Hello, refresh_daemon here for your next recap and review of “I Am a Singer”. This week I am again joined by our esteemed commentators, The Korean of Ask a Korean! and widhi. After several weeks of special episodes with special themes or events, this week returns to the regular format of the show, with the singers selecting a song of their choice to perform for the audience of five hundred. In addition, since we saw Cho Kyuchan eliminated last round, we have a new singer joining this round.
Click behind the jump to see what we 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 “11월 6일 방송” to find the performances discussed below.
The Singers Arrive
Some of the singers reflect on their experience in Australia as they head to the MBC Studio. Amusingly, Kim Kyungho notes that the letters MBC now inspire fear in him. Jang Hyejin in particular notes that she can’t believe that it’s now her seventh round and feels that honorary graduation is a kind of ambition or greed for her, but she’s going to try to provide the best performances she can this round.
The New Singer
The new singer is revealed to be Gummy, who, from a little Googling, is a YG Entertainment R&B/pop ballad singer that debuted back in 2003. She speaks a bit about her background, where she grew up, that she wanted to play piano at first, how she was concerned about her singing and so forth.
Kim Shinyoung, who was previously managing Jo Kwanwoo and Jungyup before that, shows up at Gummy’s door as her new manager.
tk: I thought the show’s choice of Gummy was a very solid pick. Jang Hyejin is due to be out of the show one way or the other, so the show needed a female ballad singer. Gummy does not have the reputational heft that Jang does, however — which makes me curious about who will replace Jang Hyejin’s spot in the next go-around.
rd: Now that you mention it, I’m also curious about who will replace Jang in the next round. Also, if Jang succeeds this round in graduating from the show, we’ll have two new singers joining the next time!
The Set List
Jaurim will be performing Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra”
rd: I have to admit, I knew nothing about the BEG song, except for a short snippet of the chorus that J. Rabbit incorporates into their medley “Love Song”. After listening to the original, I have to admit I’m not fond of its minimalist dance sound, unimpressive vocals and New Wave influenced melodies. Then again, this is Jaurim doing the cover and the odds of them covering this one as a straight dance song aren’t high and I imagine that the group might be able to find an interesting arrangement and give the song some performance power via Kim Yuna’s enormous pipes. Will we see her brother return to handle the rap part?
widhi: On the contrary to rd, I like this BEG song. This song has been one of the songs from my current playlist, especially since BEG released their new album not so long ago. I was like wow when I knew that Jaurim picked this song. I was wondering how they can make the song different from the original, especially to appeal to the masses who have been familiar to this dance song and those who don’t. It almost seemed like a quirky choice, that is why I was so curious for the output.
tk: Who’s BEG? Another set of corporate puppets? They should be grateful that Jaurim is elevating their music to the realm of artistry.
Kim Kyungho will be performing Park Mikyung’s “이유 같지 않은 이유” (“Reason That Doesn’t Seem Like a Reason”)
rd: A song I think I’ve heard a couple times before, but don’t know well. This is yet another dance song, but this time from the 1990’s. Kind of a light house song fused with a pop melody. I do think the vocal line is very suitable for Kim’s wailing style, so I’m interesting to see how he’ll arrange it. Based on what I know of Kim, I imagine a metal-rific interpretation of this dance song.
widhi: I have never heard the song before but I think I knew the singer. I did not have a high expectation for this one, just okay let’s see.
tk: My concern with Kim Kyungho was that his high-pitched, wailing style will limit him to only a certain type of songs. (Which is exactly what happened with his career, actually.) Somehow he is better off in this show than singing his own songs, because on the show he can tap into high-energy women’s songs like this one.
Bobby Kim will be performing Noh Sayeon’s “만남” (“Meeting”)
rd: A synthtastic ballad that I’ve heard more than a few times myself at the noraebang and heard sung by my parents and their friends in my youth. It’s undoubtedly a ballad classic, but the melodic style is very different from Bobby Kim’s more soulful approach, so I’m quite curious to see how he’ll interpret it. Bobby hasn’t really performed many ballads since his rough first couple rounds on the show, so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the song and how the audience reacts.
widhi: I knew who the singer is but I have no idea that she sang. I was too familiar for her characters in variety shows. I was not sure about Bobby Kim doing ballad.
tk: This is such a trap song for Bobby Kim. The song is a classic. Not sure if Bobby Kim can overcome the history of the song.
Yoon Minsoo will be performing Taeyeon’s “만약에” (“If”)
rd: I had no idea who Taeyeon was or what this song was, but it turns out to be an OST track for the series “Hong Gildong”, a comedy saeguk and sounds like your typical OST ballad. It turns out that Taeyeon is a vocalist for SNSD/Girls Generation and isn’t a bad singer, although she seems dynamically limited. Interestingly enough, I would have thought this song a more natural fit for Bobby and his choice a more natural fit for Yoon. I’m going to be honest, I’m not expecting a whole lot from Yoon here, I think he’s going to play this song and arrangement like he’s been doing every previous ballad, but perhaps he’ll surprise me here. I hope he does.
widhi: I was like ‘no way’. This song is one of my favorite songs from Taeyeon. This song is beautiful and Taeyeon’s voice was just too familiar for me. Yoon Minsoo does have a very distinctive and strong voice. Yet, I was worried that his voice will not match with this song that well, especially with his signature vibrato.
tk: Another corporate puppet song. Pass.
Insooni will be performing Kim Jongchan’s “토요일은 밤이 좋아” (“Saturday Likes Night”)
rd: Another oldie I’m familiar with, this is yet another dance track, originally of the 80’s dance pop vibe. Insooni’s proved that she does well with her high energy performances and she certainly has the chops to blow up the song’s melody. I am curious to hear the arrangement and orchestration, but I’m guessing we’re in for a fun show from Insooni here.
widhi: No doubt about Insooni. I always believe that she will be able to put a great performance no matter what. I was almost sure it was going to be a dance number again this time.
tk: Just hearing Insooni’s selection got me excited for this one.
Jang Hyejin will be performing Kang Aerija’s “분홍립스틱” (“Pink Lipstick”)
rd: I don’t know this one, but it sounds like a mid-tempo 80’s post-New Wave light pop song. I find the original a little grating and slight, so I’m hoping that Jang manages to infuse it with enough effervescence or gravitas (pick one) in her remake.
widhi: Jang Hyejin has not been very successful to catch my attention these days. Her ballads and upbeat tracks were just okay so far. She really needs to give it up a notch to make her safe away from the bottom ranks.
tk: Could be trouble for Jang Hyejin on this one. I personally enjoyed some of her dance numbers (like Kara’s “Mister”,) but they don’t seem to resonate with the audience.
Gummy will be performing Lee Sora’s “난 행복해” (“I’m Happy”)
rd: Gummy picks a song from NaGaSoo alum, Lee Sora, from earlier in her career, itself a more standard ballad than her recent output, but benefitting from her subtle, yet powerful, reedy vocals. Not knowing much of Gummy, I think she’ll have to play the vocals more straight as I doubt she could approach the song on the same plane. However, I think the song itself is well structured to pop interpretation–I’m particularly curious as to what kind of musical statement Gummy’s first performance will make about her.
widhi: I am really looking forward to her performance. She is one of my favorite singers coming from the idol generation era. She has a powerful voice, so when I knew that she picked Lee Sora’s song I was sure that she should bring it to another level since the two of them have two distinctive voices.
tk: I am NOT looking forward to this one. Only Lee Sora can pull of Lee Sora.
Song Order Picked
- Jang Hyejin (2nd to pick, desired 1st)
- Yoon Minsoo (1st to pick)
- Bobby Kim (5th to pick, desired 3rd)
- Kim Kyungho (4th to pick)
- Jaurim (3rd to pick)
- Insooni (automatic)
- Gummy (automatic for new singers)
rd: I think this going to be a tough ordering in some ways, because song types are lumped together. Jang Hyejin and Gummy might both benefit from being different types from the nearby clumps, but the hardest batch I think will be the Kim Kyungho, Jaurim, Insooni collective as it’s a trio of faster songs in a row that might wear out an audience (depending on how much time there is between setups). It’ll be especially hard for one of those three if any one of them is a blowout performance, because they will undoubtedly be compared. Likewise, but to a lesser extent for Bobby Kim and Yoon Minsoo.
widhi: I also thought that this ordering was tough. Since I was still not sure how will Kim Kyungho Jaurim and Insooni would do with their songs, I was almost sure that one will capture more attention than the others even tough they are all going for upbeat songs. I thought that maybe Jaurim would be given more attention here because of their song selection but we could never know what would happened.
Jang Hyejin’s “분홍립스틱”
Jang takes the stage wearing a bright red showgirl dress and accordingly done hair and makeup. She’s joined by two more showgirls as she turns her back to the audience in preparation for the performance. The band spills into the song on a piano glide as the show girls step aside, revealing Jang’s back and, yes, they all strike a pose. Turning around and dancing as the background choir sing along and the synth line plays a melody, the song opens up with some funky guitar and bass. Jang then approaches the mic and begin singing very naturally and warmly, backed by the background choir and the claps from the audience, the two dancers moving behind her. A few hits from the horns leads into the next verse. Jang’s vocals seem to really follow the original closely and her dance moves are simple, in keeping with being at the mic. With a raising of the arms, the song enters the chorus, Jang keeping up with the song, letting out a strong note at chorus’ peak before closing it out with the lipstick dance move. Then there’s an brief instrumental dance break before Jang returns to the verse. Jang keeps a bright smile on her face for the whole performance. The song lulls to a quiet in the bridge before moving into the chorus, this time with Jang letting out a long note as the background handles the main chorus, encouraging claps with her dancers, before joining in the chorus. She adlibs some notes in the coda before a final pose. The audience seems sufficiently roused as Jang takes a bow.
rd: I don’t think that “분홍립스틱” is a particularly vocally demanding song and I think Jang performed up to Kang Aerija’s original, of course adding some vocal adlibs to power the ending. I was pleased that Jang was able to keep her energy up while engaging in all the choreography although some of the moves were just a little too cute for me. It was an enjoyable performance and the funky arrangement was nice, especially from the dated synth original, but I do wonder if the singing aspect was just not impressive, simply because the original song wasn’t terribly demanding. Either way, I think Jang stayed on this show for a while thanks to daring risks and challenging herself and I think she proved herself capable of yet another side here.
tk: I thought it was very solid. Jang’s performance was chill yet upbeat. Whenever I thought I might drift off, Jang would go into a perfectly timed and articulated note that drew the attention back in. Is it mean to comment on Jang’s hair though? If there was a fail in her performance, it belonged to her stylist. Jang is clearly capable of looking hot (showcased in “Mister”,) but her style did not work for me in this one.
widhi: I was not really engaged with this performance. It was good but it didn’t wow me. I should say that I was also somehow disturbed by the stylist. Maybe it was the dress or the hair or well, I was not so sure. Yet, she gave it all. She tried to give her best and I actually like her in a cheerful mode like this. It was a nice opening for the show but it didn’t give any impact for me.
Yoon Minsoo’s “만약에”
Yoon takes the stage with a simple shirt and cardigan combo. The piano opens this ballad with the song’s melody, joined by the orchestra and some falsetto vocalization from Yoon. As the orchestra goes quiet, Yoon joins the piano with his usual soft touch start, his voice breaking a little, strengthening just a little into the verse. A slight pause before the chorus, his voice staying towards the softer side of his dynamic range and peaking into falsetto briefly, bits more power vocals leaking out slightly, before going back soft for the close of the chorus. The second verse sees a continuation of the soft touch with a brief pause for a string glide before continuing. The second chorus sees a bit more strength in his voice, but he still manages to pull back here and there, leaving bits of softness in his approach, adding power to the climax where the sax and background choir comes in to help fill the song and he ad libs R&B-style. The choir leads into a key change and Yoon cuts loose for another run of the chorus, with a long held note followed by a pause and a return to soft falsetto, going high and loud, before the quiet close.
rd: I have to say that I do appreciate Yoon’s return to dynamic range instead of playing every song at max power once he gets past his soft-touch start. That said, I still think that he’s really a one-trick pony and while it was decent interpretation of the song, I felt it was a touch too strong at times for the lyrics and instead of working within the subtleties of performing within a quieter dynamic range, he just fills up the whole spectrum instead. It’s no secret that Yoon is my least favorite performer of the bunch and he doesn’t really do much to convince me otherwise here. If he’s going to stay on this show, I want to see something more from him.
tk: Agreed with rd in this case. Despite his best efforts, this was a typical Yoon Minsoo performance — over the top in too many places. He is shaping up to be a poor man’s Park Jeong-Hyeon in my mind. If the only thing you are good at is belting, pick a song that goes into belting as soon as possible and don’t stop doing that.
widhi: The first half of the song was okay, but the other half was a little bit too much. As I mentioned earlier, I really liked this song sang by the original singer, so to have this song sang by another person than her, I was really not sure. Yoon is a good singer, yet sometimes he gave it too much to a song that rather than making it sounds beautiful, he made it just a little too complicated for people to listen too. And that is how I also thought about this performance. The vibration didn’t match well with this song. However, he delivered the emotion quite well to the audience. Too bad though that it didn’t leave any impact.
Bobby Kim’s “만남”
Bobby takes the stage in a dark suit and with a smile on his face. A piano starts the tune, joined shortly by cymbal and background soul vox hits, with horns entering as well. A soulful arrangement that sees Bobby sing the opening words in precisely his style, adapting the melody to his vocals. The music goes spare on the verse with a few flourishes from the sax. A little bit of the band helps fill in more in the pre-chorus as the music sways with Bobby, with a build toward the chorus. The classic line of the chorus is sung rather straight (although still in Bobby’s style), but the end of the line getting a slight tweak with some soft hits from the horns. A “whoa” from Bobby leads into the sax and then into the next verse, played like the last, except with some band hits driven by Bobby’s clipped melody. And then he adds a breakdown, calling it out with the background singers hitting some “우리”’s in increasing intensity with Bobby ad-libbing along, before adding a unique soulful bridge in. It builds up and then after some hits from the band, Bobby goes back into the chorus, with some strong backing from the choir, the band, and the solo sax before the piano leads into a sharp decrescendo, giving Bobby some space to quietly close out the song. Except that his “사랑해” gets band and choir hits leading into an extended coda. And then the final close to the song.
rd: Even with Bobby’s noticeable singing style giving the song a bit of a transformation, I felt that the original was so strong that it still managed to overshadow Bobby’s soulful arrangement and so it felt like Bobby was playing the song pretty straight. It did gain some significant Bobby Kim character on that unique bridge with some good leading by Bobby, but I felt like Bobby was restricted by the original song for the rest of the performance. This results in a bit of a disappointment for me since I was hoping for a more symbiotic take.
tk: I liked this performance very much, but I was immediately concerned for Bobby Kim — this show tends to underrate chillness, and Bobby Kim was the ultimate chill. The arrangement also did not show a whole lot of effort, so I can’t see this placing well with the audience.
widhi: This song was delivered well but it was not really a good pick for Bobby, especially when people had been enjoying Bobby’s upbeat songs. I really liked the feeling-good chill that I had when I listened to this song. Yet, it was just plain, no impact that could make people remember this performance.
Kim Kyungho’s “이유 같지 않은 이유”
Kim arrives in an all black outfit with his usual long jacket and stands next to his two guitarists. One opens up with some rock riffs after a couple countoffs from the drums and Kim gets busy with the rock moves. A shout from Kim and the band comes in as he headbangs. Metal riffs pour of the guitars and with a “Wow!” from Kim, the band goes quiet to shine a spotlight on the keyboard, which gets a moment before the overdrive guitars jump back in and Kim gets some rocker dance in. When Kim finally gets singing, he possesses the stage and immediately goes into metal wail, backed by the background choir and a shouted high hit before going into the hard rocking chorus, complete with pelvic dance action from Kim. Closing the chorus with a “come on” and some head banging, the guitars come in for some metal riff buildup to the next verse. The next prechorus and chorus play the same, before Kim calls out a guitar solo and bangs along to the solo. Then a “Whoa” causes the band to drop out the drums to pull a hip-hop breakbeat as Bizzy takes the stage. The band comes back in with a metal build as Bizzy pulls an intro and then shout raps alongside the metal synth riffs, which leads back into the chorus, Bizzy now twitching and adding “Hey”’s and “Oh”’s to the beat as Kim sings it. In the second run of the chorus, there’s a tempo boost and a guitar goes into a high metal guitar solo as Kim bangs his head and the background choir holds the chorus. Four band hits and a “whoa yeah” from Kim close out the song.
rd: Kim Kyungho really turned the dance song into a metal song, but I thought he was firing too hard for too long. Heavy metal works best where there’s a contrast, like in the template laid down by Led Zeppelin and so to open up intense and just stay there for the whole song pulls away some of the potential drama of the song. It was quite high energy, so I know that’s going to play well to this audience, but the end result is a little flatter than the more interesting performances by Kim Kyungho. Also, I felt Bizzy’s incorporation was a bit jarring and that his actual part didn’t really add to the song. Maybe a soft bridge instead would have served the song better as a rest between the waves of energy that this performance sent crashing into the audience. There is something to be said about Kim’s own engagement with the song, complete with dancing, but it felt a tiny bit desperate and driven by nervous energy.
tk: I was totally ready to give Kim Kyungho 10 out of 10… until Bizzy came out. I enjoyed the high energy, but Bizzy’s rap made the entire thing feel disjointed. The contents of the rap did not mix well with the original song (compared to the rap in Insooni’s performance, for example,) and the presence of the rapper after the rap was over did not add to the song. Kim Kyungho’s dancing was also slightly overdone. But I should not detract too much — the performance was a great fun.
widhi: The dancing! It was awkward, too awkward, but the energy was super good. Now this was what I called an impact. The opening guitar was a success. I should agree that this kind of song engaged well with the audience of this program. I am not a fan of his voice somehow but I think it matched the song quite well. I was disappointed with the rap part though. It was just all over the place. I have been listening to Bizzy featured in other songs, but this one was just not that good. I think maybe Bizzy could have just made it softer. Yet, as a whole, this performance was fun and enjoyable.
Kim Yuna takes the stage in a black one-shouldered dress and her usual brilliant smile. An atmospheric synth and Lee Sungyu’s guitar introduces the song as Lee plays a Middle-East inspired lick. Kim Yuna opens her eyes and opens up with a chant of “Abracadabra” followed by some Rai-like vocalizing, with Lee echoing her. Then Lee’s guitar starts ringing a tune, inciting Kim to start singing lyrics in a hypnotic chant. The rest of the band joins after her first run creating a sonic tapestry. Kim sings the signature english lyrics with backing vocals harmonizing with her and then… the music goes quiet. The intro ends as the rhythm section leads in the main song. Kim Yuna starts in on the verse with a bit of bite and the guitar adds ringing texture. Kim finishes the stanza with intensity, letting the band get a run in before going into the pre-chorus, undulating to the groove, and then going rocker in the chorus. Solo guitar follows and Kim and background vocalist echo it. Then there’s a “oh/ha” exchange between the two vocalists, with Kim calling out the background vocalist echoing, Kim increasing in intensity at one point calling out the “Ha ha ha””s like in the group’s “Hahaha Song”. And then it’s the verse again highlighted by guitars, then the pre-chorus and back into the chorus with Lee joining in on vocals. And Kim adds some “La la la”’s before a final chant of the song’s title.
rd: This is most definitely a Jaurim take on the song, reminding me of their cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” in terms of atmosphere building and sounding a little like the music from their second and third albums. So it gets points for being a clearly original interpretation of the song. It was also quite a dynamic performance, moving from the hypnotising intro into the rocking chorus. On the other hand, I felt like the song was a bit chaotic, which does sometimes happen when the band tries to do too much (like on their duet with Baik Hyunjhin) and it didn’t really overcome the original song’s lack of musical coherence, although Kim Yuna imparted a lot of strength into the vocals to actually give the song shape. Also, while I see that it was central to their arrangement, I feel like the Middle-Eastern/Arabic musical themes were a little haphazardly chosen, grabbing bits and pieces from all over that region and greater culture’s disparate parts and perhaps that also led to the song’s lack of greater structural and thematic coherence. It was certainly the most interesting performance so far in terms of musical adventurousness, but I wasn’t fully convinced that it held together as well as it could have.
tk: Jaurim did exactly what I hoped it to do — inject some weirdness into the show. Korea’s pop music has a strong strand of favoring really strange things, and Jaurim does weirdness as well as anyone in Korean pop music history. The audience seems totally stunned and confused. I like seeing that.
widhi: This performance gave me the chill but I could see that the audience was confused, just like TK said. Maybe they hoped for another rendition or style for this highly anticipated song. I like that Jaurim incorporated this musical themes in this song to give the mystical feeling of ‘Abracadabra’ and added a little bit of magic to the song. No doubt for Kim Yuna’s voice, I just have to admit, I am biased. Although I liked this performance, the impact was just not there. It was not as big as I had expected.
Insooni’s “토요일은 밤이 좋아”
Insooni enters wearing something of a brown and tan jumpsuit and her usually wily hair tamed into a colored early Tina Turner-like do. Park Myungsoo, who will be joining the performance, waits in the wings. This performance begins with some drama as Insooni takes a seat and picks up a phone. Phone sound effects along with a cymbal fill the sound stage. A dance kick starts up with a bass as Park and Insooni exchange dialogue. With a “출발” Park starts the song with a rap and Insooni takes the second stanza also in rap as the electronic backing for the song starts beeping and blooping in. Then the pair start with chanting “난 바람났어” before a beat of silence. Then funk horn and band hits leading dancers to take the stage. Park leaves the stage as Insooni goes into the chorus fast and furious. Insooni also dances it up and as she hits the verse, more dancers take the stage in formation behind her. She sings along powerfully to the melody as she performs the carefully synced dance and then the dancers get in front of her and with a shout they move away revealing that the tan of her outfit is gone. Some more dancing and then the pre-chorus, closes out with a raised “woo” and then into the bridge with an alternate melody and then into the chorus, background vocalists helping fill out the vocals. Another dancer cover and Insooni is now revealed to be wearing a black sparkly dress. On third repetition of the chorus line, the background choir takes over while Insooni ad-libs and then there’s a key change taking the melody up a notch with another chorus after which the song ends with a flourish.
rd: There’s got to be something in the water that I’m drinking today because like many of the other performances, I just felt this interpretation to be all right. I noticed that Insooni was really pushing herself with the dance part and was a little breathy at times, her singing noticeably affected. Also, after the intro, Insooni fires on all cylinders vocally and like Kim Kyungho’s performance, it’s a little overwhelming, which is how I felt about her Australia performance too. The arrangement and interpretation had a really interesting opening, but its joining with the funk-pop-dance driven main part isn’t really that cogent. It is a nice contrast, but I was actually more interested in the electronics of the intro than the workout of the main part of the song. Insooni was strong and powerful and the magic tricks were fun, but I think this performance becomes a bit flattened due to the continuous unrelenting energy once it gets moving.
tk: You are drinking some haterade, rd! As I saw Insooni’s performance, I wrote this on my note: “WINNER.” Insooni is the (good) opposite of Lee Sora — she is an entertainer, not an artist. And Insooni entertained the hell out of everyone.
widhi: This performance was fun! However, I did not like the opening that much. It didn’t match the song well. When the opening changed to the original song, I was like ‘oh, so this is the original song.’ I always admire Insooni’s energy. I could see that she enjoyed this performance, which gave a wave of energy to the audience. A little bit too much and strained but she could still control it well and gave the impact.
Gummy’s “난 행복해”
Gummy takes the stage in a skirt, shirt and suspenders. A piano opens up the song after Gummy takes a seat. Gummy starts the verse very quietly, whispering out the last line. An orchestra joins the arrangement on the second stanza as she quietly continues. A little more strength shows up in her still whispery bridge. In the second verse, she comes a bit more alive, adding a little more emotion to her lines. The drums signal the chorus and Gummy stands and blows up the chorus, with guitars, background choir and the drums filling in. As the background takes the chorus, Gummy adlibs over them forcefully. And as the chorus ends, she goes back quiet for the closing lines. And quiet again for the closing verse, piano and strings leading the song out.
rd: I thought it was a promising start for Gummy, who manages to add a bit of emotion into her performance. Interestingly enough, I found myself comparing her to Yoon Minsoo who also does the quiet to explosive R&B style. I didn’t find it a subtle performance, but I feel it would be difficult to compare to even early Lee Sora’s ability to work within a smaller range to find the song. However, I think that Gummy did manage to capture some of the elements of the song well rather than just blowing up and spilling out entirely, which puts her a step better than the usual Yoon performance. It will be seen whether or not she’s as limited in style and performance as he is.
tk: I would like to file a police report for murder. Gummy committed homicide with that song. She sold out the song, cheapened it, then killed it. Not like the good, show business kind of killing, but the brutal, criminal kind of killing with a baseball bat and blood everywhere.
widhi: It was definitely a different style from Lee Sora, yet I appreciated her effort. Nobody can argue that Lee Sora’s songs are difficult to sing, maybe not technically difficult but it might be something related to the emotion that transfers through the voice or something. I could feel Gummy’s emotion but it still couldn’t match the original. However, Gummy showcased her powerful voice here. I am looking forward to her upcoming performances.
rd: 1) Jang Hyejin, 2) Gummy, 3) Bobby Kim, 4) Jaurim, 5) Insooni, 6) Kim Kyungho, 7) Yoon Minsoo
This was actually hard to rank because I felt that the performances this time around were all around underwhelming. Yoon Minsoo pulls last, even though I feel it was one of his more stronger performances because even in his restraint, he doesn’t show any growth or notable variation. Kim Kyungho and Insooni were about on par for me, both because there rode too hot and too long on high energy that I was exhausted, not exhilarated, by their performances. Insooni won the nod simply because she had a more imaginative and creative beginning and better showpieces, although I admit I was fond of Kim’s unrestrained dancing. Jaurim had the most guts on the show by trying a really different take on their song and creating a very Jaurimesque atmosphere with their song. However, I felt that their arrangement and delivery was a bit chaotic. Bobby Kim and Gummy were close for me, but Bobby Kim was mostly overtaken by his own song, but I appreciated the soul infusion into it, especially on the bridge. Gummy was second for me only because I think she managed to just slightly crack the song in itself–she doesn’t compare to Lee Sora in terms of subtlety, but I think she found a couple points where she sold the song in her own rather straightforward style. That said, I think my rankings of 2-6 were all extremely close and it’s only by a razor’s edge that I’m ranking them like this. Why do I like Jang Hyejin’s performance the best? It wasn’t the best song nor was it the most vocally challenging tune. For me, it was just simply the most delightful and natural performance of the bunch. I felt like almost everybody else was trying too hard and each successive singer seemed to feed into that same energy, but Jang opened the show with such ease, and even grace, that I liked her performance the best.
tk: 1) Insooni, 2) Jaurim, 3) Kim Kyungho, 4) Jang Hyejin, 5) Bobby Kim, 6) Yoon Minsoo 7) Gummy
My top tier was made up of Insooni, Kim Kyungho and Jaurim. Insooni wins for presenting the most coherent, most entertaining, most energetic performance. Jaurim’s performance was enthralling and also coherent. Kim’s performance was hurt a little because of being disjointed, but the electricity from the performance was hard to deny. The mid-tier was Jang Hyejin and Bobby Kim, and Jang places ahead putting on a better show. The bottom tier consists of Yoon Minsoo and a murderess who is unjustly enjoying her freedom.
widhi: 1) Kim Kyungho, 2) Insooni, 3) Jaurim, 4) Gummy, 5) Jang Hyejin, 6) Bobby Kim, 7) Yoon Minsoo
Well, after following this show so far, I can say that it is not always about technique but it was about how the singers tried to give a wow to the audience from the very beginning of the song. Now I wonder, did I just make my order based on what I liked the most or trying to guess the audience’s pick? I think I will go with the later this time. The one that I enjoyed the most was actually Jaurim mainly because of the exploration that they did. Yet, I think I was also one of the audience who was so engaged with the impact that was given by Kim Kyungho.
1st Place (with 29% of the vote, a record for the show)
rd: Personally, I thought the audience would vote him or Insooni first, because the Korean audience seems to really like high energy dance/rock numbers. I’m not surprised, nor do I really have a problem with this placing. Kim will definitely be safe the next round.
tk: That Kim Kyungho is the first place is not a surprise, but having such high percentage is a bit odd.
widhi: Agreed to RD and TK on the rank and percentage.
rd: I’m a little surprised that Insooni didn’t take second, but perhaps what I thought might happen with so many high energy numbers next to each other did, giving the balladeer Gummy a fighting chance. I do think that her interpretation was the most resonant of the three ballads this round. I don’t know if that’s really saying much, but I guess the audience felt similarly.
tk: I give up. Every show at least has two ranks that I cannot understand no matter what, but this is just ridiculous.
widhi: I was surprised. Maybe it was because of the song pick? Well, it was maybe a part of a beginner’s luck.
rd: I wish that Cho Kyuchan had a streak of beginner’s luck and got to perform in the regular format instead of back to back special episodes.
rd: I guess I wasn’t far off the mark in guessing where Insooni would land.
tk: I might have quit the show if Insooni didn’t place in top 3.
widhi: As long as Insooni is in the top 3, I am all happy.
rd: I thought I’d be more surprised that she ended up here instead of further down, but who I thought the audience would vote into the top three spots did end up there, so perhaps Jang is a natural fit for fourth because of her charming performance. I’m glad that the audience rewarded her for her courage in continuing to try new things. tk: Pleasantly surprised also.
widhi: It was better that I expected. I was genuinely happy for her.
rd: Okay, this is a total surprise for me. I really thought that audience would be alienated by Jaurim’s decidedly unusual take on the apparently popular song and place Jaurim last, but perhaps I underestimated them. I did see a lot of stage presence for the group and perhaps the energy and Kim Yuna’s powerful performance charisma won them over?
tk: Yes! I knew my faith in Korean audience would be validated. Of course Jaurim’s performance was not for everyone, so I did not expect a high rank. But it was a solid, interesting performance, and it’s nice to see them getting recognized for it.
widhi: Why number 5? They should have ranked higher. Nevertheless, I always look forward to what Jaurim will bring to the show next time.
rd: I actually guessed that the audience would put Yoon in this place, because his performance was rather straightforward and didn’t have his usual high drama explosiveness (which I suppose is a hit or miss with audiences too). It’s just the rankings around him that I thought were going to be different. Personally, I really don’t know how audiences react to Yoon, since he does almost the same thing every week and still bounces around from the upper tiers to the lower tiers. He’s a mystery to me.
tk: For the next show, Yoon Minsoo needs to bring out his belt and whip it hard. Gotta ride on the horse that brought you in.
widhi: Not surprising for me. Agreed with RD and TK that he should try harder.
rd: Poor Bobby. I do think that audiences by now might see Bobby and expect a more upbeat number from him as every single one of his higher ranking performances were upbeat numbers. But he did once had a big hit with his own lovely reggae infused ballad “고래의 꿈” so I know he’s capable of pulling out a good audience pleasing ballad. Still, I do think his choice of song was perhaps a bit of a mistake as it’s melody is so strong that I think it doesn’t give Bobby enough room to develop the song into his own. Plus, I think his easygoing soul style doesn’t always hit well with mainstream audiences, so combined with a difficult to adapt song, I think, made him last.
tk: The rank is not fair for Bobby Kim, but I can’t feel too bad for him when a murderer is roaming free in the streets of Korea. I’m certain that Bobby Kim will turn it up next show and stay alive.
widhi: I feel sorry for Bobby. I just hope that people will appreciate more of his efforts on exploring is musical style. I hope that he will be able to take it up a notch better than Park Jung Hyun who was always expected to perform a specific style by the audience. I hope the best for him in the next round.
I must confess I responded with a bit of cynicism after hearing Gummy would join, since she’s relatively new and had just been promoting a new song. I’d hate to see YGE turn 나가수 into just another platform to push their artists, but she did do somewhat better than I’d expected.
Kim Kyungho’s performance was my favorite in this show since Lena Park took on 그것만이 내 세상. It also explains his concern over Kim Yuna possibly pulling out a few Abracadabra dance moves. Although it was only a few days since I watched it I don’t even recall Bizzy’s part – I must’ve been swept off my feet just in time!