I Am A Singer recaps are back by popular demand (and because, when you put “blogging for Cfensi” on your CV, it’s probably a good idea to publish something recent—hello there, prospective employers!).
If you’ve been out of the I Am A Singer loop, here’s all the interesting stuff you may have missed since the first recap:
- Kit Chan was predictably eliminated. Bye bye, Kit Chan~ Sorry, Singaporeans.
- Li Ronghao 李荣浩, the guy who supposedly looks like Jay Chou but sings like Eason Chan, was brought in to replace Kit Chan. He came sixth and so didn’t get to continue in the competition. Bye bye, Li Ronghao~
- Li Jian 李健 was brought in to replace Li Ronghao. He’s stuck around since then.
- Anson Hu was eliminated. Bye bye, Anson Hu~
- Mongolian stuff was popular for a while.
- Han Hong sang in Mongolian. (You never hear her sing in Tibetan, but Mongolian she can do…) But to quote my Mongolian friend: “It seems like Mongolian. But I don’t understand her accent.”
- And Sun Nan sang with a Mongolian singer, Amguulan 阿木古楞. Pretty sure Amguulan is a boy’s name, but who am I to judge?
- Jane Zhang sang, and rapped, in English (Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj). It was okay. But she should have brought in Zhang Jiaojiao 张娇皎 to do Nicki Minaj’s part.
- Someone in the audience called Han Hong a pretty-boy stud-muffin 小肉鲜, and I have no objections to this.
And now you’re all up to date! More or less.
This is Who You Are 你是这样的人
This faux-operatic number was written as an ode to former premier Zhou Enlai to commemorate the centenary of his birth. So, 1998. A lot of Chinese classics aren’t as old as you would think.
“Red songs,” as they’re known, haven’t been very popular on I Am A Singer. After all, this is Hunan TV, and rival CCTV is all the way in Beijing. In season two, “Madonna of China” Wei Wei was booted from the competition after singing Reddest Sun, Dearest Chairman Mao 太阳最红毛主席最亲.
Han Hong does better, slightly, in sixth place. She’s not classically trained in the Western tradition, and she sounds a bit poppy at parts, but you can’t deny that she is expressive. She should have been ranked higher.
Fleet of Time 匆匆那年 by Faye Wong
Leo’s jacket looks like it was made from leftover scraps of fabric after re-upholstering grandma’s floral sofa. Which also explains why there wasn’t enough material left to make matching pants.
Arrangement-wise, there aren’t really any real moments to this performance, vocally or instrumentally. The parts where you’d expect big notes suddenly fall flat. And the ending is so anti-climactic, I didn’t realise he had finished singing until he thanked the audience 20 seconds later. And so begins the first of three performances that could all be the same, dull song.
Stand 袖手旁观 by Chyi Chin
Part two of the same, dull ballad saga. Li Jian has been performing adequately so far in the competition, but he’s not a strong contender. He hovers around third and fourth place, never really standing out. He’s really good at that sort of thing.
Suddenly Want to Love You 突然想爱你 Valen Hsu
And the third and final segment ends, at least, with some bigger vocals. Sun Nan’s lower register is, dare I say it, pleasant to listen to in this performance, but he compensates with extra nasal high notes. I guess some people like that sort of thing.
The Gaze 眼色 by Yoga Lin
Anson was eliminated last week, so this is his encore performance. Thanks, Anson, for bringing us out of that tripartite medley of ballads. He performs better than a few of the other singers we’ve seen tonight. We’ll see him again in a few weeks when the eliminated contestants return to fight for places in the final.
Blame it on the Samba 忘情森巴舞 by Grasshopper
Libertango by Ástor Piazzolla
There isn’t much of a market for Latin music in China, but does Jane Zhang care? Nosiree. Jane performs with two Asian Rick Martins as her back-up dancers. Whose idea was it to the show audience reactions instead of the actual dance? Jane has very pretty high notes, but we already knew that, and the audience seems less impressed by them. Jane does have some impressive coloratura techniques, though.
Halo by Beyoncé
Well, it took this long for someone to do a Beyoncé number. A-Lin’s English is actually pretty good. It’s better than what Jane pulled off last week, and Jane is famous for singing in English (we’ve raised our standards since her Super Girl days). But the arrangement detracts from the song. Halo is contemporary R&B, and she sucked the R&B out of it.
Also, one of the audience members totally looks like a girl version of a friend of mine. I’m going to show it him and see what he thinks.
Lighthouse 灯塔 by Huang Qishan
After Anson Hu’s elimination last week, Tan Weiwei is the latest replacement I Am A Singer singer. This is pretty neat, because whenever she’s been on the show has a guest performer in the past, she’s absolutely nailed it. “When is she going to be on the show?” we all wondered. And now here she is. She needs to break the top four to continue in the competition.
Tan Weiwei is singing Lighthouse, a song by Huang Qishan, who relaunched her career as a powerhouse diva after the first season of I Am A Singer. Lighthouse, in turn, is a Chinese cover of a Korean song, Lighthouse Keeper 등대지기, which is a cover of a Japanese song of the same name 灯台守, which is a cover of a 19th century American Sunday School hymn, The Golden Rule. Oh, that’s right, I did my research.
The song isn’t the best choice for a singing competition. There are a some big, high notes in there to spruce it up—really good big, high notes—but they don’t seem to fit. It is a hymn, after all. I imagine this is what Christina Aguilera (over)singing Amazing Grace would sound like.
Interestingly, Huang Qishan performed the same song, but better, on the same night, on Day Day Up 天天向上. What’s your game, Hunan TV?
Still, it is entertaining that an obliquely Christian song made it onto Chinese television. Though, not as entertaining as the time when Liberian singer, Uwechue Emmanuel 郝歌, appeared on CCTV as part of an ethnic minority showcase, and managed to convince censors—by twerking—that his performance of the Swahili gospel song Wa Milele and “Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord” was a traditional African song called “Africa, My Beautiful Home.”
That being said, I haven’t seen him on TV since then, so…
1. Tan Weiwei
2. Sun Nan
3. Li Jian
5. Jane Zhang
6. Han Hong
7. Leo Ku [ELIMINATED]
Tan Weiwei comes first, guaranteeing her a spot on next week’s show. So, yay. But hopefully she picks better songs in the future.
Leo Ku comes last and is eliminated. Is he still emceeing the show? I hope he becomes really vindictive as a host and takes it out on the audience for not voting for him. None of that jovial, affable television host stuff we’ve seen up until now. Just a grumpy, I-don’t-give-a-damn type of guy. That’s the kind of host we need!
Watch the full episode here.