Frank Kogan (koganbot) wrote,
Frank Kogan

  • Music:

Lee Hi

Last year a cute, goofy fifteen-year-old walked onto the Kpopstar audition floor, introduced herself, went into an adorably clumsy dance, and continued on (the judges grinning) with an unintentionally comic sexual strut. Then she opened her mouth to sing, and a million years of experience and pain came pouring out.

Her segment starts at 2:50.

She was even better a couple of months later, singing deep and dark on a ballad that Yang Hyun-suk had given her to take her out of her style and out of her comfort zone.

(For Eng Sub go here to 21:53, and then here for more of the judges' comments.)

In the competition itself, she was never quite as galvanizing, though was technically better as she showed her versatility, and none of the clumsy body motions. She was a crowd favorite and finished number 2, deserved to have won.

My fear is that K-pop won't quite know what to do with her, the combination of kid-like moxie and a true soul voice. Neither would America, at this point. I don't think Jazmine Sullivan and Beyoncé know what to do next either. Or Adele, though she's doing fine commercially. Might a good soul voice be a hindrance? Lee Hi is with YG Entertainment now, and has had two number ones in the last month, one as a guest on Epik High's "It's Cold," and now on her own for two weeks running with "1,2,3,4." They give her simple but not ridiculous enough dance moves. I'm glad she and they aren't content to have her just stand there and sing. The song is pretty good, nice bounce, well-paced, doesn't force things, and she owns the breaks. But I'm not feeling more; just a pretty good song and a good soul voice.

And here's Yang Hyun-suk seventeen years ago, showing he knows what he's about as a dancer (guy with the donkey-eared* hat; notice he takes his jacket off at 3:19, so he doesn't have to continue suffering from the ridiculously heavy winter wear they've got on under the lights, indoors) [UPDATE: YouTube killed that version, but here's another, Yang Hyun-suk a.k.a. YG is the fellow in orange and aviator shades, sheds his vest at 2:13.]:

*UPDATE: More like beagle ears than donkey ears, actually.
Tags: lee hi
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