I Am A Singer 2: Singer of October

The final October episode of I Am A Singer 2 was quite the treat with both Guckkasten and Sinawe fighting to make it to the grand finale in December as we continue our commentary series. 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.




Lee Young Hyun – “너를 위해” (Yim Jae Bum cover)

Anna: This song is always so beautiful, but I’ve feel like we’ve already heard it several times before on I Am A Singer. I thought it quite uninteresting at first, but as soon as she reaches the refrain my eyes get all moist. Not a fan of the saxophone though. And once I’ve recovered from the first occurrence of the refrain I’m back to being underwhelmed. Maybe she did it very well, but to me it doesn’t sound as good as I’m used to hearing this song.

Dahee: Eww, what’s with the cheesy saxophone? This is a great song, and Im Jae Bum‘s performance of it in the first season is so legendary that no one can touch it, really. In that sense, it’s a daring song choice. But I don’t like how she’s arranged it. It’s like, adult contemporary music. Something your mom would listen to while in the bath and reading Fifty Shades of Grey. It does get better towards the end, and her vocals are very impressive. But it lacks that emotional punch that I loved so much from Im Jae Bum. Still, an entertaining performance, as always.

Fabien: It is very difficult for me to go beyond the musical arrangement, again all this lack of finesse. Lee Young Hyun does well vocally, but I was not at any time affected by this interpretation. I’m at the point where, for me, it’s just one more ballad coming from her, and this doesn’t wake in me any interest. But neither am I a fan of Yim Jae Bum, actually.


Younha – “붉은 노을” (Lee Moon Sae cover)

Anna: Another song that has been covered too many times before. From the quick previews I thought I’d be disliking this version as well, but I’m actually really enjoying it. It sticks fairly close to the original, only having it updated slightly, but what makes it so much fun is Younha’s cheerful and fun stage antics. I can’t recall hearing her sound like this before either, more mature than usual yet still young. And by the end she’s gotten everybody all excited, myself included. Very well done!

Dahee: Younha looks so young here! And the way she’s doing those hand gestures reminds me of kindergarteners who are forced to learn hand movements to go along with the song they’re performing at the annual school Christmas concert. It’s awkward. Cute, but awkward. And the arrangement is pretty much like every arrangement of this song ever. I was bored throughout most of it, but then when she hit that climax and repeated the lyrics over and over again, it finally won me over. Great vocals from her. In the end, it was cute and fun, but nothing extraordinary.

Fabien: The choice of song as well as its arrangement is not original, but I really enjoyed this performance thanks to the casual look of Younha. I don’t know if it is because she has lost all hope of victory against competitors as serious, but she seems to approach this song naturally with a lot of fun. She is dressed in every day’s clothes, has a lot of energy on stage, dances a little without taking herself too seriously. And yet she demonstrates once again excellent voice quality. I was taken away by her energy, and especially the end with its rock-rhythm rearrangement was interesting, maybe this could have been exploited earlier.


Guckkasten – “누구 없소” (Han Young Ae cover)

Anna: I feel like I’ve waited so long for this! Guckkasten start off with the Bond main theme, keeping things current. As they continue it’s not a style of music that really appeals to me, but by now I’ve grown such immense appreciation for Ha Hyun Woo’s vocals I’m enjoying it anyway. Intriguing and perfectly executed, as always when it comes to Guckkasten

Dahee: SO MUCH FUN! The inclusion of the James Bond theme was sheer genius! I love that Ha Hyun Woo tried to dress up like a secret agent (and failed, lol), and I love that breathy vocal beginning. And the gun at the end! Somehow they surpass the possible cheesiness of all these choices and just make it fun and entertaining. The piano interlude by AEV was lovely, too. Ahhh, I need to watch this again!

Fabien: I love the great concept of this interpretation. Transform a Han Young Ae song into an opening song from an episode of James Bond, this is unheard of and even a little crazy. Obviously, they tried to benefit at the same time from the enthusiasm for the secret agent while the film was just released in theaters. I laughed too much seeing Han Hyun Woo who tried to disguise himself as Daniel Craig (hence the blonde wig …). He announced in the pre-performance interview that they sought to pleases the audience with a popular performance, and I think it’s mission accomplished. I’m not entirely conquered as it falls quickly in repetition, but I appreciate the addition of Korean Jazz Orchestra and the originality.


Sinawe – “제발” (Deulgukhwa cover)

Anna: Lovely arrangement! For once we get to actually hear Kim Bada. If I didn’t know any better I’d think this was The Butterfly Effect and not Sinawe because of the focus on the vocals. But then of course Shin Dae Chul offers a bit of a guitar solo, as usual. Maybe not the most Sinawe performance they’ve offered so far, but a very, very nice one anyway.

Dahee: This song is so beautiful, and I respect it even more for the message against censorship and the desire to be free. I watched that Come To Play episode with Deulgukhwa, and I cried along with Yoo Jae Seok while watching them perform this song. Sinawe doesn’t rearrange the song much, except for little bits here and there. But Kim Bada is doing a wonderful job, especially at that moment when he’s almost singing acapella and it seems that he gets choked up while saying “Love me please.” A lovely performance.

Fabien: The interpretation is very touching as it should be, and it mainly comes from the lyrics, but also from the vocals, at the same time powerful and fragile. It also makes me happy that the voice of Kim Bada is thus enhanced.


Seo Moon Tak – “Butterfly” (Loveholics cover)

Anna: This is more like the Seo Moon Tak I had expected to see on the show! Interesting song choice, but it works very well for her. Harlequin guitarist Pyo Geon Soo not only arranged the song put also shares the stage with her. Not much has been done to the song itself, but it was already a very good fit for her so she can be excused this time. Awesome ending!

Dahee: I admit I’m not a big fan of Loveholics – I loved the original Loveholic, and think that their music has taken a bit of a dip since Jisun left the group. I’m also not a fan of this song. But Seo Moon Tak is doing it complete justice, and understanding the point of it and its message. That guitarist is so cute! Not a big fan of the narration near the end, though, which is such an obvious ploy for tears. Still, it’s a fun, inspiring, powerful performance. And her vocals were on fire!

Fabien: I also stopped being interested in Loveholic once left Jisun them and they added an S to their name. But this song made a good impression with me at the time, even if it has a “charity song” feeling with its collection of singers and its message. Seo Moon Tak makes it excellently up-to-date, thanks to her impressive voice, much more engaging than the patchwork of the original version, and a rock arrangement that fits well.


Lee Jung – “그 날들” (Kim Gwang Seok cover)

Anna: Another rock ballad arrangement! He sings it very well and it’s all very beautiful. And wow! That long, long, long note (or not really since he did change notes while still holding that… something… my vocabulary fails me right time). Amazing! Proves that he’s a very good fit for the show.

Dahee: Another Kim Gwang Seok song! How many have been covered this season so far?? It feels like a lot. Anyway, I adore this song, just like I adore pretty much every Kim Gwang Seok song ever. Lee Jung is right in that those two lines in the lyrics (“If I must forget, I wish it was possible to forget”) are the most moving ones. And I love how emotional he is during this performance – when he choked up at the end I was holding my breath and focused completely on him. It’s a lovely performance, and a nice arrangement. Well done.

Fabien: He manages to break this song with a lot of doubts that I had about it. It actually has vocal power necessary to earn his place. I was not particularly excited, but I totally understand those who are. The arrangement also showed some nice touches.


The One – “지난 날” (Yoo Jae Ha cover)

Anna: Catchy and fun. Are those some of his students joining him on stage? He sings well as usual and I’m enjoying the 90’s flashbacks I’m getting from this performance.

Dahee: Eww, what is this?? Those back-up dancers are hurting my eyes. And what’s with that sudden rap part?? SO out of place and poorly done. I really hope he won’t be subjecting us to performances like this in December…


Personal Picks

Anna: 1) Younha, 2) Guckkasten, 3) Sinawe, 4) Seo Moon Tak, 5) Lee Jung, 6) Lee Young Hyun

So many great performances this week! It’s only really Lee Young Hyun that does not deserve first place, and that just because she picked a song that was better than her. For once I don’t put Guckkasten first. It’s partly because their arrangement was not my style, and partly that Younha surprised me a great deal today, by the end of her performance making me even happier than the original ever managed. I’m placing Guckkasten over Sinawe since they had done more with the arrangement. And I’m placing Sinawe over Seo Moon Tak since I think they did more to the song. And finally placing Seo Moon Tak over Lee Jung since it was so good to finally see and hear her in her right element.

Dahee: 1) Guckkasten 2) Seo Moon Tak 3) Sinawe 4) Lee Jung 5) Younha 6) Lee Young Hyun

What a surprisingly great week! I’m in shock. Guckkasten is still first for me, though, because that performance was just so fun and imaginative. Seo Moon Tak gets second just because she was also fun and very impressive vocally. I prefer Sinawe’s low-key arrangement over Lee Jung’s more dramatic one, if only because it feels like less of a cliche on this show. I didn’t particularly care for either Younha or Lee Young Hyun’s performances, but Younha gets the upper hand just because of the climax to her song.

Fabien: 1) Seo Moon Tak 2) Younha 3) Sinawe 4) Guckkasten 5) Lee Jung 6) Lee Young Hyun

This week, I would not really want to be part of the audience, because the choice looks really difficult. Between last week and this, the general level of I Am A Singer has greatly improved. There are four participants who I liked very much, and the other two were not bad either, but they are just not to my taste. Seo Moon Tak surprised me with the choice of song, but also because I find the cover better than the original. I hesitated to put Younha first because I loved her attitude, one of her finest performances as she has remained simple and sincere, while maintaining a impressive and mature voice. Sinawe then receive my preference because I was touched by the song. Guckkasten find themselves in fourth place, to my great regret also because usually I would put them first with this type of performance. It was a very good level, it’s just that I expected maybe more of them.


The Result

No.6: Younha

Anna: I couldn’t see either Younha or Sinawe in the bottom, but given my initial reservations for Younha’s song pick I suppose I can sorta see why she’d end up there.

Dahee: I’m not surprised to see Younha here, but my heart broke to see Sinawe get fifth place. They don’t deserve it! Shin Dae Chul looks super disappointed. :(

Fabien: The competition was too strong, I’m really sad for both of them, but they shouldn’t feel shame for this. It’s not because they come in the two last ranks that they had poor performances. But the 0% of votes from the guest audience for Younha is particularly disappointing.


No.1: Guckkasten

Anna: Finally!!! Of course it’d be the one time I did not put them first myself, but I’m so super happy for them! Now I’ve got something to look forward to in December too. And this gives Sinawe the perfect window to make Super December in November. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Dahee: AHHHH!!!! I’m SO happy about this! Oh my god, you have no idea how nervous I was that Seo Moon Tak would beat them. They beat her by a margin of eight votes! EIGHT! While Seo did well this week, I don’t think she deserves to go to Super December, and it would have been such a shame if Guckkasten didn’t make it. YES! Suddenly Super December is looking a lot more interesting!

Fabien: That’s a relief !! It was not my favorite cover by far, but I can’t hide my joy to see them graduating to the next level. That Super December now sounds very exciting. And not only will we be given many news songs by them in December, but they will also be allowed a free performance next month. But I also feel bad for Seo Moon Tak, it must be distressing to lose by eight votes. Now I’m confused, as I would like her, but also Younha and Sinawe to get the very last ticket next month.


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