Sunday, March 25, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS’s “K-Pop Star” (5)

케이팝 스타이하이 (Lee Hayi, or Lee Ha Yi)

When I first learned that Hayi was going to sing JK Kim Dongwook’s Miryeonhan Sarang (미련한 사랑, “Foolish Love”), I could kinda see why:  JK Kim Dongwook has been always compared to Yim Jaebum (or Yim Jaebeom) ever since he first appeared on the Korean music scene; he was even derided as second-class Yim Jaebum wannabe.  Methinks Hayi might’ve wanted the same glory back that she had had for singing Yim’s Neorul Wihae (너를 위해, “For You”) last February.

Lee Hayi, Top Six:  JK Kim Dongwook’s “Foolish Love”
(aired on 3/25/2012)

If my guess is right, then she obviously made the wrong decision because they don't have the same vocal approaches or do the same genre of music (rock/ballad (Yim) , soul pop ballad (JK)), contrary to popular belief.  In fact, JK’s “Foolish Love” is a soul pop ballad with unhurried yet even danceable mid-tempo groove, which is a lot faster and rhythmic than Yim’s “For You.”  And to top it off, the song was featured on the soundtrack of MBC miniseries (or drama) Wigie Namja (위기의 남자, “A Man in Crisis”) that deals with the midlife-crisis affairs.  Wait a sec, how old are you, Hayi?  Come on!  You’re just fifteen and a half and there’s no way that you can express such grown-up sentiments.  And you said you haven’t even dated a boy yet.

[LIVE] JK Kim Dongwook: “Foolish Love” 
FanCam at Bonghwangdae Concert (07/01/2011)

If you’re wearing a pair of shoes that are too large to fit your feet, it will keep you not only from walking elegantly but from walking itself.  And that’s why Hayi failed to take the stage with confidence, and failed to touch the hearts of the audience, not to mention that she wasn’t able to land the big notes with ease; her singing just wasn’t great tonight. 

For the same reason, I didn’t get it when the judges were ooohing and aaahing over Jimin’s performance last Sunday. Her rendition of Ggume (꿈에, “In Dreams”) (Lena Park aka Park Jung Hyun, 박정현, 2002) was mediocre at best.  Not only couldn’t she sing this song with as much heart-wrenching, aching sorrow, but she couldn’t manage to produce exactly the right notes – many of the notes were out of tune just like Hayi’s were that night.  And that’s why I blogged that the judges had given relatively low marks to Hayi.  I just didn't specify the reason for fear of being misunderstood that I was simply bashing Jimin because I’m openly (rooting for) “Hayi.” But believe me all the contestants are so talented and adorable in my eyes.

Park Jimin, Elite Eight: Lena Park’s “In Dreams” (aired on 3/18/2012)

[LIVE] Lena Park: “In Dreams” (04/01/2009) on MBC's "La-la-la"

Unlike Hayi, Park Jimin went in the totally opposite direction by choosing the age-appropriate song, Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” and won this round.  I think she deserved to win plain and simple but the judges’ overall score – 299 out of 300 – were a joke.  I'm not going to talk more about the scores here but I wonder what if she had sung a Korean song just as good as she did tonight, like Mabeobe Seong (마법의 , “The Magic Castle”), which I think is a Korean equivalent of “Over the Rainbow.”  Would they have given her the same score?  I doubt it.   Here in the US, there’s a joke people learn Latin to show off that they know what their friends don’t know.  Likewise, the judges might’ve wanted to show off that they understand what other ordinary listeners don’t understand.  Ironically, I think, in doing so, the judges counter proved that they don’t know what Papsong (팝송, American/British pop music) is. (I'll blog later about singing Papsong on "K-pop Star" or other Korean singing competition shows.)

Park Jimin, Top Six: Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” (aired on 3/25/2012)

Back to Hayi, I wonder if anything’s getting the better of her lately.  Where’s her daring confidence as if she didn’t care?  Such abandon she used to sing with!  Yet, her presence on stage used to be bewitching yet innocently simple.  Hopefully she redeems herself soon.

Here’s what the judges said:

Park Jin Young (or Park Jinyeong):  Many people said Lee Hayi’s performance didn’t stand up to (their) expectations.  But I definitely see her singing improving every day.

BoA:  (While listening to Hayi’s singing tonight), my heart ached just as much as it did last time (listening to her singing “For You”).  But when she was hitting the high notes, her voice got shaky and it snapped me out of it. But I agree that her singing is absolutely improving.

Yang Hyun Suk (or Yang Hyeonseok): I’ve been to a Jjamppong (Hot and Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup) House near Hongik University, together with Park Jin Young.  Later, Park went there again, by himself that time, but he had to turn around for the restaurant was too crowded (and had no more tables available).  (Note: What Yang implied here is the restaurant is popular because it specializes in serving Jjamppong only.  Thus he emphasized the importance of specialization )  Let me say this:  Lee Hayi’s singing was way better when the live performances haven’t started yet.  Figuratively speaking, stop trying to do Jjajangmyeon or Japchaebap but just do Jjamppong instead.  She’s been trying this and that when she’s got her own specialty genre(s). (Note: He seemed to advise her to stick to her own specialty genre(s).)

The judges gave Hayi a score of 262 out of 300.


  1. Hi. I can't watch the video of Hayi singing "foolish love". It says :This video contains content from SBSi who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.I'm from Malaysia. Is there any way I could see this. Maybe from other sources?

  2. Just added the video right below the Youtube version. The quality is not as good as the Youtube one though. Hope it works.

  3. can u also translate what the jidges comment to her

  4. Andy, the judges' comments were just added. :)

  5. thank you so much for your translation. I am not korean, so i don't understand what the judges said. Lee hayi is definitely my favorite contestant, i follow the show because of her, i listen to her song so many time a day. There sis something very special about her voice that keep attract me to listen to her that i never feel boring, i just hope that she will be smarter on her song choice for next week, she is definitely improving as the judge said. But so beat Jimin, she need to her song wisely. Once again, thank for ur sharing, i can't wait for next sunday. Please keep translate the judges comment for every week, i appreciate it, keep up the great work. i will visit ur blog usually.

  6. I'm rooting for Hayi, too. Her voice and style never bore me and I like the way she carries herself - shy and daring at the same time. And you're welcome here anytime!

  7. i totally agree with YG...she should stick to her genre, or maybe she can choose a song of different genre then make it soulful...
    and i agree with your analysis too, what's up with her singing about midlife crisis...i hope somebody tells her what are the good song choices,just like YG and JYP did for her.

  8. On second thought though, it was none other than Yang himself who gave her a false signal. He chose Yim's "For You" when Hayi was training with him at YG. He said she kinda hated singing that song, so he had to twist her arm to prove that she was able to sing totally different genres of music. When she made it on stage, he was so proud of himself as well as of her. And what'bout the reaction from Park Jin Young: it seemed as if he couldn't have been more pleased. He said, "Tonight, Jimin sang better than you. But I love Hayi's performance more than any other contestants' because she did an incredible job singing Yim Jaebeom who is not her kind of genre of music." The judges' comments and reactions might've given her a wrong message - Try to be the "all-rounder."

    BTW, I think I know a song that might've suited Hayi perfectly - Kim Dong Ryul's "Etude of Memories," but Baek Jiwoong was eliminated after singing that song. I wish we get a chance to listen to her rendition of the song someday.

  9. Hi there! I like reading your reviews on Hayi's performances:) and thank you so so much for your translations! oh..i agree with your statement above. What has become of the hayi we were drawn to from the auditions.sigh..

  10. So happy to find your blog. I am rooting for Hayi as well. Her performances have me googling for originals and listening to related material. I worry that she is not handling the amount of production that is in play now. Ji min seems to be benefiting from it. They are all so good. What do you think about her doing Yoonmirae songs? Maybe Honeymoon or Because it's me. I know she did really well with Bust Your Windows and Mercy, but I prefer she sing Korean original music. Looking forward to more posts as this season winds down!

    BTW.. do you have link to "Regrets" performance or have they all been blocked?


  11. Allan, welcome to my blog! I would personally love all the contestants to sing Korean music at least for one night 'cause it's "K-pop Star." But most of them sang "Pop songs" again including Hayi tonight. Only two - Lee Michelle and Lee Seunghoon - chose to sing original Korean songs.

    I haven't thought about Yoon Mirae but I agree her songs will perfectly suit Hayi's singing style and voice. BTW, here's Hayi singing "Regrets":

  12. Hello there, Anonymous (who posted at 09:23am)! I don't know why but yours has been in the spam comments. Come visit often~

  13. Hi
    Thanks for your blog, I always checked it out on Monday to see what judges say about Hayi, it's hard to find a good video nowadays since they're not in Youtube anymore and daum is very very slow from my country.

    I feel the same way as you in most of your reviews, however I just listened to her studio versions and I think this "foolish love" was a beautiful rendition and if I heard it first in the album I wouldn't think there was anything lacking with it.

    I think what turned most of us off was because in the live performance with the stage so big we expect to see something visually, a complete picture that I think she has yet to master. Also when she was doing small stages just in front of the stages her sound seemed to come out much larger.

  14. Never heard Hayi's studio recording of the song but I believe you since the judges said her singing had been much better during practice. Thanks for sharing! :)

  15. Oh you should totally hear it. Hayi's Mercy in studio version is even more awesome vocal wise. But some of the studio versions are trying too much and not very professionally done. Mercy:

    Foolish Love

    Just follow the related videos for the rest

  16. Thanks for the links, Wahyimo. I'll definitely watch'em!


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