KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi of SBS’s “K-Pop Star” (11)

케이팝 스타: 이하이 (Lee Hayi, or Lee Ha Yi)

Hayi is back.  Back to her own self again.  The Hayi I first saw singing Jazmine Sullivan: her stare and dare.  I think the rearrangement of Lee Hyori’s “U-Go-Girl” brilliantly fit Hayi’s magnetic, soulful voice and her level of performance was just superb.  Although her singing was somewhat anticlimactic, who cares?  She’s only fifteen and just a contestant of a singing competition.  No amateur (even professional) singer can easily pull off a flawless four-minute performance.  

And yes, I kind of agree with JYP that Hayi’s performance appeared a little too much calculated not to make any mistakes but I wonder what he would’ve told her if her singing had faltered a little while delivering an emotional performance full of blood and thunder.  Plus, it was Lee Hyori not BMK that Hayi sang tonight; in other words, no one would expect Britney Spears to sing like Whitney Houston. Would you? For that reason, I am in complete disagreement with her score given by JYP.

Lee Hayi:  "K-Pop Star" Semifinal
Lee Hyori: "U-Go-Girl" (aired on 04/22/2012)

Here’s what the judges said:

Yang Hyun Suk (or Yang Hyeonseok): (Hayi was) just amazing tonight.  Truly.  I, as one of those who have longed to see that mysterious stare of hers again, felt like this immense weight had been lifted off my chest as I was watching her performance.  First of all, she was totally different (from the other previous nights) as she was wearing the look of confidence on her face and carrying herself very confidently.  Tonight she gave a solid performance filled with confidence in every way.  Personally, I’m so happy (for her). (99 out of 100) 

BoA:  (To Hayi) Hayi, Congratulations!  At last you’re back.  Such a confident look of hers…. I mean, she had no problem singing as she was sure of herself.  She was doing exactly what she wanted to be doing on stage and she enjoyed her own performance tonight.  There had been always something missing with her performances, but tonight, I feel like she has overcome everything and taken a great leap forward.  That was just great to watch.  She did really great.  (99 out of 100)

Park Jin Young (or Park Jinyeong):  I agree with these two judges.  I really liked the beginning of Hayi’s performance as it looked really solid and comfortable for the first time (since the live competition started), but I think I want to see her carried away by emotion while singing.  She seemed to have stayed in the safety zone from the beginning till the end; she seemed to have planned to sing comfortably within the safety zone.  If she makes it to the final round, I want her to break free from the box of her thoughts – I gotta do what I do best. Instead, I want to see her truly carried away by emotion, so carried away that her singing will probably be even off key and off beat. (Which I wouldn’t care.)  (92 out of 100)

Hayi’s overall score was 290 points out of 300, and I think, she won the semifinal round.

Now here’s my one-line review of the night’s special performances: “Much cry and little wool.”  They were not true collaborations as I didn’t see a natural flow of synergetic energy between a contestant and a professional group from each agency.  Hayi’s performance with Miss A was my least favorite ‘cause it was all about Miss A not Hayi.  No doubt they were a real feast for the eyes though.

Special Performance by Lee Hayi with Miss A
Miss A: "Bad Girl, Good Girl" (aired on 04/22/2012)

Special Performance by Park Jimin with GD & TOP
GD & TOP: "Oh, Yeah" (aired on 04/22/2012)

Special Performance by Baek Ayeon with SNSD's Taeyeon & Tiffany
Labelle: "Lady Marmalade" (aired on 04/22/2012)