I Am a Singer (China) Season 4: Week 11 (20160325) - Hwang Chi Yeul

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Like Being Shot By a Bullet 

Covering one of Baek Jiyoung's popular ballads, Hwang Chi Yeul challenged himself again, this time rearranging the song into a rock ballad, or at least that's how I would term it. After listening to Kim Feel's cover many moons ago in Immortal Songs 2, I did wonder how Chi Yeul's going to do it, because Kim Feel's version was pretty cool already.

Turning the song into a rock style did give it an edge. His voice was perfect for the arrangement. It still sounded very sad like the original. It hurts, but it rocks. There's a segment in the middle where he sang without accompaniment from any musical instrument. His pitch-perfect rough voice just pierced through the hall, it was awesome. Towards the end the song just got higher and higher and he nailed it. Like, total daebak. He should do more of this. Rock ballad could totally be his style.

Since this is the last round before the finale (unless you are substitute singers or eliminated singers who have to go through one more breakthrough round), every singer did all sort of 'crazy' this episode. Coco Lee with her weird outfit singing Bad Romance, Joey's persistence to dance with hurt ankle for Bad Boy, Jeff Chang with his soprano partner, Hacken Lee with master pianist Lang Lang, it's a relief that Chi Yeul managed to rank 4th despite performing first (I feel that he deserved better placement, but no matter). His win previous week with high scores, combined with this week's ranking, brought him to the top place overall and was given ticket direct to final round, which will be live on 8th April 2016.

Previous Performance(s): Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8; Week 9Week 10

I Am a Singer (China) Season 4: Week 10 (20160318) - Hwang Chi Yeul

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Gai Bian Zi Ji (Change Myself)

Singing a cover of Wang Lee Hom's Change Myself, this performance was everything I was hoping for. No ballad, no extended, meticulous choreographed dance routine. It was a fun stage, seemingly freestyle and definitely free-spirited. It was not a thoughtless performance. Every move was rehearsed and timed perfectly and was meant to capture the audience. Hwang Chi Yeol made every transition smoothly that it seemed so natural. For the first time, he actively interacted with the audience and you can literally hear them responding to him, it was deafening, almost. The moment the audience was singing along loudly with him, you know he got this. It felt like he was having a fun stage at his very own concert! All in all, it was quite a breakthrough moment for him in my opinion. It was not something you've seen from him before, not even in Immortal Songs 2. He actually mimicked a formulaic performance that normally would have secured final win in Immortal Songs 2. I was laughing thinking about it. Instrument (saxophone), check. Repetitive section, check. Audience interaction, check. Most of all, he himself seemed to let go of all worries and just sing. Just look at his different hairstyle this time around, made him looked so boyish and adorable, running about on stage. His voice sounded a little rough compared to usual but somehow fit the song and the spirit. 

He performed 4th, and ranked 1st, thanks to more than a quarter of the audience's votes. Even more meaningful, it was his first win with a Chinese song.

(Sidenote: not sure if I missed them, but unlike Honey and Bang, Bang, Bang, there's not much coverage on this particular performance in Korean entertainment portals. Maybe because it's not a Korean song. It's a shame coz I feel like it was one of his more entertaining performances to date, complete with a shocking ending. haha)

Previous Performance(s): Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9

I Am a Singer (China) Season 4: Week 9 (20160311) - Hwang Chi Yeul

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You Are Just Somewhere a Little Higher Than Me

Performing second, he was back to emotional rendition of a ballad song. This song holds a special meaning to me when it comes to Hwang Chi Yeul. It was, as far as I recall, the very song that has brought my attention back to him after I Can See You Voice and successfully thrown me to a point of no return to Hwang Chi Yeul fandom. The song was his performance for Immortal Songs 2 that earned him the title and trophy Super Rookie for the Super Rookie Showdown episode. It was not his first appearance in Immortal Songs 2, and not really his first win (He won a trophy in earlier appearance for song "Father"), but until that episode, I had no idea he was even in Immortal Songs 2. I was not a dedicated IS2 follower, but was chanced upon that particular episode while browsing youtube. Since then, I had backtracked all the way to his first appearance and kept checking the IS2 guest list to see if his in (him or Moon Myungjin. haha).

Back to his performance in I Am a Singer, he again presented a vocally and emotionally powerful performance. Like his performance in IS2, he put his heart and soul into the singing. I don't even know if tears were there on his face amidst a real sweaty face. He sounded a little pitchy at the last stretch but other than that, his vocal was really steady and melodic, despite the background music that seemed a little not in par with his delivery or dreary. I dunno, it could be the same old problem of poor audio output for TV.

Despite other singers' managers gave him top recommendations for first place, he was voted fourth place by the audience, with the winner of the round goes to Jeff Chang. And this is where I found it interesting. I wonder if Chinese audience really prefers Jeff Chang style of singing, because there were times when I was bored with his performances, but he was ranked quite decent. He has this singing style that is very calm that pierces through not matter what he sings, which is pretty much the complete opposite of Hwang Chi Yeul's style. Like in this particular episode, even when the background singers and music seem too overpowering, his voice cut through above it all with this calm voice and tone. It was quite amazing to be honest, given the circumstances, but still sounded pretty boring to me for a stage performance. For a CD though, his voice is perfect!

Having said that, it would do Chiyeul good to apply the advice from Shin Seung Hun to him in Healing Camp on how to perform ballad that can overwhelm the audience without forcing out too much. He compared that with an actor potraying a sad scene. He who wants to cry but holds back tears versus he who bawls his eyes out that can turn off the viewers. That is to say, there are more than one ways to engage audience with ballad other than excessive emotions. I understand that is probably Chiyeul's style, his way of giving it all on stage, which I love dearly and appreciate. But for the sake of this competition, I think it is worth for him to analyze what the audience wants, and not just what he wants to give. 

(Side note: I thought if anyone other than Chiyeul should ranked first this episode, it should be Coco Lee. She showed amazing vocals and energetic performance)

Previous Performance(s): Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7; Week 8