Sunday, April 15, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS’s “K-Pop Star” (10)

케이팝 스타이하이 (Lee Hayi, or Lee Ha Yi)

Congratulations, Allan!  Hayi sang the original Korean, “Yoon Mirae,” song for tonight's competition as you wished.  When I first read widya’s comment that she sang “As Time Goes By,” the song that instantly came to my mind was Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By” from the movie, “Casablanca.”  But then I went, “Wait a sec. I’d better check the news for tonight’s ‘K-Pop Star’ first,” and it said it was Yoon Mirae, not Dooley Wilson; I’m so happy that she eventually chose to sing a Korean song this time. Yay!!!!

In Hayi’s pre-performance fluff and interview, Yang Hyun Suk said he wanted to select a song for her that could help surpass her previous performance, Yim Jaebeom’s “For You” (which Yang had also picked for her).  Ever since the live competition was over last Sunday, he had been possessed until Yoon Mirae’s “Sigani heureun dwi” (시간이 흐른 , As Time Goes By) occurred to him.  Hayi was so surprised to find out that Yang had picked the song for her next live performance because she won the competition with this song when she was in her first year of middle school.  It was the first “real” (not teeny-tiny local) singing competition she had ever entered in her life with the encouragement of Oh Dong Young (오동영), her middle school pop band advisor. And he was the one who recommended her this awesome song for the competition. 

Back then, Hayi’s parents disapproved of her pursuing music professionally; but Oh kept cheering her up and tried to help her one way or another.  Oh first met Hayi when she came to the school band audition. At first listen, he thought right away that he shouldn’t leave her alone like that.  So he advised her to enter the singing competition coming up as he instinctively felt that she would make something great happen there.  In other words, Hayi owes him big time ‘cause without him, she couldn’t have even dreamed of entering “K-Pop Star’ in the first place. For that reason, she was pleasantly surprised at Yang’s choice of music for her.  She said, “It seems a remarkable coincidence, indeed!”

“While looking for ways to bring out a completely new side of Hayi, I suddenly started wondering, 'What if she raps?'  Yoon didn’t rap in her original version, so we added our own rap to it, using the original song lyrics," said Yang. TOP came to help improve her rap skills – Hayi’s dream came true at last!  She once said in her interview with SBS that  
she was sorry she hadn’t had a chance to meet with TOP during her previous training with YG.

But when they eventually met, there was an awkward silence between them as both of them are naturally quite shy.  They both agreed that it was quite awkward and embarrassing sitting next to each other.  When TOP asked Hayi why she had picked him as her ideal type of a man, she answered, “’Cause I really like your voice.” And he said very shyly, “Thanks.” When TOP told Hayi, “You’re so cute,” she said very shyly, “Thanks.”  TOP said Hayi shines on stage brighter (than anyone else) as she's got something that others don't.  (BTW, widya and kpopantz, there's not much to translate as they didn't talk too much.  Both seem to have similar personalities - shy, reserved, and taciturn off stage.)

Lee Hayi:  "K-Pop Star" Final Four
Yoon Mirae: "As Time Goes By" (aired on 04/15/2012)

Here’s what the judges said:

BoA:  To be honest, when I first saw the contestants’ song list, I kind had a hunch how Hayi would deliver; I thought, ‘Well, she will sing just like she did last time.’ But her performance was nothing like I had expected.  She seemed to be reveling in singing on stage.  She seemed satisfied with her own transformation ‘cause she appeared more confident in the way she presented herself.  And I really liked it.  I’ve never imagined that she would rap, but her rap was really marvelous. (95 out of 100)

Park Jin Young (or Park Jinyeong) At first I wondered, “Does Hayi really need to rap to explore her other side?”  But she was really great.  I was really amazed with her flawless rap tempo and bounce, and with her perfect rap flow.  But she seemed quite tense and nervous while singing; it was not a comfortable singing.  She was barely breathing while singing, just like Park Jimin.  Both seemed quite nervous and tense so their performances were quite shaky.  Maybe it’s because she was challenging herself to do something new (i.e., rap) but her singing was a little bit disappointing. (92 out of 100) 

Yang Hyun Suk (or Yang Hyeonseok): As Park just said, it’s true you always get butterflies in your stomach before stepping on stage when you’re challenging yourself to do something new.  I bet Park Jin Young himself would be very nervous if he was in Hayi’s shoes. In this spirit, she did way better than expected.  BTW, since I cast Hayi last Sunday, I’d tried to talk to her a lot in order to bring out the “real” Hayi.  I kind of expected that she would open her heart back up to me.  Last night, at the final rehearsal, I was kind of assertively teaching her how to flow through the choreography for about half an hour. I kept saying to her, “No, not like that!  Hayi, what’s bothering you?  What do you want?”  But she looked quite upset.  You know, when people respond to your smile aimed at them with their seemingly angry face, you don’t feel good either, right?  Even though (I knew I had to be patient with her because) I’m a grownup (and she’s still a girl), I ended up getting upset too.  So I asked her, “Hey, don’t you like me?”  And you know what. I seriously laughed so hard at her answer:  “Boss, I've been dying to use the restroom for quite a while.”  This means she still feels uncomfortable around us (YG, JYP, and Boa (SM)) because she’s still too young.  (The incident I experienced last night) has taught me that our presence itself can still be overwhelming to her.  And about Hayi’s performance tonight, I really loved it. (97 out of 100) 

Hayi’s overall score was 284 points out of 300.  And I agree with Park Jin Young’s comments about her singing and rap. My personal highlight of tonight’s competition is Hayi & Jimin’s duet rendition of Miss A’s “Goodbye, Baby.”  I hope their friendship lasts for the rest of their life.

Special Performance by Lee Hayi & Park Jimin
Miss A: "Goodbye, Baby" (aired on 04/15/2012)


  1. thanks heaps for your post.. i should have been clearer with my comment.. no casting this week., hope she chooses the right song nx week.. cant believe there r only 2 weeks to go. im gonna miss hayi

  2. No, you shouldn't have; it was totally my mistake. I, too, hope she picks the right song that showcases her voice range and brings out the best in her.

  3. Onsemiro, thanks yet again for all your hard work....4/15/2012 - Man i couldn't believe what i was seeing! She's actually not bad at rapping. With some tweeking, she could be a triple-threat. I loved the way she handled herself when she met TOP. However, YG's comments about her training, really provided some insight on what she needs to overcome, to complete the transformation into the young lady that everyone loves.

  4. Haha! I was refreshing my permanent browser window fixed onto your blog since last night anticipating your post. You know, I didn't know this song. I try to support all the artists by buying my music through legit channels and this album is only available as physical media through YES ASIA, I think... anyway, I was not familiar with the song and I think the rendition I was able to find last night was the studio recording from DAUM. It didn't grab me like her other songs but I think that if she didn't rap that one section it would have left me wanting a bit. I was even more surprised to find out after I sought the original one out on YouTube that Yoon Mirae didn't even rap in the original version. Still, like her other songs, and not unlike how it is with my other KPOP favorites, the more I listen, the more thy grow on me. [2NE1 has been my favorite group and they have many songs I didn't like on first listen but ended up large played counts on my playlist.] I'm sure this one will grow on me too. Like you, I completely enjoyed the Miss A cover and watching those two perform side by side shows how much more polish Ji Min has. She reminds me of Charice (assuming you know who I mean by that). Despite that, I find myself drawn to Ha Yi's covers. Thanks again for the translations! I wanted understand what the little dialogue was between her and TOP and what YG's strategy was for this round. One of your readers posted a comment above me saying something about "no casting"...can you comment on what the plan was for episode 21? Who trains who? Was it 1 each? Where is Ha Yi going? So excited to see next week. I think I know who's going home which is sad...but that's how these shows go.

  5. Yoon Mirae is one of my most favorite Korean female artists. Did you know she thinks she's a horrible singer? Every fan of hers got "jokingly" furious at her self-deprecating remarks. haha. There's a joke among Korean pop fans: Korea has five remarkable female rappers. 1. Yoon Mirae 2. Tasha 3. T. 4. Jordan's mom 5. Tiger JK's wife, all of which refer to Mirae.

    And about the next round, it seems there will be no special training with the judges for those who advanced to the semifinal round; the three girls are on their own from now on.

  6. Great read to start the day with! Thanks as always Onsemiro.

    I like how she challenges herself, but I'm not sure how exactly to feel about her moving away from soul to HipHop, and how she feels about it. There are a lot of hip hop singers/idols in Korea (I think more than soul).

    I can see that YG has done real good on her stage act though, while JYP does well with her singing. She wasn't stiff at all, which is refreshing. The shaky voice at the end was a bit disappointing but she didn't make obvious mistakes like previous performances.

    I loved the goodbye baby cover and how they played around the melody. Too bad Hayi didn't rap again.

    It's quite interesting how other stars/idols seemed to sway toward Baek Ah Yeon, though, and that the three judges seemed to feel the same way too.
    I liked her a lot in the earlier auditions, but somehow my attention drifted away to the others.

    How will the winner be decided? Same ratio of judge vs audience?

  7. Thanks, Wahyimo. I think the judges are just experimenting to see how versatile Hayi is. I think she's a "soul" singer down to her core.

    And about Baek Ayeon, I don't know what to say about her 'cause I don't watch her performance any more. Anyway, I just read this (online) article about her singing that the judges and viewers raved about it. So I think I'd better watch her video even now?

  8. hi thank u so much for the update about Hayi.

    was wondering could u translate the few words that YG said about Hayi following the judge's intro on the stage? it happened right after the judges took their seat and the host asked JYP and YG to comment about the contestants before the show.

    btw im glad TOP praised Hayi. i think hes the first idol to actually praise Hayi. im sure she felt happy hearing his words :)

  9. Onsemiro: Yes, but if she goes to YG I think they can't help but make her do some more mainstream stuff (because it sells and she does it pretty well)

    Well sure go ahead and watch them and let us know what you think :) . I don't want to be mean, but for me it doesn't appeal as much as the other two performers. that's why I'm not sure either why other artists rave about it. I believe some idols can sing on par if not better than her.

  10. Thanks for your post, now i can undertand what the judges said. Agree with Mr Yang, I think the judges expect her too much, but they forget that she still a kid. They kill her confidence because of that.

  11. According to allkpop " J.Y. Park praised the contestant [Hayi] saying, 'I couldn’t find a flaw in your performance.' "
    But according to your translation, it appears as though he did find some flaw in her performance. I'm confused.

  12. Wahyimo, I think I've already mentioned somewhere in the comments that each of these agencies has their own set of pros and cons. While Hayi's vocal style perfectly fits in JYP, I'm a little worried that many of JYP singers/groups have a tendency to end in an anticlimax. All I can do is just wish her the best.

  13. Dear Anonymous at 8:30PM, I'll have to watch that part 'cause I usually skip the intro. I'll post here in the comments.

  14. Dear Anonymous at 10:06PM, JYP said Hayi was flawless in "rap" only, not in her singing. I hope this solves your confusion. :)

  15. Dear Anonymous at 9:37PM, but last Sunday, JYP tried really hard to help Hayi restore the joy of singing. I have this "cute" suspicion that Park just wanted to impress her - he wanted to let her know JYP is "the" place for her to improve.

  16. Onsemiro

    i feel that way too LOL. didnt JYP also say that he wanted her to do the radio interview to cheer her up too?

    he probably thought by having her do it, he would get to impress her with his connections. LOL but then YG, forever the troll, comes in and brings TOP for her.

    i guess its JYP: 1, YG: 2

    tough luck JYP

    PS: sorry if im being a bother but could u please also translate what the host MC asked hayi after the judges finished their comments about her latest song/rap that had YG laughing his head off?

  17. Here's the pre-performance Q & A with the judges:

    Yoon Do Hyun: (To JYP) Competition among you agencies has been as fierce as that among the contestants. After tonight’s competition, you judges will no longer work with the contestants, so I was wondering if you feel any differently about this competition among the top four.

    JYP: My heart’s aflutter! Since I’ve coached each of the contestants at least once, I know too well their strengths and weaknesses, which thrills me more. I’m excited (because I’m going to see) what miracle Lee Seunghoon is going to achieve again tonight, and (because I’m going to listen to) Jimin’s powerful voice, Hayi’s soulful voice, and Ayeon’s delicate and sensitive voice.

    Yoon Do Hyun: (To YG) Many people are anticipating (the synergistic effects of) YG and Lee Hayi working together as a team.

    YG: It was the first time that Hayi had ever trained with us at YG. (Here I don’t understand what he meant because she had trained at YG preparing for the round (aired on 2/5/12) with the song, "For You’ (Yim Jaebeom).) So I’ve felt so much pressure that I have absented myself from my YG duties for the past week to focus my full attention on her. I think (her performance tonight) is worth anticipating.

    Yoon Do Hyun: (To BoA) Jimin’s “Rolling in the Deep” became a worldwide sensation, which I think wouldn’t have happened without your help. Can we expect yet another sensational performance (from Jimin)?

    BoA: We’ve tried our best; we’ve selected the song that suits her style. So I think you can expect her to deliver a performance (as sensational) as “Rolling in the Deep.”

  18. Dear Anonymous at 11:44PM, here's a translation:

    Yoon Do Hyun: (To Hayi) Are you satisfied with your rap performance tonight?

    Hayi: It was really hard to rap ‘cause it was my first time ever to do it. But I’m satisfied since I showed (the judges and viewers) a different side of me, and I’m happy ‘cause it seems to have been received favorably by the audience.

    Yoon Do Hyun: Did you talk to TOP a lot?

    Hayi: No, not much.

  19. I'm Anonymous at 9:37PM ^^
    I know all the judges tried so hard to help real Hayi comeback. And I glad that I can see Hayi smile more and more and I love it. But all live stage except Love and As time goes by's stages, she lost her confidence. Because of that i don't want judges expect her too much. She still young, and it's not a big deal if she can win this audition. Let her join this audition like a litte kid plays toys.
    I think JYP and YG want her to be a trainee, i know they can teach her how to sing, how to perf so flawless. But I like to see her debut with SME and LOEN more than JYPE and YGE. So stranger, right? LOL ^^
    She isn't ready to debut soon, so hope 1 or 2 years later I can see her debut.

  20. thank u so much for the extra translations. lol i wish BoA's subbing squad would hurry up and finish subbing the show.

    btw in one of ur previous posts you talked about YG wanting to sign 2 pple from the top 10 to his label. do u think aside from Seunghoon, the other constant is HaYi?

    YG seemed to really like Michelle before so im wondering if it was HaYi or Michelle he was referring to.

  21. Dear Anonymous at 2:27AM, I also think YG is keeping an eye on Seunghoon and Michelle while JYP is on Hayi. But you don't have to count on my hunch; it doesn't work most of the time. :)

  22. Dear Anonymous at 1:59AM, it's not a bad idea because JYP is an associate-ish fellow company of LOEN. I was thinking of Yoon Ilsang's NEGA Network, which is also a associate-ish fellow company of LOEN; but the problem is only The Brown-eyed Girls and The Sunny Hill are their presentable artists.

  23. A lot of people complain about JYP's facial expression whenever Hayi sings. Although I think he tries very hard to show no favoritism, he seems to have a very hard time controlling his facial reactions. I actually find his reactions cute. I've come to really like JYP while watching this show. There is something very "human" about him that I cant seem to see in the other two judges (please note, I'm not literally inferring that YG and BOA are not humans). As a judge, he's no doubt very picky and tough, but as a person in general, he seems very nice. He cries in every episode god damn it lol. I'm writing this as a YG biased. What are your thoughts on JYP? Sorry, I had to get this off my chest. Your blog seemed like the right place to do so x)

  24. I have fragmentary knowledge of JYP, based on telling tales online, and that is all I think I know of him as a person. But the bottom line is: TV personalities (just like the politicians) always try to craft or enhance their TV images and I try not to buy them blindly. For there's always a gap, sometimes very huge, between one's public image and private life, ie, off stage persona in this case. but we all have two faces, don't we? So my answer is, I don't really know.

  25. Yeah, I love Nega Network they have awesome artists but too bad it's a small company. And Sunny Hill moved Nega Network and sign new contract with LOEN.
    LOEN is a big company and really close with Nega Network. GaIn - member of Brown Eyed Girls signed contract with both of them. If Hayi joins LOEN, she can work with Nega's producers - Yoon Il Sang, Lee Min Soo and other producers in other companies. So they will give more style music for her.
    But if Hayi want to be a top star, I suggest her to join with SME.
    It's just my opinion. ^^

  26. Thanks for sharing. I love the songs Yoon Ilsang has written! :)

  27. been meaning to ask u, was the duet b/w hayi and jimin pre-recorded before the show? the reason im asking is because i noticed hayi and jimin wearing the same outfits they wore during their solo performances during the result segment which should have happened right after their duet. yet during their duet they were wearing different outfits and their hair was styled differently

  28. I thought so too but it was Hayi's hair styles that made me think it was pre-recorded - it was straight first during her solo then curly during her duet with Jimin. How funny I never noticed her clothing changed too!

  29. i wonder why they had them pre-record it though. Ayoun and Seunghoons duet was performed live so why not hayi and jimin.

  30. But nothing's confirmed; it's total speculation on our part, right? :)

  31. If it helps... Hayi's hair after the duet (when they were announcing the results) was messy and her bangs were unclipped unlike how it was during her solo performance. Perhaps they just changed ...very quickly? lol

  32. have u heard yet about HaYi dueting with Miss A next week? what do u think of this collaboration? im excited but i cant help but worry at how the votes will end up considering Ayoung is collaborating with SNSD, while Jimin is collaborating with Gdragon and TOP.

  33. Is the info from a reliable source? Even according to the latest news released less than an hour ago, it is yet to be revealed who’s going to team up with whom. The stars are so busy that only some of them can join the semifinal “special performances,” not the real competition, and can only start practicing with the top three only this Friday. And this is pretty much all I know right now.

  34. well i read it here

    it does say that things are not set in stone but this is apparently the direction they are going into

    i really hope this is not the case though..i like miss A but im not sure it will be fair to have a contestant duet with them when the other 2 will get megastars BigBang and SNSD

  35. I think their collaborations are going to be part of special performances, not the real competition, and am not quite sure how that'll affect the results. But I'm beginning to have a feeling that the choice of pairing (who's going where after the season is over) has already been settled.

  36. yea i feel that way too..JYP has made it no secret that he wants Hayi at his label no matter what.

    although im a bit confused with jimin and YG..there was never really much interest in either YG or Jimin to have her at YGent. i do also recall her saying that she wants to become a singer at sm, and that her fav band is SNSD..

    JYP has also always been interested in having Ayoun at JYPent. she herself seemed much more comfortable at JYP compared to SM.

    all is very strange..i wanna see next episode but im too scared of the results LOL

  37. They will cut off the votes, and THEN show the special stage performances. Thus, the votes (for that week at least) will not be affected by their duets with these "megastars."
    and Onsemiro, if your speculation is right, then I am happy for Hayi because I think JYP and her make a great combination.

  38. It's no wonder those top three all want to be a winner. Who wouldn't? But we all know winning is not just about finishing first, right? Plus, I don't think the semifinal won't be that much nailbiting as all these girls deserve to win. And I'm pretty much sure Hayi will make it to the final.

  39. @ anon 1:31 PM

    thank u so much for clarifying it. i have been looking through the news to see if the votes will still be counted throughout the celeb collaborations but i havent found anything about it

    if ur right about them closing the lines before the celeb performances then its all good i guess. hopefully the results for next week wont be affected much

    i really hope HaYi does make it into the final..shes made it so far already it would be a shame to see her go now

  40. Even though it's just a collabo, and not their individual performances, their collabo performances will affect the online votes for this week. If Hayi has a awesome performance on Sunday, watch what happens in the online polls. It's gonna be crazy!!! Her online votes online will propel her to the final, as they have done, consistently week in & out. The GD&TOP w/ Park Ji Min is a setup, it's gonna be really ackward, to say the least...Baek Ayeon will do well with GG, so expect her to do well. This one's gonna hurt, alittle bit...

  41. Just in case you missed Anonymous at 1:31PM's comments: They will cut off the votes just before the special performances start.

  42. I understand about the votes being "cut off" before the special performances start, what's not being also considered is @ the end of the individual performances, and the time comes for elimination, those same individuals will be allowed to vote at the end of the show. During THAT time, is when the votes will be affected by online polls & sms messaging. YG,JYP, & SM are not training them this week. Which means the elimination scoring system will not include casting, it'll be based on the 60% from the judges, 30% online polls, 10% SMS messaging.

  43. Oh, I think I got you wrong. Thanks for your clarification.

  44. Can you please do a post on homosexuals in Korea? You don't have to reply to this message. I just don't know where else to post this request. If you don't want to do it, it understand completely.

  45. Well, no worries 'cause I hate homophobia. But all I can do at this point is find and translate the Korean articles on the portrayals of homosexuality in Korean media, probably in dramas and movies. :)


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