Everything About the Gold 905 Challenge Whereby a Person Was Denied His Prize As He Pronounced a Singer’s Name ‘Wrongly’

By now, you’ll probably have caught wind of the entire Gold 905 saga, whereby a radio listener had been denied a lucrative $10,000 prize on the grounds of mispronouncing a singer’s name.

But when did the complication arise exactly, and what’s the radio station’s final take on the event?

Without further ado, let’s find out.

Everything About the Gold 905 Challenge Whereby a Person Pronounced a Singer’s Name ‘Incorrectly’

Our story begins on 21 April 2020: Mr Muhammad Shalehan, 32, had called in to attempt the Celebrity Name challenge hosted by Mediacorp radio station Gold 905.

The prize, valued at $10,000 in “cash and shopping spree”, was promised to the first caller who succeeds in naming all 14 celebrity voices that contributed to the following phrase:

“Gold 9-0-5, the station that sounds good, and makes you feel good”.

Mr Shalehan, an SMRT train captain, reportedly wanted the grand prize in order to spend on his kids in these trying times. He had called in hundreds of times in a bid to secure his place in the challenge, and eventually got through.

However, his answer of Tony Hadley, Madonna, Maggie Wheeler, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, David Bowie, Belinda Carlisle, Julie Andrews, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Meryl Streep, Michael Buble and Rebecca Lim was judged incorrect.

Deejay Chris Ho revealed that he had gotten 13 correct names, and Mr Shalehan, at the time, thought that he probably got the Stevie Wonder answer wrong.

But that wasn’t quite the case.

On 6 May, a caller by the name of Jerome Tan called in and entered the same 14 names. He ended up winning and clinching the grand $10,000 prize.

What’s Going On?

After the surprising turn of events, Mr Shalehan (as well as listeners) asked Gold 905 for the reason behind his initial rejection. In response, the radio station stated on Facebook:

“The rules of the game require callers to pronounce the celebrities’ names accurately. Mispronounced names therefore cannot be and were not regarded as correct entries. In the case of Shalehan, he mispronounced Tony Hadley.”

Which would be fair enough, had Mr Shalehan stated that he was not informed of the correct pronunciation rule beforehand.

“When I called in, I was told that I had to say the names of the 14 celebrities (who said the phrase) in the right order. I was not told that you had to pronounce the names correctly too.”

He also states that several listeners had noted a mispronunciation in one of Jerome Tan’s answers: Belinda Carlisle’s name had apparently been mispronounced.

Tony Hadley’s Testimony

At the end of the day, it’s the man himself who would surely know how to pronounce his own name best. And so Mr Shalehan went searching online for a contact for Hadley, and was eventually referred to Hadley’s management. He sent an e-mail to Hadley’s manager, detailing what had occurred.

And he actually got a video response from the 59-year-old former lead singer of 1980s band Spandau Ballet himself.

In the 1:06 video clip, Tony Hadley stands in front of the camera and addresses Mr Shalehan’s concerns. He then goes on to state that his name had been pronounced correctly.

“I’ve listened back to the tape, and as far as I’m concerned, you pronounced my name absolutely correctly,” Hadley said.


Hadley added that even though Mr Shalehan had a “slight accent”, the latter did not mispronounce the former’s name and as such, should be entitled to the prize money.

Damn, what a turn of events.

But Gold 905 (Initially) Sticks To Its Decision

In spite of the actual man’s testimony, Gold 905 declined to revoke its initial decision. On Wednesday (20 May), the radio station posted a long explanation on its Facebook page supporting its final decision.

“A fully correct answer includes accurate identification of the celebrities’ names in the correct sequence, and the correct pronunciation of the celebrities’ names in the way the celebrity will pronounce it himself/herself,” the radio station stated.


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“In the case of Mr Shalehan’s entry on 21 April, his pronunciation of ‘Hadley’ did not meet the criteria as stipulated in the rules of the contest. As a result, his entry was judged as not having all the correct answers. This rule was applied consistently across all the entries.”

An audio clip of Hadley, Mr Tan and Mr Shalehan pronouncing the name “Hadley” was also attached to the post.

However, the radio station added that it acknowledges Mr Shalehan’s “commitment and resourcefulness”, and offered him a cash offer of $5,000 as a gesture of goodwill.

Well, that’s not so bad, is it?

Well, It’s Not Quite So Clear-Cut

In spite of a potential $5,000 consolation cash prize, Mr Shalehan has decided to turn down the offer. His reasoning?


He wants an apology, not just a hefty consolation prize that seems to have come out of the radio station’s ‘damage control pocket’.

“More than anything, I want an apology,” he said. “I have morals. I have dignity. It’s a lot of money for me but I’m not going to be the person who gets some money and okay I shut up, case closed. I’m not angry at Mr Jerome Tan (the winner), I’m upset that the station misjudged my answer.”

“If they offered me that $5,000 with an apology and told me that they are sorry that the rules did not apply consistently or fairly and were not well-explained, I would accept it. For such a big company to apologise, it means a lot to listeners.

“We are not fools, we are adults with kids. I did not beg for the prize, I showed evidence that they were wrong and that Tony Hadley backed me up. I’m going to stand my ground.”

What’s true, however, is that the story has been picked up by the likes of international media outlet BBC. And according to Mr Shalehan, it has earned him the support of many overseas readers, which he’s appreciative of.

“I have so many strangers from Singapore and overseas supporting me,” he said. “Even someone from South Africa who read the BBC story commented on social media to support me.”

Well, Mr Shalehan, if there’s one thing for sure;

You might’ve lost the prize, but you’ve certainly won the hearts of the people.


And then…

Gold 905 Gave In

It seems that Gold 905 has conceded in the ongoing saga. Just this morning (22 May 2020), the radio station has posted a Facebook update informing readers that they’re set to award a separate prize of $10,000 cash and shopping spree to Mr Shalehan.

Netizens have also expressed their congratulations for Mr Shalehan in the comments section.

Well, it looks like he has won the hearts of the people and the cash prize after all.

What a man.

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