I Am A Singer 2: November Group A

As of October Guckkasten has joined the rank of esteemed singers that will meet during I Am A Singer 2‘s Super December. As November kicks off one last spot is still open while Sinawe remains in competition. The latest episode showed performances from both Group A and Group B, and today our I Am A Singer 2 commentary series cover the first half of said episode with the second half scheduled to follow tomorrow. 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.



New Singer: –

Anna: What is this? No new singer this week? We’re getting more Sinawe this week so I’m still happy to watch the episode, but half the fun with I Am A Singer is finding out who else will join the competition and seeing what they do to with this new shot at popularity.

Dahee: I guess it wouldn’t make sense to have a new singer for November, since they wouldn’t have any time to get adjusted before jumping into Super December. And since Super December will be six weeks long (one singer eliminated each week), it makes even more sense. And apparently the four people who don’t make it to the Top 6 this week will be eliminated! Nooooo! Can we at least get some of them back in January? Or are the rumours that I Am A Singer will be taking yet another extended break to prepare for a third season true?


Lee Jung – “마도요” (Cho Yong Pil cover)

Anna: Horrible opening with the megaphone. And that sparkly glove inspired by Michael Jackson only serves to make his outfit look worse. When the song gets started it’s more fun and I’m enjoying the sort of nasal vocals his bringing this week. It seems he’s very well aware that this is his last shot at making it to Super December, but unfortunately the first very weak impression from the songs opening stays with me throughout so I’m not as impressed as I could’ve been.

Dahee: This fell a little flat for me. The arrangement was fine, but not overly exciting, and while the dancing was fun to watch, that was about the extent of it. He sings well and has good stage presence, but it lacked that punch that he was probably hoping for. All in all, a rather ordinary performance. Michael Jackson would have done it better.

Fabien: I’m not more interested in this than Dahee and Anna and I even found his attempt to imitate Michael Jackson pretty awkward. And when he asked the audience to shout his name…  The arrangement is catchy and the vocals pretty good despite that. But I’m absolutely not amazed.


Han Young Ae – “회상1” (Boohwal cover)

Anna: What a nice contrast after Lee Jung’s energetic performance! Still and beautiful, yet with a sense of drama brought on by Han Young Ae’s characteristic vocals. I usually have a difficult time accepting trumpets, but that muted trumpet sounds perfect here as it joins the piano in an otherwise very sparse arrangement. The strings that follow make it seem even more exquisite. Not that I have any hopes for the audience to be able to show appropriate appreciation, but this was very, very beautiful.

Dahee: “Memories I” is one of my favourite Boohwal songs ever. I must’ve heard it a million times. But Han Young Ae is singing it like it’s never been sung before. Now this is how you remake a Boohwal song. She GETS it. The way she’s emphasizing the lyrics is making me understand them in a way I never have before. Suddenly I feel like a bad Boohwal fan. How could I not have understood the lyrics like this sooner? I’m completely swept up in this, and by the end I’m on the verge of tears. Bravo, Han Young Ae. BRAVO!

Fabien: Han Young Ae is having fun and goes all crazy with an interpretation that is likely to not please the public, but it brings a lot of originality and emotions. The original song was already strong, but her version of Boohwal is monumental and gave me goosebumps. This is typically the kind of song that could be figure in a noir movie and that would me make fall in love with said movie.


Byun Jin Sub – “사랑” (Na Hoon Ah cover)

Anna: Some trot in the real I Am A Singer? Go Byun Jin Sub! This song is so nice and Byun Jin Sub does it very well, keeping some trot sentiments while still making it the kind of ballad that can be enjoyed by everybody. And he looks so adorable in that suit I want to see much, much more of him on this show.

Dahee: Oh, this was sweet. I was still feeling emotional from Han Young Ae’s performance, and that emotion leaked into my reception of this performance. It has Byun Jin Sub’s characteristic warmth, and while it goes on the verge of being cheesy a couple of times (especially with that flute), he manages to pull it off somehow. And I love that ending! A very comforting performance. I want to hug him.

Fabien: I’m not a fan of trot and there are several moments that seemed to be too cutesy, but performance remains very pleasant throughout, and is mostly driven by Byun Jin Sub’s charisma.


Kim Yeon Won – “1994년 어느 늦은 밤” (Jang Hye Jin cover)

Anna: Opening with just a cello is a great way to get on my good side. I’ll admit I wasn’t all that familiar with Jang Hye Jin prior to seeing her on the first season of I Am A Singer, but since I’ve really come to appreciate this song of hers in particular and I’m liking Kim Yeon Woo’s approach to it. Once other string instruments take over as lead instruments of the arrangement it feels a bit whiny, but Kim Yeon Woo continues to sing it well, even if he too felt a bit whiny when reaching for some of the higher notes. Not a bad performance at all, but it sort of pales in comparison with the two previous performances.

Dahee: HAHAHAHA! Kim Yeon Woo is wearing the exact same jacket that Jung Dong Ha wore during his first performance on Immortal Song 2! I am very amused by the contrast. Er, anyway. This was very nice. I’m liking the classical influence, and the fact that he’s not overdoing it, but still seems very emotional. It’s…controlled emotion? That’s what I like about Kim Yeon Woo, and he showed that strength of his very well today. It’s not extraordinary, but I certainly understood the emotions behind it. Well done.

Fabien: Another song already covered by Jaurim last year. I like this song, but this version seems too … soft. I have not felt so much emotion that the first time I heard this song, and nothing in the arrangement seems original enough to keep me interested.


Sinawe – “ 세상만사” (Songolmae cover)

Anna: Sinawe has recruited Pia’s Yang Hye Seung as drummer for tonight since Nam Goong Yon was too busy. This rock piece is a nice change of pace, but the arrangement doesn’t allow for Kim Bada to use the smooth and awesome vocals he got to show off last week which is a pity. The whole thing falls a bit flat compared to the wonders we’re used to hearing from Sinawe. Even so I hope this will be enough to get them into the top 3

Dahee: I think Nam Goong Yeon has left the band permanently, actually, because he’s so busy. :( This makes me sad. But Yang Hye Seung’s a great drummer, so I’m not overly worried. Anyway. I’m loving that opening! Their playing is just exquisite. Shin Dae Chul‘s guitar!! Oh god, I love him. Guhhh. I need to rewatch that guitar riff. Okay, this definitely isn’t their best performance, and it falls a little flat, but I was so swept up in the instrumentals that I didn’t really care. And Shin Dae Chul is so cute when he throws his guitar at the end and hugs Kim Bada! Those two are one adorable bromance. I could watch them forever.

Fabien: These instrumentals are really powerful, they establish by themselves an interesting atmosphere, and carry the voice of Kim Bada. I also find that it is far from their best performance, but it’s still a very good delivery thanks mainly to Shin Dae Chul’s guitar and Yang Hye Seung’s drums.


Personal Picks

Anna: 1) Han Young Ae, 2) Byun Jin Sub, 3) Sinawe, 4) Kim Yeon Woo, 5) Lee Jung

Han Young Ae and Byun Jin Sub both deserve the top spot this week, but since Byun Jin Sub’s performance felt a little more straightforward this week I’ll give it to Han Young Ae and her, as always, intriguing performance. I was about to put Kim Yeon Woo third, but even if he did well most of the time parts of the arrangement were quite annoying, so Sinawe came out much more even, even if I thought it a pity that we didn’t get to hear Kim Bada sing as well as he can. That leaves the last position for Lee Jung.

Dahee: 1) Han Young Ae 2) Byun Jin Sub 3) Sinawe 4) Kim Yeon Woo 5) Lee Jung

Wow, our choices are exactly the same this week, Anna! I think it’s pretty clear that Han Young Ae is first this week, and Byun Jin Sub is second. No competition. Sinawe gets third just because their playing was so fabulous, even if they really need to figure out how to bring the vocals more to the forefront. And Kim Yeon Woo was definitely better than Lee Jung in almost every single way.

Fabien: 1) Han Young Ae 2) Sinawe 3) Byun Jin Sub 4) Kim Yeon Woo 5) Lee Jung

For me too Han Young Ae easily reached first, but Sinawe steals the second place from Byun Jin Sub because of rock’n’roll. More seriously, it’s just that I have more in common with rock than the trot, and I love the music they produced this week.


The Results

Top 3: Lee Jung, Kim Yeon Woo, Sinawe

Anna: So at least Sinawe still have a shot at Super December. Such a pity for Han Young Ae, but at least she’s gained new appreciation among the (admittedly not very sizeable) crowd that is already into music of the more alternative kind. And I feel bad that Byun Jin Sub too

Dahee: Sometimes I wonder if the audience is made up of idiots and fools. I am absolutely disgusted by these results, even if I am very glad that Sinawe made it. They had better bring Han Young Ae and Byun Jin Sub back next year, is all I’m going to say. Disgraceful.

Fabien: Han Young Ae should maybe think of going to another TV show where her music can be appreciated better. I really can’t understand how Lee Jung could have made more impression in the audience than the sorrowful interpretation of her.

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