I Am A Singer 2: Singer of November

The end of November has yet to come, but the people behind I Am A Singer 2 have been eager to finally get started with Super December, so the singer of the month was decided already in the episode broadcast on November 11th. We continue to watch in excitement, hoping that the last spot in the grand finale will be granted to somebody worthwhile. In addition to myself Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle and Fabien of Kimchi Popcorn have contributed their opinions to this post. All performances can be streamed from the official site and if you live in the right country chances are you can watch some of them on YouTube too.


 

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Singers Talk I Am A Singer 2

Anna: Aw, Lee Young Hyun! I can definitely understand that this has been a big deal for her. It must feel so empty for everybody that’s been on the show for more than a couple of months when it’s over all of a sudden.

Dahee: Of the current group she’s been on this show the longest, so I totally get why she’s upset about it ending. I hope the third season will allow some of these singers to return, though.

 

Kim Yeon Woo – “그대여 변치 마오” (Nam Jin cover)

Anna: Finally! An all out trot number on the real I Am A Singer! The song, the vocals, the chorus, even the sparkling outfit! Not digging the funk break though, where we get to see Seo Young Do do a brief bass solo. Not digging it at all. Fortunately it’s back to being a glorious trot number before long. The audience seems to love it too. So good!

Dahee: Well, at least it’s not a ballad. Kim Yeon Woo‘s adorable, but really I feel like I’m watching a trot show. It’s a very standard arrangement – I feel like it was a bit of a miss to enlist a trot composer to help with this. It’s too standard trot, nothing interesting. (And when trot is done well and is interesting, it’s awesome.) Still, like I said, he’s super cute, and he’s having fun, so I guess that’s all that matters.

Fabien: If only for the costume he is wearing, I love it! I did not think I would say that one day, but it’s good to listen to trot. It’s a good relief after all the the usual ballads. It quickly becomes lamps repeatedly and does not really show the voice at its best, but Kim Yeon Woo earns points for the fun of his performance and presence.

 

Sinawe – “내 마음에 주단을 깔고” (Sanullim cover)

Anna: Again we get to see a singer this season covering one of the songs Jaurim did last year, but this being Sinawe and it being a Sanullim song I’m still very curious to hear what’ll come out of it. But no, what is this? Don’t tell me Shin Dae Chul let Shaun get away with one of his horrible synth stories. Sort of hating that digital effect put on Kim Bada’s vocals too. Once it reaches the refrain it sounds a lot better but it only lasts for so long. A most unfortunate arrangement when they knew this it’d be their last shot at making it to Super December. Oh, and there’s Shin Dae Chul with the “미인” riff! There’s so much I’m liking about this performance but an almost equal amount of things I really dislike about it too.

Dahee: Too much synth! I’m disappointed. :( It does get better as it goes along, and I LOVE Shin Dae Chul’s guitar solo. But that slow break was weird (even if some kind of break was indeed very necessary), and I wish there were more of a climax. Also, Kim Bada doesn’t need to have his voice modified! Yeesh.

Fabien: As for me, I overcame the keyboard (yes, it brings nothing to the arrangement), but the real problem is the massacre inflicted on the voice of Kim Bada! Why use this kind of Autotune effect?? I could let it go if at least it was to give another color to the voice. But then, only the chorus is listenable, the rest is a cacophony of sounds. For me it is a severe mistake, and I’m sad to see them fail at the doorstep of the Super December.

 

Lee Young Hyun – “The Water Is Wide” (British folk song)

Anna: A song in English seems a very daring song pick for this evening. Her long white dress makes her look like a fancier version of Saint Lucy in the Nordic Lucia celebrations. She sings well as always, but it’s a bit boring. Not really enjoying the arrangement when it takes a turn in the direction of a hymn with a choir behind her. And I particularly disapprove of the use of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. I can see where she’s getting at and I imagine she does manage to strike a chord with the typical ballad loving I Am A Singer audience in spite of the language, but it is too far removed from anything I can enjoy regardless of how well she executed it.

Dahee: Beautiful! I love the spotlight on her, and her facial expressions as she sings. What a lovely song. I also like that she’s not going overly dramatic with the vocals today, and I’m actually all for the use of the choir. What a warm, comforting performance.

Fabien: Again a very courageous initiative to come up with a non-Korean song in I Am A Singer, a double trouble, since it is more difficult to sing, and also in most cases less popular than Korean songs. The arrangement seems to be a failed attempt to give an epic feeling to the performance, but the addition of the choir gives a result too kitschy for me to take it seriously.

 

Seo Moon Tak – “거위의 꿈” (Carnival cover)

Anna: Excellent song pick! Again Harlequin’s Pyo Geon Soo is responsible for the arrangement and like last time he accompanies her on stage with his guitar. The arrangement is fairly straightforward but really gives room for Seo Moon Tak to show off her vocal skills. She’s really stepped up her game since first joining the show, even if this feels quite safe. A bit boring, but far from bad.

Dahee: This is such an emotional song. I remember watching Lee Juck perform it live, and listening to the crowd sing every single lyric with him as one mass of voices. It was incredible. So I find myself rather unmoved by Seo Moon Tak’s performance. I love the guitar solo, and it’s an okay arrangement overall, but it has its weird moments, and she oversings it throughout. Some subtlety would have been much appreciated – with a song like this, going over the top can actually be a huge misstep.

Fabien: Sorry, this song is unknown to me, like Carnival. But I still find that the interpretation is too safe, it’s sorely lacking in originality (apart from the choice of the song). It is very solid and convincing, but nothing awe-inspiring.

 

Younha – “오직 너뿐인 나를” (Lee Seung Chul cover)

Anna: Ha Hyun Woo calls her to provide his support ahead of the show–how sweet! There’s a soundtrack feeling to the start of it, with Younha pulling out her sweet and delicate vocals. Unfortunately there’s nothing to really wow me about this performance. Once she lets her voice get deeper things get more interesting, but it’s not enough to save the overall impression.

Dahee: Oh, Younha. Again you disappoint me. This was a very standard ballad. Perhaps it’s more the fault of the song, which, well, is a very standard ballad. Regardless, she could have done more with the arrangement, and this performance is neither original nor moving. She can do better than this.

Fabien: I think it is difficult to do more trivial than that. I’m pretty disappointed by what Younha has shown in recent weeks. I have not even listened to this performance to the end, as it was more of a pain for me. She has such potential! She could have made a blast with any other style of song. I do not understand why she’s confined to singing ballads that do not really do justice to the excellent vocals. Allow me to compensate for her route in I Am A Singer with another cover that I was quite impressed with at the time, “Azalea” by Maya that she covered in 2008.

 

Lee Jung – “그대는 모릅니다” (Lee Seung Hwan cover)

Anna: I’m loving that daegeum! The rest of the arrangement seems fairly standard I Am A Singer, but then there’s a small break with more focus on daegeum and sound effects of rain or wind on a field. Lovely! And then the daegeum turns into a sogeum while playing a less prominent role in the arrangement. Lee Jung himself focuses more on singing well and does so successfully, as usual. I like this, but have a feeling I’ve been tricked into doing so.

Dahee: If you’re going to sing a ballad, you should do it like this. Go Lee Jung! I love the use of the daegeum, and he’s so emotional while singing! I got goosebumps at the end when it looked like he was going to cry. Lovely.

Fabien: Ok, another ballad. This is a bit more interesting, as Lee Jung appropriates the song more vocally than the other participants. Adding some Korean instruments always makes the arrangement more interesting, but I’m getting the impression that this is becoming just another easy trick to please the audience.

 

Personal Picks

Anna: 1) Kim Yeon Woo, 2) Seo Moon Tak, 3) Lee Jung, 4) Sinawe, 5) Younha, 6) Lee Young Hyun

Since it’s the last episode before Super December I really want to see Sinawe win, but judging only by today’s performances my love for trot won over my love for rock, placing Kim Yeon Woo firmly at the top. I would’ve loved to place Sinawe second, but seeing as I only enjoyed half of that performance, I’ll have to place both Seo Moon Tak and Lee Jung above. Seo Moon Tak has the upper hand on Lee Jung as I felt her vocals were stronger. For the bottom placements, Lee Young Hyun ends up last since there was so much about it I just wasn’t into, leaving Younha the fifth spot.

 
Dahee: 1) Lee Jung 2) Lee Young Hyun 3) Sinawe 4) Seo Moon Tak 5) Kim Yeon Woo 6) Younha

What a bleh week. You’d think they’d have tried harder, considering it was their last chance to get to Super December. I think Lee Jung’s clearly first, although Lee Young Hyun comes fairly close with her lovely, low-key performance. Sinawe gets third just because of that kickass guitar solo. I wondered for a long time whether I should place Seo Moon Tak or Kim Yeon Woo as fourth, but in the end I decided that Seo’s arrangement was more interesting, even if Kim did sing better. Younha gets last just because she was the most boring.

 
Fabien: 1) Seo Moon Tak 2) Lee Jung 3) Kim Yeon Woo 4) Younha 5) Sinawe 6) Lee Young Hyun

Were they as tired as that, or had they simply no desire to participate in Super December? Such a disgrace for Sinawe to come in such a low rank. Before watching this episode, I was divided between Sinawe, Seo Moon Tak and Younha, has the three of them showed some potential for the big final. But now I would have less regrets seeing Younha and Sinawe leave the show. As for Seo Moon Tak, I just let my heart speaks. Actually, she had the best constancy of quality along these weeks and tried different style, and would therefore deserve to finally make it. I had to struggle to rank the other ones. The true loser are us, we had to endure such a poor episode, while it should have been a destructive and bloody war for the last ticket.

 

The Result

Top 2: Seo Moon Tak, Lee Jung

Anna: When they started sharing the results with Sinawe and Kim Yeon Woo I was so hoping it’d be one of them, alas so was not the case. And when it looked like Lee Young Hyun vs. Seo Moon Tak, my hope for Lee Young Hyun disappeared as well – she might not have been at her best today, but I can’t help but feel she deserves making it to Super December more than everybody else for all the efforts she’s made. I’m not all that surprised by the result though.

Dahee: I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m disappointed nonetheless. I don’t want either Seo Moon Tak or Lee Jung to go to Super December. But I guess since Han Young Ae and Byun Jin Sub have already been eliminated, my being disappointed by the result was inevitable. I do feel bad for Sinawe, though. Please bring them back for season three!

Fabien: I am compassionate towards the public this week, they had a much more difficult choice to do than usual. I’m of course kind of sad to see Sinawe’s and Younha’s route to stop like this, as they leave some bittersweet performances.

 

No. 1: Seo Moon Tak

Anna: Congrats! Although I don’t mind Lee Jung, I feel like Seo Moon Tak has shown more promise in making non-standard performances, and that is something most of the other singers in Super December are missing.

Dahee: Congrats to her, although I don’t really get why she won this week. The results for November overall have been rather infuriating, but I guess she shows more promise than, say, The One or So Hyang

Fabien: That’ll make another singer I’ll root for against The One. I think she has the better profile among today’s singers to stand up during the Super December. And I really, really hope there won’t be any boring episode like this one in the following weeks.