I can’t believe we’re at the end of this season. Can’t they make this a regular TV program? I honestly wouldn’t mind just watching new artists come up to perform their original songs, competition or not. The winners this season are not surprising. But what’s more important is that everyone seemed to let loose and just had fun :D
For a refresher, our top 8 finalists will be performing either one of the 2 songs they wrote for the competition, and each performance will feature a famous invited artist.
- 裸儿 Luo Er － 会飞的野马 feat. 杨宗纬 Yang Zong Wei (Aska Yang)
- 杭盖 Hanggai － 轮回 feat. 刘欢 Liu Huan
- 苏运莹 Su Yun Ying － 野子 feat. 田馥甄 Tian Fu Zhen (Hebe Tian)
- 祁紫檀 Qi Zi Tan － 得知平淡珍贵的一天 feat. 蔡健雅 Tanya Chua
- 许均 Xu Jun － 暖光 feat. 彭佳慧 Peng Jia Hui (Julia Peng)
- 王宏恩 Wang Hong En － 梦想的颜色 feat. 羽泉 Yu Quan
- 戴荃 Dai Quan － 老神仙 feat. 周华健 Wakin Chau
- 苟乃鹏 Gou Nai Peng － 小小 feat. 任贤齐 Ren Xian Qi (Richie Jen)
I’m not sure who thought up the whole featuring-a-famous-singer idea because it’s pretty problematic – when it works, it really works; when it doesn’t, it ruins the entire song and performance. Last season, for example, 莫西子诗 Mo Xi Zi Shi’s song I personally thought was completely destroyed by the over-production and the duet format, whereas 凌凯 Ling Kai’s song was really elevated by having 苏打绿 Sodagreen’s 吴青峰 Wu Qing Feng. This season the problem becomes more obvious because we have many songs that are the type which cannot be sung by anyone else apart from the composer. Songs that fall apart without the original artists’ personal style, voice and soul. Well, I’m a little nervous about the performances, but let’s see how it turns out.
The final is decided by public voting and media “experts” voting. Contestants are divided into 2 sub-groups of 4, one from each judge. Then 101 media members will vote between the top contestant of each sub-group to determine the overall winner.
苟乃鹏 Gou Nai Peng － 小小 feat. 任贤齐 Ren Xian Qi (Richie Jen)
- This was terrible. Featuring Richie Jen was a mistake – he can barely keep his pitch, and Gou’s voice is much more emotive. Because their styles are so different, the flow of the song was disrupted and it lost the overall cohesiveness, making it much less entertaining (the main strength in the first place).
裸儿 Luo Er － 会飞的野马 feat. 杨宗纬 Yang Zong Wei (Aska Yang)
- I must say I was skeptical because Aska’s voice didn’t seem to suit Luo Er’s quirky floaty style, but he really surprised me with his vocal control (I should never have doubted that). This was a feature done right, because Aska’s power backed up and complemented Luo Er’s dreamy vibe, adding more texture to the song. Also, they were one of the only duets that remotely seemed to have any chemistry…
苏运莹 Su Yun Ying － 野子 feat. 田馥甄 Tian Fu Zhen (Hebe Tian)
- I am so sad. They destroyed this. Trust me, I love Hebe (how is she even more gorgeous than she was 10 years ago ;_;) and I love her voice but she could not pull off this song at all. Her range was strained, her voice projection was buried, her vocal color completely unable to come through… And boy she and Su Yun Ying were SO AWKWARD like they couldn’t even pretend to have chemistry?! Also, not to mention their singing styles did not go well together at all, so even the harmonizing didn’t sound good. Which make me really sad because Su did so well, especially at the climax. This was one song they should’ve just let her do alone. Literally no one else can do that high note control the way she does with so much personality and so effortlessly.
许均 Xu Jun － 暖光 feat. 彭佳慧 Peng Jia Hui (Julia Peng)
- First off, I’m not sure why they picked his second song rather than his entry song, which went viral. Although that song was more basic music wise, it was the more emotionally affecting and relatable one that would get the votes. Secondly, this collaboration is terrible! This is my first time hearing Peng but dear me she’s completely wrong for Xu Jun and this song! His sound is very modern pop-rock, whereas she’s very 90s belting ballad style. I wasn’t sure whose idea this was, but they definitely picked the wrong partner for Xu Jun. Whenever she went into vibrato, the atmosphere of the song was killed.
Group 1 winner: Su Yun Ying (Seriously though, who else?)
- My bets were that they decided the groups based on who they thought would win. It’s pretty obvious Su would be the frontrunner here, maybe Xu Jun if he’s lucky or if Su screws up. Anyway, she’s too cute I’m not sure anyone can dislike her, even if they’re not a fan of her music.
Feature performance: 赵牧阳 with 张楚 － 侠客行
- This was kickass. Best part of the final for me.
王宏恩 Wang Hong En － 梦想的颜色 feat. 羽泉 Yu Quan
- Sorry I just don’t feel this song at all. The aboriginal setup ain’t gonna change that. (Also, still sour about Su Zi Xu cough)
祁紫檀 Qi Zi Tan － 得知平淡珍贵的一天 feat. 蔡健雅 Tanya Chua
- Well this was a collab I can get behind. I think what worked was that Tanya shared a similar vibe and style with Qi, so a duet made sense. Also, their voices were distinct enough, to complement each other. I still think Qi owns the song more, but Tanya’s vocal prowess made up for it somewhat. Also, props to the improved arrangement.
杭盖 Hanggai － 轮回 feat. 刘欢 Liu Huan
- THE KINGS. That is all.
- Liu Huan’s feature verged on being extra – you can tell the lines were added in just for him – but his traditional singing style managed to cover for it. Just barely, though.
戴荃 Dai Quan － 老神仙 feat. 周华健 Wakin Chau
- Who would’ve thought that Dai and Wakin would make such a cute mentor-mentee OTP? Featuring Wakin was both good and bad for this song. Good, because Wakin’s warmth added to the sentimentality of the song, and because the two actually meshed well together. Bad, because Wakin’s voice totally took this song back to the 90s and suddenly highlighted how conventional the melody was.
Group 2 winner: Hanggai (Again, who else?)
Feature performance: 刘雨潼 Liu Yu Tong with 霍尊 Huo Zun (Season 1 Winner) – 等风来
So… who are the champions?
Hanggai (53 to 48)
I must say the final media voting process was both lame yet nerve-wrecking. Lame, because there’s no second performance, it’s just a second round of voting. Nerve wrecking, because we visually see each expert go up the stage to vote one by one. Right up until the 80 vote mark, it was still tied at 40 to 40! Apparently the rule is that the first contestant to hit 51 votes wins, and that was Hanggai (they got 51 when Su got 47).
Anyway, today’s performances were on the whole disappointing, which is a real pity. I feel like the show hit its climax during the group finals, and the overall final is just some kind of anti-climatic after party. I guess at least no one cried? Though I really do hope they rethink the duet thing next season; evidently it flops a lot more than it works.
I’m so glad I found this show, it’s really taught me a lot about Chinese music. I hope the recaps have been as fun for me to do as it has been for you to read. The whole point was so that I didn’t have to spazz alone :D
Do comment on your thoughts about the season and the final or just anything music really!!