I have an infatuation with Korean variety shows and one of my favorites right now is 'Immortal Song 2'. When I first heard that the show was reincarnating as a singing competition, I was fairly skeptical because I felt that it was basically a poor man's version of the show 'I Am a Singer'. But two years later, 'I Am a Singer' has gone the way of the Dodo (that is to say extinct) and 'Immortal Song 2' is still going strong, entertaining viewers each week. I think the key is that the show doesn't take itself so seriously but still manages to produce some amazing performances from K-pop's hottest stars.
Today's Way Back Wednesday will feature some of my personal favorite songs that have been performed on the show. Yes, the singers are of today but the music they perform is from day's gone by and a great reminder of why we love K-pop.
Ailee - "3! 4!"
Not only did Ailee's performance of the Roo'ra classic show off her amazing vocal range but it also perfectly illustrates the "not taking itself too seriously" point with a special appearance by comedian and label mate Shin Bora in a hilariously awesome singing battle.
Son Ho Young - "Winter Story"
Another great duet and one of the performances that I would love to have seen live, former g.o.d members Son Ho Young and Kim Tae Woo team up to pull off maybe the most fun performance from the show singing DJ DOC's winter classic.
Cherry Filter - "Tell Me"
This was not the greatest performance ever but I loved how Cherry Filter kept the rap element of Jinusean's "Tell Me" but added in their patented blend of alternative rock. Drummer Soulstar gets extra points in my book for playing drums and rapping at the same time because believe me, playing an instrument and singing at the same time is hard.
Davichi - "The Maze of Love"
Just from this past weekend, Davichi's take on this often covered ballad became an instant classic and one of the great performances in the history of the show. "The Maze of Love" was a 1987 smash hit for singer Choi Jin Hee and is a little special for me because it reminds me of road trips my family would take back in the day when the entertainment was the station wagon tape deck playing whatever your parents wanted to listen to. Anyway, Davichi certainly cemented their "holy cow" moment with their amazing rendition.
Lee Haeri - "You're in a Place Right Above Me"
If we're talking Davichi, I have to include Lee Haeri's version of Shin Seung Hun's legendary ballad "You're in a Place Right Above Me". The original version itself is amazing and topping it was tough but Lee Haeri's vocals are legit and she proves that she's one of the better female vocalists around.
Ali - "I Have a Man"
Ali is definitely the queen of this show with a number of amazing performance but this was my personal favorite for the way she went so raw. There were a lot of mistakes with the her cover of J.Y. Park's song and things didn't go perfectly but that was exactly what the song needed. Raw, gritty, real.
INFINITE's Sunggyu - "Woman of the Beach"
I know if this borders on blasphemy but I honestly can't name a single INFINITE song but this rendition of Cool's 1997 summertime hit was pure fun and energy and made me fan of at least Sunggyu real quickly. With help from Dong Woo and Baby Soul, Sunggyu encapsulate the spirit of summer in his performance and showed that he's got some singing chops.
Narsha - "Kind Love"
Kim Min Jong's "Kind Love" happens to be one of my favorite K-pop ballads and I thought that Narsha's crack at it was good because this song can get really cheesy with the big guitars and very 90's rock-ballad sound but she modernized it and cleaned it up a bit while working in the theme from the drama 'Secret Garden'. Narsha does a lot of mash-ups like that in her performances which is always very cool.
Shin Yong Jae - "Forgotten Seasons"
The 4Men member blew me away with his version of Lee Yong's 1982 classic hit; another one of those tunes that remind me of my folks. This episode of the show was the dubbed the "Vocalist Special" and he clearly stood out as one of the best male singers in K-pop.
Brown Eyed Soul Sung Hoon - "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
I know that there are other singers that might have gotten higher scores but in my opinion, this is the best performance of the show so far. Sung Hoon's take of the Kim Gun Mo hit was almost scary in how much Sung Hoon looks, sounds, and acts like Kim Gun Mo. I didn't look at it like a parody though; it was more like an homage to one of the godfathers of K-pop.
In the interest of time, I had to leave off a lot of other great artists and songs (apologies to Huh Gak, Hyorin, Kang Min Kyung, Sweet Sorrow, Hong Kyung Min, Ulala Session, et al...) so feel free to share the other great performances that everyone should go look up and watch. If you haven't seen the show, definitely try to catch it if you can; a good history lesson for anyone interested in old school Korean music.