Jessie J, Coco Lee, and KZ win Singer 2018 with Bang Bang, Dragon Fist, and pipa

Jessie J, Coco Lee, and KZ Tangingan won Singer 2018 this weekend with the help of an awesome pipa arrangement of Bang Bang and Dragon Fist.  I thought this season was lackluster in general, with even Jessie J having boring song choices and arrangements, but this was easily one of the best performances of the show.

Ne-yo, Akon, JJ Lin, William Chan, everyone in Chinese rock join I am a Singer 4 finale

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I am a Singer 5: Rock edition.

The song list for I am a Singer 4 finale has been announced, and they’re certainly hoping to give the least interesting season so far a boost in its finale. My bet is still on Coco Lee.

Coco Lee  ft Ne-yo –  Earth Song
Lala Hsu ft JJ Lin –  Twilight
Hacken Lee ft George Lam/Sally Ye – A lot of songs 潇洒走一回+阿lam日记+数字人生
Hwang Chi Yeol ft Gummy – You are My Everything
Joey Yung ft William Chan – 加大力度
Jeff Chang ft Akon –  爱如潮水 and   Lonely
Lao Lang ft Wang Feng, Zhou Xiao’ou, Black Panther keyboardist Luan Shu, Tang Dynasty’s vocalist and guitarist Ding Wu, Overload’s guitarist Gao Qi,  guitarist Li Yanliang, bass Chen Jin, and composer Ma Shangyou – Gift 礼物

There are additional performances by the first 3 season’s winners – Yu Quan, Han Hong, Han Lei

I Am A Singer Season 4: Haya Coco Lala… are names of contestants on this show

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Hwang Chiyeol does a lot of clapping on this show.

After presumably blowing all of this season’s budget on last years’s A-list lineup, Hunan
TV’s I Am A Singer returns for a fourth year with a stable of more—ahem—”affordable” singers.

The I Am A Singer crown has always gone to a Mainland Chinese act. Yu Quan in 2013, and the Hans Lei and Hong in subsequent years. Of course, that’s not a risky bet to make when five-out-of-seven singers are Mainlanders. This year, things are a bit different. There are only two Mainland performers in the starting lineup, and both tied for last place in this episode. A non-Mainland singer could very well take it out for the very first time, and Taiwanese diva Lala Hsu and Cantopop legend Hacken Lee are both in with a good shot.


Haya
Wolf Earth 苍狼大地 by Tengger

Haya is something of a folksy, Inner Mongolian Nightwish. Lead singer, Daichintana,
plays a Native American flute in this performance. Oh, they’re a very worldly bunch.

Coco Lee waves as the band enters the green room. “Oh, Haya!” Coco remarks (though she might just have been saying ‘hiya’). Continue reading

I Am A Singer Ep. 9: Jess Lee eats cherry tomatoes

Crab people, crab people. Taste like crab, talk like people.

Crab people, crab people. Taste like crab, talk like people.

Malaysian singer Jess Lee gasps in surprise as television personality, Rolling Wang (not to be confused with annoying viral chicken video songstress Rollin Wang), rolls into her hotel room with a breakfast cart adorned with breads, milk and fruit. Her eyes remain fixed on the food as he greets her and wishes her a happy new year.

Is that a plate of cherry tomatoes? Who eats just cherry tomatoes?

Is that a plate of cherry tomatoes? Who eats just cherry tomatoes?

Li Jian and his manager, Shen Mengchen, are the first to arrive on the I Am A Singer set. He flicks on the TV to inspect the competition. “Jess Lee,” Shen muses, tapping the remote to reveal her song choice. “Suffering.”
“I’ve never heard that song before,” admits Li Jian. “Have you?”
“No, I haven’t. Let’s put it on now.”
This isn’t the first time a Chinese celebrity has claimed not to know Jess Lee.

Meanwhile, in the halls of HunanTV headquarters, Han Hong examines a poster of Jane Zhang wearing a stunning white and gold dress.

Meanwhile, in the halls of HunanTV headquarters, Han Hong examines a poster of Jane Zhang wearing a stunning white and gold dress.

Some of the contestants are taking naps on their sofas. Li Jian and The One, too tall for the furniture, dangle their limbs off the side. Han Hong fits snuggly within the arm rests.


Li Jian
Bonds 尘缘 by Roman Tam

Li Jian is looking rather snazzy. He’s wearing a charcoal suit with a purple crew-neck tee and pocket square. And a watch on his right hand, oddly enough. I am totally going to steal this look for my next business casual event (I think this qualifies as business casual).

Li Jian’s performances tend to be very hit or miss. This one’s a miss. It’s slow, with no real musical or vocal climax. And that’s typical Li Jian. But it doesn’t have that unique “oomph” that makes Li Jian’s good performances good. His better songs usually come when they’re less piano-driven. Unfortunately, this one is super pianoed-up. It’s altogether a bit dull.

Hey, there’s a Caucasian dude watching the show. I bet we’ll be seeing a lot of him tonight.

It's a good thing there's a white person in the audience. Otherwise, we wouldn't know if our opinions are valid or not.

It’s a good thing there’s a white person in the audience. Otherwise, we wouldn’t know if our opinions are valid or not.

Continue reading

I Am A Singer Ep. 8: Li Tarzan, Shoo Jane

A peculiarly dressed Jane Zhang is eliminated from the competition.

A peculiarly dressed Jane Zhang is eliminated from the competition. Who comes up with these headlines?

It was the Lunar New Year holiday last week, so our seven favourite singers have wandered off for a bit (happy new year to all of Cfensi’s wonderful readers, by the way).

Jane Zhang is in Beijing, not wearing make-up but still looking pretty, and preparing dinner. She says she hasn’t cooked in a long time. That’s probably why she holds her knife like she’s ironing a shirt. But I imagine she hasn’t ironed for herself in a long time either.

Sun Nan is in Sanya on Hainan Island, the “Hawaii of China,” where he demonstrates everything wrong with the Chinese entertainment industry today.
1) That’s a very wrong way of doing push-ups (Chinese celebrities don’t work out enough)
2) Vertical filming (there aren’t enough good cameramen working in Chinese television)

Awkwardly humping the sand is not a push-up.

Awkwardly humping the sand is not a push-up.

Tan Weiwei, like Jane, is in Beijing, drinking vegetable soup and munching on a carrot from a cardboard bowl. Her manager complains that she needs to eat more than just vegetables so she can put on weight.

The One is back in Korea, bringing Xiao Wu with him. They’ve ordered a whole stack of bento-like, dosirak takeout boxes, and The One is doing an awful lot of talking with his mouth full. You’d think all these celebrities would get nice fancy meals, but not so much.

A-Lin is in Taiwan, where she bumps into unsuccessful I Am A Singer challenger Li Ronghao. “Hey, you’re back?” he asks, reasoning that A-Lin must have been eliminated.
“I’m back!” she replies, perhaps not really getting that. She then bumps into Karen Mok, who says nice things to her, but is very clearly aware of who is the real A-lister between the two (it’s not A-Lin).

We don’t get to see Li Jian or Han Hong’s Spring Festival outings. Mysterious.

The I Am A Singer green room has a Chinese New Year tree with presents underneath it. I hope this doesn’t become a thing. I’m probably getting to that age where people feel comfortable about not getting you presents, so there’s no way I will benefit from this.
Oh, and Sun Nan takes over as host from Leo Ku, thus answering the question I’ve been asking for the past two weeks. But now who will host when Sun Nan leaves?


Han Hong
Olive Tree 橄榄树 by Chyi Yu

This episode is spending a lot of time on the introduction to this performance. Firstly, Tan Weiwei discovers that Han Hong is singing Olive Tree by Chyi Yu. “People always recommend that I sing this song, but I don’t dare to,” she says, citing the rhythm and timing of the song. “It’s really difficult.”
Meanwhile, Anson is helping out Han Hong with the arrangement. It’s probably part of his secret plan to get as much screentime as he can now so that the audience will vote him back in in the comeback round. Isn’t that the plot of the Chicago?

Han Hong tells the story of how her father died when she was young and her mother remarried. After that, she ran away to Beijing to find her grandmother, and hasn’t been with her mother since then. When her grandmother passed away, Han Hong was by herself, with no direction and no roots. Despite all this, there is still an olive tree in her heart, she says. That raises some horticultural questions.

Fellow Tibetan-ish singer Yangjima sang this song on Chinese Idol, where Han Hong is a judge. The performances are completely different so it’s hard to compare, but Han Hong’s is vocally more impressive. I can’t tell if her shoes are gold, or if they’re silver and it’s just the lighting that makes them look gold. The timing of the pause at the end is slightly off when the band starts playing before Han Hong starts singing. Tan Weiwei totally saw that coming. Continue reading

I Am A Singer Ep. 7: A pun about The One being number one

Tibetan Buddhist monks join Han Hong on stage in this week's I Am A Singer.

Tibetan Buddhist monks join Han Hong on stage in this week’s I Am A Singer.

I Am A Singer, this year, is sponsored by Honda and Oppo. So the singers drive up in their Honda cars which totally look like the Jeeps from Jurassic Park, and unbox their new Oppo smartphones. They watch the introductory video for the newest contestant, Korean singer The One, but none of them know who he is. Obviously they didn’t watch the first season. For shame.
The One’s “manager” on the show is Xiao Wu, the Korean member of Top Combine. He does most of the interpreting for him. Let’s hop straight into it.

Don't worry. The dinosaurs don't start eating people until after Newman shuts down the park's security system.

Don’t worry. The dinosaurs don’t start eating people until after Newman shuts down the park’s security system.


Jane Zhang
If 是否 by Julie Su

Earlier in the competition, Jane performed Legend of a Hungry Wolf 饿狼传说 by Jacky Cheung. Everything about it was eerily similar to G.E.M’s performance of Lady Marmalade on last year’s show (especially the part where it actually segued into Lady Marmalade). Jane came second, but people were a bit iffy about it.

This time, Jane is singing a song that G.E.M recorded back in 2013. The similarities stop there, however. While G.E.M’s version was a demure, piano-only track, Jane’s arrangement features the whole band. Her voice harks back to her time on Super Girl. It’s powerful and free. It’s everythi- oh… and now it’s been jazzed up with trumpets. So not only did she not watch the first season of I Am A Singer, but she didn’t read my comments from last week’s episode either.

Besides almost ruining the song by turning it into a breezy jazz number, Jane actually did sing it really well. Nobody else has performed yet, but we have a strong contender for best vocal performance of the night. Continue reading

I Am A Singer Ep. 6: When gospel music was #1 on Chinese primetime television

Former Super Girl, Tan Weiwei, is the latest veteran vocalist to join I Am A Singer.

Former Super Girl, Tan Weiwei, is the latest veteran vocalist to join I Am A Singer.

I Am A Singer recaps are back by popular demand (and because, when you put “blogging for Cfensi” on your CV, it’s probably a good idea to publish something recent—hello there, prospective employers!).

If you’ve been out of the I Am A Singer loop, here’s all the interesting stuff you may have missed since the first recap:

And now you’re all up to date! More or less.


Han Hong
This is Who You Are 你是这样的人

This faux-operatic number was written as an ode to former premier Zhou Enlai to commemorate the centenary of his birth. So, 1998. A lot of Chinese classics aren’t as old as you would think.
“Red songs,” as they’re known, haven’t been very popular on I Am A Singer. After all, this is Hunan TV, and rival CCTV is all the way in Beijing. In season two, “Madonna of China” Wei Wei was booted from the competition after singing Reddest Sun, Dearest Chairman Mao 太阳最红毛主席最亲.
Han Hong does better, slightly, in sixth place. She’s not classically trained in the Western tradition, and she sounds a bit poppy at parts, but you can’t deny that she is expressive. She should have been ranked higher.

Guess who just learnt how to make gifs? This must be what tumblr feels like.

Guess who just learnt how to make gifs? This must be what tumblr feels like.

Continue reading