I Am A Singer 2: September Auditions Group B

Yesterday we only made it halfway through the I Am A Singer 2 September auditions, so today we continue with 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

So Chan Whee

Anna: So Chan Whee has to audition to get on I Am A Singer? Though to be honest I never paid much attention to her vocal skills even though I’ve enjoyed most of what I heard from her songs.

Dahee: I don’t understand…why didn’t they just recruit her?? Why are they ignoring perfectly eligible singers like this and making them go through this idiotic audition process?

Fabien: Exactly!! I don’t know her as much as you do, but it’s an evidence that she is a decent singer and would have to be picked as a new singer anyway! I really hope they won’t do again all this mess next month.


Cho Jang Hyuk

Dahee: Another singer that they should have just recruited…It’ll be nice to see him again! Apparently he got betrayed by a manager he really trusted, and thus thought about quitting music. That’s really sad. :(

Fabien: This guy looks like a nice person. His ballad songs sounded more appealing than the ones heard in group A.

Anna: I recognize his name very well, but although I’m familiar with a few of those songs I don’t think I ever listened as much to him as I should’ve. I wouldn’t mind getting to know him better through this show.



Dahee: I think I’ve heard a couple of her songs before, but I can’t say I’m very familiar with her music.

Fabien: So disappointed. I know it was nearly impossible but from reading the name in Korean I was expecting leeSA from friendz.net. Would have been better than this Lisa.

Anna: I’m not really familiar with her either. Doesn’t sound all that bad tough.



Anna: Now things are getting interested! I had no idea she would be auditioning! I’d love to see more of Taru, but I worry that her sweet vocals won’t be powerful enough compared to the other singers on the show.

Dahee: It’d be interesting to see her change things up a little on the show, but I agree that her vocals can’t really compete with all the power vocalists.

Fabien: But her sweet vocals are exactly what makes her so charming and original. She’s not worse that some other singers who made further in the show, but she would bring a whole new musical world with her.


Park Hee Soo

Anna: Apparently he lives in a camping car with his wife and daughter. When he was singing for his camera interview it sounded like doesn’t actually know how to sing, but that old clip of him showed something completely different.

Dahee: Man, what a sad story he has. Amazing that he’s chosen to stick to music even after running into trouble with his management company and having trouble supporting his family. Now that’s determination.

Fabien: Nice interview that highlights problems singers can encounter in their careers. I would be a bit sad if his voice is no match to other’s ones.


Red Postbox

Anna: I always found Chugayeol fairly agreeable, and I recall listening quite a bit to Travel Sketch and Jatanpung too some years ago. I wasn’t aware of this new unit though. Looking them up just now it seems they’ve only released one digital single together. Does that even cover the minimum requirement for auditioning? And again, even though I have a feeling I’ll love these two together, having more than one vocalist doesn’t feel right for this show.

Dahee: At least they’re both very experienced singers, and it’d be nice to have some folk music on the show. And I myself don’t mind the duo thing, so.

Fabien: They look very kind and to have a good humor. I wouldn’t mind them being selecting as I Am A Singer really lacks of folk singers.


So Chan Whee – “불티” (Jun Young Rok cover)

Anna: “Female rocker”? To me she was always an idol style artist. I suppose I haven’t been paying enough attention. Starting off with a sort of husky, sexy voice to a semi-jazz arrangement. And she does make a rock number out of it halfway!

Dahee: So Chan Whee’s back! I actually really liked the jazzy opening, and was confused when she did that sudden switch into old-fashioned rock, which felt dated. The switch was too abrupt, too. Still, it was fun to watch, and her vocals are still pretty amazing. It’d be nice to have a “female rocker” like this on the show.

Fabien: The beginning was nice and then she went all Lee Eun Mi’s style, maybe to get the same success? The rock part is good and not so gimmicky, but the arrangement overall was just a collection of deja-vu.


Park Hee Soo – “가질 수 없는 너” (Bank cover)

Anna: “The male Celine Dion” may actually suit him very well, judging by what little I’ve heard of him so far. I’m trying to have sympathy for this guy, but it’s not really working for me. I’m having Jo Kwan Woo flashbacks and while I could suffer through one song it’s not something I’d want to be exposed to twice a month.

Dahee: His story makes me really sad, which makes me root for him despite knowing that rooting for someone based on a sob story is wrong. But who knew that we had another Jo Kwan Woo in Korea? I actually had a really big soft spot for Jo Kwan Woo on the show, probably due to the fact that my dad is his number one fan. I really like Park’s voice, and the arrangement is very pretty, although I’m again getting major editing vibes here. He’d certainly be an interesting addition to the show.

Fabien: It’s actually not SO bad. He shows some efficiency in his voice, it’s absolutely not original and boring, which makes ne think that he would actually be perfect in I Am A Singer…. ^^


Taru – “달팽이” (Panic cover)

Anna: Arrangement by Yellow Monsters!! The song hasn’t even started yet and I’m already hoping Taru goes winning out of this. A very sweet and Taru-esque opening. Look, Yongwon is in the audience too! When the song really gets going it feels a bit like Taru disappears, or rather as if her voice isn’t strong enough to be heard well among all those instruments.

Dahee: Taru is sticking to what she’s known for, with this very sweet, cutesy approach to the Panic song. And it’s a good arrangement, but her voice got very lost in all of that sound. At least it was different from the usual I Am A Singer performance, but she just doesn’t seem to fit in. Not only did she act too cutesy and seem waaaay too young, but her voice just doesn’t quite cut it.

Fabien: Yeaaaah, that’s actually very good. She may not have a powerful voice but what comes out of her sounds always right, plus she adds this emotional flavour. I like how she went for a faster tempo as most of time when this song is covered singers tend to emphasize the drama by slowing down. Not flawless but I want to listen to this again in this show.


Red Postbox – “일어나” (Kim Gwang Seok cover)

Anna: This is so pretty! An acoustic guitar, to careful male voices harmonizing! There really was no need to spice it up with those latin rhythms. It might’ve given the arrangement more “punch”, but at the cost of making it much less pleasant. And now they’re scatting too. The show might need some more of this, but I’m still mourning what could’ve been one of the most beautiful performances of the evening.

Dahee: I really liked the folk opening, and thought it fitting that the folk duo is remaking the folk master’s song…and then they switched to that latin arrangement, and my Kim Gwang Seok loving soul kind of curled up into the fetal position. But as it went on, it actually grew on me, and I thought to myself, “Well, at least it’s interesting and they’re having fun.” So that by the end, I was quite satisfied. Imagine that.

Fabien: It didn’t last long but this simple opening with only two voices and a guitar is already one of the best sounds heard in I Am A Singer. This nostalgic feeling I got when they were playing with harmonies. I thought of the old fathers of folks in the US and also of these old movies set in the Korean country-side. I would have loved having this for the whole performance. The Brazilian carnivalesque part was never as satisfying as the beginning. But it’s too late: I WANT them to be figured in the next months.


Lisa – “그녀의 웃음소리뿐” (Lee Moon Sae cover)

Anna: I’m very fond of this song, but I can’t really accept her voice singing it. When she goes deeper I’m liking it a whole lot more. And that display of high notes towards the end! She’s been crying while singing. I wonder whether it’s because of the emotions from the song or for happiness over this opportunity.

Dahee: She’s got some pipes on her! Is she another Lee Young Hyun? I love the arrangement, and I love this song, and I like how she’s singing it. This is the kind of performance that the I Am A Singer audience just laps up. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more of her.

Fabien: She’s perfect for I Am A Singer to take the seat left by So Hyang. The vocals are good. She really tries hard to prove she can sings and it feels a bit awkward and useless to me.


Cho Jang Hyuk – “꿈” (Cho Yong Phil cover)

Anna: From his styling it seems he’s longing back to his glory days in the 90’s. I didn’t realize his voice was this husky before.

Dahee: Something about him reminds me of Yim Jae Bum. This is certainly not a bad thing. I’ve always loved Cho Jang Hyuk’s voice, and I love that he’s not overdoing it here, even if the arrangement is fairly dramatic (this is a compliment, by the way). He’s not contorting his body into weird shapes or trying to see how long he can hold a note. He’s just standing there. Singing. And I really respect that.

Fabien. The arrangement felt a bit old-fashioned. His voice is warm and appealing, while he doesn’t use it up to its limits. But I still have in memory another version of this song made by Jaurim that was absolutely epic.


Personal Picks

Anna: 1) Lisa, 2) Taru, 3) So Chan Whee, 4) Cho Jang Hyuk, 5) Red Postbox, 6) Park Hee Soo

Overall I felt like this bunch was much, much better than the artists competing to get into group A. I can’t help but wonder why they were put together like this. Although I didn’t really like her at first Lisa won me over with her performance. Taru’s voice didn’t really come to its right with her arrangement, but even so she was so delightful I’d be happy to give her another chance on the show. So Chan Whee sang very well, as did Cho Jang Hyuk, so here it’s really just a matter of So Chan Whee surprising me more – I can’t believe I never paid attention to her vocals before. Out of this bunch Red Postbox would probably be the best new addition to the show, but speaking strictly from my own preferences they would’ve been much better off just doing the folk sing. And finally, Park Hee Soo may be the singer needing to get on I Am A Singer the most, but unfortunately he was the worst of the bunch.


Dahee: 1) Cho Jang Hyuk 2) Lisa 3) Red Postbox 4) Park Hee Soo 5) Taru 6) So Chan Whee

Agreed, this was a much stronger group. It’s really a shame that they were separated like this. Anyway, I was most impressed by Cho Jang Hyuk’s singing, so he gets first. Lisa was lots of fun to watch, and she’d fit right in with the other singers on the show, so she gets second. I deliberated a long time between Red Postbox and Park Hee Soo, but in the end I decided that the former were a tad more interesting. Taru’s arrangement was really good, but her vocals just don’t cut it, and this show is about strong singers, after all. I actually liked So Chan Whee’s performance overall, but I was least impressed by her arrangement, so she gets last.


Fabien: 1) Red Postbox 2) Taru 3) Lisa 4) Cho Jang Hyuk 5) Park Hee Soo 6) So Chan Whee

That’s how you can know for sure that a group has a good average level: each one of us have its own favorites and it becomes more difficult to make a ranking. I really let my heart speak for the first and second. Lisa and Cho Jang Hyuk are just the ones who meets the most the usual criterias of I Am A Singer. I didn’t really get into Park Hee Soo and So Chan Whee but that doesn’t mean they were bad. It’s just that they didn’t end up in the right group.


The Results

Top 3: Lisa, So Chan Whee, Cho Jang Hyuk

Anna: Very fair selection. I would’ve loved to see Taru in the top 3, but mostly for reasons other than her being a good singer.

Dahee: Not surprising, although I already feel sad for the other singers, who all did well, really.

Fabien: Ok, so I’m going outside in the middle of the night to shout out all my despair.

No. 1: So Chan Whee

Anna: This was quite expected. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more from her in a couple of weeks.

Dahee: Ehh. I’m fine with seeing more of her, but I feel like the audience didn’t really choose anyone who’ll show anything new or exciting for I Am A Singer. And wasn’t that the point of this audition process, really? Or maybe I’m just grumpy because I wanted to see more of Cho Jang Hyuk…

Fabien: Please, MBC, don’t ever let again the audience have a word on the next new singers, it will ruin all my interstate.

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