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We want to date without having to pretend: Joanne Peh


He may have got the girl, but Qi Yuwu lost his hot streak of Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes awards on Sunday night.

Since he first won in 2004 till last year, the MediaCorp actor has made it to the stage eight times.

Qi's surprise loss this year at the Marina Bay Sands raised the question: Did going public about his relationship with Joanne Peh cost him his ninth popularity award?

Barely a month ago, he told local magazine 8 Days that he was dating Peh, who had, just a few weeks before, announced her break-up with radio deejay Bobby Tonelli, whom she had dated for four years.

While some fans gave the couple their blessings, others wondered if it was a publicity stunt to boost their popularity.

However, Peh, 30, emerged unscathed Sunday - she won her seventh Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award.

When asked by the media about his loss during the post-show reception, Qi was his usual cool self, although he looked a little forlorn. "I don't see why the relationship will affect my chances of winning," he said.

However, he graciously conceded defeat.

"I'm glad others who didn't win last year got a chance," he said.

"Not winning this year gives me extra motivation to improve and do better next time."

Peh, on the other hand, said she was disappointed that her boyfriend failed to make the list.

However, she did not consider it a backlash from going public with her relationship.

"I really don't think that, we just want to be happy together," she said.

"We want to be able to date without having to hide or pretend."

Peh said she was "so tired of pretending".

"I don't want to have to do that with someone I love, that's why we wanted to be so open about it," she said.

When asked if she loved Qi, she said: "Yes, not obvious meh?"

Despite Qi's shock loss, Peh and Qi were open about their romance.

They gave their first interview together as a couple on the red carpet in the evening.

Qi and Peh, who wore a dress with a waist-high slit showing off her entire left leg, were first ribbed by host Vivian Lai, who said seeing them was "like being at a wedding".

When asked about how it felt like to walk the red carpet with his girlfriend, Qi said it was very special.

"It feels different, I've waited to do this for a long time," he said.

Lai's co-host, Dasmond Koh, then asked if Peh had anything to say.

She said in Mandarin: "I'd like to thank all our supporters and everyone who have given us their blessings.

"I will be happy."

Held hands

Throughout the brief interview, Peh, had her hands on Qi's arm, and at the end of the interview, Lai got them to hold hands.

When Peh won her Top 10 Most Popular Female Artiste award, she alluded to her relationship with Qi several times in her acceptance speech.

Peh thanked her supporters again and said her parents and younger brother always had to worry about her.

"But now I think all of you can put your heart at ease," she said in Mandarin.

She also thanked her manager for their "hard work during this period", and thanked MediaCorp.

"It is also because of my company that I found my happiness," she said.

Viewers interviewed by TNP said Peh and Qi going public with their relationship could only be one of the reasons to why Qi crashed out of the Top 10.

Said undergraduate Miss Fitrina Lim, 24, who has followed the Star Awards for the past 13 years: "I bet his fans were shocked by the news of his relationship with Joanne Peh."

When asked why she thought Peh still won, Miss Lim said: "She has a very strong fan base who will stick with her."

She added: "But maybe it could be because of Huang Wenyong's death. He only won the Top 10 award once, and maybe everybody rooted for him this time round."

Admin manager Madam Carol Tham, 57, agreed: "I was quite surprised that he didn't win. Since there are only 10 awards, Huang Wenyong probably got it due to sympathy reasons and that could have ousted Qi Yu Wu out of the Top 10.

"If not, I think Qi Yu Wu would have won."

Star Awards Show 2 winners

Best Actor: Christopher Lee (Show Hand)

Best Actress: Rui En (Unriddle 2)

Best Supporting Actor: Tay Ping Hui (Unriddle 2)

Best Supporting Actress: Lin Meijiao (Game Plan)

Best Variety Show Host: Kym Ng (Jobs Around The World)

Best Info-Ed Programme Host: Belinda Lee (Find Me A Singaporean 3)

Best News Presenter: Zhao Wenbei

Best Current Affairs Presenter: Chun-Ong Guek Lay (Focus), Tung Soo Hua (Money Week)

Best Newcomer: Ian Fang

Best Drama Serial: Pillow Talk

Best Variety Programme: Body SOS

Best Variety Special: Star Awards 2012 Show 1

Best Info-Ed Programme: Find Me A Singaporean 3

BottomSlim Sexiest Legs Award: Ann Kok

Honorary TV Award: Huang Wenyong

Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes:

1. Rui En

2. Yvonne Lim

3. Jeanette Aw

4. Vivian Lai

5. Ann Kok

6. Kym Ng

7. Joanne Peh

8. Belinda Lee

9. Rebecca Lim

10. Quan Yi Fong

Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes:

1. Elvin Ng

2. Chen Hanwei

3. Dasmond Koh

4. Pornsak

5. Dennis Chew

6. Zheng Geping

7. Lee Teng

8. Dai Yangtian

9. Bryan Wong

10. Huang Wenyong

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