I Am A Singer 나는 가수다 23 October 2011

나는 가수다

This episode was the big performance in Melbourne for the large crowd of 2000. There were some high energy performances and with the singers given the freedom to choose what they would sing, it was an evening of mostly unsurprising, but entertaining performances. And, at the end of the evening, we would sadly see one of the singers get eliminated from the show.

Click behind the jump to see what Anna and I have to say about the show and leave your thoughts and picks in the comments!

All performances can be watched from Bugs Music’s special 나는 가수다 site. Click the tab saying “10월 23일 방송” to find the performances discussed below.

The Singers Travel to Australia

rd: Once in Melbourne, they realize it’s quite chilly in Australia. In Australia, Jang Hyejin takes a little tour around town with Ji Sang Ryul, who is busy encouraging locals and tourists to watch the show. Cho Kyuchan, Lee Byungjin, and Yoon Jongshin walk around town, running into a fan and giving out an autograph. Yoon Minsoo travels to the tallest building in Melbourne with Song Eunee and Kim Shinyoung and Kim flirts with the young building worker. Jaurim and Yoon Dohyun hang out together. Bobby Kim and Kim Taehyun check out an alleyway made famous in Korea by the drama “I’m Sorry, but I Love You”, which is decked out in street art. Bobby flirts with one of the cartoon characters drawn on the wall and then runs into a pair of Buga Kingz fans, singing with them briefly. Insooni is on her way from the UN performance and practices with a pair of headphones on the flight.

rd: We also get a brief glimpse of the venue, with is an outdoor stage, so it will be a bit chilly.

Picking the Order

rd: The night before the show, Yoon Jongshin walks around the hotel and gets the singers to pick their order.

rd: Lee Byungjin picks a ball for Cho Kyuchan and gets first, to his dismay. Cho is, as previously, non-plussed by the pick.

rd: An audience of singers and managers visits as Ji Sungryul picks for Jang Hyejin pulling the second spot, sending the visiting singer and managers scurrying off.

rd: As Insooni hasn’t yet arrived, Park Myungsoo picks for Insooni, getting the third spot, sending the spying managers scurrying again. So far the order is the reverse of how the singers previously ranked.

rd: Jaurim’s up next, getting the nervous Lee Sungyu (who took a bath to focus for this event?) to quickly pick a ball for them before fleeing the room. Kim Yuna opens the ball and reveals a break in the pattern, revealing the fifth slot.

rd: Yoon Minsoo grabs a ball and Song Eunee grabs the ball away, revealing the seventh spot.

rd: Kim Kyungho and Bobby Kim are both waiting for the final balls, KKH picking the first and Bobby picking the second. KKH will perform fourth and Bobby will perform sixth.

Before the Show

rd: Insooni arrives the day of the performance and so does the audience of 2000, mostly ethnic Koreans from all over Australia and even a Malaysian, amongst them.

rd: The managers get their own room and it looks like Kim Shinyoung has joined them for this round.

rd: Past singers also get a room to watch the performances too.

Cho Kyuchan’s “이별이란 없는 거야”

rd: Cho comes out on stage sporting a modest, but classy double breasted suit. A lovely piano opens the performance and Cho joins in the melody without words with orchestra backing. He goes into the verse first, his clear voice ringing the verses clearly, leading to the chorus. I really love this chorus. The band joins in at the end of the chorus, adding some back to the song. As with his previous song, it’s all done with a soft touch, meaning there wasn’t much of a surprise to the arrangement here, but it’s well performed and Cho gives it a little more range, dynamism and depth at the end with some horns and background chorus coming in with his intensified performance. The closes with the repeated ending of “never say goodbye”. A warm and lovely way to open up the show, I think. I do worry that his lack of theatricality might not make him memorable in voters eyes, but I really liked this performance. After the performance, Cho reveals that he’s a little regretful that he didn’t perform it with everything that he had planned.

Anna: The beginning is quite simple, but now his voice sounds a bit more like Cho Kyuchan than it did when he was singing the same song in the last episode. It’s pretty, but not particularly remarkable. As the song proceeds it gets better and better, though I cannot help but think that it’s an unfortunate song to open with. Imagine if this had been the closing song of the evening instead!

Jang Hyejin’s “미소 속에 비친 그대”

rd: Jang comes out in an interesting looking, but fortunately not distracting, red and black outfit. A quick piano and then Jang goes straight into the chorus, with a little of that power hit from before, although taken down from rock levels and then back to the real intro with piano, sax, and guitar. Jang’s voice is a little shaky, but there’s a bit of drama to the arrangement and the song builds well, with band/orchestra hits highlighting the music. Going out from the first full chorus, the music subsides just a bit. Now, so far, I still feel like the arrangement and performance is a touch unbalanced, the music being a little unwieldy for the actual song. A chorus joins in the second bridge as Jang builds well to the second chorus and I feel like her performance smooths out now. The music drops out briefly before Jang goes back in with piano accompaniment, although it felt a little off meter for a bit, but Jang closes out with a powerful burst. Overall, even though I like the original ballad, I felt like this performance and arrangement was a bit uneven. It was pretty good in the second half when it smoothed out and I think the dramatics of the song will probably play the audience well, but I’ve seen better from Jang.

Anna: It sounds pretty much the same as it did during the last episode and doesn’t really offer any surprises. However unlike last time it does manage to keep my attention throughout, so it’s not too bad. I like it.

Insooni’s “봄여른가을겨울”

rd: Insooni hasn’t really had any time to rest or really prepare, but she still comes out looking like a boss, with sunglasses, a cool metal accessory chest brace and a megaphone in hand. She opens with a bit from the Korean national anthem, first direct on the mic and then filtered through the megaphone. A bit nationalistic, but she twists the ending up as the band joins in, adding a edged funk-rock vibe behind the music and she performs with the megaphone through the verse, switching with and without the megaphone during the chorus. Then she drops the megaphone for the second chorus, with the rock backing continuing on. I have to admit that this arrangement isn’t quite working for me, although it certainly is different as it’s a bit muddy and Insooni’s performance, powerful and energetic as it is, also doesn’t have the kind of focus that she’s able to find when at her best. Still, she entertains well with more dance moves than perhaps any past singer. The music cools down after the second chorus, giving Insooni a little more singing time accompanied by just a piano. She takes off her sunglasses and the music begins to build again, a chorus backing her as Insooni’s intensity increases to the final shout. Even though I wasn’t really fond of the arrangement, Insooni still delivered a strong performance and it certainly got the audience on its feet and chanting for her.

Anna: I get excited as soon as I see the megaphone, “DJ Koo Design”! I still don’t like the song and the way she’s singing now doesn’t really appeal to me either. It was all very well done, but not for me to enjoy. Unfortunately after such a strong performance it is easy to forget the previous two songs.

Kim Kyungho’s “암연”

rd: Kim seems pretty nervous before the performance and steps onto stage wearing is theatrical high collar shirt with loose tie, vest and long jacket. A mournful piano and cello start the song as the orchestra joins in before Kim sings the soft opening verse to the song. There’s some interesting choices with the arrangement, like a couple angular notes, that I like. As the song goes into the chorus, Kim performs the ballad excellently with some of his strong metal vocals powering it well. And then back to softness for the second voice and fading out at its end. And then a waltz takes over the arrangement before the drum comes in and the music becomes more dramatic and Kim spins and headbangs as the rock guitar solo comes in with Kim’s voice flying with the repeat chorus. I have to admit, I’m captivated here. And then back to softness for a return to the verse, building up again back into the rock. Very dramatic, dynamic and emotive. Good job singer Kim! Sure, it’s right down his alley, but that’s an alley I like.

Anna: He is always looking nervous, and with the slow pace in the beginning it doesn’t fade off until he gets to put some more power into the song. It is a very typical Kim Kyungho arrangement, except for that waltz part that I can’t help but question a bit. It’s very good, but I wonder if it’s memorable enough for the audience.

Jaurim’s “…라구요”

rd: Kim Yuna’s brilliant smile is joined by a cool red rocker chic jacket, with earth tone skirt and boots to go with it. Kim leads off the song with her distinct take on the vocals, giving it a very earthy, almost country or gospel feel, with a piano behind her. The song itself is instantly quite potent and Kim draws out the emotion quite well with the bends in her voice. Lee Sungyu joins in after the intro, then the rest of the band, giving it an anthemic rock vibe and Kim doesn’t waste time going straight into the chorus with her immense power. A chorus jumps in with the orchestra with the title part of the song giving it an even stronger earthy backing. Oh and then there’s a rock instrumental bridge and Kim incites the audience to clap for another building verse and Kim turns the mic to the audience, letting them finish the verse. As she goes back into the bridge I feel chills flying up my spine. As the chorus reaches its height, Kim and the band lets the song drop out just a little to build expectation before closing out with a powerful title blast and a gospel choir backed vocal ad-lib. This performance lived up to my expectations for the band. And even then it’s not over as Kim Yuna comes back for a quite verse, capturing the audience again for a beautiful finish. It’s quite a sentimental song about parents and I admit, my own eyes and throat were a touch swollen by this one. I love you, Jaurim!

Anna: It sounds strong and good. It feels like a pretty straight forward cover, but that could be one reason why it’s working so well even though the drums and guitar don’t sound as much like Jaurim. A very good effort nonetheless.

Bobby Kim’s “사랑 사랑 사랑”

rd: Bobby strolls onto the stage in a naval jacket and white pants, with his usual pre-performance facial tics still intact. Already a touch different, the arrangement opens up with the drums, getting the audience clapping and Bobby dances as well before going into the verse with the piano. It’s sung Bobby style and then drops out, before Bobby calls out the energy, with a horns section punching the music as Bobby gives the song gives it his particular flavor and the chorus gets quite a nice funky groove to it, before Bobby throws the mic out to the backing vocalists and crowd to repeat the chorus line as he dances away before going back into the chorus. But, his mic dies mid-performance! Bobby keeps going on although it’s only the backing vocals that can clearly be heard. The other singers are surprised and alarmed too. The performance stops as Bobby realizes that it’s not being fixed–another mic is brought on stage and the audience cheers him on to sing again. And Bobby gets a chance to perform the song again. The energy is already up from the performance before, giving the second turn quite a more natural, looser feeling. He doesn’t lose any steps on the second performance, catching up to his call and response. This is a catchy, dynamic, energetic and energetic performance. Bobby just made 2000 people very happy and got his name chanted, a trait only shared with Insooni this round. I have to admit that he got me bouncing around in my chair as I watched too.

Anna: I still don’t like the arrangement but Bobby Kim knows well how to entertain. Even Insooni is dancing along in her room!

Yoon Minsoo’s “아리랑”

rd: Yoon Minsoo comes out wearing a cool white printed jacket, shirt and tie. The music opens with an interesting pentatonic piano as a haegeum and gayageum join in. Yep, Korean traditional instruments for a Korean traditional song. A chorus chants out a piece of the song. It’s an interesting arrangement so far. Yoon then starts singing in his usual sensitive style with an altered melody. A band joins in as Yoon spills out the continuing part of the song, sounding just like himself. I’m not sure it’s quite right for the song, the high drama explosion he presents. He then goes back into a standard melodic arrangement, making it easy for everyone to sing along. And then there’s a key change and the song gets pretty typical. At the end, Yoon goes back into his unique quiet arrangement to close out. I do like what he tried with the arrangement, but I think that he failed to be subtle with his performance when he should have been and his explosive style was a bit over the top in this case. Also, the more traditional arrangement he approaches in the second half was a bit forgettable. I think this is Yoon’s most interesting arrangement to date, but it didn’t quite come together as I’d hoped it could have.

Anna: This sounds better than I had expected, and I quite like the use of the traditional instruments. The camera focusing on various audience members with tears running down their cheeks make it seem like Yoon Minsoo did hit that sentimental streak I assume the song was.

Personal Picks

rd: 1) Bobby Kim, 2) Jaurim, 3) Kim Kyungho, 4) Cho Kyuchan, 5) Insooni, 6) Jang Hyejin, 7) Yoon Minsoo
All right, in pure, all-out entertainment factor, Bobby Kim won me over, despite my strong disposition towards Jaurim, who easily takes the second spot. Kim Kyungho also had a really strong performance this time around although not quite at the level of Bobby and Jaurim for me. I was actually worried about Cho Kyuchan’s opening song, but it turns out I liked it in the middle of the pack because I didn’t really find any faults with it. The bottom three were harder to choose between. I felt that Insooni’s song was too chaotic for me, despite its high energy, reminding me of when Jaurim would try to overcharge their songs, although I didn’t find a lot of fault with the performance and Insooni’s charisma kept it intact. Jang’s arrangement and performance, I felt was a bit uneven and unwieldy and she didn’t really capture it well until the second half, likewise, Yoon’s arrangement was interesting, but he really only seems to have a single way of singing and I thought it was too much for the song. He gets ranked last for me because while Jang at least kept it interesting throughout her arrangement, Yoon’s traditional middle for “아리랑” just felt stale.

Anna: 1) Jaurim, 2) Cho Kyuchan, 3) Kim Kyungho, 4) Jang Hyejin, 5) Bobby Kim, 6) Insooni, 7) Yoon Minsoo
My own picks aside, I’m convinced the rankings will be reversed so that my bottom three will actually turn out to be the top three. I would’ve put Bobby Kim and Insooni in the top myself if it wasn’t because I couldn’t appreciate the styles. I would like to put Cho Kyuchan in top, but Jaurim did do somewhat better even though they were back to their cover album routine of following the original song rather than making it truly their own. I’m a sucker for Kim Kyungho rock ballads and even with the weird interlude the overall impression of his song was all good. As usual Ienjoyed seeing Jang Hyejin on stage, but not as much as the performances I put in top 3.

The Results

1st Place (with 25% of the vote!)
Insooni
rd: It’s been a little while for Insooni and although I found myself not a fan of her song and arrangement, I think her charismatic delivery is perhaps what captured the audience. Insooni notes that she can’t get eliminated because Park Myungsoo said that if she did, he would not return to Korea, so for the sake of his wife and child, she won’t get eliminated.
Anna: Not the least bit surprising after seeing the overwhelming response from the audience.

2nd Place (with 20% of the vote!)
Bobby Kim
rd: Despite his mic problems, Bobby Kim still turned out an exciting performance. Bobby Kim apologizes because he thinks he earned sympathy points for his mic problems, especially since he performed near the end of the show. But I clearly thought it was a great, engaging performance.
Anna: It was expected that Bobby Kim’s very well received performance would also give him a lot of votes. Regardless of mic problems it’s well deserved.

3rd Place
Kim Kyungho
rd: Kim Kyungho thought at best he’d be third–it appears he was at his best because he got third. But I really liked his performance this round too, so I think it’s a good placing for him and not just I put him there; he was clearly one of the stronger performers this round.
Anna: He did do well, and I think sticking to his style when meeting an expatriate Korean audience was a good choice.

4th Place
Jaurim
rd: Jaurim will survive another round. Kim Yuna notes that her monitor wasn’t working so she couldn’t hear how she was doing. Still, I thought Jaurim presented a fantastic performance and while I think they deserved a higher vote, this is probably the lowest they could have gotten for their fantastic performance.
Anna: You’re right it was a fantastic performance, but seeing the audience’s top three it doesn’t seem all that unfair for them to end up at this position.

5th Place
Cho Kyuchan
rd: I’m thankful that he’s not last as I thought he too had a strong performance. The soft-spoken Cho is very humble, showing gratitude for the audience that received his song and voted him higher than the previous round.
Anna: I’m glad the audience enjoyed it too. But as thankful as I am, this means that unless Jang Hyejin places last he’s still at high risk to leave.

6th Place
Jang Hyejin
rd: This is a tough spot for Jang, but it also wasn’t her strongest arrangement.
Anna: This likely means she may be able to stay another round. As much as I’ve liked her in the past I would rather see her go than newcomer Cho.

7th Place
Yoon Minsoo
rd: I think the audience wasn’t so caught up in the nationalistic nostalgia that they could see that the song flagged a bit in the latter half and was perhaps over the top in the first. I’m hoping this might finally get Yoon to really try something new on the show, although it isn’t the first time he was seventh.
Anna: Contrary to what I had thought the audience put him last! I’m surprised but mostly happy that I had underestimated it.

Elimination

rd: It’s either going to be Jang Hyejin or Cho Kyuchan that gets cut this round as they both averaged the sixth place, although with the uneven voting and the different numbers in the second round, it might be a little hard to predict. If Jang survives, she only needs to make it through another round to graduate from the show, which would be a pretty impressive feat for her, considering all the limits she’s had so far. Cho has had far too little time on the show to really demonstrate much, so it would be a loss to see him go as well, especially since he has such a lovely, tempered style and I want to see what he can do when pushed with songs by lottery. Personally, I’d prefer that both stay and Yoon Minsoo get eliminated, but he somehow seems to capture the audience with a puzzling amount of frequency, even if inconsistently, which gives him reprieve this round. However, if I had to choose between the two, I would probably choose Cho to stay, because we just haven’t seen enough of him, sad as it would to see the fighter, Jang, leave.

rd: The PD notes that the number of votes separating sixth and seventh was merely 1%.

Eliminated
Cho Kyuchan

rd: It’s really sad to see Cho get eliminated because he never got to have a proper round of the show. I thought he did quite well during these two rounds and didn’t deserve to be ranked so low. Despite being eliminated, Cho remains quite composed, seeing that he’ll continue performing and releasing albums and sharing his music with others. He hopes that people will check out his music after this.

Anna: Indeed it is really sad to see him go. I would’ve loved to see more of him on the show and think that he could’ve done really well when faced with the challenge of a song picked by somebody else. In his first episode we saw Raspberry Field’s Soy, his sister-in-law, drop by backstage and I’d been hoping for more of that kind.

Next Time

rd: Next episode isn’t a regular round of “I Am a Singer”. Rather, we’ll be witnessing the Australian performances from the “I Am a Singer” All Stars. Featuring the three longest lived veterans of the show, along with a number of other strong performers, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun and they did decide to get ranked this time too, so if that does happen, it’ll be interesting to see the results. Until then, take care, NaGaSoo fans!

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