So, it’s official.

I, Hiro, ninja-in-training have been bitten by the groupie bug.

After the awesome time I had at the Anime Festival Asia 09, I found myself staking out the Atrium of Cathay Cineleisure Orchard on Saturday to meet Sylvia Ratonel, Sezairi Sezali, Tabitha Nauser and Charles “Stitch” Wong.

To the uninitiated, that’s the final four of Singapore Idol 2009.

When the guys over at Tactical Urban Gears first announced that I was going to meet the Idol finalists, I went into panic mode. I mean what if I was knocked off my feet by the overzealous crowd and trampled to death? (Hey, you try being a pint size ninja and not have nightmares about stampeding feet!)

So to prepare for the worst-case scenario, I spent the week skulking around corners of the T-U-G headquarters, ambushing people and biting every available ankle that went by. I also practiced shimmying up long legs, short legs, sexy legs, hairy legs, sweaty legs. The T-U-G crew were not amused but being the good sport that they were, they put up with my idiosyncrasies.

Turns out, however, that my fears were unfounded. The crowd was pretty well mannered and there wasn’t even any jostling let alone stampeding.

Anyway, catching a Singapore Idol road show was quite the experience. The final four engaged the crowd like seasoned pros, educated the audience on AIDS and whetted fans’ appetites with their vocal prowess. I’m blown away by how comfortable they all look on stage that it’s sometimes easy to forget the youngest is only 17!

And what’s a road show without one-on-one pictures, right?

Here’s a picture of me with the lovely, lovely Sylvia.

She’s every bit as sweet in person as she appears on stage. And she is quite the trooper, too, belting out songs even though she had a sore throat. I mustered up the courage to ask her for a kiss, which she obliged.

Well, sort of. I mean, a ninja can dream can’t he?

And here I am with Sezairi.

Let me tell you, he’s one cool cat. He sportingly posed for a picture with me even though I have a katana on hand and could easily slice him open like an eggplant if he makes a false move. When somebody in the crowd asked what I was, he replied in that laidback way of his, “It’s a ninja.” like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Now is he awesome, or is he awesome?

And I was totally smitten by Tabitha.

She won me over with her outgoing personality and her heartwarming ways with her younger fans. She paid special attention to them and made sure that they all got the photos and autographs they were seeking. Sigh. You think she’ll adopt me?

And last, but not least, there’s Stitch, the beatbox man himself.

He’s very sincere and down-to-earth and polite. And that beatboxing talent of his is a quite the crowd pleaser. Hmm … maybe I should ask him to teach me some time. Coupled with a little throwing-your-voice skill, I could distract an enemy and make him look in a different direction while I strike. Sensei would be so proud.

Oh and Stitch also said that I was “so cute”.

Er, in a macho, testosterone sort of way, of course.

It should be interesting to see who will be the last two idols standing come December 27. And since the fates of the contestants literally lie in the hands of the voters, it’s anyone’s game.

So, anyone know where I can score a couple of tickets to the grand finals?