The winners of Season 1 of the talent show, “International Indian Icon,” or “3iii,” were announced Dec. 2 in a glittering ceremony held at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

The winners were crowned in three separate categories: singing, dancing, and playing instruments of their choice.

Grand Master and renowned singer/composer Bappi Lahiri awarded the trophy for the Best Singer to Indian American Sanskriti Akhoury, while Simran Sethi Ankola and Mahima Cielappa were declared the first- and second runners-up, respectively.

Indian American Swarali Karulkar emerged as the winner of the dancing competition, and yesteryear actress and dancer Meenakshi Seshadri handed over the trophy to Karulkar. The first runner-up in the dancing category was Udhayaprakash Ravindran while Revolution Institute of Performing Arts secured the second runner-up position.

Pianist Ananya Goparaju was declared the champion in the play an instrument category. Tabla player Ashish Tare won the first runner-up position while flute/piccolo performer Aneesha Mantripragada was declared the second runner-up.

Online public voting and a panel of judges selected the winners in each category.

While Lahiri played the role of Grand Master in the singing and instruments category, picking the final winner, Seshadri picked the final winner in the dancing category. Other judges included opera singer Gioconda Vessichelli, musical artist Anuradha Palakurthi and Prachi Jaitly.

The show is the brainchild of musician Bappa Lahiri, son of Bappi Lahiri, and Indian American businessman Sharan Walia.

Season 1 of “3iii” included the U.S. and Canada while subsequent seasons will cover other countries with a heavy Indian population, Bappa told India-West in an earlier interview).

Bappa, who is handling the creatives of the show said, Season 2 seeks to cover five European countries. The pit stops for Season 3 include Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In Season 5, the show will return home to India where the best of the best from all the countries will go head to head against the best of India for the ultimate crown.

“3iii” Season 1 was planned, organized and executed by Gee Vision Inc. in association with Zee TV.

“The immense efforts put together by entire 3iii core team, event partners and state partners across the U.S. has paid off.  I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart,” said Walia. “‘3iii 2018’ Season II dates and details will be announced shortly.”

Dance groups from Chicago, Illinois, and other states performed during the half-time to show their support for all the contestants. Some of the performers were Anjali Phadke and Group, Mihika and Group, and Nishika Dubey.

Shalabh Kumar of Republican Hindu Coalition attended the event as the chief guest.

The grand sponsor of the event was Brij Sharma of Power Volt. Other sponsors of the event were Anil Loomba of Home Mortgage Solutions Inc., Kiran Ranga of Nextrow Digital, Adbhut Entertainment Inc., Cloud 9 Infosystems Inc., Amaze Minds, and Radhika’s Kitchen.

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