I Am A Singer 2 : Super December Singer King Festival Opening

It’s still only November, but in order to get as much as possible out of Super December it kicked off already with the most recent episode of I Am A Singer 2. We’re watching and rooting for our own favorites, all the while sharing our thoughts on what goes on. 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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MC: Jeong Jin Yeong

Anna: An actor instead of a singer this time? I wonder why.

Dahee: I love Jeong Jin Yeong, so I’m not complaining (plus he has lots of MC experience). But I also wonder why they went with an actor this time.

Fabien: Ok, so this episode already start with a source of annoyance. I kind of like Jeong Jin Yeong and I can see his link with music (he’s the main actor in Lee Joon-ik‘s Happy Life which was about a salaryman going back to his old dream to form a band with his friends), but the building up of the surprise last one full minute and is just so ridiculous. And then they go again showing the very same shots of surprised people… And with the amazed faces when the 7-trophy is just hanging from the ceiling?

 

Singers Arrive

Fabien: So for around ten minutes the singers are just commenting about the big posters representing each of them… Very pertinent…

Anna: They’ve really gone overboard with the grand theme tonight. The music sounds as if it was the soundtrack for the part of a game where you get to the castle and everything is very grand and joyful.

Dahee: One thing I really dislike about I Am A Singer is how they blow everything out of proportion to make things more dramatic than they really are. It’s tacky.

Anna: So excited about seeing Guckkasten again! I really hope they come winning out of this, and not just because that’d mean we’ll get to enjoy their music for every remaining episode of this season.

Dahee: Yes, I need to see them every week! Please pull this off, boys! Besides, the show is a lot less funny when they aren’t around. They give it that boost of energy that it so sorely needs.

Fabien: As if they needed to give another proof to what you just said, Dahee, they made me laugh hard when they said it wouldn’t a competition about who sings the better, but more like who will be the last one to catch a cold. Also, if I get it right, now the audience will not solely pick their favorite performance but will have to rank all of them? This could become an important factor for the results.

 

Singer Greetings

Anna: Look at the faces of those women when Park Wan Kyu comes out! And those smiles caused by JK Kim Dong Wook’s deep voice! I really wish they could stop it with this music though. I’m hoping next week will be better in that regard.

Dahee: Yeah, still tacky. I’m enjoying those audience reactions, though. I imagine I would swoon if I heard JK Kim Dong Wook’s voice in person, too. And Jeong Jin Yeong looks so nervous!

 

Seo Moon Tak – “사미인곡”

Anna: She’s been branded the dark horse among the seven. Let’s see what she’s got up her sleeve this week! Aha! So Pyo Geon Soo hasn’t just been arranging songs for her on I Am A Singer, he’s also been acting as her song writer in the past! This song was both before and after my time of listening to her music, so I’m not really familiar with it. Can’t say I enjoy it much though. There’s this show element to it that isn’t working for me, but I imagine if you do like the song this is a very nice performance. Seems like a good pick for this event. And Pyo Geon Soo is even cuter with his guitar than the first time he joined her onstage.

Dahee: Fun! It’s not exactly an original or groundbreaking song, but I think she made the right choice by going for this one. It’s a great way to kick off the episode. And I love how into it she is, and I love that moment when she lies down next to the guitar. I am, however, vastly annoyed by the choice to include the commentary in the middle. Seriously, editors, WHY?

Fabien: That’s interesting, this performance was so “Jaurim-esque”: she is accompanied by a brass band, she puts in a lot of energy and makes a real show out of it. But I was not convinced by the song itself. Of course as I never listened to her albums before this song was pretty unknown to me. But the feeling of that song is just too weak as a rock song. I was expecting a lot more from someone henceforth called “dark horse”.

 

Guckkasten – “매니큐어”

Anna: Sticking close to the original version, but to an audience that isn’t familiar with Guckkasten’s own music it should still sound fantastic and fresh. This isn’t really one of my own favorites though. I would’ve hoped from something more convincing from the first album, but perhaps they’re counting on making it further and so can afford to not bring out their top material right away. The biggest risk I see is that the audience won’t like them as much when they’re not already familiar with the song. Also this is far from as exciting or groundbreaking as just about every previous performance of theirs on the show has been.

Dahee: I love this song! I’m so glad Guckkasten chose to perform this one, although the commentators seem to think that it’s one of their least mainstream songs. I…don’t know what that means. I like that they’re not going over the top, and just playing and singing well without getting overly excited. The lyrics to their songs are always so fascinating.

Fabien: I like that song. Actually I like almost all their songs, and I don’t understand that comment about being the least mainstream. This melody sticks easily in your mind, this is what a mainstream song is supposed to do. They have a quieter approach to this performance, as it’s just a free round, and I think that softer sound they made could help the audience to get into their music. Pretty standard performance for me as I’ve already seen them live, but a very high standard. The worst thing about it comes From the editing that inserts a comment right when the guitar solo starts. You don’t know how many times I was shouting insults in front of my computer when they used to do this in last year’s season.

 

Park Wan Kyu – “비밀”

Anna: Howcome the editors are trying to pitch Park Wan Kyu and The One against each other? There may be some similarities in vocal tricks, but the tone of voice is completely different! But wait!? Is that Tearliner I hear playing in the background while they’re showing Park Wan Kyu’s interview?! It’s almost a bit unfair that Park Wan Kyu can also turn to Boohwal for song material instead of just sticking to his solo efforts, but with an excellent song like this there’s no point in complaining. He looks so happy onstage! It’s like he can’t stop smiling even though it doesn’t suit the emotion of the song. I’m not blown away by this just sitting at home, but I can well imagine a grandiose arrangement like this one sweeping me off my feet had I been in the audience. Aren’t his vocals a bit shaky there towards the end though?

Dahee: Yeah, I don’t get that rivalry, either. It’s stupid. Also, this is totally a Park Wan Kyu song, in that he collaborated with Boohwal for it. The credits go to Boohwal, but Park Wan Kyu sang with them as a solo artist. It’s a Boohwal + Park Wan Kyu song! (Hehe.) Er. Anyway. Oh, my heart! I love and adore this song, and must’ve listened to it a million times by now. I’m not sure I like that he rearranged the piano a bit, and I’m missing Kim Tae Won’s signature guitar sound, but this is great nonetheless. I love that smile on his face, those tears in his eyes, the way his voice chokes with tears near the end, the warmth he is exuding. Apparently Kim Tae Won told him to smile while singing this song, and I think that’s the perfect choice – this song is sad, sure, but in a beautiful and hopeful way, and Park got that across so well. And once again I’m struck by how simply beautiful these lyrics are. And that “Tae-won hyung, I love you!” at the end!! My dream is for him and Guckkasten to end up going against each other in the final week of Super December.

Fabien: I think they’re just comparing them since both of them have been graded to the Super December within their first month. Of course it’s just another trick to build tension. Next week they’ll probably do it with the cookies Guckkasten and So Hyang. I like the song and he’s doing very well, and he also seems just good-willing. Very far from my first impression of him as being narcissistic. Strangely I had the impression that the arrangement didn’t really match with lithe lyrics. Oh yeah, that must be the lack of good electric guitars.

 

The One – “사랑아”

Anna: Not familiar with this song or the drama from which it came and so lack any emotional attachment to it. I can imagine it being very effective for those that did enjoy that drama. It’s quite beautiful and of course The One sings really well, but again I feel like I would’ve had to be there to appreciate it fully.

Dahee: Ugh, this song. I remember hearing this song every time my dad watched that drama, and I remember wanting to strangle something each time. It’s just such a stereotypical drama OST song, y’know? I’m sorry, The One, objectively I can see that this was a very good performance and you sang very well. But subjectively, I just don’t agree with your musical leanings, and I can’t stand the way you sing. It’s nothing personal, it’s just…not to my taste. Y’know?

Fabien: Thank You for confirming that it’s from a drama. I just spent these 5 minutes having some generic cliches of drama coming to my mind. What was killing me is that I was wondering if it was from a drama I’ve watched. Of course it’s normal to get confused as these songs all sound the same. This is SO formulaic! I hate it from the bottom of my heart. And of course the audience seems to love this performance as they may be remembering the “wonderful” moments they witnessed in front of their TV screens. And also: he’s wearing these hipster glasses without…glass. I think him and me will get along quite well for these next weeks.

 

Lee Eun Mi – “날 속였다”

Anna: Yet another song I’m not familiar with — strange how I’m more used to hearing most of these singers sing the songs of others. I’m loving the music box feeling in the beginning. And that carousel seems to fit the song so well. I really like the mood of this performance.

Dahee: I have to apologize again. I’m sorry, Lee Eun Mi, but my mind totally wandered during this performance, and it was only when you dropped the roses that I realized with a start that I had been thinking of completely different things the entire time. From what I caught, it was a pretty performance, if a little cliched (seriously, were those roses necessary?) and kind of dated. You sing well. But for some reason, I am never emotionally moved while watching you.

Fabien: She benefits a lot from coming after The One, I quite enjoy the performance despite the tendency toward cheesyness. I still have a problem with her important attitude when she sings, but the vocals were high profile and the arrangement was interesting with its musicbox style.

 

JK Kim Dong Wook – “옛사랑” (Lee Moon Sae cover)

Anna: Oh yes! I had forgotten how much I love hearing his deep voice! And it seems the singers don’t have to sing their own songs, but any song they’ve recorded previously is ok — this being a Lee Moon Sae song and all. This is really, really nice. Nothing too elaborate with just the piano and those strings providing the majority of the support for JK Kim Dong Wook’s vocals. Not trying at all as hard as most other arrangements tonight, but perhaps because of that so much more pleasing. And when it turns into more of a rock ballad I’m enjoying it even more. Great work from all involved.

Dahee: I’ve missed listening to JK Kim Dong Wook’s melodious voice. His rendition of this Lee Moon Sae song (which has already been covered five million times by five million other singers) seemed rather ordinary until he did that sudden switch into more of a rock feel. It helped to make this performance more interesting, at least (especially since during the beginning I got the sense that the song didn’t really suit his voice), even if it did feel rather out of place and kind of tacked on at the last minute. And why is he the only one singing a cover?

Anna: I made a quick stop on maniadb when this song came up as it surprised me too. Turned out he actually recorded it for some Remake Special compilation back in 2002.

Fabien: Even if I was fond of drama, I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t prefer JK over The One. He has a beautiful and colored voice, has a lot of charisma and makes the ballads more engaging. And as soon as I was getting bored of it, he changed for a rock ballad version that was very welcome. I have big expectations for him in this Super December.

 

So Hyang – “꿈”

Anna: Those clips of her previous performances on the show made me realize how much So Hyang overuses those high notes she can reach. I can’t recall ever having heard any of her own music before, but I can’t say this sample of Pos makes me want to hear any more. It’s very far from my kind of music.

Dahee: Oh, So Hyang. I’m glad she didn’t start screaming until the very end this time, which wins her some points from me. At least she seems to have had fun, even if the song is rather blah. It’s one of her better vocal performances, for sure. And at least it didn’t put me to sleep.

Fabien: Among her own performances this one is more in the upper end. I liked how she started very gently and in the lower notes, and also that a ballad as I was expecting. The very beginning even made me think of Lena Park’s singing. It’s still not a blast for me, but now I can almost see some potential for good performances in the next weeks. Of course after the end of the song all the men are standing up.

 

Personal Picks

Anna: 1) JK Kim Dong Wook, 2) Park Wan Kyu, 3) Lee Eun Mi, 4) The One, 5) Guckkasten, 6) Seo Moon Tak, 7) So Hyang

JK Kim Dong Wook was the obvious number 1 to me this week, being the only performance I enjoyed throughout. Park Wan Kyu gets second in spite of smiling too much since I thought he still did a good job with a great song. Then comes Lee Eun Mi for offering what may have been the most interesting performance, albeit tame in comparison to what we’ve been treated to by others on the show previously. Surprisingly enough the One ends up fourth, but then this might also have been his best performance on I Am A Singer so far. I’m really sorry to put Guckkasten as low as fifth, but by a Guckkasten standard they were actually quite boring. Not a fan of Seo Moon Tak’s performance, but at least she was fun to watch. Unlike So Hyang, that didn’t to the least bit to appeal to me tonight thus got the bottom placement.
Dahee: 1) Park Wan Kyu 2) Guckkasten 3) Seo Moon Tak 4) JK Kim Dong Wook 5) So Hyang 6) The One 7) Lee Eun Mi

Park Wan Kyu is number one in my heart. His performance is the only one that moved me in any way. Guckkasten gets second for playing well and for playing a song I like. Seo Moon Tak gets third because she had fun and I kind of had fun along with her. I wanted to place JK Kim Dong Wook higher, but I was less impressed with his arrangement this time, so in the end he gets fourth. So Hyang and The One are more or less the same in my books, but So Hyang annoyed me less this week, so she gets the upper hand. Lee Eun Mi gets last simply because I have no memory of her performance.
Fabien: 1) JK Kim Dong Wook 2) Park Wan Kyu 3) Guckkasten 4) Lee Eun Mi 5) Seo Moon Tak 6) So Hyang 7) The One

It was good to find back Kim Dong Wook and he still has great vocal skills. It was a close bet with Park Wan Kyu, but as I was a bit nostalgic of the true Boohwal’s sound I have a small reserve with the latter’s interpretation. Guckkasten had a good song and I enjoyed listening to it again despite their lack of energy. Then for me Lee Eun Mi, Seo Moon Tak and So Hyang are in the same batch, they made some interesting performances but they were still a bit off. Let’s just wait for them to really enter the race. And I don’t think I really have to explain about the last guy…

 

The Result

No. 3: JK Kim Dong Wook

Anna: Nice! I thought 6th as it was shown in the pre-results was a bit low, so this seems much more fair.

Dahee: No complaints about this.

Fabien: That’s already one good result.

 

No. 4: Guckkasten

Anna: Fair enough. I’m so glad they didn’t end up in the bottom this week!

Dahee: Aww, I wish they’d gotten a higher ranking, but this isn’t bad.

Fabien: Still a correct position for what they showed.

 

No. 5: Lee Eun Mi

Anna: Really? Now this was a surprise! I thought for sure one of the top two spots would’ve been reserved for her!

Dahee: I, on the other hand, am not surprised at all. The audience rarely appreciates such quiet performances.

Fabien: I always thought that the audience was fond of her. I’m really surprised too!

 

No. 6: Park Wan Kyu

Anna: And this?? Even more surprising than Lee Eun Mi as 5th.

Dahee: The audience is made up of dimwits.

Fabien: Now that’s getting insulting!

 

No. 7: Seo Moon Tak

Anna: Aw, I was hoping we’d get rid of The One or So Hyang instead! She could’ve done more if she’d been allowed to stay

Dahee: No elimination this week, don’t worry! This was only a “practice round.” I’m surprised she placed so low, but I guess going first is what killed her chances.

Anna: Oh, that totally explains the lack of drama from the editors’ side.

Fabien: Don’t worry, we’ll have the full machinery of dramatization next week. But that must have been a cruel return to reality for her after last week’s success.

 

No. 1: The One

Anna: Well, he did do a good job this week. And at least it wasn’t So Hyang.

Dahee: I…just…GAH. What is wrong with these voters???

Fabien: Oh…no…

 

No. 2: So Hyang

Anna: Still, I can’t believe she managed to rank this high. I had forgotten how much the audience loves her…

Dahee: So annoyed. SO ANNOYED.

Fabien: I think we know the program for this Super December. Be ready for a lot of complaints from us.