Imagine a roomful of 300 mostly female teenagers all vying to see and meet superstar YouTubers Marcus Butler and Alfie Deyes. Got an idea of what it looks like? Good.
Amplify what you imagined by ten and that was exactly what happened at Branded’s annual Digital Matters event in Suntec City Convention Centre Singapore, who opened their Superfan Friday segment of the conference to Malfie fans for the first time ever in Singapore.
All pumped up to meet Marcus and Alfie (or Malfie) for the first time, I experienced these girls dancing, laughing, screaming and crying all in the space of a few short hours. No wonder fangirling is a bonding experience.
Suave host Dominic Lau kept the girls in line and had them falling head over heels for him by the end of the fan meet with his booming voice and Gung-Ho persona.
But of course, the stars of the show were Malfie, who were subjected to a couple of rounds of “Are you smarter than a YouTuber”, before chatting with the host, taking questions from the floor and meeting and greeting their super fans.
In the “Are you smarter than a YouTuber” segment, a group of fans (phones and selfie sticks at the ready) were invited up on stage to pit their wits against Deyes and Butler in questions such as “What did Marcus name his first car” and “What is Alfie’s Chinese Zodiac sign”. It was a piece of cake for the super fans who were evenly matched against Malfie as the competition came to a draw. All I can say was at least the cheerful YouTubers didn’t lose to their fans, because THAT would have been embarrassing.
Things started to heat up in the conversation between host Dominic Lau and the two boys when it came to the interview segment as the boys shared their experiences on a variety of topics, from serious stuff such as their aims of being YouTubers to nearly accepting dares from fans to eat a packet of fire noodles. It was clear that the boys had a soft spot for their fans, with Alfie submitting easily to their requests to FaceTime his girlfriend Zoe so she could say hi from London, but stopping short at the Fire Noodle challenge.
When Lau asked the boys what their top five places to go would be, one fangirl screamed “My House”, an answer rejected by Butler and Deyes who chose for safer answers such as Southeast Asia and the like. Yet on the other hand, when asked what they would do if today was their last day on this earth, one fangirl’s response was “Marry Zoe”, reflecting an endearing mix of infatuation and adoration which is essentially the makeup of a fangirl. Butler’s answer to the question was especially interesting, as he replied that he would get a bunch of YouTubers together to make the ultimate YouTube boy band video. Now wouldn’t that be fun to watch?
The YouTubers also managed a fair attempt at getting around Singlish and were inadvertently tricked by their fans-as one often is-into saying “Ai Stead Mai?”, which means ‘Will you go out with me’, and tried their hand at the commonly uttered phrase “Walao” (means what the hell) to the delight of their fans.
The boys also took some questions from the floor where enthusiastic fangirls battled to have their questions answered and their voices heard by their favourite YouTubers. Questions asked included when Alfie was going to bring his pug dog Nala to Singapore, a question Marcus predicted, and what their all-time favourite videos on each other’s channels were. (Answer: Marcus loves Alfie’s video where he does nothing but dance while Alfie loves Marcus’ ‘Binman’ video).
But most importantly for these fans was the chance they got to get up close and personal with the boys, which excited them to no end. Marcus and Alfie were effortlessly charming and patient throughout the two-hour long meet and greet session, greeting each fan and saying goodbye to them with huge bear hugs, taking photos and even donning christmas hats, carrying some of the girls and fulfilling fangirl wishes all round the room.
If my calculations are correct, the boys gave 2 hugs to each person, and there were about 300 fans in the room. Simple maths tells us the superstars gave 600 hugs in the space of two hours. If that’s not amazing, i don’t know what is.
Deyes and Butler were effortlessly affable and relatable throughout the entire session of fan interactions. Patient and humble guys next door, it is amazing how many fans one can amass just by being themselves, something that is by no means an easy feat.
Check out our highlight video from the fanmeet!
Photos by Jocelle Koh