After much speculations from the rumour mill on who will be featured in the final lineup, I Am A Singer Season 4 Round 1 finally kicked off with pretty much the list of singers listed in our previous story. Lala Hsu, one of the youngest singers in this season, came out tops, despite having to face off with veteran singers like Coco Lee, Hacken Lee and Zhao Chuan. Her performance of Lost Desert (失落沙洲) won over the audience in the critical Round 1, securing her a place in the further stages of the competition. Originally planned for one singer to be eliminated in the first episode, both HAYA and Guan Zhe (关喆) survived the competition after they tied at 7th place.
Here’s a break down of the contestants’ performances in round 1 of the competition (in order of appearance):
1. HAYA乐团 – 苍狼大地
Many are unfamiliar with HAYA乐团 and we don’t blame you. Before I Am A Singer 4, we have not heard of them either. The World Music band from Mongolia uses a variety of music styles and has been experimenting and incorporating modern sounds into their performances. Since launching their career 9 years ago, HAYA has won the Best World Music Album Award three times at the Golden Melody Awards. Scheduling the band in the first spot gave the show an unique opening and gave it an air of sophistication, captivating the audience. However, the lead singer’s voice was shaky and pitchy and affected the entire performance. In a show that favours pop songs over alternative music, it might be hard for the band to advance to the later stages of the competition. Nevertheless, credit goes to the production team for showcasing a different genre of music.
2. Hwang Chi Yeol 黄致列 – 那个人
Hwang Chi Yeol from Korea launched his music career in 2007 but remained pretty much an unknown. His stellar rise in the entertainment scene was all thanks to his appearance in music shows “See Your Voice” and “Immortal Songs” in Korea last year. His boyish good looks coupled with his deep and husky voice is a killer combination that makes it hard to not drop everything you are doing and just concentrate on his performance. Singing ‘那个人’ with heartfelt emotions and the right amount of vocal tension, he reminded us a lot of “The One” in Season 3 of the show. It would be interesting to see him perform other styles of songs apart than ballads which he seemed to excel in.
3. Coco Lee 李玟 – 想念你
Everyone knows Coco Lee. Perhaps too well. Her rendition of ‘想念你’ was too polished and lacked emotion. Her expressions, movement and tone all looked and sounded fake and her performance was so safe that it was boring to watch. And frankly speaking, we don’t see the point of going barefooted on stage. Put your heels back on Coco.
4. Hacken Lee 李克勤 – 雾之恋
After watching Hacken Lee’s performance, we came to realise how tough I Am A Singer really is. A veteran in the Hong Kong music industry, you would thought that Hacken Lee would have no problems charming his fans with his rendition of Alan Tam’s classic ‘Misty Love’ (雾之恋). But his performance in Round 1, although solid and stable like listening to a CD, was uninspiring and lacked oomph.
5. Zhao Chuan 赵传 – 爱要怎么说出口
Rocker Zhao Chuan’s opening lines to the song were simply breathtaking. Scaling across his wide vocal range with ease, Zhao Chuan received a standing ovation from the audience after his stunning performance. The new arrangement given to ‘爱要怎么说出口’ adds a breath of fresh air to the two-decade-old classic.
6. Guan Zhe 关喆 – 如果分开我也爱你
In classic Guan Zhe style, his rendition of ‘如果分开我也爱你’ was a way for him to dazzle you with all his vocal prowess. Whether it is the intro or chorus, head voice or falsetto, he sang it all with all his might and without giving the audience a break to come up for air. Although his entire performance was overbearing and disconnected, we felt that he did not deserve the last spot in Round 1.
7. Lala Hsu 徐佳莹 – 失落沙洲
Lala Hsu, winner of One Million Star in 2008 proves that age doesn’t help you sing better. Singing the song ‘失落沙洲’ that she wrote, Lala’s delivery was simple, clean and not over the top. Her performance was the most consistent of the lot from start to end. And perhaps it was this simplicity that managed to help her convey her emotions clearly and take down her first win.
8. Shin 信 – 告别的时代
It’s been a long time since we have seen Shin so immersed in his performance. Better know as the lead singer for 信乐团, Shin delivered an electrifying performance in the first round of the competition singing ‘告别的时代’. He sang with such intensity that even his high pitched vocal was aimed at pulling you into his performance. We will be expecting more from the man that’s nicknamed “Rock Giant”.
Here’s the final ranking for I Am A Singer 4 round 1:
Rank 1: Lala Hsu 徐佳莹 – 失落沙洲
Rank 2: Hwang Chi Yeol 黄致列 – 那个人
Rank 3: Hacken Lee 李克勤 – 雾之恋
Rank 4: Shin 信 – 告别的时代
Rank 5: Zhao Chuan 赵传 – 爱要怎么说出口
Rank 6: Coco Lee 李玟 – 想念你
Rank 7: Guan Zhe 关喆 – 如果分开我也爱你
Rank 7: HAYA乐团 – 苍狼大地