Singer-songwriter and more notably record producer 金志文 (Kim Ji-mun) joins “I Am A Singer” as the third and final “challenger singer”. Who knew this season would pass by so quickly? 😮
Prior to this season’s “I Am A Singer”, Hunan TV held this singing competition to determine their final “Challenger singer”; out of the 73 rookie singers who participated, Kim Ji-mun was crowned final champion. Impressive, no?
If you look at his romanized name, “Kim Ji-mun”, you might think he’s Korean; in fact, he has a Korean name (although anyone who has a Chinese name technically has a Korean name): 김지문. He’s not from Korea, but is of the Korean ethnic group, one of the many ethnic groups of China. Therefore, he’s actually well-versed in Korean and was telling Hwang Chi Yeol that . . . but they never ended up communicating in Korean? (However, if you want more relevant search results, you should probably search “Jin Zhi Wen” because he’s been active in the C-music industry but has nothing to do with K-pop.)
Despite being well-known in the C-music industry as a talented and prolific record producer, the stuff he’s released as an artist himself has been quite irrelevant, so to speak. In 2012, he was brought to the public eye when he joined Season 1 of “The Voice Of China” and even made it into the top 4. Afterward, he joined a bunch of other televised singing competitions but never had his meteoric rise to fame . . . until now? Hmm . . .
Poor, poor Hacken Lee is once again fated to perform first — this time with Fish Leong‘s hugely popular 《可惜不是你》. The original Mandopop hit is a quieter, more subtle song describing the regret yet thankfulness one feels parting with a lover; Hacken Lee tries to make it a “manlier” performance with the heavier band sound to make it sound all grand and whatnot.
The ultimate result is rather, er, schmaltzy and we all prefer the original anyway. Again, Hacken manages to twist this into a 90s Cantopop song — even though 《可惜不是你》 is a good ballad that would’ ve been suited for his voice. The end, when Hacken finally uses the subtlety of the original, is slightly better, but overall this was a mediocre and unmemorable performance.
Our favorite oppa Hwang Chi Yeol is here with another cover of a classic K-pop ballad. It’s evident that throughout the course of his performance, he gets more and more emotional until he literally starts crying-belting. Cry, oppa, cry. Cry, Chinese audiences, cry.
Joey Yung causes an influx of nose-bleeds with her sexy performance of Sammi Cheng‘s Cantopop hit 《煞科》. Despite making but little changes to the jazzy original, she still wins over the hearts of the audience. Because, well, look at this:
With Joey’s nearly perfect, smooth vocals, and sexy dancing — a change from her emotional ballads! — it really was a commendable performance. However, I felt as if the song itself was too flat; still, Joey’s performance definitely deserved its placement in the top three.
Elvis Wang sings his sexy-voice version of “Autumn Leaves” for his returning performance. A bit over-done, if you ask me, but it really does suit his voice.
Unlike previous seasons, singers haven’t been exploring the regions of English pop songs — until Coco Lee decided to sing Sam Smith‘s “Stay With Me”. Backed by a choir and three backup vocalists, Coco wows audiences with this soulful version; she even has a twist at the end, if you’re interested. 😉
The truth is, however, despite all her note beltings and whistle registers and whatnot, all this technique resulted in lack of emotion that made this song credible in the first place. It’s a good cover until you consider the original.
However, for the average Chinese audience, who doesn’t listen to Western music, this is probably amazing. “I mean Coco Lee here is so international and she is singing an English song and has backup vocalists from America like ohmygoodness.”
Singing AMIT (A-Mei Music is Transformed)’s《相爱后动物感伤》, Lala Hsu sparks great controversy with her performance and ultimate ranking. You can listen to the original here.
If I was one of those Tumblr bloggers, I would probably post the video with a caption such as: “I don’t know. I liked it.” And I really did, the same way I’ve enjoyed Lala’s other performances thus far.
Hunan TV actually opened the episode with the director announcing Lala’s ranking at 7th place because . . . drama. If this week’s Challenger Singer were to make it into the top four, then Lala was going to be eliminated. 😦
However, this “dramatic premise” somewhat darkened my mood throughout the entire episode and again, I really liked Lala’s performance.
While AMIT’s original, a good representation of Mandarin indie music, exudes a feeling of emptiness, that sort of thing, while nice to listen to in the car or at home, isn’t cut for the singing competition. Lala clearly realized this; Lala’s and AMIT’s versions start at that basic acoustic guitar, but both go off in very different directions. Through incorporating a bit of rock, Lala Hsu’s performance builds up the passion as she goes deeper and deeper into the song. Yet every time she reverts back to the beautiful subtle nuances of her voice, which should have deepened the audience’s impression of her performance, and it definitely stuck to a more conventional route that mainstream audiences should enjoy. The audience looked as if they were enjoying themselves, anyway.
I actually mulled over Lala’s unfair ranking for quite a while, even reading through comments and asking other people why. To summarize, these were the factors that supposedly caused her lower ranking:
Lala Hsu lacks stage presence, and her outfit was ugly. But I actually thought her outfit was really cute! How could you guys not want to squish her adorable cheeks and gush at her awkwardly cute hand motions?
Her performances are lacking. For example, Joey Yung did some nose-bleed worthy sexy dancing and Coco Lee got an entire choir backing her.
And it’s not fair, nor will it ever be. While “I Am A Singer” is a singing competition, people will naturally levitate towards the physically more appealing or visually more memorable performances — even though Lala is an accomplished singer-songwriter, not an idol.
And finally, the conspiracy theory: the voting system is rigged. Obviously.
It seems as if Chinese netizens love coming up with conspiracy theories, because China and censorship, am I right? The consensus here is that they don’t accept rock and roll because it’s a more rebellious genre of music. Given the context of this season, such as all the rock singers’ eliminations, it’s true that they really do prefer other genres. So . . . I don’t know, really.
On the other hand, this performance is seriously addictive.
Jeff Chang sings 朴树‘s 《平凡之路》or something sophisticated-sounding like “Road of Normalcy”; he specially invites three, er, large singers, orders large drums, etc. for his large-scale performance so that he can get a large number of votes. That, which, he really did.
I must say — his “large” backup singers deserve an honorable mention for being such amazing vocalists. However, I feel as if Jeff Chang himself didn’t really put much feeling into the soulful song and kind of just sang everything — except for when he segued into “See You Again”.
So, really, listen for the backup singers and Jeff Chang’s “See You Again”.
金志文 takes his dream stage with his uniquely altered rendition of the traditional Chinese song 《往事只能回味》, which is the stuff of my parents’ childhoods. This performance clearly showed his prowess as a talented music arranger and producer, as it completely deviated from the original, only retaining the bare melody and lyrics, yet still sounded amazing.
Kim Ji-mun himself does a good job singing it, with a stable voice, good vocal technique, and emotion. Yet his performance also reveals why he’s never made it big: he has one of the most generic-sounding, unmemorable voices. And he doesn’t have the beautiful face of an idol.
It’s honestly not his fault, because a unique voice is sort of hereditary. But I still thought the performance should’ve at least landed him a spot in the competition (yet I need Lala in, too :/).
Yet maybe this might be a blessing in disguise. I understand that after years of working behind-the-scenes, he yearns to be in the spotlight. But 金志文 is such a nice and innocent guy. Entering the murky waters of scandal-filled showbiz? Probably not suited for him, and I would definietly be heartbroken. I mean, he’s the guy who accidentally goes off the stage the wrong way and then trips over an extension cord trying to go back.
THIS WEEK’S RANKING:
- Jeff Chang
- Coco Lee
- Joey Yung
- Hwang Chi Yeol
- Hacken Lee
- Kim Ji-mun 金志文 (Eliminated)
- Lala Hsu
P.S. The feels 😥