KOREAN MUSIC: Lee Hayi Updates (1)

이하이 (Lee Hayi, or Lee Ha Yi) on SBS's "The Strong Heart"

Tonight’s “The Strong Heart” (Gangsimjang강심장)  featuring Lee Hayi, Park Jimin, and Baek Ayeon was loud and raucous all along the way as its guests brought each other to their feet with boisterous laughter and applause, but where was the beef?  Hope it gets better next week. Unlike her fellow friends, Jimin and Ayeon, who seemed effervescent and far from being nervous, Hayi was quite shy and looked like she felt out of place on the show.  Yet, she looked so cute and adorable.  BTW, the show also featured my favorite actor and rapper, Yang Donggeun, and while watching it, I found myself vividly picturing a scene in my head, Hayi and Donggeun dueting on stage.

When Jimin was asked if she had ever felt stressed standing next to Baek Ayeon who's very lean, she nodded her head yes.  Then Comedian Jeong Juri added that when Hayi and Jimin saw Ayeon wearing a tube top dress, they said, “We could wear such dresses if we were as thin as her” while eating Gimbap (김밥, “Korean style dried seaweed rice rolls”) to their hearts' content.   

When asked how things had changed for her after “K-pop Star,” Hayi answered she was more recognized and asked for pictures and autographs.  When they noticed she was too nervous, Leeteuk and Eunhyuk of Super Junior advised her to sing a little, so she briefly sang “Mercy” to relieve her tension.

When Comedian Yang Sehyung asked her if she had ever felt sorry when defeated in the final, Hayi said it’d be a lie if she answered no.  “While watching Jimin singing ‘Mercy’,” she added, “I kinda knew she was gonna win ‘cause she was too good.”

Jimin described the characteristics of each agency: YGE as being cool and family-like, JYPE as being passionate and involved in everything, and SME as being gentle and perfectly supportive. She said she was still debating on choosing where to go.  Ayeon said, on the other hand, she and Hayi were still waiting for any agency to contact them.

Jimin said she had never expected to win because Hayi was too popular; she was overwhelmed by the live studio atmosphere as the audience chanted, “Hayi!  Hayi!” and when she heard Hayi singing “Rolling in the Deep,” she felt frustrated as it was way better than her own performance before.  She added she'd chosen to just have fun while performing on stage.

Comedian Park Kyunglim asked whether any of them was looking for the win as Jimin was winning over Hayi by just a margin of one single point (in terms of judges' score) before the viewers’ voting was closed.  Hayi said, “Jimin rearranged “Mercy” in her own exciting style and while she was singing the song, I enjoyed it so much that I also clapped along.  And when I saw JYP’s unique facial expressions that he always wears when excited, I just knew that she was going to win.”

When asked if there’s any error in her profile she wanted to correct, Hayi said it was the misconception that she couldn't sing in a high register.  (Here, Korea’s veteran singer Roh Sayeon jokingly asked, “How can “Hayi” not hit the “high” notes?”) Shin Dongyeop, one of the show’s hosts, said most singers who can reach into deeper, low pitches cannot usually sing in very high, soprano pitches.  Hayi said, “I can hit a high F and am now talking at a higher pitch than usual.  Even my elementary school teachers used to tell me my voice didn't fit children’s songs.”

Hayi said, “I'm taciturn by nature.  I rarely laugh or rarely cry. I’m not a funny person. I’m very quiet and reserved.  At the K-Pop Star training camp, my fellow contestants at first thought I was very unapproachable because of my personality. While I was fixing my makeup before my “Mama Do” performance, however, Jimin came to me and said, “(Please fix) mine, too.”  I was really thankful to her for approaching me first.  She is really cute and at the training camp, she always made me laugh.  She even bit me – it’s her own way to express her affection.” Shin hoped their friendship would last forever come what may.

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