I Am A Singer is back! The popular singing competition in China where professional singers are pitted against one another to be ruthlessly eliminated is now in its fifth season. The new season is now simply called ‘Singer’. There were a lot of speculations on who will be featured in Singer 2017 – some netizens even compared silouhettes to singer poses to guess who will be in the initial lineup – but the producers did a pretty good job of keeping it under wraps till the airing of the first episode. With the curtains down, the final lineup consists of Sandy Lam (林忆莲), Tan Jing (谭晶), Lion band headed by Jam Hsiao, Michael Wong (光良), Tia Ray (袁娅维), veteran Teresa Carpio (杜丽莎) and Dimash Kudaibergen (迪玛希) from Kazakhstan.
Here’s a break down of the contestants’ performances in episode 1 of the competition (in order of appearance):
1. Dimash 迪玛希 – 一个忧伤者的求救
The biggest surprise in the first episode of Singer 2017 had to be Dimash from Kazakhstan. The talented Dimash not only picked french song S.O.S D’un terrien en detresse – one of the world’s five most difficult French song – as his debut song on the show, he also dazzled everyone with his extremely versatile vocals. The song requires the singer to combine various singing styles including opera, and use a wide range of falsetto, chest and head voices in order to even complete it. The 22-year-old Dimash was pitch perfect and became the youngest singer to top the competition in this round. The handsome Dimash also saw his fans grow more than four times on microblogging site Weibo after his awe-inspiring performance.
2. Ray Tia 袁娅维 – 阿楚姑娘
It was a tough spot to be in right after Dimash performance but Ray Tia 袁娅维 who is an experienced contestant since her stellar results in The Voice of China was able to maintain her composure to deliver a good performance. But she was still voted to the bottom of the table in this round.
3. Michael Wong 光良 – 第一次
Michael Wong should have sought the opinion of buddy Victor Wong (品冠) before he decided to join the competition. In a show like this, you either need very powerful pipes or a strong X-factor. Unfortunately for Michael, we felt that he possesses none of the above. Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying that his performance is not good. What we meant was his singing style and vocals are not suitable for this competition. We predict that he will be booted out in the next round.
4. Teresa 杜丽莎 – Imagine
Veteran singer Teresa chose John Lennon’s Imagine for her performance. She started the song in a ballad before switching mid-way to finish the song in a soft-rock arrangement. Loud, over the top and nothing surprising in her rendition, fans familiar with her will probably expect a performance like this. However, we look forward to what she will bring to this stage in future rounds.
5. Lion 狮子合唱团 – Lion
Lion 狮子合唱团 is a rock band started by Jam Hsiao last year. Performing the song ‘Lion’ from their first studio album, the essence of the band is greatly influenced by Jam Hsiao’s signature death metal screams, showmanship and playfulness. Competitive in nature, Jam Hsiao’s decision to enter the competition as a band will certainly bring more energy and surprises to the show.
6. Tan Jing 谭晶 – 再见青春
Having performed at the 2007 Olympics in Shanghai and a sold out audience at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2011, Tan Jing’s vocal prowess and quality was to be expected. Giving her song a new arrangement, Tan Jing went from operatic ballad to rock without skipping a beat. Challenging herself with a genre she is not familiar with, Tan Jing is yet another contestant from China with a big voice that can be overbearing at times.
7. Sandy Lam 林忆莲 – 不必在乎我是谁
Although Sandy Lam was rumoured to be in Singer 2017, we were still doubtful until we watched the first episode being aired. It has been awhile since she appeared in programmes as big as this and we were glad that we will be hearing more of her in subsequent rounds. Singing 不必在乎我是谁, she was effortlessly, at ease and bringing us through the song in her story-telling voice. Her sincere rendition earned her the number 2 spot in this round.
Here’s the final ranking for Singer 2017 – Episode 1:
Rank 1: Dimash 迪玛希 – 一个忧伤者的求救
Rank 2: Sandy Lam 林忆莲 – 不必在乎我是谁
Rank 3: Teresa 杜丽莎 – Imagine
Rank 4: 狮子合唱团 – Lion
Rank 5: Tan Jing 谭晶 – 再见青春
Rank 6: Michael Wong 光良 – 第一次
Rank 7: Ray Tia 袁娅维 – 阿楚姑娘