More Super December on I Am A Singer 2. Only five contestants left after the previous week, with Guckkasten continuing to compete to win the entire season. 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.
So Hyang – “나 항상 그대를” (Lee Sun Hee cover)
Anna: How sweet she looks and how pretty she sings! She looks so happy too! That’s a very contagious smile. After the previous week’s long screaming session I’m glad that she’s keeping it down a bit this time. Of course being So Hyang she can’t help but put a bit of it in anyway, but somehow it suites the arrangement fairly well.
Dahee: So Hyang has again chosen a song that’s perfect for her, and good for bringing out that sweet, sunny side of her personality. I’m not overly impressed by the arrangement, which sticks pretty close to the original, but I also think it’s an arrangement that understands the strengths of the original song, and sticks to them. I also like that she’s screaming less this week, and just seems to be having a good time. Well done.
Fabien: The interpretation may very well be without originality, she looks to have much pleasure taking on this song that I’m surprisingly won pver by it. She is constantly smiling, sometimes to the brink of laughing, and she’s having fun mimicking the lyrics. Of course, she once again demonstrates the power of her voice, but this time she also shows more shades of volume, sometimes even hiding the voice for a few seconds. Here’s a So Hyang who is a pleasure to see and hear, and a very enjoyable performance.
Park Wan Kyu – “Hello” (Lionel Richie cover)
Anna: This is nice! Nothing really extraordinary, but something that’d make a good extra number during a live concert. I love the inclusion of the theme from Love Story as a guitar solo. But this week again there’s something about his vocals, as if he’s taking himself too seriously before really having found the emotion that the song requires.
Dahee: I don’t know how to describe it in English, but in Korean we call it “노래를 맛있게 부른다.” Literally, his singing is delicious. He’s singing as though he’s speaking directly to you, like he’s telling you his story, and each word, each note holds meaning. I love that about him. This is a gorgeous arrangement, and the inclusion of the Love Story theme was kind of genius. His voice isn’t quite reaching those high notes again, but he seems to be aware of that and is being very careful, staying mostly in those lower notes where his voice’s charms really come out. And the way he says “I love you” at the end! I love you too, our cute little panther!
Fabien: Quite nice, but I’m probably not as impressed as my fellow commenters. Don’t take me wrong, the singing was very good, but I just didn’t find a special appeal to this performance. The problem is that I cannot really qualify this as more than nice, which is a bit disappointing considering that he’s among the best five contestants of the season. Actually my favorite part was the guitar solo.
The One – “바람이 분다” (Lee Sora cover)
Anna: The songs is good of course, but once again The One bores me to the point that I even forgot that I was watching this. Good vocals and all, yet there’s something missing for this to catch my interest. Or maybe I’ve just become too biased against him and my mind automatically starts wandering as soon as The One comes out…
Dahee: This was awful. Absolutely terrible. I am so disgusted right now. How can you take a brilliant masterpiece of a song like Lee Sora‘s “The Wind Is Blowing” and turn it into this heartless, overly dramatic, typical melodrama? How can you change up the lyrics and the rhythm at whim, and instead of focusing on what is most important for this song – that sense of quiet introspection and regret, of a person telling her very personal break-up story – focus on trying to impress listeners with your vocal gymnastics? What kind of arrangement is this? I am actually so angry right now. I was willing to give The One a chance, and think that maybe I’m being unfair with him, but this has just confirmed all of my worst suspicions. What he’s shown with this arrangement is a total lack of respect for the song that he arranged, and to the singer who sang it. He’s not singing from the heart, or from a place of musical integrity. I can’t agree with that kind of attitude.
Fabien: Let me tell you again how much The One is a pain in the ass every time I have to watch him and then comment about his performance. Congratulations to him, as he may have become my new demonish figure that represents the worst of the popular music. He’s exactly the kind of singers that I was afraid of having to listen to when I was going for the first time to Korea and didn’t know a single thing about the music there. Yes, I think he’s THAT One.
Lee Eun Mi – “너를 위해” (Yim Jae Bum cover)
Anna: When I learned that Lee Eun Mi had picked this song I got a bit weary, because I love the song but have been having a difficult time accepting most of Lee Eun Mi’s performances on the show. Turns out there was no need for that as she performances it extraordinarily well with the appropriate deep voice where necessary. Not that she’s doing anything in particular to change the song, and for once that might have been the right decision.
Dahee: I wonder why I’m never touched by Lee Eun Mi’s singing? I see all those tear-streaked faces in the audience, and I think, “What is my problem? Why aren’t I emotionally affected by this?” Maybe if I were right there in that audience and hearing her voice live, I would be moved. But sitting at home watching, I’m wincing a little at those super high notes, and thinking that there’s no emotional connection here. I remember getting teary when Yim Jae Bum sang it in the first season, but here, I feel nothing. Maybe it’s because she’s made the song so much more dramatic and is clearly trying to impress. Maybe I just tend to be more moved by the quieter arrangements. Whatever it is, I think she’s a great singer, and the arrangement wasn’t bad (even if it wasn’t great). But I’m not impressed.
Fabien: There is nothing in there that really moves me, overly dramatic for me, but I have to admit it’s a really good singing that should keep her safe until the next round.
Guckkasten – “넋두리” (Kim Hyun Sik cover)
Anna: The cello is very beautiful I’m really like the narration that comes after a while. But for a while I worried that Guckkasten would’ve somehow fallen into the track of plain ballads that has been so popular on the show. Halfway through the show that was not the case and my faith in Guckkasten has been restored.
Dahee: Aww, Park Wan Kyu was originally planning on singing this song for the first week of Super December, but he gave up on it and offered it to Guckkasten! That’s sweet. I actually think this song would have been the perfect fit for Park Wan Kyu, but if he can’t sing it, then Guckkasten is the second best choice. I love that they’re taking the song so seriously, and that Ha Hyun Woo is so concerned about doing his best to express the intricacies of it. This is a beautiful performance, helped along by a great song and a deliciously moody atmosphere. I think they showed with this that they’re capable of bringing not only the passion and energy to the stage, but also the heart. Well done!
Fabien: I think it’s a performance that should really appeal to the audience. The beginning is very sweet, and the mix between the cello and Ha Hyun Woo’s voice is quite good. But what I personally enjoyed more was the building-up since around the 2nd minute, when the guitars and bass are starting to back the whole arrangement. Maybe not an impressive performance, but still a good one that gives a glimpse of another facet of the band.
Lee Jung & Younha – “손에 손잡고” (Koreana cover)
Anna: It’s nice to hear Younha sing with a voice that’s a bit deeper than what she offered while sh was still competing. Lee Jung’s vocals are more strident in comparison so they don’t harmonize quite as well as the song requires, but even with just the two of them they do manage to get some of that community singing spirit.
Dahee: Nice special performance, although not exactly mind-blowing. I’m not a fan of this song and its nationalist, Olympics vibes, but Lee Jung and Younha are singing it well, and all the hand holding is kind of cute. I guess.
Fabien: Nice surprise! That’s the kind of songs they should have done when they were still competing. That makes me remember that Younha had the potential to be a strong contestant for the Super December.
Anna: 1) Guckkasten, 2) Lee Eun Mi, 3) So Hyang, 4) Park Wan Kyu, 5) The One
It was a race between Guckkasten and Lee Eun Mi for the first spot, but although I loved Lee Eun Mi’s performance I think Guckkasten had done more to the song and with that deserve it better. So Hyang gets third because I actually quite liked her performance today, more so than that of Park Wan Kyu, who did put up a pretty good performance but missed the target somewhat. Finally, The One, who in spite of good vocals and a good song failed to make anything interesting.
Dahee: 1) Park Wan Kyu 2) Guckkasten 3) So Hyang 4) Lee Eun Mi 5) The One
I deliberated between Park Wan Kyu and Guckkasten for a while, but in the end I decided that I liked Park’s arrangement more, plus he was just able to move me. (Also I feel like I give Guckkasten the top spot too often…) So Hyang undoubtedly did a good job today, for which she deserves recognition. Lee Eun Mi’s performance may have been the more dramatic one, but I think it actually suffered from that explosion of drama. And do I really need to explain how much I hated and despised The One’s performance?
Fabien: 1) So Hyang 2) Guckkasten 3) Lee Eun Mi 4) Park Wan Kyu 5) The One
In Korean, I can often hear people say 시원해 to say that something feels fresh, anew. That’s exactly the feeling I got when watching So Hyang’s performance. It didn’t take much to make a lot of difference: just a joyful face and an apparent carefree attitude towards the voting that proves the true pleasure she has to be singing and to be part of this TV show. She also made me hum the song for a whole day after watching her performance. For all of these reasons, there was no doubt that she had to come first in my ranking. The other contestant for whom I had not a single doubt on where to place is The One. The rest is quite common I think, as Guckkasten naturally come second and then come Lee Eun Mi and Park Wan Kyu. I had a similar feeling for all three of them so it’s more like a 3rd place ex-aequo.
No. 1: Lee Eun Mi
Anna: Not much of a surprise there. She deserved it.
Dahee: No surprise whatsoever. Not sure if she deserves it.
Fabien: For once that So Hyang would have deserved to get first… At least, it’s not The One.
Eliminated: Park Wan Kyu
Anna: I really had wanted to see him continue for a while longer. Was it the English, I wonder? I thought he’d be safe with this song as I was under the impression it was fairly popular in Korea.
Dahee: I am so sad right now. I knew he was going to be eliminated. It was obvious. But in my heart of hearts I was hoping The One would leave instead. Alas, that was not the case. He does not deserve to go. This is so unfair. But he actually seems pretty relieved about it – now he can rest, and prepare for his upcoming concerts and album, and get his voice into better condition. (Stop drinking and smoking so much! Listen to your doctor!) But as a fan, I am getting more and more frustrated with the results of this Super December. And next week’s duet mission sounds stupid. I’d rather have a special performance from Han Young Ae or Byun Jin Sub.
Fabien: At this point, I was already expecting that one of the good singers would leave. Of course, I would have wished that someone else would leave, out of pity for my mind. Let’s focus on the next week, which will be very important for Guckkasten as they have to face three singers that seem to have a huge fanbase. Let’s hope that the part of the audience that would have usually voted for Park Wan Kyu and Seo Moon Tak will give their votes to Guckkasten.