Fresh newbies are out to claim trophy honours ahead of senior campaigners in the second half of Immortal Songs 2’s Park Chun Suk special.
Songwriter Park Chun Suk created a legendary team of artists and songs dating back to the ‘60s.
Park once said he wanted to compose “songs that last forever and that are perfect for the voice”.
Six years on since Park’s death, some of today’s most talented singers re-invented his songs as a dedication to his legacy in Korean music history.
Renowned tenor Im Tae Kyung won the first episode of Park Chun Suk special, and is the reigning champion with 411 points.
There are six performers to go and the final winner will be decided.
This episode features performances from Kim Tae Woo, Kim Kyung Ho, G-Friend, Son Jun Ho, Stephanie and Big Brain.
Recap: Performance by performance
Seventh (First performer of the episode): Son Jun Ho
Musical actor Son Jun Ho and two members of Y performed Empty Glass by Nam Jin with choir of 15 vocalists. The song was released in 1982 and Y made a decent cover of it. The song begins with a haunting vibe coming from the choir. Vocalist Jung Tek and Jun Ho utilise their rich low notes in the first verse. The trio harmonise together before the choir takes over. As the performance goes on, Sang Jin (middle vocal) steals the show with his higher notes. Y go for broke in a series of powerful belts to finish off the song.
Rising idol group G-Friend captured the audience and fellow guests’ hearts with a bright rendition of Patti Kim’s 1987 track, The Thorn Birds. Spearheaded by main vocalist Yuju, the girls put out an admirable cover. Their cover starts like a ballad with Eunha and Yuju’s calm vocals. The song builds into a retro-dance track for the girls to bust out their moves. SinB and Umji exchange rather quiet lines before lead vocalist, Eunha turns up the volume. The chorus is sung cutely and sounds like any G-Friend song but the difference in skill between Yuju and the rest is very noticeable. Following a graceful dance break, it’s Umji’s turn to chime in with her sweet vocals. Sowon brings out her mature tone before the lead vocalists sing the bridge. The girls leave Yuju in the spotlight to shift the song back into a ballad. They rejoin her for the last chorus. Yuju is guarded in the middle of a circle formed by her members and she emotionally ends the cover.
Ninth: Kim Tae Woo
One of Korea’s best vocalists, G.O.D’s Kim Tae Woo is no stranger to IS2. This time, he sings Nam Jin’s Heart is Painful where he changes the song up with three different versions: the original, a previous cover and his own style. The cover begins through the solemn sound of a trumpet. Tae Woo adopts a slow yet soulful approach at first. He hits the chorus with a few high notes. After a little “Come on ladies!” Tae Woo does a 180-degree flip to turn the song into a sexy jazz number. He roughs up his vocals a bit and continuously tries to show off. He asks the audience to find their love before introducing the last change-up into a Broadway number. His effortless belts, runs and glimpses of head voice at the end were the highlights of the entire cover.
Tenth: Big Brain
Rookie vocal quartet Big Brain makes their debut on IS2 with a cover of Na Hoon A’s Turn Waterwheel. Similar to Brown Eyed Soul, Big Brain is gifted with four talented male vocalists. The first vocalist uses his smooth low notes to kick off the song. A harmony is formed as the main vocalist, who dresses like BES’ Naul, explodes with his steely vocals. The beat quickens and the song turns into a slow R’n’B jam from a ballad. Big Brain combines their soulful vocals together to form more harmonies and vocal runs. The vocalist wearing a hat has a tone that arouses ears like it’s nothing. Turning up the excitement, the main vocalist belts out a few high notes. Suddenly, the song starts to feel like a Backstreet Boys track as the boys all get the chance to show off their skills. The boys finish the killer song off with an epic harmony.
Former The Grace member, Stephanie has gained a reputation of being IS2’s diva. She performs a cover of Baek Il Hee’s Elegy of Twilight. It was a song Park Chun Suk had dedicated to his first love. Stephanie captures an old-fashioned, mysterious atmosphere in the beginning. She adopts a sexy tone in the chorus, where she powerfully phrases her lines and adds snippets of falsetto. Taking off her jacket, she changes the song into a jazz-dance track. Her sultry vocals compliment her use of English lyrics. She goes for her big notes before strutting her way to seduce host, Shin Dong Yup. Jumping onto the piano, she belts out a few throaty notes before ending the performance with a showgirl pose.
Twelfth: Kim Kyung Ho
IS2’s resident rocker Kim Kyung Ho tackles on Patti Kim’s Early Rain. Park Chun Suk had written this song for Patti Kim’s Korean debut in the 60’s. Kyung Ho makes the song like his own rock ballad. A sorrowful tune of violin and piano plays at the start. Tension grows before Kyung Ho sings with his ultra-light voice. The instrumental continues compel the audience as Kyung Ho sustains an eerie-sounding belt. Hard-hitting guitar and drums enter the song, favouring Kyung Ho’s beloved rock genre. His emotional expressions and his rough vibrato is an interesting change-up to his cleaner vocals at the beginning. Before the end, he does a few wacky screams that sound like an animal rather than a vocalist. He finishes with a much cleaner belt.
In the end, IS2’s black swan Stephanie could not stop rocker Kim Kyung Ho from claiming the trophy with 442 points.
1. WINNER: Kim Kyung Ho (442 points)
3. Kim Tae Woo
4. Big Brain
5. Son Jun Ho
7. Im Tae Kyung
*Thanks for the tip, Hyuksang!