I Am A Singer 2: September Elimination

September is nearing an end that it’s time for yet another singer to get eliminated from I Am A Singer 2. We continue to cover the show, now not just because of Guckkasten but also because we have  Sinawe to look forward to. 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.



The One Focus

Anna: He’s got some big time friends, The One. Now Bae Yong Joon has been sending him text messages.

Dahee: How does he know all of these people??

Fabien: The drama world is like one big family!


Sinawe – “나 어떡해” (Sand Pebbles cover)

Anna: This is one of those songs that always work. Very good choice. And Sinawe is taking it up a notch extra. I’m loving the start of this. Shaun of The Koxx is there to play synth with them again and helps give Sinawe a really up to date sound. This time Kim Bada’s vocals can be heard better. The ajummahs dancing – so cute!! And that guitar solo from Shin Dae Chul was fierce!!! Gate Flowers are in the audience and headbang. The band is doing super super awesome and Kim Bada can be heard singing very well. Fantastic performance. So energetic. All the way through. The audience loved it. I want to watch this again. Right now.

Dahee: I can’t believe they changed their song two days before the performance and arranged this one in such a short period of time! I would never have realized if they hadn’t said so. And OH MY GOD THEY ARE SO AMAZING I CAN’T EVEN AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! *takes a deep breath* Okay, now that I got that out of my system…OH MY GOD THAT WAS SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD I CAN’T HANDLE IT AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! *rewatches 20 times*

Fabien: Ok, so, first, before watching this episode, I wanted to check on Naver the results to know if Sinawe was eliminated, which was my fear. When I saw the title of the song they covered, I got so excited I HAD to watch it right away. I always remember the song from the first time I watched Lee Chang-dong’s Peppermin Candy (here is the song), the melody was stuck in my head for 6 years already. Found Sinawe’s version on Internet, and I watched it 5 times in a row. With this kind of performance, one can only think they’re true living legends! The way they managed to keep the original feeling of the song while making it up with a contemporary sound is amazing. Not only is it true hard rock, this is also an overpowered and epic take on that poignant song. The vocals perfectly fit to the music, and there is an overall energy that I don’t remember having seen in I Am A Singer for a long time. Sinawe instantly takes the lead in my personal peak, and it’ll be VERY hard to move them out. Also, I love the unbelieving and worried faces of Byun Jin Sub and Seo Moon Tak.


Park Sang Min – “이별의 끝은 어디인가요” (Yang Soo Kyung cover)

Anna: He’s just gonna give us another standard ballad? Of course it’s pretty with the strings and all, and he sings well as usual, but I can’t recall when Park Sang Min last showed us something different. It’s only when the arrangement takes the rock ballad direction that it gets more interesting to me, but it’s too little too late. If this had been the first I’d seen of Park Sang Min I would’ve likely liked it plenty, but now I just wish he could’ve done something different.

Dahee: Park Sang Min’s doing his usual thing, but upgraded. I’m impressed by the arrangement, and think he utilized those strings, that piano, those drums, and that guitar solo to great effect. I like this better than a lot of his performances on the show so far…but he still isn’t doing anything really different, and I’m getting very impatient with him for that. More than anything, this program has shown what a limited singer he is, artistically speaking.

Fabien: Hahaha, poor Park Sang Min who has to take the following of Sinawe. Going with a ballad song, even if it’s yet another one from him, is maybe a smart strategy after a strong rock song. But it doesn’t work with me. Even the electric guitar’s score sounds boring, and the violins are once more useless. What is worse is that I can hear the technical limits of his voice. I wish he would come back to what he was used to do before: imitating Bobby Kim. But I don’t think he’ll have much time left to try to change…


Jung Yup – “매일 그대와“(Choi Seong Won cover)

Anna: Look at all the girls in the audience, so excited to see Jung Yup! Unlike that Sand Pebbles song, this is a song that while also covered frequently is usually more of a miss than a hit. Microkid ruined it for me already five years ago, so although I can hear that the arrangement is pretty nice and smooth with Jung Yup offering a good vocal performance it just doesn’t work for me. It’s really silly how sometimes I just can’t see past the song choice…

Dahee: This was very sweet. Jung Yup continues to show improvement with this week, even if it’s not as fun and experimental as his last performance. I loved the gradual climax, the chorus, the piano…I was less enthused by the ending, but it was still very serviceable. A good arrangement, and good vocals, too, without too much falsetto. Great job!

Fabien: I’m not a fan of this song, but this interpretation is good enough. I can see why the audience enjoys it, especially the girls. The vocals are weak, but it creates a lovely atmosphere. The musical arrangement is sweet and not oppressive as many other attempts to move the audience.


Han Young Ae – “ …라구요 (Kang San Eh cover)

Anna: For some reason it seems the songs already covered by Jaurim are the most popular to cover again on I Am A Singer. Han Young Ae offers a very different arrangement that suits her well. At least until it got a bit of tempo. No, at first I thought Han Young Ae would offer another stunning, underappreciated performance, but this time she can’t convince me either. Had she kept the more sparse setting from the beginning I would’ve loved it alas that part was over much too fast.

Dahee: Very warm, comforting performance. And more mainstream than usual for her. I love Han Young Ae so much. The piano throughout this arrangement was just lovely. It feels like she’s not trying to get first – this kind of arrangement isn’t really the kind that’ll guarantee a high ranking. She just wanted to tell this story. And that’s lovely. She deserves all the respect in the world. Also, listen to your doctor and rest your voice, please!

Fabien: I’ll always have a profound respect for any singer who decide to cover Kang San Eh. The arrangement is very light, the focus is put on the vocals. Which is not a bad thing, as she really interprets the song, taking an uptone score for a verse, separating the syllables for the next one, talking for another one. There is no wow effect in this cover, but given her handicap this week, this is pretty well done.


Seo Moon Tak – “미안해요” (Kim Gun Mo cover)

Anna: Seo Moon Tak treats us to more of her strong vocals in a ballad setting. While I could very well imagine Kim Gun Mo singing it with the same background music, Seo Moon Tak’s vocal performance is vastly different, going more for power than subtlety. I would’ve appreciated if she’d held back some, but at least the audience was persuaded by this.

Dahee: There was nothing overly special about this arrangement. But the song is beautiful, and the lyrics are lovely. And Seo Moon Tak’s vocal performance, not to mention her emotions, made this work. I got a tad choked up myself watching it. Lovely stuff.

Fabien: Could have been much better with a little restraint in the vocals, but it was interesting enough to keep me watching. She has powerful vocals, the arrangement was good enough, but I’m not fond of this song, and it’s overall easily forgettable. Also, I’m a bit annoyed by the concept of bringing the singer’s mother in her lodge only to make us cry.


Byun Jin Sub  – “세월이 가면” (Choi Ho Seob cover)  

Anna: The acoustic guitar in the beginning is just so lovely! Byun Jin Sub sings with perfect moderation. No exaggerations, yet a strong voice when the song requires it. But that saxophone is just too cliché. And once the instruments get a bigger space, Byun Jin Sub has to put more power behind his vocals and the perfection from the beginning is all lost.

Dahee: This fell a little flat for me. I don’t know why, but as soon as he started singing I got all melancholy and started thinking of other things, and had to force myself to pay attention to the performance. He sang very well, but the arrangement isn’t quite as good this week, and feels more like a standard I Am A Singer arrangement. Still, I do love this song, and there’s still that wonderful warmth that he brings to every performance.

Fabien: I totally agree about the first part, it’s a nostalgic yet pleasant mood conveyed by the warm vocals. Then it becomes a bit cheesy and the usual crowd-pleaser product labelled I Am A Singer. The end is spoiled with an uninspired crescendo that bored me.


Lee Eun Mi – “세월이 가면” (Park In Hee cover)

Anna: Lee Eun Mi offers a brief impromptu a cappella performance of another “세월이 가면”. Very nice.

Dahee: Lovely.

Fabien: Such a cappella performance would be an instant win if one constant had the guts to try!


Personal Picks

Anna: 1) Sinawe, 2) Byun Jin Sub, 3) Park Sang Min, 4) Jung Yup, 5) Seo Moon Tak, 6) Han Young Ae

This week I think all of the performances showed some potential, but it was only Sinawe that made it all the way. They were something like two or two and a half times better than everybody else this week so of course they get first. The rest were far more difficult to rank since they all failed me in one way or another, but Byun Jin Sub managed to stay on my positive side for the longest so he’s second. Park Sang Min may have bored me by not offering anything new, but he did do well. And though I can’t really stand the song, I can still recognize that Jung Yup did better than both Seo Moon Tak and Han Young Ae. Seo Moon Tak in turn was a bit too much, but I really didn’t like the shift in Han Young Ae’s arrangement so unfortunately I’ll give her the bottom placement this time.

Dahee: 1) Sinawe 2) Jung Yup 3) Han Young Ae 4) Seo Moon Tak 5) Byun Jin Sub 6) Park Sang Min

This was a good week. But Sinawe were obviously in first place for me. They blew everyone else out of the water. I actually enjoyed the other five performances at more or less equal levels, so arranging them into groups was very hard. In the end I decided that I was most impressed by Jung Yup’s arrangement out of those five, so he gets second. Han Young Ae wasn’t as good as she usually is, but I was still pretty captivated by her. Seo Moon Tak gets fourth simply because she showed that she’s capable of making a song work by her vocals alone, despite a ho-hum arrangement. And Byun Jin Sub gets the upper hand over Park Sang Min simply because I’m really very tired of Park at this point.

Fabien: 1) Sinawe 2) Han Young Ae 3) Byun Jin Sub 4) Jung Yup 5) Seo Moon Tak 6) Park Sang Min

Was there any other choice than Sinawe for the first place? They were in a totally different world compared to the other singers, they would have become without any doubt this month’s winners hadn’t they failed the selection in Group A. This is a cover I want to keep listening to long after the end of this episode (which I’m actually already doing right now!). Besides them, this is more a ranking going from the least to the most disappointing, and with my own arbitrary opinion. But the only one who would deserve to be kicked out is Park Sang Min. I’ve gotten so used to his boring arrangements that I always have the urge to pass his performance.


The Results

Top 2: Sinawe, Seo Moon Tak

Anna: Good to see the audience vote for Sinawe even though they were the first out. Maybe it’s that I’m used to hearing the song Seo Moon Tak sang so differently that I couldn’t appreciate her power display as much as the audience did.

Dahee: YAY for Sinawe! And no surprise with Seo Moon Tak being up here, considering all those teary faces that were in the audience.

Fabien: The opposite would have been an insult to Sinawe.

No.1: Sinawe

Anna: Yes!!! They really deserved it this time and it’s a nice revenge getting first after ending up in the bottom three after the first performance on the show. I’ll look forward to at least another couple of performances more from this legendary band.

Dahee: YES!!! I was SO happy about this. Look at Shin Dae Chul giggling!!

Fabien: Amazing!! After Lee Young Hyun and The One, Sinawe managed to come out first while performing first! Except that this time, it’s well deserved ! ^^

Eliminated: Jung Yup

Anna: No! Admittedly I didn’t like what he was up to this week, but unlike Park Sang Min at least he still tries different things every now and then.

Dahee: I know Jung Yup hasn’t had the best or most interesting run on I Am A Singer 2. But he did NOT deserve to go this week. He didn’t even deserve to be in the bottom six. This is SO unfair, and it’s actually making me angry, not to mention sad. What, because his arrangement was softer he doesn’t deserve to stay? Give me a break. I’m thoroughly disgusted by this result.

Fabien: This is very surprising! I thought he would always be protected from elimination thanks to the effect he has on the audience. It’s all the more regretful that his last two performances were the better ones he did on I Am A Singer. Looks like the audience would have prefered him to stick to the plain ballad songs. Which is exactly what Park Sang Min is doing…

Dahee: It’s times like this when I seriously consider becoming a misanthrope.


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