Indonesian illusionist The Sacred Riana scared her way to win Season 2 of Asia’s Got Talent. The result of the popular reality TV show was announced on Thursday night.
Known for her creepy, ghost-like appearance and dramatic twitchy movements, the magician, whose real name is Marie Antoinette Riana Graharani, beat eight other acts from around Asia in the finals to take home the grand prize of US$100,000 (S$135,000).
The other finalists included Indonesian harpist and singer Angela July, Filipino dance group DM-X Comvalenos and Taiwanese ukulele child prodigy Feng E.
Asia’s Got Talent is the Asian spin-off of Britain’s hugely successful Got Talent reality TV show.
The results of the competition are based on public votes, which means that Riana managed to rally plenty of fan support despite her less mainstream performance style.
After the announcement of her win, The Straits Times could get her reaction only through her manager, as she supposedly stays in character, including being awkward and silent, all the time.
Her manager, Mr Bow Vernon, said: “Riana is very surprised to win. She joined the show because she just wanted to share her performance with other people. I think people loved her because they have never seen any other magician like her.”
When asked if she finds it difficult to remain in character, Mr Vernon laughed and said no. “She is a quiet girl by nature, so it’s easy. She is not the talkative type.”
He declined to give the performer’s age and would only say that The Sacred Riana is more than 100 years old.
At the grand finals telecast on Dec 7, she had performed a trick where she conjured many people to come out from a small box.
Much of the success of her performance came not from the magic trick itself, but the way her mannerisms terrified show judge Anggun. During the finals, Riana made a star tattoo appear on Anggun’s hand and also made the singer scream when she suddenly appeared behind her.
It became a running joke throughout the season that The Sacred Riana would pick on Anggun instead of the show’s other two judges, Jay Park and David Foster.
Mr Vernon said with a chuckle: “If Riana can meet Anggun again and perform for her, she would.”