a plodding start to his career here, S'porean Harris Baba is enjoying a change of fortune across the Causeway

HONOUR: Harris is nominated for Best New Artiste (Male) and Best Collaboration (Song) at Anugerah Planet Muzik, which will be held in Singapore on Sept 30.

He got his start on the first season of Channel 5 reality TV singing competition The Final 1 in 2013.

Local singer Harris Baba instantly gained a female following, thanks to his Zayn Malik-esque good looks and smooth R&B vocals.

The Top 40 finalist, who was doing national service then, had hoped the show would be a springboard for him to crack the local entertainment industry, but it was not to be.

Harris, 25, who is of Pakistani, Kashmiri-Iranian and Chinese descent, told M over the phone from Sabah, Malaysia: "I knew I could get acting roles on Channel 5 because my English is good, but they were always sceptical as I was a new guy...

"I got called up for Suria castings, but my Malay was really bad so I didn't get any roles at all. In Singapore, they were not willing to groom new talent."

Although he did get small roles on Channel 5 and performed at gigs and charity events for a year, they were "nothing memorable".

HONOUR: Harris is nominated for Best New Artiste (Male) and Best Collaboration (Song) at Anugerah Planet Muzik, which will be held in Singapore on Sept 30.

So it might be Singapore's loss and Malaysia's gain as he is now making waves across the Causeway and is even nominated at next month's Anugerah Planet Muzik, considered the Grammys of the Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia music industries.

Things looked up for Harris in late 2014, when he started getting calls from directors, music producers and composers to go to Kuala Lumpur.

Without a manager, Harris negotiated his own deals for performances.

"Even payment-wise, it was so much better there. Even though it was in ringgit, when converted, the money was still better," he said.

"It was amazing because my first magazine shoot for InTrend Magazine was for the top 50 guys of 2015 and I was No. 39 even though I had just stepped into Malaysia. (Malaysia-based local actor) Aaron Aziz was 46, so I was so proud of it.

"I've been offered so many opportunities there that I couldn't even dream of in Singapore. But it was sad... while I was making it in Malaysia, I was forgotten in my own country," he said.


Harris began shuttling between both countries for six months and finally moved to KL last year.

He scored a lead role in the telemovie Cinta Viral opposite Malaysia actress Elfira Loy, then had a second telemovie, Alien Planet Cinta.

"My name started being thrown around a lot in the acting industry, but that was exactly when I decided I wanted to go back to music," he said.

Harris signed with Malaysian record label Faithful Music and released his debut single Katakan in March. It was used as the theme song for popular Malaysian drama series Cinta 11 Syarat and garnered him Best New Artiste (Male) and Best Collaboration (Song) nominations at Anugerah Planet Muzik, which will be held in Singapore on Sept 30.

Harris said: "I did not expect to get nominated this year because I have only one single and it was released just five months ago.

"I remember thinking to myself that if I were to get nominated, it would be a dream come true. And it happened."

He added: "Winning will be a bonus, but it is an honour enough to be considered among all these artists from (around the region)."

Harris is filming his first drama series, Isteri Tuan Ihsan, starring Aaron Aziz and Amyra Rosli, and his second single is slated for a November release to coincide with the show's premiere.

Three months ago, he married Sabah native Nik Naziha (above), 21, whom he met in Singapore in 2013. His female fans were thrown into a flurry as he had not made their relationship public before the wedding.

He said: "Everyone has been asking me why I kept it a secret. It is actually not. I just wanted to protect my wife because you know how people on the Internet can get.

"I didn't need to read negative comments about her. She is a simple and low-profile person, so I didn't want her to be overwhelmed and hurt by criticism."

Some think that getting hitched at the peak of his career might scream career suicide for a heart-throb, but Harris disagreed, and said: "I never expected to get married at 25, but I guess this is my fate. My wife knew me before this newfound fame. She saw my journey, through my struggles back home to making it here."

Forget Terry, go with Stones

Big Sam must forget Chelsea's pensioner Terry and go with City's Stones

PAST AND FUTURE: Chelsea's John Terry (above) and Manchester City's John Stones represent two generations of England's backline.
PAST AND FUTURE: Chelsea's John Terry and Manchester City's John Stones (above) represent two generations of England's backline.

Sam Allardyce already suffers from comparisons to Fred Flintstone.

He's considered a bit of a relic, an England manager who doesn't drive himself to the office, but pushes his feet through the car and pounds the pavement.

And if he's seriously entertaining the prospect of recalling John Terry, then he might as well bring back Barney Rubble.

Terry's time has passed. The Three Lions' future belongs to John Stones.

Manchester City's John Stones. PHOTOS: REUTERS

But Allardyce's willingness to speak to the 35-year-old Chelsea captain hints at the kind of parochialism that sceptics feared when the manager took over a month ago.

Anyone vaguely familiar with the machinations of the media know exactly what happened in Allardyce's press conference, as the coach fell for an obvious, leading question about Terry.

Not much is happening at the moment. Midweek League Cup games generate little interest and the transfer window doesn't close for another week, so there's a shortage of splashy news.

But England are short of fit centre backs. Terry is not only a centre back, but comes with more baggage than a Samsonite sale.

So Allardyce was asked to comment on a possible Terry return, a scenario entirely manufactured by a journalist with a back page to fill.

Obviously, the manager was expected to reject the daft notion, which would've still allowed a headline along the lines of, "Allardyce denies Terry interest" and provided a manufactured talking point.

But Allardyce, perhaps in his eagerness not to offend anybody in his new job, took the bait.

He expressed a mild interest in Terry. He put diplomacy ahead of decisiveness, a rookie's mistake for such a seasoned pro.

There can be no way back for Terry. The prospect of the polarising defender pulling on an England jersey again is utterly inconceivable.

He's 36 in December and hasn't featured for the national side since September 2012.

After a stellar season in 2014-2015, his form was so erratic in the subsequent campaign, he was lucky to get a new one-year contract.


More importantly, Terry's retirement came about after he was found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, which immediately ended the friendship and international playing partnership with Anton's older brother Rio.

It was a grubby, some might say "fitting", end to an England career already tarnished by an alleged affair that somehow culminated with Fabio Capello's resignation.

Terry's talent has long been compromised by his toxic presence in the England dressing room.  To the casual observer, he came to represent all that was supposedly wrong with the indulged, unapologetic modern footballer.

Allardyce's first objective after England's Euro 2016 farce is to repair a shattered camp. Terry's return cannot do that.

He will instead open a can of rancid worms, providing limitless ammunition for the haters and proving that Allardyce is a man for all seasons past.

Only Stones is a step in the right direction.

After falling for the Terry nonsense, Allardyce at least signalled a new, enlightened era with his admiration for the 22-year-old centre back.

Stones comes with no skeletons in the closet, just a ball at his feet and a willingness to learn how to defend like a young John Terry. He already carries himself like a young Rio Ferdinand.

If the Manchester City man can add a little punch to that effortless passing, Stones should become England's defensive bedrock.


The clay remains a tad soft, but there's plenty to work with.

The sculpting begins on Sept 4 against Slovakia.

But then, it's already started, the relationship with master and apprentice forged a few weeks ago. City's gain is also England's gain.

Pep Guardiola gets to mould another defensive model.

The City manager's attention to detail begins at the back and his success in turning promising centre backs into European titans cannot be underestimated.

He took a chance on a youngster in English football, one with a reputation for dribbling rather than defending and turned him into a leading practitioner around the penalty box. And Gerard Pique went from Manchester United to Champions League winner.

In the short term, Stones needs to go from Everton hopeful to City and England regular.

His elevation allows Allardyce to start afresh and close the book on Three Lions' failures.

Nothing can be gained from resurrecting a divisive character from the distant past.

If Allardyce wants to shake off the dinosaur tag, he must resist the temptation to bring back another.

This dragon can cook rendang!

Imagine Dragons' drummer Daniel Platzman is looking forward to returning to Singapore to perform

THE BAND: Imagine Dragons (from left, Ben McKee, Dan Reynolds, Daniel Platzman and Wayne Sermon ) will perform at the Singapore GP next month.
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Blaze Of Glory for Britney Spears

Britney Spears' ninth studio album could signal another successful comeback


I've always been a Britney Spears sceptic.

When the former Mouseketeer first pranced around in her sexy schoolgirl outfit for her Baby One More Time music video in 1998, I rolled my eyes and dismissed her as another flash-in-the-pan pop tart.

Turns out I was wrong, because Spears went on to become a pop princess and survive 18 more years in the music industry.

Her ninth studio album, Glory, which will be released this Friday on iTunes and in digital music stores, is billed as a comeback for the 34-year-old US singer.

In truth, it's just the latest in a series of comebacks for Spears, who has been through many ups and downs in her career.

While her 1999 debut album Baby One More Time racked up 30 million global sales, her last record, 2013's Britney Jean, was her least successful, selling 700,000 copies worldwide.

In a fickle world where most artists have the shelf life of a packet of keropok, she alternates between staying fresh and reinventing herself, and risking getting stale with the same old shopworn ideas.

So is the 2016 Britney Spears growing Stronger, or suffering from a case of Oops!... I Did It Again?


Over the years, Spears has favoured full-on sexy costumes a la her I'm A Slave 4 U era that leave little to the imagination.

She often looks like she is posing for a 90s issue of Playboy, and the black-and-white lace lingerie-inspired outfits in the MV for new single Make Me... are no exception.

Would it kill her to be more fashion-forward and ooze sex appeal in a classier way? Seems like Spears is stuck in a fashion time warp... and a serious rut.



Catchy dance anthems like Womanizer and Toxic have always been a staple for Spears.

But her attempt to stay current with Pretty Girls, last year's pop-rap collaboration with Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea, was a flop.

LATEST: Britney Spears in her video for Make Me... her single from her ninth album Glory.

She might have more luck with her latest offerings though. Make Me... and Do You Wanna Come Over? combine that classic sultry Spears vibe with slick dance beats. It's familiar to fans, yet has a fresh electronica sound courtesy of songwriters Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels, who also worked on Justin Bieber's Sorry.

During an interview with On Air With Ryan Seacrest this month, Spears said of the 12-track Glory: "It's cool, it's really different. I think this is probably the most hip-hop album (I've done).

"There are like two or three songs that go in the direction of more urban that I've wanted to do for a long time now...

"It's a really good record, and I'm very, very proud of it."

She added: "It's kind of like my baby and I took it very seriously."



In her heyday, Spears could really command the stage.

Her last performance of Gimme More at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 2007 was shot down for being dull, but she'll have another chance to wow audiences at this year's show with Make Me...

Her return to the VMAs stage is one of the highly-anticipated highlights of the annual ceremony, which will air over MTV Asia (StarHub TV Ch 533/SingTel TV Ch 350) on Aug 29 at 8am.

Having helmed her Las Vegas residency show Britney: Piece Of Me since 2013, Spears has had lots of practice honing her dance moves and stage presence.

No wonder she received rave reviews for her electrifying performance at the Billboard Music Awards in May, where she shimmied to hits like Work B**** and I Love Rock 'n' Roll.

There's nothing particularly fresh about her moves, but she dances like a woman recharged and raring to go.



Poor Spears has not had much luck with men.

She has been married twice, to childhood friend Jason Alexander and to former backup dancer Kevin Federline, with whom she has two sons, Sean Preston, 10, and Jayden James, nine.




A photo posted by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on


She dated TV producer Charlie Ebersol for eight months before splitting up last year and she broke her engagement with former agent Jason Trawick in 2013.

Still, she called herself a "hopeless romantic" during an interview with Australian radio show Rove and Sam on Hit 104.1 earlier this month.

She said: "I've been through horrible relationships, but unfortunately, I still believe in love and I think you should protect your heart and stuff like that."

Looks like her quest for love is set to continue... for now.


Spears has managed to retain her retro 90s appeal while pulling some new tricks out of the bag. She is clearly chasing Glory with her latest album and with a long-overdue style overhaul and hopefully a great new man in her life, she could soon be having it all.

Tags: Music, pop and album

UpHill task

Jonah Hill, best known for supporting roles, looks doomed to be the eternal sidekick

BROS: Jonah Hill and in a still from War Dogs (above).
BROS: Jonah Hill (left, with Miles Teller) and in a still from War Dogs.
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Movie Poster: Imperium

If a picture says a thousand words, what does the movie poster for Imperium say?

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