KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (1)

케이팝 스타: 이하이 (Lee Hayi, or Lee Ha Yi, or Lee Hai)

It was like magic; she got me at hello.  Lee Hayi was ready to be a strong early favorite for SBS's "K-Pop Star" with her deep, incredibly soulful voice that took command of the stage when she first showed up in front of the judges and television audience.  Now, she’s become a better singer and the favorite to win “K-Pop Star” thanks to the custom-designed vocal lessons given by YG and JYP.  And she’s only fifteen - she was born on September 23, 1996 and is seventeen in Korean age.  What can I say?  Her voice is simply irresistible.  But it's hard to describe, so you'd better watch her sing yourself to witness the birth of a star.  (The video clips are in reverse chronological order.  If you want to watch them in HD full screen, click on the titles on screen or double-click the clips.)

BTW, starting from this March, Hayi will go to the School of Performing Arts together with f(x)'s Sulli and Miss A's Suzy.  

Lee Hayi: K-Pop Star (02/19/12)
Duffy's "Mercy"

<UPDATE on 04/13/2012>

Here’s what the judges said:

Park Jin Young said, just before the one-on-one battle between Lee Hayi and Park Jimin, that the battle would be the night’s main event – the heavyweight title match no one could predict who would win.  Park said they should be thankful for that showdown because without rivals, people can’t improve upon them.  He said to them, “Win or lose, you can learn a lot and can bring out your hidden potential. So enjoy your great luck.”  When Park said he wanted to wait to comment until both of them were done singing, Yang and BoA agreed to wait too.

Park Jimin: K-Pop Star (02/19/12)
Shin Hyobeom's "Nan neol saranghae" (I Love You

Yang Hyun Suk (or Yang Hyeonseok): I don't know if it's appropriate for me, a middle-aged man, to say this to you two (young girls) but when Hayi pointed (at the audience) with her finger singing the line, “I love you,” I went “Oh, my!” as if she had pointed at me.  Her singing was that much captivating.  I wondered, “How come she can do such a low range?  Is she really Korean?” She can sing these low notes with accurate pitch that even the professional singers can’t easily deliver.  I was happy to know Korea’s finally got such a singer who has such low notes in her vocal range.  When Jimin was singing the part, “Nan neol saranghae” ( 사랑해, “I Love You”), even though she wasn't looking at me, I also felt like she was telling me so.  She put so much expression into the lyrics that I loved that part way more than her high notes, aka, six level high notes.

BoA:  (Right after Hayi’s performance, she exclaimed, “(That’s) the end, (that’s) the end!” which means “The winner’s decided.”) I think this two shot we’re now watching may probably be a preview of the final live stage (we’ll be watching in a few months).  I think they are each other’s primary rivals.  Jimin’s tried to concentrate on the lyrics, instead of techniques or rhythms, to convey the meaning of the song.  (FYI, Jimin worked with BoA at SM for the round.)  And I loved it and really appreciate her for showing great improvement.  And about Hayi’s performance, I think she’s tooooooooooooo attractive.  I simply loved her singing.  What else can I say?

Park Jin Young (or Park Jinyeong):  We have a definite winner of tonight’s heavyweight title match.  Both of them are inarguably superb but I personally think Hayi picked up the complete victory tonight.  The highest note of the song (“Mercy”) was the second syllable of the part, “re-LEA~~~-se” and she reached that note in a high-pitched falsetto at first, then in a natural voice the second time.  (I think Park was thrilled she had delivered the song, especially those two parts, just as taught and trained (by him) at JYP.) On the other hand, Jimin hit the high notes in a natural voice from beginning (to end), so her “six level high notes” didn’t really work.  (Here, BoA chimed in that Hayi did what she does best while Jimin tried to go beyond her specialty.  Which was similar to Park’s wording for Hayi’s “For You” performance in the previous round.  He said, “Tonight Jimin delivered the best performance.  But she did what she does best while Hayi did well singing the genre she’s not familiar with.)

As announcing Hayi’s name as the winner of the night, Yang said, “I’m sorry but I’ll have to borrow Park’s words.  Hayi is the definite winner tonight.” 

Yim Jaebeom's "Neoreul Wihae" (For You)
(Aired on 2/5/12)

Pixie Lott's "Mama Do" (Aired on 1/15/12)

Gummy's "Eoreun Ai" (Immature Adult)
(Aired on 1/8/12)

Jazmine Sullivan's "Bust Your Windows" 
(Aired on 12/11/11)
Hayi said, "I love to sing and dance, and eat Deokboggi."

KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (2)
KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (3)
KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (4) 
KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (5)  
KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (6) 
KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (7) 
KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS's K-Pop Star (9)