It’s Team Harlem Yu’s turn to take centrestage in The Voice of China 4 episode 9. The guest judge of the week was none other than Singapore’s pride JJ Lin (林俊杰), who’s well-versed at creative song arrangement.
To give his students a good start to this round of the competition, Harlem made sure they were well fed by ordering them a sumptuous breakfast. We wonder who would get to stay on after this round and perhaps get to enjoy more sumptuous breakfasts from the very considerate coach.
Zhang Shu vs Li Wen Hui
The stakes were high on this one — not only was the song ‘燕尾蝶’ a challenging one, it’s a PK match between two strong opponents. Wen Hui wowed us with his thick voice, while Zhang Shu surprised us by injecting a jazzy vibe to the rock song towards the middle part. Impressed by how Zhang Shu “out-highed” Wen Hui, most of the judges including JJ picked her over Wen Hui. However, Harlem picked Zhang Shu as he felt she had done a better job at fulfilling his mandate to deliver the song with power.
Zhao Da Ge vs Duan Xin Rui
Call it the battle of who’s best at adopting a 50’s style singing this round. Duan Xin Rui, who sang the first half of the song, ‘亲密爱人’, started off very well but unfortunately didn’t keep to the course throughout. A pity, as he was the better dancer of the two. Da Ge on the other hand, was consistent in keeping with the 50s vibe throughout, while still managing to inject the song with a lot of character. The fun song and dance performance had the judges laughing out loud towards the end. We’re very happy to see Harlem pick 19-year-old Da Ge. Great job Da Ge!
Li Wen Hao vs Gu Zhen Bang
Once again, the contestants made a song their own. In this round, it was the song ‘叶子’ by the late female artiste Ah Sang (阿桑), who passed away from cancer in 2009. We thought Zhen Bang’s opening was rather ho-hum until he hit the second stanza, where he flooded the song with a sense of melancholy that befitted the song beautifully. Zhen Bang simply took off from there, clearly overshadowing Wen Hao’s R&B delivery, in our opinion. We were pretty surprised that Harlem picked Wen Hao in the end, perhaps it was for his knack for R&B songs. We’re sad to see Zhen Bang go but we’re sure Malaysia would still be proud of you.
Wu Si Ai vs Ma Yin Yin
This is an interesting PK round between a contestant with a high-pitched voice versus a low-pitched one. Singing a modern version of ‘情人的眼泪’, both Si Ai and Yin Yin were pretty decent in their performances. As Yin Yin has a low voice, her version sounded more pleasing to our ears. To put it very poetically, Jay Chou who picked Yin Yin, described her voice as having a lightness akin to a walk in the clouds. On the other hand, JJ Lin liked Si Ai for her tribal style of singing. It was a heartwarming moment on stage when Si Ai presented Yin Yin with a ‘romance sash’ made by her mom, as birthday present to her. In the end, Yin Yin got her birthday wish of being picked to proceed on to the next stage.
Tong Yu Shuo vs Wang Di
We’ve been anticipating Yu Shuo’s performance as we really like his hoarse voice. If you just listened to the duo’s performance, you’d think that it’s a duet between a man and a woman, as Yu Shuo’s voice tended to sound rather feminine due to an operation he had to undergo when he was younger. With Yu Shuo’s sultry singing and Wang Di quirky style, this was definitely our favourite performance so far. To top that off, Wang Di’s bold dance moves really put a smile on our faces too! After some deliberation, Harlem made the difficult choice of picking Yu Shou. We are really happy for you, Yu Shuo!
Tan Xuan Yuan vs Cao Jinghao
The audience were treated to a rousing rock song in this round: Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’. Both contestants seemed equally strong in their performance and carried the song throughout including the high pitched portions, which Harlem termed “rock opera”. As both of them sang together for the most part, rather than having their individual portions, it was rather difficult to tell who did better. Both contestants had a fair share of the judges’ endorsement. In the end, Harlem felt Xuan Yuan did better and picked him.
PK Round 2
Zhang Shu vs Zhao Da Ge
Zhang Shu did as well in the ballad ‘安眠药’ as she did with the up-tempo song in the earlier round, showing her ability to master any song thrown at her. Da Ge didn’t do too badly either, as she once again charmed the audience with her unique voice and flawless execution of ‘New Soul’.
Interestingly, Wang Feng commended Da Ge for her “immunity” against stress which allowed her to perform well under pressure. Unable to choose between Zhang Shu’s dexterity and Da Ge’s charming vocals, Harlem picked both to advance to the next stage, a bold move, considering most judges would prefer to exercise their ‘double choice’ towards the end.
Li Wen Hao vs Tan Xuan Yuan
Eason Chan’s (陈奕迅) songs are known to be more difficult to sing than it sounds, thanks to Eason’s effortless style of singing. So our kudos went out to Wen Hao for pulling off 你的背包 so well. We particularly liked the parts where he sang in falsetto, as he still managed to convey lot of emotions.
Xuan Yuan not only did a good job at singing a rock song in the earlier round, he also sang a sentimental song, ‘告别的时代’, beautifully. Jay Chou commended Xuan Yuan for his falsetto, adding it not only hit the high notes but also packed lots of power. Harlem picked Xuan Yuan this round.
Ma Yin Yin vs Tong Yu Shuo
Sadly for us, the last of the fourth advancement slot in Team Harlem went to Yin Yin and not Yu Shuo. Singing a slow song ‘离歌’, Ma Yin Yin’s low voice was a calming one. Just close your eyes and you can imagine yourself relaxing in a hotel lounge with soothing music playing in the background.
It had never occurred to us before this but there were lots of similarities between Yu Shuo and Yin Yin’s voice, something we only realised when we heard them sing one after another. But we thought what set them apart was the unique twang in Yu Shuo’s voice.
In the end, however, most of the judges picked Yin Yin, as they felt her voice was more special, a decision Harlem went with.
The 4 contestants to advance to the next stage were Zhao Da Ge, Zhang Shu, Tan Xuan Yuan and Ma Yin Yin.