I Am A Singer finale duets revealed (all the rumours were wrong)

Seven singers have been invited to perform with the seven I Am A Singer finalists. Some of them have appeared on the show before.

Seven singers have been invited to perform with the seven I Am A Singer finalists. Some of them have appeared on the show before.

Xie Ziming 谢子明, an entertainment magazine editor and Bibi Zhou’s I Am A Singer agent for this week, leaked the list of celebrity guests for the show’s final round on his Weibo account yesterday. Basically, none of the rumours we had heard were correct.

The "singing helpers" guest list for the finals is said to be: JJ Lin, Khalil Fong, Zhang Jiayi, Julian chen, Shin, Huang Qishan, Tan Weiwei. It seems like an odd little "intrusion." How they correspond to the seven singers is still unknown, but we do know that Friday night's show will be on the air for three hours, almost as long as the Spring Festival Gala. Who will @Bibi sing with? (I really have no idea.)

The “singing helpers” guest list for the finals is said to be: JJ Lin, Khalil Fong, Zhang Jiayi, Julian chen, Shin, Huang Qishan, Tan Weiwei. It seems like an odd little “intrusion.” How they correspond to the seven singers is still unknown, but we do know that Friday night’s show will be on the air for three hours, almost as long as the Spring Festival Gala.
Who will @Bibi sing with? (I really have no idea.)

To the disappointment of some fans, the revelation quashed earlier rumours of possible appearances by Jane Zhang and Wang Leehom. Later reports paired the guest singers with the I Am A Singer finalists.


hanzhang

Han Lei 韩磊 & Zhang Jiayi 张嘉译
走四方 + 鸿雁 + 向天再借五百年 by Han Lei 韩磊 & Husileng 呼斯楞
渔光曲, 野百合也有春天

Zhang Jiayi is a popular actor, not known for his singing ability. Some fans voiced their disbelief. “Does Zhang Jiayi know how to sing?” asked one fan online. “I can’t imagine him participating in such an important singing competition.” Others joked that the actor would help Han Lei receive votes from older women.

Why it could work:
Expect big points if Zhang Jiayi proves to be a decent singer. Much like in Robert Downey Jr.’s recent duet with Sting, we’re all the more impressed when good actors also turn out to good singers. This song list is exactly what Han Lei does best. Expect a strong finish for Han Lei.

Why it might be crazy:
Although there are reports that Zhang Jiayi can sing, he still lacks the experience of singing in front of a crowd, which might contrast poorly with Han Lei’s charismatic performances. Even worse if it turns out that he can’t sing. A risky choice, but affordable, given Han Lei’s first place ranking in the semifinals.


gemfong

G.E.M 邓紫棋 & Khalil Fong 方大同
春天里 by Wang Feng 汪峰
We Will Rock You + 一无所有 + We are the Champions by Queen & Cui Jian 崔健

Hawaiian-born Khalil Fong launched his career in Hong Kong singing in Mandarin. His music borders between soul and acoustic pop.

Why it could work:
The two singers have similar backgrounds as Hong Kong-based singer-songwriters. They both know how to make music. They’ve taken to the stage together before, too, so these are not uncharted waters for the duo. G.E.M is taking on another Wang Feng song with In The Spring 春天里. If she can replicate her success with Existence 存在, G.E.M should come… well, she came second that week. But she should do pretty well.

Why it might be crazy:
G.E.M might have to tone down her powerhouse vocals to compliment Khalil’s smaller sound, limiting one of her prime assets in the competition. While she performs well in English, Chinese audiences only seem to vote for English songs that they already know well, and I’m not sure how popular Queen is in China. She may also be committing career suicide, on the Mainland at least, by singing 一无所有 Nothing to My Name, Cui Jian’s unofficial anthem of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.


zhanglin

Zhang Jie 张杰 & JJ Lin 林俊杰
最美丽的太阳 + 翅膀 by Zhang Jie 张杰 & JJ Lin 林俊杰
回到拉萨 by Zheng Jun 郑钧

JJ Lin is a popular Singaporean singer-songwriter, writing hits for others as often as for himself. A-mei’s Remember 记得 is one of his penned classics. JJ is going to be wearing yellow houndstooth pants and a cape, like some kind of ill-conceived superhero.

Why it could work:
Both singers are capable vocalists, and Zhang Jie’s bright tenor should contrast well with JJ’s baritone. They will be singing Zhang Jie’s own 最美丽的太阳 The Most Beautiful Sun and JJ’s 翅膀 Wings, so they will be more than familiar with their songs.

Why it might be crazy:
There’s nothing especially weak about this pairing. It combines two solid artists and should create a solid performance. It might be worth asking, however, if JJ’s appearance really adds anything to the performance. This feels like a set list that Zhang Jie could do by himself, and that might be a wasted opportunity to capitalise on JJ’s talents.


shilahuang

Shila & Huang Qishan 黄绮珊
When You Believe by Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey
MAMA by EXO

Huang Qishan is a finalist from last season’s competition who came first three times. Out of all the announced guests, fans seemed the most excited to hear of her return. Incidentally, did you know the opening to “When You Believe” comes from the Chinese composition, Dance of the Yao People? It totally does.

Why it could work:
While lacking the star power of the previously rumoured Wang Leehom pairing, fans are still excited to see the top-ranking female of the first season return to the stage. Huang Qishan has a huge voice and has been compared to all three of our favourite 90s divas (Whitney, Mariah, Celine), so her inclusion in this inspirational duet just makes sense.

Why it might be crazy:
Do you ever get the feeling that Shila reads everything I write just so she can ignore all of my advice in very specific steps? I don’t have much confidence that Shila can pull off this song. It’s too big for her voice. She is not that kind of singer.

Despite being rediscovered last year as one of the best female voices in China, Huang Qishan might not be the best duet partner due to her record of, well, not being a very good duet partner. She is a strong soloist, but her appearances on Dream Star Partner 梦想星搭档, a singing program which pairs singers to sing together, have shown an emotional disconnect between her and her singing partners. She can struggle when singing in English with her words sometimes sounding garbled.


bibishin

Bibi 周笔畅 & Shin 信
一样的月光 by Julie Sue 苏芮
爱的供养 by Yang Mi 杨幂

Shin is the former frontman of Taiwanese rock band, Shin (yes, that was a bit Jon Bon Jovi of him), turned soloist. Shin is famous for his vocal growls and wide range heard in the song Love Beyond Death 死了都要爱.

Why it could work:
Bibi and Shin are both big musical experimentalists and have performed a wide range of styles. This duo could really sing any genre that they want to sing, and have the musical experience to back it up.

Why it might be crazy:
Coming in fifth place last week means Bibi needs to score highly to escape the bottom two elimination—now might not be the time for experimentation. Shin performed 一样的月光 on Immortal Songs 不朽之名曲, another singing talent show, last month. A repeat performance may face audience fatigue. Bibi, who is not known for her range, may struggle to reach the higher notes in the song (though agent Xie Ziming assures us that both singers were equally good).


philchen

Phil Chang 张宇 & Julian Chen 陈志朋
伤心的人别听慢歌 by Mayday 五月天
四百龙银 by Phil Chan 张宇

Alongside Alec Su and Nick Wu, Julian Chen was part of the Taiwanese boy band, The Little Tigers. The group pioneered the boy band concept in Taiwan in the late-80s and early-90s, and helped popularised Mandopop over the then-dominant Cantopop in the Overseas Chinese community.

Why it could work:
If you’re a fan of early 90s Taiwanese music, this might be for you.

Why it might be crazy:
Julian Chen is the least popular of the Little Tigers. While fellow bandmates Alec Su and Nicky Wu have over 14 million and 34 million Weibo followers respectively, Julian scrapes in at less than 800,000. This is like inviting the Jackson 5 to perform at your 70s-themed party and having LaToya Jackson show up instead.
(Now I wish I hadn’t used up the Destiny’s Child/Michelle Williams reference in the last post…)


garytan

Gary 曹格 & Tan Weiwei 谭维维
What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes
寂寞先生 by Gary Chaw 曹格

Super Girl Tan Weiwei was featured as a guest performer in last year’s I Am A Singer duets as well, where she pretty much delivered the best vocal performance of the night. She often incorporates Tibetan and Mongolian styles in her music.

Why it could work:
Both these singers are known for their range, power, and technical skill. If any duo is going to give a stand out vocal performance on Friday night, it’s this one. Vocally, Tan Weiwei is one of the strongest guests to appear in the finals.

Why it might be crazy:
Having Tan Weiwei sing in English might not be the best idea. While she can pull off the alternative rock of “What’s Up,” short of a major change in arrangement, the song doesn’t seem to suit either her nor Gary. Her musical style would better compliment Han Lei, so this feels like a wasted opportunity.


The three-hour I Am A Singer finale airs tonight. Get some chips, don’t leave the sofa. It’s going to be good!

5 thoughts on “I Am A Singer finale duets revealed (all the rumours were wrong)

  1. Pingback: Han Lei wins I Am A Singer 2014 | Cfensi

  2. Will Hunan TV put it up on YouTube? Because I noticed that they made a lot of the episodes private recently.
    I expected Khalil to be paired with Bibi–haven’t they worked together before?

  3. I don’t watch this show at all – no time, and I understand the bare minimum of Mandarin – but this post makes me want to watch it!

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