The attractions of ‘Hidden Singer’
First of all, viewers get to rediscover talented artists. Among nearly 30 original singers, I liked some of them, though knew little about others. After watching the show, however, I became a huge fan. They were all great singers with touching songs, and they deserved to be loved by their fans. It is a magical discovery for the singers and their music.
Viewers listen to each song more carefully in order to determine who the real singer is. We pay much more attention to the lyrics, melody, voice and skills. It gives us a rare experience to fully focus on the song itself. Also, the singers and challengers sing the song in its original state, unlike other audition programs that often remake and cover old songs. The experience of listening to the original version seems to bring back the era when we listened to the song for the first time.
The most moving moments are when the singers and fans meet. In the episode with Im Chang-jeong, singer Huh Gak appeared as an impersonator and burst into tears in front of the star, whom he had long admired. In the episode with Yoon Do-hyun, one of the challengers cried, and the filming of the show was suspended temporarily. Unlike the passionate fandom for young idol stars, these fans admire the musicians and see them as role models.
Singer Lee Soo-young said she thought no one would want to listen to her songs anymore. One of her impersonators was a man with a feminine appearance. He said he sang Lee’s songs whenever he felt down.
Singer IU said she appreciated that such talented people gave up their own singing characteristics to study and adopt her style to make the impersonation perfect. Ju Hyun-mi, in her 50s, said that she was considering retirement but changed her mind.
Like cultural critic Kim Ju-ok said, “Hidden Singer” takes the form of an audition, but it is actually a tribute. That’s why the show is sincerely moving, unlike other singing shows. The singers and fans work hard to present the music from the past that inspired and encouraged people, and the audience pays attention, truly appreciating the music.
Season 2 is approaching its end, and the finale will present songs of late Kim Kwang-seok.
*The author is a deputy culture editor and sports news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.
by YANG SUNG-HEE