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'I Am a Singer' ignites fever

2011/05/10 | 879 views | Permalink | Source

Lena Park sings veteran artist Cho Yong-pil's "I Hope It Would Be That Way Now" on Sunday's edition of "I Am a Singer", a talent competition among professional artists. Park won the round with her interpretation of the song. / Courtesy of MBC

By Kwon Mee-yoo

Lena Park has once again won another episode, Sunday, of "I Am a Singer", an MBC reality show sweeping the nation.

However, winning does not seem to be that important in the show, which has become a festival of musical experimentation and exceptional performances by top singers.

The program premiered in March, bringing top seven singers - Kim Gun-mo, Baek Ji-young, Yoon Do-hyun, Kim Bum-soo-I, Lee So-ra, Lena Park and Jung Yub - to compete through their vocal skills and prowess.

It drew keen attention from the media and viewers as it brought top singers to the program in their field of specialty when each week someone must be eliminated.

The rules caused trouble within a month. When Kim Gun-mo came in last, the producer altered the rules to give him another chance, but the idea backfired and ignited controversy.

The show returned to the small screen on May 1 after the producer was replaced. Kim and Jung were eliminated and Baek decided to leave the show to prepare for an album.

After the one-month hiatus, they changed the rules to have two contests for three weeks and eliminate one participant by adding the scores of the two competitions. Rock singer Yim Jae-beom, vocalist BMK and singer-songwriter Kim Yeon-woo joined the show, filling the vacancies.

Musical experiment

On Sunday's segment, the singers were requested to sing other singer's songs they want to vocalize.

Rocker Yim chose Nam Jin's trot "Bin Jan" (empty glass). He captivated the audience with his charismatic performance that combined mystic Oriental sounds with intense rock beats. His husky voice reverberated with musical actress Cha Ji-yeon's high notes, creating perfect harmony.

Kim Yeon-woo sang Kim Gun-mo's "Miryeon" (lingering attachment) with his sweet voice. Amid the extreme tension, he tried to sing the song to bring a sense of comfort.

Yoon Do-hyun of YB rearranged The Classic's "Magic Castle" in rock style, playing the keyboard himself. The song was turned into a rock ballad, quite different from the original's fairy-tale mood.

Kim Bum-soo chose to interpret Yoo Young-jin's "The Scent of a Woman" in his unique style. He wore a leather vest with studs to renew his looks.

Lee, the host and participant of the show, sang "No. 1" originally sung by BoA. The lively love song was transformed into an emotional, dreamlike ballad by Lee and she was immediately praised for the versatile change in style.

BMK reinterpreted singer Byeon Jin-seob's "You and Me Again" in an attempt to take a step closer to the audience. Her characteristic sensibility and powerful voice grabbed everyone in the crowd.

Last but not least, Park sang legendary singer Cho Yong-pil's "I Hope It Would Be That Way Now". She said she hoped Cho would listen to her interpretation of the song someday and tell her she had done a good job.

Park again won the competition, while BMK came in last. However, she has got another week of singing and the person with the lowest score for two weeks will be kicked out from the show.

'I Am a Singer' craze

The ripple of "I Am a Singer" is tremendous in the K-pop scene. The songs swept various musical charts immediately and the singers soon became the most searched people on the Internet.

The original singers also shared their thoughts on the rearranged version of their songs.

Veteran singer Nam applauded Yim's performance saying that he was amazed that his song could be sung in such a new and original way. "I hope the program will bring more good singers on stage and urge them to remake songs in a modern fashion", he said.

BoA was moved by the modern rock style of her song as well.

"I got goose bumps from Lee So-ra's 'No. 1'. Thank you for a great reinterpretation of the song. It stimulated me in the morning", she wrote on her Twitter.

The competition to be on the program's audience jury is also getting fiercer. The program selects 500 members of the audience to vote for the best performance of the week.

Nicknamed "1,000 Ears", the audience jury panel consists of 500 people - 100 people in each age group from teens to 50s. More than 100,000 people applied for the jury position as of Tuesday.

"I applied to be on audience jury duty Sunday, right after watching the show. I think the chance is slim as it is highly competitive. But I really want to listen to such breathtaking songs live", Kim Eun-ju, 34, a housewife said.

'나는 가수다' 신드롬

박정현이 지난 일요일 MBC 서바이벌 리얼리티 쇼 "나는 가수다"의 또 하나의 에피소드에서 1위를 차지했다. 하지만 "나는 가수다"가 가수들이 새로운 음악적 실험을 하는 축제처럼 변해가면서 더 이상 순위는 중요한 것 같지 않아 보인다.

3월 시작된 이 프로그램은 김건모, 백지영, 윤도현, 김범수, 이소라, 박정현, 정엽과 같은 실력있는 가수들을 모아 경쟁하게 만들었다. 가수들이 자기들의 전문 분야에서 경쟁하고 또 탈락자가 생긴다는 점에서 많은 관심을 모았다.

그 규칙은 한 달도 되지 않아 문제를 불러왔다. 김건모가 탈락의 위기에 처했을 때 제작진은 규칙을 바꿔 김건모에게 다시 기회를 줬으나 그것이 오히려 역효과를 불러왔다.

결국 연출자를 바꾸고 한 달만인 지난 5월 1일 방송을 재개했다. 김건모와 정엽이 탈락하고 백지영이 앨범 준비를 위해 빠졌고, 임재범, BMK, 김연우가 그 자리를 채웠다.

음악적 실험

지난 일요일 방송된 "나는 가수다"의 미션은 "내가 부르고 싶은 남의 노래"를 부르는 것이었다.

임재범은 남진의 트로트곡 "빈 잔"을 동양적 음색과 강한 록으로 해석했다. 그의 거친 목소리와 피처링한 뮤지컬 배우 차지연의 목소리는 함께 관객들을 휘어잡았다. 김연우는 부드러운 미성으로 김건모의 "미련"을 편안하게 불렀다. 윤도현은 더 클래식의 "마법의 성"을 록 발라드 스타일로 바꾸어 부르며 직접 건반도 연주했다.

김범수는 유영진의 "그대의 향기"를 새로운 스타일로 불렀다. 그가 입고 나온 가죽 의상도 화제가 됐다. 이 프로그램의 진행자이기도 한 이소라는 발랄한 노래인 보아의 "No. 1"을 어둡고 감성적인 분위기로 편곡해서 불렀다. BMK는 파워풀한 가창력으로 변진섭의 "그대 내게 다시"를 재즈풍으로 불렀다.

마지막으로 박정현은 국민 가수 조용필의 "이젠 그랬으면 좋겠네"를 불렀고, 또 한 번의 우승을 차지했고, BMK가 7위를 했다.

"나는 가수다" 열풍

"나는 가수다"가 한국 가요계에 미치는 영향은 크다. 여기서 불려진 곡들은 거의 즉시 음원 차트 순위권에 오르고, 출연진들은 인터넷 검색어 순위에 오른다.

원곡을 부른 가수들도 "나는 가수다"에 대해 긍정적 평을 했다. "빈 잔"을 부른 가수 남진은 "임재범이 부른 '빈잔'을 듣고 정말 깜짝 놀랐다"며 "이 노래가 어떻게 이처럼 편곡되고 새롭게 불릴 수 있는지 놀랍다"고 했다.

또한 이소라가 부른 "넘버 원"의 원곡자인 보아는 트위터에 "이소라 선배님의 'No.1' 소름 돋았어요. 멋지게 재해석해주셔서 감사합니다. 아침부터 자극되는 하루"라고 소감을 전했다.

"1,000개의 귀"라 불리는 청중심사단에 대한 인기도 높다. 10대부터 50대까지 각 연령대 별로 100명의 일반인으로 구성되는 청중심사단에 이미 100,000명 이상의 사람들이 신청했다.

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