Have I just not been paying attention all this time, or are those sponsored beverages a lot more prominent in this episode? I don’t even know what they are. But I want to drink them.
This special episode pit the finalists of the first I Am A Singer 我是歌手 season against the recently concluded second season finalists. Season one finalist Huang Qishan, who appeared in last week’s finale, was absent in this episode and was instead replaced by Laure Shang. (Oh, I’m sure she had a very good reason for not being there.)
Just to note, some performances have not been uploaded onto HunanTV’s official YouTube channel. We’ll try and work our way around that.
The format differed slightly from previous I Am A Singer episodes. Instead of the usual free-for-all sing-off, season one and season two singers were paired together and went head-to-head in solo rounds. Some match ups were good. Some could have been better. The show started with a good one.
HAN LEI vs TERRY LIN
Terry referred to Han Lei as “younger brother,” which surprised a bunch of people since Han Lei, at 45, looks a lot older than the 48-year-old Terry Lin. Some netizens said he looked 60. Poor Han Lei. It’s those eye bags of his.
Han Lei 韩磊
Han Lei hadn’t done a non-folk song in a while, so his take on this Winnie Hsin classic ballad was a pleasant change of pace. If I had been 17 in the mid-90s, I totally would have slow danced to this song at some high school dance. In a good way. This was a good performance. It kind of made me want to watch the Sabrina the Teenage Witch movie… the original one, before Caroline Rhea got involved.
Terry Lin 林志炫
瞬间永恒 + I Can Wait Forever
I spent half of the first season hating Terry Lin. His voice are boring. All his performances sound the same. He looks like an Asian Steve Jobs crossed with a barn owl. I don’t know. I just never liked him. So, as much as I hate to admit it, this was pretty good, too.
JULIA PENG vs GARY CHAW
A slightly unusual pairing, but some good vocal chops between the two.
Julia Peng 彭佳慧
Little Town of Lukang 鹿港小镇
For those curious, Lukang is a town in Taiwan famed for its temples and small town charm. Julia Peng is not from Lukang. She did manage to pull off a commendable performance, however. Despite her strong vocals, Julia was overshadowed by Huang Qishan’s even bigger voice in the first season. This performance was powerful enough to thrust her back into the spotlight.
Gary Chaw 曹格
剪爱 + 听海
Gary high fives everyone in the green room before taking to the stage. “Boleh!” Shila yells in encouragement, meaning “you can do it” in Malay. Or something to that effect.
What’s with Gary’s suit? I think I’ve seen that floral pattern before. My octogenarian neighbours use it on all their upholstery.
Gary sang two, awkward-to-translate A-mei songs. Cut Love? Listen to the Sea? You probably already know them, anyway. Gary was accompanied on the piano by his mentor, Tu Huiyan 涂惠源, which might explain the absence of his ex-wife Huang Qishan. Gary usually performs well when it’s just him and a piano, but the slightly edgier rendition of Listen to the Sea could have been better. He’s always singing that song, after all, and he usually nails it.
SHILA AMZAH vs ASKA YANG
Taiwan vs Malaysia, round two. They couldn’t have done Julia versus Shila, and Gary versus Aska? That seems more logical to me. But, oh well.
The Only One 唯一
Shila sings a lot of Wang Leehom 王力宏 songs, and this performance was very typically Shila. Which means her fans will think it’s the best thing ever, and I will think it’s a glaring display of her vocal limitations. Still, she didn’t do too badly this time.
Aska Yang 杨宗纬
True Love 底细
All right, so “底細” doesn’t really translate to “true love,” but that’s supposedly the official English name. Aska is one of a few first season singers who scored a judging role on a reality singing contest after the season’s run.
G.E.M sips something from her thermos lid during the performance. It doesn’t look like any of the green or red drinks plastered behind her or on the table in front of her. The sponsors are probably sad.
After the performance, Aska and Shila semi-hug and walk off together, relieved for it to be over. The host asks them if they knew each other before the show. They didn’t. But they sure get along chummily.
LAURE SHANG vs ZHANG JIE
Despite being eliminated in last season’s run and therefore not qualifying as a finalist, Laure Shang is back to perform, replacing Huang Qishan. Super Girl vs Super Boy. A challenge between Super Girls Laure Shang and Bibi Zhou would have been much more satisfying, though.
Laure Shang 尚雯婕
Empire State of Mind
This was an unusually flawed performance/fashion show for the Super Girl champion. Actually, the fashion show was all right. Models catwalked on the stage during the performance, showcasing a range of labels that quickly scrolled across the bottom of the screen. Some of the outfits were worn by Laure in the first season of I Am A Singer.
Despite being a fluent English speaker, her pronunciation was weak at points, and major pitch issues wasted the second half of the performance. Still, a couple strong lines offered glimpses of what could have been a great rendition of an otherwise promising song choice. A studio recording with all the kinks ironed out, perhaps.
Jay Z’s rap was also absent, with Laure performing the Alicia Keys solo version. Remember when she rapped the Black Eyed Peas last year?
Three people walked alongside her to carry the frills of her mermaid dress as they walked backstage to take pose for some photos. Look at all the white people. It’s like the opposite of a Gwen Stefani video.
Zhang Jie 张杰
He Doesn’t Understand 他不懂
Hey, I think I’ve seen this suit on furniture, too. An ottoman, I think. Zhang Jie performed his own ballad. It was powerful, emotive, and overall much better than Laure Shang’s performance. Superboy is, after all, one of the strongest characters in the DC Universe.
G.E.M vs YU QUAN
Another moment that makes you wish Huang Qishan was back on stage. G.E.M and Huang Qishan both earned the nickname “Lungs of Steel” during their runs on the show. Alas, that vocal showndown was not to be.
I imagine this is what it would have sounded like if the song had been performed at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics. For those too young to remember, the 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, and Celine Dion sang the theme song, The Power of the Dream. It was pretty good.
But with the I Am A Singer stage not being an Olympic opening ceremony, it was just a bit too much. G.E.M’s vocals lacked the legato and fluidity that would have made this performance great.
Beijing and Zhangjiakou have entered a joint bid to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Maybe G.E.M is just auditioning for a shot to perform at the opening ceremony. G.E.M would be good. Or at least not Sarah Brightman again. Man, do I hate Sarah Brightman.
Yu Quan 羽泉
(begins around 1:30)
It’s weird when an emcee can introduce himself onto the stage that he’s already on. Last season’s winning duo took on one of the songs that won Han Lei this year’s title. They’re an oddly dressed group. It’s poppier than Han Lei’s version. Everyone is out of their seats. The audience is singing along. What ever happened to power pop, anyway?
Within seconds of completing the song, half of Yu Quan and I Am A Singer host, Hu Haiquan, invites the other contestants back on stage. These guys are really segregated by season. Not only were they in different green rooms for the entire show, but they even stand on different sides of the stage. The director comes on and gives a rousing speech about how talented the singers are, and how they sing from their hearts. Yes, yes, we know, we did watch the show (or at least clips of it on YouTube). He brings out Terry Lin and Han Lei, the first pairing of the night. They bow and shake hands. “I know you’re all dying to see who of these two is the winner,” he begins. This goes on for a while, really. “And the winner is…” he announces after several minutes of monologue, “…going to be revealed after this short break!”
Unfortunately for us YouTube viewers, there is no break, and we cut right to the announcement. Where’s the suspense?
Anyway, the guy talks more about touching our hearts and how great the audience has been, and apparently there is not going to be a winner. And then we all shuffle our kids into our SUVs after soccer practice and tell them how they all did a great job and how it’s not about winning, it’s about trying your best and having fun. Let’s get ice cream on the way home.
Watch the full episode here:
Tell us who you think should have won in the comments and in the polls above! Which singers would you like to see on the third season of I Am A Singer? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Fish Leong 梁静茹 is going to be in it.