Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Girls Round of 4: Review

This was the final elimination round before the finals next week. The judging has been mostly fair and unbiased so far with results usually being the worst performer(s) for a particular week being eliminated. However, this week, there was an incredibly unfair act of judging that made no sense and brought personal issues into the judging.

First part was a round-robin with the main theme being dancing. Last place person sits on lonely seat way up high while the other three compete in some kind of "pass the torch" performance where the contestants each bring in an older, wiser singer with whom they have a duet on an old famous song from the singer. The top 2 move on while lonely seat gets to challenge #3 to switch places. Winner moves onto ELLE cover model round, loser up for elimination. ELLE cover model round was where everyone had to use their "Succession Technique" with the top performer becoming ELLE cover model and moving onto round of 3.

This next part is the unfair/personal vendetta-containing part: out of the remaining 2, the previously eliminated contestants (6) + ELLE cover model (7 votes total) each have a vote and get to vote another person into top 3. Lonely chair girl then competes against 3rd place in elimination round. Here are how things played out.

1. 江映蓉 Jiang Yingrong - She was the ELLE cover model for the second week straight and third time overall. The first round totally catered to her strong points as she was probably the only person out of the four that had dance ability. She chose some kinda Latin dance routine and it sucked like crazy. Totally lifeless, no finesse, looked like Tin-man doing Salsa with rusted joints. Luckily she was up against 李霄云 whose "dance" routine could only be described as monkey on crack. Okay, so I am being a little harsh since I can't dance either, but what better way to feel better about myself than criticizing others! Her second round duet was very good despite the older singer's creepy attempts to make her a groupie at the end. She saved the best for her succession technique which was arguably the best performance of the night. It had everything, a good beat, nice moves, and bench tossing. At this point, I think she is being groomed to be the next "Britney Spears" Archetype.

2. 李霄云 Li Xiaoyun - Even though I like her songs a lot and was rooting for her to go all the way, 李霄云 should not have advanced to the round of 3 given the quality of her performances this week. Her first "dance" routine was not really even a dance routine. She basically just sang and waved her arms and legs a little. That was it. Most of the spectacular break dance moves were done by the other dancers. She went back to her forte for her challenge round with 黄英 and totally dominated the performance. I think 李霄云 should just stick to love songs. She does such a good job with them to the point where I think some of her renditions are better than the original singer recordings. Her succession technique was pretty good, but really could not compete with the others. However, because the voting was done by the previous contestants, she was voted 4 to 3 (Deciding vote cast by 刘惜君 who was eliminated by 郁可唯 last week) to move on into the round of 3. I think she was probably the least deserving of the final three.

3. 黄英 Huang Ying - She keeps improving each week and definitely has the greatest potential out of the other remaining contestants. Her dance routine this week was a traditional Tibetan dance with lots of whipping hair and thunderous drumming. It was a pretty awesome performance. Her duet was sang pretty well but there were two main problems. First, the song choice was pretty horrible. Just imagine a kindergarten song...set to a modern pop track. Second, the older singer actually did a better job on the song than 黄英. Kinda bad that the new torchbearer is worst than the original torch passer. As a result, she was beaten by 李霄云 in the challenge round and didn't even get to use her succession technique. However, her raw potential and cuteness convinced the audience to vote her into the round of 3. Here's her 100 second elimination challenge song.

4. Eliminated-郁可唯 Yu Kewei - This result was totally unexpected. She was by far the best singer out of all the other 9 contestants. She should have been in the final three, except the voting was horribly biased this round. Her dance routine was like a Broadway show performance. Not much dancing, but the overall quality was great. She definitely has tremendous Broadway potential. Her duet song was pretty awesome too. It clearly shows how much better of a singer she is than even the original obviously aging singer (struggled with parts of the song). Her succession technique was chosen very well. It highlighted her superior vocal control and singing technique. The performance was awesome and imho on par with 江映蓉's bench tossing spectacle. Unfortunately for her, the previous contestants voted 李霄云 into the round of 3 and she was put into elimination against feel-good story/people's favorite 黄英. Her final song was great, but not enough to counterbalance the favoritism for 黄英. The final vote was also pretty heartbreaking (towards the end) as she was ahead 9 to 4 (13 to win) but then the last remaining voters either out of sympathy or carelessness voted 黄英 into the final three.

Well, at this point it's pretty obviously how the rankings will play out. I predict: 1. 江映蓉, 2. 黄英, 3.李霄云.

Friday, August 28, 2009

In Case you were wondering..

Just in case any of you want to attempt karaoke on this song (and I cannot imagine why you wouldn't)..Here are the lyrics and translation to English!

Oh Vajrasattva, keep your pledge,
Vajrasattva reside in me,
Make me firm, make me satisfied,

Fulfill me, make me compassionate,
Grant me all siddhis.

Also make my mind
Virtuous in all actions Hum Ha Ha Ha Ha Hoh
All the Blessed Tathagatas,
Do not abandon me, make me indivisible,
Great Pledge Being.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Girls Round of 5: Review

The singing quality this round seemed to take another sizable step upward. The theme for this week was "hand in hand" with most of it dedicated to the Typhoon victims in Taiwan. Each girl was paired up with a difference contestant from previous years' "Happy Boys" competition for the first round of competition. Then after the initial rankings, they went solo thereafter. Here's how it played out:

1. 江映蓉 Jiang Yingrong - She was paired up with 张杰 for the first part of the competition. Ironically, because of 张杰's busy schedule, they never even had 1 practice together. Luckily, the song they chose didn't really require much teamwork or coordination and it all came out pretty well. She took a page out of 李霄云's "how to crone for first place" method and chose a slow love song for her second song as she won the ELLE cover model for this week.

2. 黄英 Huang Ying - She was paired up with 吉杰 as they sang a unique blend of disco/modern/classical music with a hint of Latin flair. Seriously, they sang a folk song, this is 黄英 we are talking about after all. PP tells me that 吉杰's specialty was actually more towards jazz, but he did an admirable job playing 黄英's foil. Her second song was the same song she sang a while ago. This time, she probably practiced it more, ditched the boat, and went barefoot. All of this apparently made a difference as the audience thought it was a better performance, but not as good as 江映蓉's croner. Her third song was pretty awesome though. I had heard "person who first got me into video games" sing it multiple times at karaoke and always thought it was a pretty good song. 黄英's rendition didn't quite have the forcefulness that I liked about the original, but it certainly had the power. After this week, I really think she has a chance to win this thing.

3. 李霄云 Li Xiaoyun - She was paired up with 苏醒 for the first part. They sang a absolutely stunning version of 红豆 for their song. However, I think their strategy was a little off. They chose to go first in the competition and since it was a round robin, their chances were hurt because the voting always occurred after their opponent's performance. I totally think she was snubbed by the judges as they were voted as the last place team. This probably ticked her off as she chose immediately to go after 郁可唯 during the challenge. This was not a friendly challenge either. This was the "I am going to kill you, feel my battle aura" type challenge and 郁可唯 was visibly taken aback by 李霄云's ferocity. Her second song was this angry, energetic, 杀气好厉害 song that the audience totally loved as she successfully defeated 郁可唯 in the challenge. Her third song was good, but nowhere nearly as awesome as her second song (WTH was up with those feathers...). In a surprising twist, she was selected by 郁可唯 to move onto the next round. Perhaps the intimidation factor was too high and 郁可唯 didn't want to go up against her in elimination.

4. 郁可唯 Yu Kewei - She was paired up with 魏晨 for the first round. They sang this exceptionally difficult song that I used to love back in the day when I was obsessed with 周华健. Their performance was pretty damn awesome. I seriously think they should have been the top team during round 1. Her song for ELLE cover model was good, just your average 郁可唯 perfect pitch/smooth transition/kinda bland song. Her challenge song to 李霄云 was this French love song. One has to question the choice of choosing a French song for a 1v1 challenge since their track record in major wars tends to be one of capitulation and surrender. This was no different as her song pulled a Maginot Line and she was again put into the elimination round.

5. Eliminated-刘惜君 Liu Xijun - Ahh, she of the dead eyes. While her singing has improved in the past weeks, I think it was about time she went. She was paired up with 俞灏明 for a first round cron-fest. The song was pretty good and they got the judges questioning if they were actually dating each other after their performance. She went for the "awww, dancing kids" effect with her second song and probably got some sympathy votes as the song wasn't really that awesome. Her last song was taken from 红楼梦 but was sang pretty horribly as her voice doesn't really match the style of the song. That and she ran up against 黄英's rock and roll extravaganza. She was eliminated by 郁可唯.

If I had to take a guess as to who is going next week, I would have to say a toss up between 郁可唯 and 李霄云.

Monday, August 17, 2009



Happy Girls Round of 6: Review

The theme for this week was 'Ode to My Parents'. Each contestant had to select a song that had some kinda relationship to their parents. First, a video was played detailing each contestant's family situation, then once the air was nice and saturated with emotion, the contestant sang. What struck PP and I the most was that a lot of the contestants were from broken families where their parents were divorced. A sign of the times I guess. The contestants were urged to try uncharted territory this week as well as push the envelop by performing songs with higher degrees of difficulty than their usual selection. Despite the increase in difficulty, the contestants performed pretty well as most of the performances were good.

I could go into detail about how this week's contest worked but the judging just gets more and more complex and nonsensical as the contestants dwindle making it harder to fill up that 3 hour contest time frame so here's what happened:

1. 李霄云 Li Xiaoyun - First repeat as the ELLE cover model. She sang a beautiful song that she wrote herself for her father who had passed away because of cancer for the first round and then did some kinda awesome rapping routine for her ELLE cover model round. She's always struck me as a one-trick pony who was only capable of singing love songs but with this week, it seems like she can do so much more. Her ELLE cover model picture though was ridiculously bad. Whoever did her hair needs to be shot.

2. 刘惜君 Liu Xijun - The big hype for this week for me was that she was supposed to sing "Think of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera and I must say, I was not impressed at all but more on that later. For the first round, she sang this happy little "I don't wanna grow up" type song for her mom. It was good but nothing spectacular. I have to wonder what the heck was up with the fashion designers this week. It looks like she just wrapped herself with some green curtains. Her second song was the aforementioned "Think of Me." I know she was trying something that was way out of her element, but I think her approach was all wrong. For some reason, she felt the need to speed up the tempo of the song A LOT which made it so she didn't have enough time to hit the high notes. She probably missed every single high note in the song which made the entire effect feel rushed and sloppy. Her last song wasn't that memorable. Good enough to get her to the round of 5, but was not anything spectacular.

3. 郁可唯 Yu Kewei - Perhaps she didn't really take the advice of the judges to heart, but she again flopped on her best song. The judges advised that she truly understand a difficult song before trying it, something she didn't do. Her first song was dedicated to her father who was your stereotypical "it's never good enough, glass is always half empty" parent. Her second song was a wildly popular song that I really liked..when I listened to the awesome performance by the original artist (official MV in Sanskrit and in Mandarin. Yes, I am obsessed now). 郁可唯's performance is nowhere near the quality since I don't think her voice is strong enough for the style of the song to come through. Her third song was good enough to get her into round of 5.

4. 江映蓉 Jiang Yingrong - Err, I really can't remember much about her performances. I suppose this is ultimately bad because that means none of them were that memorable. First song was dedicated to her mom, but despite the song name, I still fell asleep during it. Bear in mind we were watching this at like 11:30 at night. Oh wait, I suddenly remember something about her performances. She wore a HORRIBLE outfit for her challenge song. She cosplayed as Janet Jackson and sang Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." Some people, like the whole audience, probably wondered what the hell she was doing dressing up as Janet Jackson. PP mentioned that the outfit highlighted all the bad features of her body while covering up all the good features. While she did a pretty good job with the song, the audience and judges were not as receptive. She was put into the elimination round where she had to choose her opponent.

5. 黄英 Huang Ying - She continues to develop as a singer and it shows in her increasingly varied repertoire. Originally she was a country girl who could only sing folk songs, but since then, she's certainly blossomed into a great singer. She may still be the dark horse, but I think she may develop into the favorite with the next coming weeks. Her first song was another take on a classic Chinese folk song. It didn't seem like she sang that many words, but the song was pretty good. Her challenge song was an attempt at singing a somewhat pop song that was way outside of her usual selection. She was having a little difficulty adapting her voice to the style, but I think she pulled it off.

6. Eliminated-谈莉娜 Tan Lina - I think her strategy was a little off this week. Usually her routines are dance heavy as to divert the attention away from her rather average singing ability. Maybe it was her back injury or maybe she was doing it for the challenge, but most of her routines featured very little dancing with a much greater focus on singing. Her first song was dedicated to her mom and she actually did a pretty good job. Her challenge song (starts at 3:48) featured this supposedly ultra difficult move where she spins while attached to a wire. I don't quite understand all the hype as she was probably in the air for a maximum of 5 seconds and didn't really perform that many mid-air dance moves. Just sorta spun around like a propeller. She was selected by 江映蓉 to PK in the final elimination and lost.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Girls Round of 7: Review

This week's performance had the theme of "Grade School Memories" and definitely had some surprises while displaying one of the most unfair moments of the competition. The performances were above average for the most part with quite a few exceptional performances. The format for this week was a lot less complicated than last week.

Part 1: Each contestant picks another for a sing-off via the usual buzzer press system. The 19 media members choose a winner from each pairing. Because of the odd number of contestants, the last person to sing gets to challenge one of the three winners to a sing-off to see if they switch places or not.

Part 2: The top 3 contestants sing to see who will be the ELLE cover model for this week. The winner automatically moves onto the next round. The remaining 6 then sing in succession with full scores given by audience/media/judges. The contestant with the lowest score is automatically up for elimination with the judges picking her opponent. 6 move onto the next round.

1. 李霄云 Li Xiaoyun - She really is my favorite now on the show ever since they eliminated 曾轶可. She has a really deep voice and fits very well into your "love song croner" category. I can see how she is kinda one sided in her singing ability in that if she selects a non-love song then she usually scores poorly. However, in her element, she's pretty much untouchable as she won her part 1 showdown with a pretty good rendition of 白桦林. She came out of nowhere to win the ELLE cover model position with a spectacular rendition of 从开始到现在 that got the judges crying.First, Second songs.

2. 刘惜君 Liu Xijun - Ole Dead-Eyes Liu definitely surprised me this week. Usually her singing doesn't really impress me since she sings so genericly. This week though, she tried singing in a new style. Her style up to this point has been kinda quietly singing and never just letting go of her restraint and letting her voice fly. This week though, she let it all fly and although she didn't quite reach the high notes, it was very refreshing to hear her new-found voice. Her song for ELLE cover model was totally awesome and got a standing ovation from the judges. She scored over 90 points and looked on the verge of taking the crown until 李霄云 blew the audience away. She actually had to sing 3 times because she sang twice in Part 2: once for both ELLE cover model and again for elimination rankings. First, Second, Third songs.

3. 郁可唯 Yu Kewei - I agreed with the judges in that she almost seemed disinterested in the competition. The contest was like an afterthought to her; just a stepping stone in her ascend to superstar-dom. The judges saw this and harshly criticized her song selection and performances this week. She is still the reining favorite to win the competition and to be fair, her singing ability and range is far superior to just about every other contestant. She was oddly both in the top 3 and also chosen as an elimination candidate. Like 刘惜君, she sang 3 songs. First, Second, Third songs.

4. 江映蓉 Jiang Yingrong - She messed her foot up while jogging and did the entire competition with her foot swollen like a wet sponge. It didn't really seem to impact her dancing that much although it could play a significant role in her future performances. The judges warned her to be vary careful with her song selection so that she doesn't aggravate the injury. Her First, Second songs.

5. 黄英 Huang Ying - I thought she actually sang very well this week. She showed some better voice control and a much expanded library of songs that she could sing. She's kinda the dark horse of the competition. First, Second songs.

6. 谈莉娜 Tan Lina - See last week minus the Bollywood and add some oddly placed camera shots of her showing her extreme annoyance. First, Second songs.

7. Eliminated-潘辰 Pan Chen - She's probably the last contestant on the show with any sort of individuality. PP made the point that she had the problem of always selecting songs that she liked to sing instead of songs that everyone *wanted* her to sing. She is rocker with a voice that others want her to use for love sonnets. Case in point: When she sang 一遗失的美好 and You're Beautiful, the audience absolutely went nuts and loved them because those are the kinds of songs they want her to sing. However, she keeps selecting rock songs and those that she wants to sing. She was definitely a free spirit in the competition and a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale mix of pop songs. She was up for elimination and the judges selected for her to face off against 郁可唯 in an audience vote. WTF is up with that? It's like putting a Beetle up against a Ferrari and having the male masses decide which they want. Sure the Beetle is unique, massively efficient on fuel, and makes parking easier, but most people will be blinded by the coolness that is the Ferrari. First, Second songs. Here is the elimination round video.

Thursday, August 06, 2009



Monday, August 03, 2009

Happy Girls Round of 10 Part3: Review

This was the final round of 10 and first elimination round for the competition. Since there were 3 weeks of no eliminations, the producers decided to oust 3 contestants this week. It's all a bit dramatic since these 10 girls have been living together and building some nice bonds of friendship for 3 weeks. Because of this, this round featured lots of crying and some slightly wavering voices in the songs. However, just about everyone brought their A-game as the songs were much much better than the previous rounds.

The way this round played out was:
PART 1: The 4 contestants who appeared in the bottom 3 from the last 2 weeks paired up and PKed each other (regular song) with Judges/Media Panel/Audience giving scores for each pair. The one with the lesser points from each pair then PK each other in a 30 second sing-off (no background music) with the winner being decided by 25 audience members who each have 1 vote. The one with the fewest votes is eliminated immediately.

PART 2: The remaining 9 each sing another song (regular song) with Judges/Media Panel/Audience giving scores for each contestant. The 2 contestants with the highest scores are then voted on by a panel of 19 media members with the winner being the ELLE cover model for that week. These 2 also automatically move on to the round of 7. The contestant with the lowest point total is automatically up for elimination with the Judges choosing 1 person out of the other 6 to be the opponent. The 2 up for elimination then have a 30 second sing-off (no background music) with the winner being decided by 25 audience members who each have 1 vote. The one with the fewest votes is eliminated immediately.

PART 3: Based on the alignment of Jupiter with Saturn's 2nd moon and the predictions of Nostradamus, the judges give a wild panda some crystal meth and let it loose on the contestants, whoever it eats first is eliminated. The remaining 6 contestants then have to compete on pressing a buzzer. Whoever presses first gets to select an opponent. This goes on 2 times to form 3 pairs. They then individually sing a song within the pairing (regular song) with the 19 Media panel members determining who wins in the pairing. The winners automatically move on to the round of 7. Out of the remaining 3, the judges pick 1 to move on immediately while the last remaining 2 have a sing-off (regular song) with the winner being decided by 25 audience members who each have 1 vote. The one with the fewest votes is eliminated immediately. The panda method would have been a lot less convoluted..

1. 黄英 Huang Ying - Her father actually brought her home-cooked food before the competition. She stated before that she always ate before she sang and this must have made a huge difference. She was paired up with 曾轶可 in Part 1 and lost by a slim margin. She was then paired up with 李媛希 and eliminated her from the competition. Her song in Part 2 was off pitch on the high notes, but was still a spectacular performance. The mix of rock and folksong worked exceedingly well and she exuded so much energy and passion in the performance. I was definitely not expecting this result as I had her picked as one of the 3-people eliminated this week.

2. 江映蓉 Jiang Yingrong - I personally didn't think she sang that well, but apparently everyone is still going ga-ga over her new-found body and dancing. She only had to sing 1 song to move on to the round of 7.

3. 刘惜君 Liu Xijun - Sings pretty generic songs and still has no real stage presence. Every performance of hers seems rather ho-hum even if the song is sang well.

4. 郁可唯 Yu Kewei - As always, her singing was flawless. Unfortunately, her choice of song wasn't the best and the audience/media were less than impressed leading to a rather low score. Her challenge song with 李霄云 was much better received.

5. 潘辰 Pan Chen - She really impressed me this week with her vocal ability. She was in every single elimination round and had to sing a total of 5 times. She started off beating 李媛希 in Part 1. Her first song in Part 2 was totally despised by everyone and only earned a 31/100. She was paired off with 曾轶可 in the second elimination round and won by popular vote. She was beaten by 刘惜君 in Part 3 during the initial pairing and was up against 潘虹樾 in the final elimination. Despite this, she saved her absolute best song for last. She put on a stunning performance while playing the guitar (something she hasn't done in the competition yet). It was totally awesome and I think it was the best song of the night.

6. 李霄云 Li Xiaoyun - She scored pretty high in the initial ranking of Part 2 and was selected by 郁可唯 as her PK opponent. Despite the fact that 郁可唯 won the sing-off, I think 李霄云 sang a much better song in 至少还有你. She is now the one I am rooting for in the competition since 曾轶可 was eliminated.

7. 谈莉娜 Tan Lina - Ugh...Why is she still around? Sure, she dances well and everyone seems distracted by her fabulous body and sexuality, but she does not sing well at all. She has no real style of her own and all her songs come off as boring. She tried doing some kinda exotic Bollywood performance except she didn't speak Hindu nor did she dance Hindu even though she claims to have danced the style before. She's my pick for going home next after 潘辰 went super-saiyan this week.

8. Eliminated-潘虹樾 Pan Hongyue - Eliminated by 潘辰 in Part 2. She did okay this competition and actually sang some pretty good songs. Unfortunately for her, 潘辰's power level was over 9000!!!

9. Eliminated-曾轶可 Zeng Yike - Sigh, so much potential to be eliminated so early. Yes, I realize her singing is mediocre at best and abysmal at worst, but she represents what music is all about. Anyone with minimal voice talent can find a song to cover and release it as a rehash. It might be a good rehash, but it's not creative at all. 曾轶可 on the other hand stood by her principles and sang her own songs from start to end. She sang 1 song in the entire competition that she didn't write and even then, she only used a very small portion of the actual words. I hope she goes on to have a fantastic music career filled with many many creative songs. She sang much better this week than last and defeated 黄英 in Part 1. She was ranked 7th with her song in Part 2 and was chosen by the judges to face 潘辰 in the elimination round. She lost by audience vote and was exceptionally emotional. Two judges then made comments. One a pretty thoughtful and hopeful comment, the other a completely inane and ridiculously retarded remark.

10.Eliminated-李媛希 Li Yuanxi - Her lack of experience probably showed a bit in her song selection. It wasn't very good throughout the competition, but this time, it was actually very fitting for her voice. She did an awesome job performing the song as well, but in the end, lost to 潘辰 and was the first to be eliminated.

Sunday, August 02, 2009