As an avid follower of Hunan TV’s “I Am A Singer” since its first season in 2013, I must say the show has come quite a long way. Though a singing show to promote lesser-known singers and re-glorify veteran singers, it has since then become a player of the music industry and risen to international prominence. Last year’s season brought together some of the most prominent singers of the industry.
This year, we have Coco Lee, Hacken Lee, Chief Chao, Shin, Lala Hsu, Hwang Chi Yeol 황치열, Grady Guan, and the HAYA Band joining the cast of singers.
“Wait,” you squint at the names above. “Isn’t there supposed to be 7 singers, not 8?” That’s because the producers changed the format of the show this year; in order to make the episode more intense, the first episode is a qualification round (8 into 7) for the actual I Am A Singer competition.
Other changes from previous seasons:
- The singers all got to see each other before the competition, which IMO made the episode less intense and surprising (similarly, the singers chose their “managers” prior to their performances)
- Rather than the exciting 立白 Libai Liquidy Soap, I Am A Singer is now brought to you by Satine Organic Milk. It honestly just lacks that ring.
- Why do I miss 赵子靓? >_< Sorry, 刘烨, but I prefer 赵子靓
Anyhow, the “Mango TV managers” (except Shin himself) drink from these fancy cups (?) vases(?) of Satine Organic Milk in their “Satine Moment” (ewh . . .) to reveal the order in which the singers will perform.
Hacken Lee, whom you might have seen on the Chinese version of King of Masked Singer last fall/summer, is this year’s emcee. Taking advantage of his Hong Kong background and his accented Mandarin, I’d say he does a nice job taking over after last year’s Leo Ku and Sun Nan. In fact, many might even be inclined to compare Hacken Lee and Leo Ku.
In my honest opinion here, a lot of the performances fell rather flat, so most of my commentary will inevitably be rather repetitive.
The first performance of the night is by the HAYA Band . . . and unfortunately, it fell rather flat. Rather than play it safe with one of their own songs (although considering how unknown the HAYA Band is it wouldn’t have made that big of a difference), they chose to cover《苍狼大地》.
As I have never heard the original (aside from that super short snippet right before they performed), I can’t say how well they did in terms of bringing the song justice. What I can say, however, is that the lead singer’s vocals lacked the depth to bring the performance out. From what I’ve heard (in terms of the performance), the general point of the band is to represent this great contrast between the low grubby voices of the backup singers/musicians and the main singer’s fresh, powerhouse vocals. Vocals which, unfortunately, weren’t all that powerhouse.
Otherwise, aside from a bit of apparent nervousness, HAYA Band managed to pull the performance off.
Next up was Korean singer Hwang Chi Yeol 황치열. With the exception of my parents, it seems that everyone within a 10-mile radius of me is riding the Hallyu wave these days — and the Chinese audience is no exception.
I mean, I guess he is sort of good-looking . . .? I guess?
He sang this Korean song titled《那个人》, and I forgot what it sounded like because it wasn’t a very memorable performance. While he does have good vocal technique, there was nothing special about his performance . . . because of the language barrier. Although I suppose if he followed in The One‘s footsteps and sang popular OST《那个男人》instead it would have totally been a different story.
Though I’ve always known who Coco Lee was, I was too young to have lived when she was in the height of her popularity. Which, I know, sounds extremely ridiculous coming from me, considering the age range of my favorite singers.
But apparently she is super popular, even if I’ve never heard anything by her. From what I gather she is like an older-generation Elva Hsiao (I don’t want to make comparisons here but it’s just so much easier to comprehend) . . . who is also an ABC?
She sang a more Western-influenced, R&B rendition of Harlem Yu’s rock song《想念你》. I think Harlem would have approved. However, despite its amazing arrangement, Coco’s performance itself was at best mediocre. And where would she have put that whistle register, anyway?
Hacken Lee sang his good friend/idol/my mom’s idol Alan Tam‘s classic《雾之恋》. This is definitely one of the better performances of this episode; his smooth voice is clearly suited for the appealing emotional ballads that the audiences just love tearing up to. It’s nothing particularly special, but I like it.
Chief Chao is known for his amazing vocals and is the original singer of Chinese classics such as《爱要怎么说出口》which he performed. Considering his age, his voice is AMAZING, though he’s evidently not quite in his prime anymore.
If this season of I Am A Singer turns out to repeat its past, 赵传 (Chief Chao) is probably going to be crowned King of Singers at the end. I approve.
Grady Guan, Guan Zhe, or 关喆 is known for the hit《想你的夜》and appearing on The Voice of China and some other singing competitions but not much else.
Here he wears his trademark hat, performing his own《如果分开我也爱你》. He does start off with a verse from his hit song, though.
Anyhow, despite Guan Zhe’s experience in singing contests, he was clearly the most nervous singer. It wasn’t a very good performance; he tried too hard to show off all these singing techniques he was capable of, from vibrato to portamento to a falsetto . . . and it was way too much.
I totally expected Lala to sing《身骑白马》but《失落沙洲》turned out to be a really good choice, too. As the champion of the Taiwanese singing show “One Million Star”, which brought out singers such as Aska Yang, Jam Hsiao, Yoga Lin, and Jess Lee, her live performance was naturally good.
It was a really good performance — easily the best performance of the night.
Lala was still nervous though — she sang some of the lyrics incorrectly, etc., and never really created a great climax this time.
(If you really don’t know who Lala Hsu is, you had better go down to TheLaLaBarChannel like now.)
Shin has appeared as a singer-helper not once but twice . . . and never did really well in his duets. Still, I had my hopes up, because I’ve heard some really good things about his voice before . . . and was really disappointed. >_<
THIS WEEK’S RANKING:
- Lala Hsu
- Hwang Chi Yeol
- Hacken Lee
- Chief Chao
- Coco Lee
- Grady Guan, HAYA Band (TIE)
As it turns out, no one was eliminated this round because Guan Zhe and the HAYA Band tied for seventh place!
Therefore, there will be two people who are eliminated next week — first, out of Guan Zhe and the HAYA Band, the one who ranks lower, and second, out of all seven remaining singers, the one who ranks the lowest overall.
That means that even if Guan Zhe and the HAYA Band rank first and second place next week, one of them is going to be eliminated. Eesh.
And finally, predictions~
- Both Guan Zhe and the HAYA Band will be eliminated. Sorry
- Coco Lee is going to have this epic comeback: since she was, at least, voted No. 1 among the singers, she gets to choose when she performs next week.
- Will Lala Hsu continue her winning streak? Depends on what songs she chooses. It’ll be interesting hearing her sing other artists’ songs. I hear she’s a big fan of the Queen Jolin, and I certainly do hope she will take risks and not sing just ballads. 😉
- Hwang Chi Yeul is gonna be really popular. Probably.
P.S. Finals are over next week, so I should be able to post more often now. 😉