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Friday, July 27, 2012

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (12)


Choi Yeojin poses with her DWTS partner and coach, Park Jiwoo.  
Park is Korea's number one ballroom dancer.


In the twelfth, final, round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (7/20/2012), the finalists of the show, Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo and Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok, performed first the pasodoble routines and then the cha-cha-cha routines and each garnered a total score of 58 points from the judges (29 points for each dance routine).  Consequently, it was viewer voters that had the final say in deciding the winner and the Choi/Park pair was picked by them to be the season two champion of "Dancing with the Stars Korea."  

Let's first watch Choi/Park's and Hyoyeon/Kim's pasodoble.


● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Pasodoble): "I Will Survive" (Click to watch.)
● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok ( Pasodoble)"España Cañí" (Gypsy Spain) (Click to watch.)


Choi is a Korean-Canadian actress and model who caught my eye in a 2004 KBS drama, Mianhada, Saranghanda (미안하다사랑한다, "I'm Sorry, I Love You"), in which she played Moon Jiyoung, the ex-girlfriend of Cha Moohyuk (played by So Jisub).  


Choi Yeojin poses with So Jisub in "I'm Sorry, I Love You."


She's not Korea's cookie cutter actress and that's why she hasn't been too well received by the Korean fans but also that's exactly why I like her and why I've rooted for her. Here are excerpts from a recent newspaper interview (written in English) conducted by phone with her:
"I've been practicing 10 hours a day for the final. I even postponed shooting a TV drama to focus on this," she said. "I learned ballet when I was young, and I dreamed of becoming a ballerina. But after my parents divorced, we emigrated to Canada when I was in the first year of middle school. Then we went through some financial difficulties and I had to give up my dream. Now I'm just really happy to be on the stage." 
Choi debuted via the 2001 Super Elite Model Contest, and has eight years of acting experience. "Viewers like my dancing more than my acting," she said. "I was kind of frustrated as an actress because I always played the same kind of characters and ended up projecting stereotypes, which could bore viewers. But now I'm much happier because I can turn into a glamorous dancer every time I get on stage." 
Choi said that even though she has picked up a few injuries during the filming of the dance shows -- a ruptured muscle in her lower back and a torn ligament in one of her toes -- she has no regrets about joining the program. 
"I will dance the paso doble and cha-cha in the final round," she said. "As I know this will be my last performance, I feel quite relaxed about things. I'll just give it my best shot, so I won't have any reason to feel disappointed with myself later."  (Source Link) 
Now, check out Choi/Park's and Hyoyeon/Kim's final performance on the show, cha-cha-cha, and another special performance featuring four season one contestants and their professional partners.  


● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Cha-cha-cha): "Chain of Fools" (Click to watch.)
● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Cha-cha-cha): "Hush Hush" (Click to watch.)
● Special Performance: Seonwu Jaedeok & Lee Hanna, Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho,
   Tony An & Bae Soyoung, and Kim Kayoung & Kim Kangsan (Tango): "Pavilion"
   (Click to watch.)


Congrats, Yeojin and Hyoyeon!  


Thursday, July 26, 2012

ZILLY TALKZ: Bae Doona Stars in "Cloud Atlas"


Bae Doona (or Doona Bae) stars in the Wachowskis' upcoming science fiction movie, "Cloud Atlas," which is scheduled to be released on October 26, 2012.  She plays Sonmi~451, a genetically-engineered clone in Nea So Copros in futuristic Korea.  (Click for more information: Cloud Atlas (film) & Cloud Atlas (novel).)  


Bae Doona plays Sonmi~451 in a 2012 science fiction film,
"Cloud Atlas," by the Wachowskis.

In 2011, Bae revealed the Wachowskis sent her the script after watching "The Host" (2006) and "Air Doll" (2009).  (Source"The Host" is a Korean monster movie, directed by Bong Joon-ho (Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000), Memories of Murder (2003), Mother (2009), and Snow Piercer (2013)).  "Air Doll" is a Japanese movie in which she played Nozomi (Air Doll); it premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival and there, she won critical acclaim for her performance and later in 2009, she won the Japan Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the Takasaki Film Festival Award for the Best Leading Actress, and Tokyo Sports Film Award for the Best Leading Actress.

Now, check out this full trailer for the movie, "Cloud Atlas," which made me go back and watch Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" (1982), one my beloved movies of all time.




FYI, Bae's filmography includes roles in:

  • The Ring Virus (1999);
  • Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000) with Lee Sungjae & Byeon Heebong;
  • Plum Blossom (2000);
  • Take Care of My Cat (2001) with Lee Yowon;
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) with Song Kangho & Shin Hakyun;
  • Saving My Hubby (2002);
  • Tube (2003);
  • Spring Bears Love (2003);
  • Linda Linda Linda (Japanese, 2005);
  • Tea Date (short film, 2005);
  • The Host (2006) with Song Kangho, Byeon Heebong & Park Hae-il;
  • Air Doll (Japanese, 2009);
  • Doomsday Book (2012) with Ryu Seungbeom, Kim Kangwoo & Song Saebyuk;
  • As One (2012) with Ha Jiwon; and
  • Cloud Atlas (2012) with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon &Hugh Grant.

Related Post:

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (11)


In the eleventh, semi-final, round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (7/13/2012), my favorite actress Ye Jiwon was sent home after performing two dance routines (first samba and then rumba) - since last week, they began dancing two full dances.  Her partner and coach Bae Jiho said he also learned a lot working with her, especially how to respect the people you meet.  Choi Yeojin and Hyoyeon were tied with each other at the end of the judging process and advanced to the final round.  No winner was announced for this semi-final round though.

First, here're the judge's scores for the girls for their first routines (jive): Hyoyeon (28 points), Choi Yeojin (27 points), Ye Jiwon (25 points).


● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Jive): "Rock and Roll Music" (Click to watch.)
● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Jive): "Take On Me" (Click to watch.)
● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Jive): "Diana" (Click to watch.)

The second routines (rumba) featured the singers who came to sing live for the performances of their friends.  f(x)'s Luna sang "Way Back into Love" for Hyeoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok, the ex-FIN.K.L-turned-musical theater actress Ock Joohyun sang "Broken Vow" for Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo, and the ex-Solid Kim Johan sang "Endless Love" for Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho.  And their scores were as follows: Choi (29 points), Hyoyeon (27 points), and Ye (27 points).

● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Rumba): "Way Back into Love" (Click to watch.)
● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Rumba): "Broken Vow" (Click to watch.)
● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Rumba): "Endless Love" (Click to watch.)


KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (10)


In the tenth round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (7/6/2012), the "troika" of the leading female contestants on the show finally made a semi-final and Choi Yeojin won two rounds in a row.  The victory marked her sixth win on the show and again made her the winningest contestant since the show started last year.

Each couple had to dance two full dances from this round.  Here're the judge's scores for the girls for their first routines: Choi (26 points; quickstep), Ye Jiwon (25 points; cha-cha-cha), and Hyoyeon (24 points; quickstep);

● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Quickstep): "Take Me Home, Country Roads" 
  (Click to watch.)
● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Cha-cha-cha): "Rivers of Babylon" (Click to watch.)
● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Quickstep): "Englishman in New York" (Click to watch.)


and their second routines:  Choi (26 points, jive), Ye Jiwon (26 points, tango), and Hyoyeon (26 points,  jive).

● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Jive): "Bye, Bye, Love" (Click to watch.)
● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Tango): "You Mean Everything To Me" (Click to watch.)
● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Jive): "Honey, Honey" (Click to watch.)

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (9)


In the ninth round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (6/29/2012), Choi Yeojin became the winningest contestant since the show started last year.  Unfortunately, however, Hyoyeon tripped and fell on a wrap skirt she had been wearing for her first dance of her foxtrot/pasodoble combination and then taken off on the floor.  Here're the judge's scores for  the "troika" of dancers: Choi (26 points), Ye Jiwon (25 points), and Hyoyeon (23 points)

● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Quickstep + Rumba): "Hit the Road, Jack" (Click to watch.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (8)


In the eighth round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (6/22/2012), the "troika" of dancers were all tied with one another, receiving 24 points from the judges, but Hyoyeon became the overall winner of the round, receiving the most votes from the viewers.  But her performance was pre-recorded thus aired "not live' on a show broadcast in real-time due to her overseas commitment, which caused a stir among the viewers and fans.  

● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Cha-cha-cha): "Get Up Offa That Thing" (Click to watch.)
● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Waltz): "The Prayer" (Click to watch.)

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (7)


In the seventh round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (6/15/2012), the "troika" of the leading female dancers on the show got caught off guard by the ex-HOT Tony An.  He received 23 points from the judges, a tie score with  the "troika" but he stole the viewers' hearts (not mine) and became the overall winner of the round.

BTW, I was really ticked off when the judge Song Seunghwan showed favoritism toward An over Shin Sooji.  I told you before that the judges were really stingy with their scores for her and even so I've given them the benefit of  the doubt.  I thought they were trying to even out the skills gap between her and the rest of the contestants considering she was the Korean rhythmic gymnastics champion and Olympian.  But how could Song gift Ann win over Shin (9 points for him and 6 points for Shin)?

It broke my heart when Shin burst into tears after her elimination.  She was already heartbroken after being unfairly "forced" to retire from athletics last year and as her close friend and professional golfer Shin Ji-ae said in pre-show footage, she seemed to have found her mission or purpose in life while dancing on the show.  So most of the viewers got furious after she was literally "axed" from the show - she received 21 points from the judges.  But who's to blame?  Anyway, it's a "ballroom dancing" reality show which in fact is fake.  And also it's a fraud when it's yet another a popularity contest with the public voting for their favorites.


● Tony An & Bae Soyoung (Pasodoble): "Happy Together" (Click to watch.)
● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Samba): "I Saw You Dancing" (Click to watch.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (6)


In the sixth round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (6/8/2012), the "troika" of the leading female contestants on the show got caught off guard by Song Chong-Gug, a retired Korean football player, who became the overall winner of the round.  He received 24 points from the judges and here're the judge's scores for  the "troika" of dancers and Shin Sooji: Choi Yeojin (22 points), Ye Jiwon (22 points), Hyoyeon (22 points), and Shin (21 points).

● Song Chong-Gug & Lee Ji-eun (Pasodoble): 
   "What a Feeling" (From the soundtrack of "Flashdance")  (Click to watch.)

● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Tango): 
   Siganeul Geoseulleo "Backwards Through Time"
   (From the soundtrack of "The Moon That Embraces the Sun") (Click to watch.)

● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Cha-cha-cha): 
   "Can't Fight the Moonlight" (From the soundtrack of "Coyote Ugly") (Click to watch.)

● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Foxtrot): Geu Namja "That Man"
   (From the soundtrack of "The Secret Garden")  (Click to watch.)

● Shin Sooji & Kwon Sunbin (Vienna Waltz): 
   "Snow Frolic" (From the soundtrack of "The Love Story")  (Click to watch.)


KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (5)


Again, in the fifth round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (6/1/2012), the actress Choi Yeojin stole the show, winning two rounds in a row.  Here're the judge's scores for four contestants I was rooting for: Choi (23 points), Ye Jiwon (22 points), Hyoyeon (22 points), and Shin Sooji (20 points).

● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Jive): "Mercy" (Click to watch.)
● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Jive): "My Girl" (Click to watch.)
● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Jive): "Da Doo Run Run" (Click to watch.)

KOREAN SHOWS: Dancing with the Stars Korea - Season 2 (4)


In the fourth round of "Dancing with the Stars Korea" (5/25/2012), the actress Choi Yeojin both the judges' hearts (and of course mine too!) and the viewers' votes to become the overall winner of the round.  Here're the judge's scores for four contestants I was rooting for: Choi (21 points), Ye Jiwon (21 points), Hyoyeon (20 points), and Shin Sooji (19 points).

● Choi Yeojin & Park Jiwoo (Rumba): "Don't Know Why" (Click to watch.)
● Ye Jiwon & Bae Jiho (Rumba): Oneulgateun Bam "A Night Like This"
   (Click to watch.)
● Hyoyeon & Kim Hyeongseok (Rumba): "Lonely" (Click to watch.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

KOREAN SHOWS: Cha Jiyeon on "The Immortal Songs"

불후의 명곡: 차지연




I wasn't a regular viewer of KBS's Bulhu-e Myeonggok (불후의 명곡, "The Immortal Songs) but lately, I started watching it regularly to see Sunggyu (of Infinite) and Hong Gyeongmin, who I think is one of the most underrated singers in Korea.  And it was a pleasant surprise that I stumbled upon Cha Jiyeon while watching the show yesterday.  Cha is a musical theater actress and singer – she’s also a Pansori singer.  She made her debut playing the role of Rafiki in "The Lion King" in 2007 and some of her previous musical theater credits include: Maria in Maria, Maria (2007), Effie White in Dreamgirls (2009), Misil in Queen Seondeok (2010), Mercedes in Monte Cristo (2010~2011), and Songhwa in Seopyeonje (2010, 2012).  She won the best new female actress at the 2010 Korea Musical Awards and the best female leading actress at the 2011 Musical Awards, both for her role in Seopyeonje.  Now, let's first watch her perform the finale of Shimcheongga featured in Seopyeonje, as mise en abyme or a play within a play, at the 2011 Musical Awards.

FYI, Shimcheongga is a story about a girl named Shim Cheong and her father, Shim Hakgyu, who was blind.  Her mother passed away after giving birth to her.  During her infancy, other moms in her neighborhood nursed her; and during her childhood, it was she who cared for her father.  She didn’t even bother to beg for food to support him.  

One day, a Buddhist monk happened to rescue her father from a ditch.  There Mr. Shim was told that if he offered three hundred sacks (approx. 60 tons) of rice to Buddha, his eyes could see.  On impulse, he ended up promising to make an offering.  When Cheong discovered his secret, she willingly sold herself for three hundred sacks of rice as a virgin sacrifice to the Dragon King of the Sea.  The Dragon King of the Sea was moved by her love for her father so deeply that he ordered to put her in a giant lotus flower and sent her back to the human world alive. 

Cheong, still in the lotus flower, was taken to the King’s palace and the King immediately fell in love with her and married her.  When the King heard the story of her life, he suggested that she throw a great banquet for all the blind men of the kingdom in hopes of finding her father. When Mr. Shim came to the Royal banquet, still blind, he was so shocked to know Cheong was still alive that he finally regained his sight.



Cha Jiyeon: Shimcheongga (Finale)

As you just saw her in the video above, Cha is a very talented Pansori singer as she came from a very prestigious family of traditional Korean musicians including her grandfather on mother's side and her uncles and aunties.  She revealed on KBS’s “Sketchbook” last year (8/12/2011) that her grandfather on mother's side (the late Park O-yong) was registered as Ingan Muhwajae (인간문화재, “human cultural asset”) for his most sublime Pansori skills.  But she said her ultimate dream is to be a successful recording artist.  (Click to see her perform and talk on the show.)  

Now, here's another video of her singing "And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going," a torch song from the musical Dreamgirls.



Cha Jiyeon: And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going (Dreamgirls)

Cha is one of the most critically acclaimed performers of the musical theater, however, it was not until last year when she hit the NAGASU stage with Yim Jaebum (or Yim Jaebeom) that she became known to a much wider audience.



Cha Jiyeon & Yim Jaebeom: An Empty Glass
on MBC's NAGASU (5/8/2011)


The song Cha chose to sing for “The Immortal Songs” is Byeori Jindane (별이 진다네, “A Star Goes Down”) by Travel Sketches, one of the most popular 1989 songs in Korea and my friend Sun’s favorite Noraebang song to sing.  The song is the epitome of analog sound and its lyrics are so beautifully written: 


English Lyrics: A Star Goes Down

Yesterday, a star went down 
and my heart sank.
"A star is just a star."  
Everyone tells me so but....
Today, another star is going down,
a beautiful star of mine.
When a star goes down, even the sky weeps.
That's why it keeps raining now.
My longing for you that is gradually soaking my heart
turned into rain tonight and makes me cry again.
When I look back to our beautiful old days,
the love of my heart  will come back, it seems.
But as my dream disappears,
only my sadness deepens.
As my star disappears,
only the darkness thickens.
And only the darkness thickens....


Cha Jiyeon exemplifies the true essence of being a singer.  Even though she's got a powerhouse voice, her singing is not all about hitting the high notes. When you hear her sing, you'll hear a range and a great sense of dynamics and control.  I hope you like her as much as I do and also hope you enjoy the original version as well as her 21st century rendition of the song. 



Cha Jiyeon: A Star Goes Down
on KBS's "The Immortal Songs" (7/21/2012)


Original Version: Travel Sketches
Byeori Jindane "A Star Goes Down" (1989)
(English Subtitles)

Friday, July 20, 2012

KOREAN SHOWS: Super Junior on "The Star's Life Theater" (2)


스타 인생극장슈퍼 주니어의 슈퍼  2


Here's the second episode of KBS's "The Star's Life Theater" featuring Super Junior (English subtitles).  While watching the show, I was happy for Kangin that he was given a second chance.  Though it seems as if he still acts like an outsider who's feeling small. I was never a fan of his in the first place but hope he keeps his chin up.  And Eunhyuk, I wish I had a son like you!


video
The Star's Life Theater: Super Junior's Super Show
Episode Two (Air date: 7/17/2012) (1)

video
The Star's Life Theater: Super Junior's Super Show
Episode Two (Air date: 7/17/2012) (2)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

ZILLY TALKZ: Waiting for the Next Kim Yuna?


Then you gotta check out this adorable little girl performing Kim's "James Bond Medley" in a Korean elementary school talent show.  She seems to have this attitude, "Anything Kim can do, I can do better"... well..... not on the ice but on the floor.  LOL  But seriously, isn't she darling?


KOREAN SHOWS: Super Junior on "The Star's Life Theater" (1)


스타 인생극장: 슈퍼 주니어의 슈퍼 1


I might get stoned for saying this (Don't get me wrong - I'm such a fan of Super Junior) but I'm worried they have been falling into the trap of self-plagiarism since the global smash hit song "Sorry, Sorry."  I think they need to hire some new songwriters or at least stop selecting a wrong title track for the album.  And if I had been their fashion stylist, I would've styled their look with black silk suits, which I think fit the song better.  Personally, there's nothing "sexier" than a man in a black suit and it'll be better he's "free" and "single."  BTW, I really miss Heenim badly. 

Now, check out the first episode of KBS's "The Star's Life Theater" featuring Super Junior (English subtitles).


video
The Star's Life Theater: Super Junior's Super Show
Episode One (Air date: 7/16/2012) (1)


video
The Star's Life Theater: Super Junior's Super Show
Episode One (Air date: 7/16/2012) (2)


Click the link below to watch the second episode of Super Junior's Life Theater: 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: MBC’s “I AM a Singer” Season 2 (10)

Naneun Gasuda (나는 가수다) or NAGASU (나가수)


Clockwise from top left:
Kim Yeonwoo, Sohyang, 
Han Young-ae,
Park Sangmin, Jeong Yeop, and Kim Gunmo


The singers in Group B were also on the same mission to sing foreign songs for the second night of the July NAGASU round (7/8/2012) and here's a list of six songs selected by them (in the order they were performed):

1.  Jeong Yeop: "Hound Dog" (1956 remake by Elvis Presley)
2.  Park Sangmin: "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1991 remake by Michael Bolton)
3.  Han Young-ae: "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (Original version by Bob Dylan, 1973)
4.  Kim Gunmo: "I Can Wait Forever" (Original version by Air Supply, 1984)
5.  Kim Yeonwoo: "All By Myself" (Original version by Eric Carmen, 1975)
6.  Sohyang: "I Have Nothing" (Original version by Whitney Houston, 1992)

Again, I'll upload their videos in the order their performance and you rank them if you'd like to. And again, please try not be bothered by their English as it's not their native tongue.  :)



[AUDIO ONLY] Jeong Yeop: "Hound Dog"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 7/8/2012)

Click to listen to the remake by Elvis Presley.  
Or here's the 1952 original rendition by Big Mama Thornton.


[AUDIO ONLY] Park Sangmin: "When a Man Loves a Woman"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 7/8/2012)

Click to listen to the remake by Michael Bolton.  
Or here's the 1966 original rendition by Percy Sledge.


Han Young-ae: "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 7/8/2012)

Click to listen to the original rendition by Bob Dylan.
And here's his 1995 unplugged version. 


Kim Gunmo: "I Can Wait Forever"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 7/8/2012)

Click to listen to the original rendition by Air Supply


Kim Yeonwoo: "All By Myself"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 7/8/2012)

Click to listen to the original rendition by Eric Carmen.


Sohyang: "I Have Nothing"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 7/8/2012)

Click to listen to the original rendition by Whitney Houston.


Sohyang was the winner of the night and Han Young-ae and Kim Yeonwoo made the top three along with her.  Some may think I'm biased but Han Young-ae was my personal favorite among other singers who had performed.  Again, people have been divided into two extremes on her rendition of the song as they were 3 weeks ago when she performed Lee Sora's "The Wind Blows": Some loved it and others hated it.  Some netizens even wrote she was spooky and creepy.  Han said in her pre-performance package that her performance would be some kind of Salpuri (살풀이) (Click to watch Salpuri dance):  "Imagine how a person would feel when knocking on Heaven's door.  Would it be despair?  Self-abandonment?  I will sing this song as if praying that we may rid ourselves of the greed, even just a sliver of it."  

BTW...... I think Kim Gunmo seemed under the weather or something but above all else, his problem was choosing the wrong song.  Air Supply didn't do him justice at all ‘cause his voice and singing style do not match Russell Hitchcock’s.  And Kim Yeonwoo was okay but while listening to him sing the song, I found myself longing to hear Eric Carmen.  

So, which was your favorite performance of July 8, 2012?