JTBC’s 'Sing Again' offers forgotten singers a second chance
JTBC’s audition program “Sing Again” is offering forgotten singers a chance to stand in the spotlight once again.
The production team behind “Two Yoo Project - Sugar Man” have taken on the new show which began airing last month.
With local audiences interested to see stars from times gone by, viewership ratings surged to 7.1 percent after only three episodes, according to Neilson Korea.
“There are so many singers whose names have been forgotten even though their songs were so widely loved by the public,” said producer Kim Hak-min, who was in charge of season 3 of Sugar Man as well as “Sing Again.”
“As the stories of how they became forgotten are all different, we decided to put [participants] in a group.”
But what's different from most audition programs is that the participants get to choose what groups they become a part of rather then judges choosing, according to chief producer of the show, Yun Hyeon-jun.
Another interesting aspect of the program is that the participants are not called by their own names. Rather, they are assigned with a number, and that number is what people call them on the show. Such a move is to differentiate the program from other shows that are more focused on pushing talents to compete fiercely to survive, and show that its main aim is to give musicians a chance to get on stage again.
The names of the participants are only revealed when they fail to get more than four “Again” buttons, the more of which they get the better the chances are for staying on the show.
“We were thinking about ways to make singers whose names are not so widely known more popular, and then thought that people might become even more curious and actually look for information online to guess their names if we didn't make them public,” said Yun.
Yun's theory was right, and words related to participants mentioned in the show were searched online in real time.
The judges on the show are also veterans in the entertainment scene such as Yoo Hee-yeol and Lee Sun-hee.
Yoo has 28 years of experiences as a singer and served as a judge on “K-pop Star” as well as many other music entertainment programs.
Lee has 38 years of experience as a singer after she first garnered attention after performing at Gangbyeon Gayoje, also known as Riverside Music Festival, a popular event in the 80s and 90s to discover new musical talent.
Others like Kim Jong-jin of jazz-rock fusion band Bom Yeoreum Gaeul Kyeoul who has been part of the music scene for 35 years and lyricist Kim Eana with 18 years experience will also be on hand to share their insights.
Singer Lee Seung-gi, who has 17 years of experience in the industry, will act as the M.C.
To add a variety of viewpoints to evaluate participants, many singers who have debuted as idol stars are also participating as judges.
Kyuhyun of Super Junior, Sunmi of Wonder Girls, Lee Hae-ri of Davichi, and Song Min-ho of Winner, also known by his stage name Mino, will all take part in the show.
Producer Park Ji-ye added that the judges were selected to provide diverse feedback in terms of their age, gender as well as the genre of music they sing.
Park learned that feedback coming from different generations can be very different from producing "Sugar Man."
Hence, it is also fun to watch what each judge focuses on. After singer No. 60 performed Hyukoh’s “Tomboy,” veteran singer Yoo said the singer's looks took the forefront rather than their voice, while Kyuhyun and Song Min-ho said the vocals were what stood out for them.
Each of the judges on the show has been backing the participants they think are most talented without being swayed by opinions of others, so a diverse range of singers advance each week — exactly what the production team intended.
“With more audition programs flooding the entertainment scenes recently ranging from covering [hip-hop] in Mnet’s ‘Show Me The Money' to trot in TV Chosun’s ‘Mr. Trot,’ we thought we’ve seen all the genres and all the talents,” said pop culture critic Jeong Deok-hyun. “Yet, this show has put together talents from different genres on one stage and leads the flow of the show in a very effective way.
BY MIN KYUNG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]