I Am A Singer 2: September Auditions Group A

Beginning of August  I Am A Singer 2 announced open auditions for the month of September.  Twelve artists were selected and in the latest episode  they competed six at a time. Today we’re covering the auditions for the first group and tomorrow we’ll be back with our thoughts on the second group. 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.


Singer Introductions

Gate Flowers

Anna: I’m not sure I see what exactly Gate Flowers can contribute to a show focusing on amazing singers. At least to me they’ve always been more merit to their rock image than to Park Geun Hong’s vocal abilities even though his vocal style undeniably is part reason to their success.

Dahee: I’m actually pretty excited about them trying out for the show. I do really like Park Geun Hong’s vocals, and I want the audience to embrace a heavier rock sound. Maybe they can win over the audience in a way that Baekdoosan couldn’t.

Fablin: I can’t wait to see that puzzled look of the faces of the audience if they’re selected today. But except for them just being a heavy rock band I can’t see a good reason why i would have to vote for them instead of any other rock band.


The One

Dahee: I’m familiar with some of his OST work, but that’s only because I watch waaaay too many dramas. He’s a good singer, all right, but he seems rather ordinary musically to me. I guess time will tell whether he’s got some experimental bones in him.

Fabien: I don’t like drama. For some part it’s especially because of these melting cheesy songs. Only from these bits of his songs I already feel sick of him.

Anna: Can’t say I recognize any of his soundtrack work, at least from the brief samples introducing him. Apparently he’s been a vocal trainer for 400 people, including Girl’s Generation, Super Junior and TVXQ.



Dahee: Honestly, I have no idea who she is…

Fabien: Looks like she comes with more makeup than skills.

Anna: I don’t have the faintest clue either.


Urban Zakapa

Anna: Oh no. There’s something about this group that I just can’t stand. For one it’s not at all my kind of music, but on top of that there’s something I can’t put my finger on that really irks me about them. And as a vocal trio, isn’t it cheating a bit to audition together rather than as individual members?

Dahee: I’ve never been a fan, either. Like you, they just irk me for some unfathomable reason. And yes, it does seem strange that they’re auditioning as a vocal trio, although I wouldn’t mind I Am A Singer opening itself up to the possibility of duos and the like.

Fabien: I don’t mind them being a trio because even so I don’t like their music.


Zee Young Sun

Dahee: Again, I’m familiar with some of her drama OST work. Her voice just seems so cookie cutter sappy Korean ballad, though…

Fabien: Brace yourself, drama singers are coming…

Anna: Can’t say I recognize any of her work either.


Ko Yu Jin

Anna: Finally a name I’m actually happy to see! As the Flower guy he should’ve been eligible for an invitation to the show without having to audition. It’s almost an insult to pitch him against these other singers.

Dahee: I’ve actually been waiting for them to invite him onto the show, and I agree that it’s insulting that he had to actually audition in order to get them to notice him. And looking at the stats during his performance, it seems that music experts named him as their number one choice for the show. So why did he have to audition at all??

Fabien: Since most of the other singers sound to me like bad jokes, I fully agree with both of you.


Yuri – “I Will Always Love You” (Whitney Houston cover)

Anna: There’s something about the way she’s singing that annoys me. That some parts of words or phrases are just left unfinished or hanging in place where Whitney Houston does not. It is a very straightforward cover, but of course coming into this as somebody unknown to most she can’t really take any chances. She does sing very well though. I’ll give her that. But those high notes at the end? That’s just too much!

Dahee: There’s something very sweet about her, isn’t there? I really like her voice tone too, even if she didn’t really arrange this song at all, and just goes for the straight ballad. I do feel like the song choice was a bit of a miss, especially since she doesn’t really have that Whitney voice, and I agree that it was annoying that she skipped some words in the lyrics. But I got this warm feeling from her that I really like.

Fabien: Either she has some trouble on English or she just forgot parts of the lyrics. The colour of the voice is interesting but I couldn’t feel sincerity at all in her singing.


Ko Yu Jin – “마지막 사랑” (Park Ki Young cover)

Anna: He’s singing so well and the song pick really suits him. Wow!! He held that note much, much  longer than I had expected

Dahee: This was a very Ko Yu Jin-esque performance. Your typical Flower rock ballad. He sings very well, but honestly, it wasn’t a very interesting performance, and it’s a shame that he does that long note directly after Yuri‘s performance, which had the same gimmick. I want him to do better than this! I know he can do better than this!

Fabien: I also expect more than this but for a ballad song it was well done. For a moment it made me think of all these Korean romantic comedies of the early 2000s.


Urban Zakapa – “어제처럼” (J cover)

Anna: I like this song, but am blinded by my irrational distaste for Urban Zakapa. They do sing very well, all of them but perhaps Jo Hyuna in particular, so I have the feeling if I had been listening without knowing who I was listening to I’d be far more appreciative of this performance. And that explanation pf Zappy-Kaleidoskopic-Passionate for their name just makes me dislike them even more.

Dahee: Very dull. They’re doing nothing here to change my mind about them. This kind of performance will not win over any hearts in the I Am A Singer audience – unless, of course, they’re folks who were fans of theirs before the show. Which I suspect may be the case, seeing all those fangirly faces in the audience. The three of them sing well, but the arrangement is very, very ordinary.

Fabien: Among all the styles of music, R’n’B is the one i appreciate the least. So it’s not a surprise if I say i didn’t give much care of this performance. I couldn’t find any originality in this interpretation.


Gate Flowers – “목포의 눈물” (Lee Nan Young cover)

Anna: Very interesting song choice. And a very good arrangement. A slight trot feeling, both to the song and the vocals. And as a vocalist Park Geun Hong may be a better fit for this show than I initially would give him credit for. That scream towards the end is more off putting than anything though.

Dahee: Go Gate Flowers! Finally, an interesting arrangement! I don’t love everything about it, and I have the vague suspicion that the editor chopped up some parts of this performance, but I love their stage charisma, I love this style of rock, and I definitely want to see more of them. Man, do I ever love his voice, or what?

Fabien: Phew, what a relief. There are still a few singers and musicians who are playful and try to make new adaptations of famous songs. It’s not amazing, but it works very well. But I sill have doubts whether they can maintain originality on the long run in I Am A Singer.


Zee Young Sun – “Memory” (Kim Bum Soo cover)

Anna: “The queen of soundtracks” offers a performance that would suit very well as a soundtrack. No surprise there. In the beginning she feels a bit unsure, but after awhile she really lets her strong vocals show. Perhaps she could’ve held back a bit to make the performance more persuasive.

Dahee: Poor girl seems very nervous. Unfortunately, this was not a memorable performance. Very straightforward, with nothing about it really standing out. You’re right, it feels like it belongs on a drama soundtrack. I can already feel myself forgetting what she even sang…

Fabien: Dahee, you’re stealing my words ^^ When listening to this, I felt the urge to change the channel as if I was watching a drama on TV. There was nothing that could catch my attention.


The One – “지나간다” (Kim Bum Soo cover)

Anna: Cheered on by some of his more famous students. It feels like a fairly standard ballad and as a vocal trainer he’s got excellent command of his voice. Yet there’s something about his vocal tone that doesn’t quite agree with me.

Dahee: Hmm. He sings very well, that’s for sure, and he definitely feels like the most confident singer of the bunch. But I kept getting distracted by his body movements, which give Lee Eun Mi‘s a run for her money. The arrangement itself is very I Am A Singer-esque, which may be good for his chances, but not so much for winning me over.

Fabien: He has a very strong voice, he’s skilled and technical. But again I cannot feel anything because I’m stuck by the fact he’s forcing himself trying to do a flawless performance. But by doing so it lacks authenticity.


Personal Picks

Anna: 1) Ko Yu Jin, 2) The One, 3) Gate Flowers, 4) Zee Young Sun, 5) Yuri, 6) Urban Zakapa

I feel like I was even more critical this week than I usually am, perhaps because I don’t really approve with the open audition scheme to begin with. Coincidentally my number one for group A coincides with the singer I’d rather see more of on I Am A Singer. The One was singing as well, but is less interesting to me so he gets second. And then we have Gate Flowers, that even though I didn’t like the scream towards the end had the most intriguing arrangement of this group. As for the bottom three, I put Urban Zakapa last because for whatever reason I just can’t stand them. I didn’t particularly like either Zee Young Sun or Yuri either, but at least Zee Young Sun could sing her song without annoying me.

Dahee: 1) Gate Flowers 2) Ko Yu Jin 3) Yuri 4) The One 5) Urban Zakapa 6) Zee Young Sun

I’m definitely biased towards rock, especially since I’m so tired of all the balladeers on the show, which explains why Gate Flowers and Ko Yu Jin are at the top of my list. Gate Flowers gets the upper hand simply because their arrangement was more interesting. I hesitated between Yuri and The One, but in the end I was more engaged by the former’s performance, even if the latter had the better vocal performance. I didn’t like Urban Zakapa’s performance at all, but it at least was a little more memorable than Zee Young Sun’s.

Fabien: 1) Gate Flowers 2) Ko Yu Jin 3) The One 4) Yuri 5) Zee Young Sun 6) Urban Zakapa

I would prefer to see Gate Flowers make it to I Am A Singer because I can’t hide my love of rock. But Ko Yu Jin would obviously be a better fit for the audience while being the one among the ballad singers who managed to keep the most of my interest. I don’t want to see any of the other ones again.


The Results

Top 3: Gate Flowers, The One, Urban Zakapa

Anna: No!! Where is my Ko Yu Jin? Now I’m hoping to see Gate Flowers win instead, even though The One was the better singer.

Dahee: WHY is Urban Zakapa in the top three? I just don’t understand…Poor Ko Yu Jin. :(

Fabien: I wasn’t expecting Gate Flowers to come higher than sixth, but I can find hope for a better end of this selection process. I guess the ajummas that the editing kept showing really enjoyed this original performance.

No. 1: The One

Anna: Well deserved.

Dahee: Not a surprising result, but I’m not particularly happy about it. He’d better not turn into another Yoon Min Soo, is all I’m going to say…

Fabien: Seriously, what was the point of this selection process…?

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