KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS’s “K-Pop Star” (10)

케이팝 스타이하이 (Lee Hayi, or Lee Ha Yi)

Congratulations, Allan!  Hayi sang the original Korean, “Yoon Mirae,” song for tonight's competition as you wished.  When I first read widya’s comment that she sang “As Time Goes By,” the song that instantly came to my mind was Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By” from the movie, “Casablanca.”  But then I went, “Wait a sec. I’d better check the news for tonight’s ‘K-Pop Star’ first,” and it said it was Yoon Mirae, not Dooley Wilson; I’m so happy that she eventually chose to sing a Korean song this time. Yay!!!!

In Hayi’s pre-performance fluff and interview, Yang Hyun Suk said he wanted to select a song for her that could help surpass her previous performance, Yim Jaebeom’s “For You” (which Yang had also picked for her).  Ever since the live competition was over last Sunday, he had been possessed until Yoon Mirae’s “Sigani heureun dwi” (시간이 흐른 , As Time Goes By) occurred to him.  Hayi was so surprised to find out that Yang had picked the song for her next live performance because she won the competition with this song when she was in her first year of middle school.  It was the first “real” (not teeny-tiny local) singing competition she had ever entered in her life with the encouragement of Oh Dong Young (오동영), her middle school pop band advisor. And he was the one who recommended her this awesome song for the competition. 

Back then, Hayi’s parents disapproved of her pursuing music professionally; but Oh kept cheering her up and tried to help her one way or another.  Oh first met Hayi when she came to the school band audition. At first listen, he thought right away that he shouldn’t leave her alone like that.  So he advised her to enter the singing competition coming up as he instinctively felt that she would make something great happen there.  In other words, Hayi owes him big time ‘cause without him, she couldn’t have even dreamed of entering “K-Pop Star’ in the first place. For that reason, she was pleasantly surprised at Yang’s choice of music for her.  She said, “It seems a remarkable coincidence, indeed!”

“While looking for ways to bring out a completely new side of Hayi, I suddenly started wondering, 'What if she raps?'  Yoon didn’t rap in her original version, so we added our own rap to it, using the original song lyrics," said Yang. TOP came to help improve her rap skills – Hayi’s dream came true at last!  She once said in her interview with SBS that  
she was sorry she hadn’t had a chance to meet with TOP during her previous training with YG.

But when they eventually met, there was an awkward silence between them as both of them are naturally quite shy.  They both agreed that it was quite awkward and embarrassing sitting next to each other.  When TOP asked Hayi why she had picked him as her ideal type of a man, she answered, “’Cause I really like your voice.” And he said very shyly, “Thanks.” When TOP told Hayi, “You’re so cute,” she said very shyly, “Thanks.”  TOP said Hayi shines on stage brighter (than anyone else) as she's got something that others don't.  (BTW, widya and kpopantz, there's not much to translate as they didn't talk too much.  Both seem to have similar personalities - shy, reserved, and taciturn off stage.)

Lee Hayi:  "K-Pop Star" Final Four
Yoon Mirae: "As Time Goes By" (aired on 04/15/2012)

Here’s what the judges said:

BoA:  To be honest, when I first saw the contestants’ song list, I kind had a hunch how Hayi would deliver; I thought, ‘Well, she will sing just like she did last time.’ But her performance was nothing like I had expected.  She seemed to be reveling in singing on stage.  She seemed satisfied with her own transformation ‘cause she appeared more confident in the way she presented herself.  And I really liked it.  I’ve never imagined that she would rap, but her rap was really marvelous. (95 out of 100)

Park Jin Young (or Park Jinyeong) At first I wondered, “Does Hayi really need to rap to explore her other side?”  But she was really great.  I was really amazed with her flawless rap tempo and bounce, and with her perfect rap flow.  But she seemed quite tense and nervous while singing; it was not a comfortable singing.  She was barely breathing while singing, just like Park Jimin.  Both seemed quite nervous and tense so their performances were quite shaky.  Maybe it’s because she was challenging herself to do something new (i.e., rap) but her singing was a little bit disappointing. (92 out of 100) 

Yang Hyun Suk (or Yang Hyeonseok): As Park just said, it’s true you always get butterflies in your stomach before stepping on stage when you’re challenging yourself to do something new.  I bet Park Jin Young himself would be very nervous if he was in Hayi’s shoes. In this spirit, she did way better than expected.  BTW, since I cast Hayi last Sunday, I’d tried to talk to her a lot in order to bring out the “real” Hayi.  I kind of expected that she would open her heart back up to me.  Last night, at the final rehearsal, I was kind of assertively teaching her how to flow through the choreography for about half an hour. I kept saying to her, “No, not like that!  Hayi, what’s bothering you?  What do you want?”  But she looked quite upset.  You know, when people respond to your smile aimed at them with their seemingly angry face, you don’t feel good either, right?  Even though (I knew I had to be patient with her because) I’m a grownup (and she’s still a girl), I ended up getting upset too.  So I asked her, “Hey, don’t you like me?”  And you know what. I seriously laughed so hard at her answer:  “Boss, I've been dying to use the restroom for quite a while.”  This means she still feels uncomfortable around us (YG, JYP, and Boa (SM)) because she’s still too young.  (The incident I experienced last night) has taught me that our presence itself can still be overwhelming to her.  And about Hayi’s performance tonight, I really loved it. (97 out of 100) 

Hayi’s overall score was 284 points out of 300.  And I agree with Park Jin Young’s comments about her singing and rap. My personal highlight of tonight’s competition is Hayi & Jimin’s duet rendition of Miss A’s “Goodbye, Baby.”  I hope their friendship lasts for the rest of their life.

Special Performance by Lee Hayi & Park Jimin
Miss A: "Goodbye, Baby" (aired on 04/15/2012)