Which is why Hwang Chi Yeol is here?
Also featuring a “Bad Boy”, a “Bad Romance”, and more bad performances from our beloved singers.
Faced with the last elimination round of the season, the singers finally give it their everything and come out with an amazing episode.
Hwang Chi Yeol sings Baek Ji Young‘s popular OST《像中枪了一样》or “Like Being Hit By a Bullet” for this week’s opening performance — one of his best of the season, in fact. You can listen to the original here. The rock ballad perfectly suits his kimchi voice, which for once wasn’t overly done or excruciatingly emotional. This, I must say, is one of the very first Korean songs I’ve heard that truly “crossed the language barrier”.
Coco Lee‘s outfit . . . what are we supposed to be looking at again? (Her crotch, apparently. 😶)
Despite her, err, interesting outfit, out of this week’s performances, for me Coco’s was the least memorable and rather mediocre. As I’m not really a big fan of Lady Gaga‘s original “Bad Romance”, it was kind of hard for me to really bring myself to like this. She made few differences to the original, which if you ask me sounds rather flat and boring. And, okay, she did do some hardcore twerking in the middle, but I mean it’s twerking.
Chinese audiences, especially her fans, really liked this, though. It showed Coco as an “international goddess”, no? Honestly, though? Eww, no.
When I left the bookstore, I left an umbrella, hoping that the one who brought it home was you.
If last week’s “Remember” was typical of “The Prince of Love Ballads” Jeff Chang, this week’s Cantonese number 《这么远那么近》(penned by Leslie Cheung and Wyman Wong) is completely far off from your expected Jeff Chang performance.
And my goodness, but what a performance. If you only listened to one performance per episode, this is definitely the one to go for. Complete with perfectly timed soliloquies, stellar opera singing, and Jeff’s epic arm motions, this was definitely one to remember.
Aside from the pure perfection Jeff showed audiences this week, this song itself is clearly one to be reckoned with. It theatrically observes the state of meaningless longing, and Jeff’s performance perfectly encapsulated such. Different, yes, but definite and defiant. (Chinese audiences, you guys suck.)
Lao Lang performs the whimsical and nostalgic 《冬季校园》, and even invites music producer Gao Xiaosong to join in the singing and “rapping”.
Gao Xiaosong, who studied at the prestigious Tsinghua University, is the sort of [person? celebrity?] who dabbles in just about everything, from all the history and literature podcasts my mom listens to to directing films and writing/producing music. He also happens to *used to be* majorly shipped with Lao Lang, so there’s that.
While this performance was completely different from the other perfectly orchestrated and dramatic numbers, I really like how soothing this was. Especially after the opera singing from Jeff Chang’s last performance, something comforting and nostalgic such as this was a really great “intermission” for my ears. Even though it doesn’t sound like something from a singing competition, I feel like if it’s as good as this it honestly doesn’t have to.
Anyone familiar with Chinese music knows that the phrases “一无所有” (“Nothing To My Name”) and “Lala Hsu” don’t go together. So when Lala Hsu really does cover Cui Jian‘s age-old “Nothing To My Name”? Well . . .
The moment Lala walked on stage, it was clear that she wasn’t going to be the Lala Hsu we all knew — at least for the five minutes she was on stage.
Though I was seriosuly worried that this might go terrribly wrong, it was clear that Lala did her homework; she completely went off from the original arrangement, instead using elements of traditional Taiwanese folk singing to express the meaning.
Though “Nothing To My Name” was once banned and disapproved of, especially for its rebellious nature and its time, it’s actually what also got Cui Jian honored as “The Father of Chinese Rock”, and has actually been covered quite a lot on singing shows these days. On “I Am A Singer” itself, it’s already been covered three times.
One of the major differences Lala also made was her interpretation of the lyrics, making it seem more of a love declaration than a declaration for justice. I’m still on the fence over whether I really like this or not, but it was definitely good.
Despite breaking her [ligament in her] foot, Joey Yung insists on getting up and dancing to A-Mei’s “Bad Boy” — yes, the one everyone has heard before. You can listen to the original here.
While there’s honestly not much I can say about the performance, this was seriously good — the vocals and dancing were all perfectly on point, and Joey really did emulate her inner international goddess. Besides, there really is a reason for “Bad Boy”‘s ridiculous popularity. Rather polished, but definitely deserving of praise for Joey’s efforts.
In this week’s episode of “I Am A Singer”, Hacken Lee doesn’t know how to sing. Wait, what? No, he sings his own 《我不会唱歌》, which translates to “I Don’t Know How To Sing”. Though I’m sort of confused because I thought they were only allowed to sing their own songs during the first round and the final, the big deal about this is that he invited pianist Lang Lang, who was also featured in the original.
With the added advantage of going last, Hacken Lee manages to snatch first place. This was really good, and no matter what Lang Lang was too awesome to resist. (The thing with these world-class pianists such as Lang Lang or Li Yundi is that they actually dabble quite a lot in showbiz and might as well be Chinese celebrities.)
THIS WEEK’S RANKING:
- Hacken Lee (directed to final)
- Coco Lee (directed to final)
- Joey Yung
- Hwang Chi Yeol (directed to final)
- Lala Hsu (directed to final)
- Jeff Chang
- 老狼 Lao Lang (Eliminated)
What’s with all the “directed to final”s? “I Am A Singer” works like this:
- You can only be automatically directed to the final round if you are part of the original lineup (back from Ep. 1 and 2).
- Episode 12 is a “breakthrough” round; all the previously eliminated singers and the replacement singers (a.k.a Jeff Chang and Joey Yung) will compete; the top three will rejoin the competition in the finals.
- But isn’t this unfair for the replacement singers who weren’t eliminated? Somewhat, but they get to choose their order of performance.
One of my favorite parts of Season 4 is its unpredictability; unlike previous seasons, there honestly is no clear winner as of now. Even more interesting is that all the Mainland singers have been eliminated, making this year’s breakthrough round one to anticipate.