I typed this as I watched it on youtube for the first time. I didn’t mean to do a detailed recap but this might just be one of the longest post I ever wrote – and it’s only 5 out of 9 contestants. Hence, I decided to split this episode into 2 parts, since it might be a while before I have time to finish up on the rest. Do check back! Anyway, I think they are starting every episode with a rock song to get the audience high. Not too bad a tactic, I would say. I like it. Without further ado, here’s the first act for today!
Contestant 1： Yang Bao Xin, 21
Song: Are You Ready
First Impression: Team Wang Feng. Like I said I’m not a fan of rock, and it’s actually the Voice that exposed me to this genre. He likes singing wild songs and I think he did it pretty well too. I felt that his voice had this contrived edge at some point but at the same time, it came out really clear and sounding good. What I would deem the ‘rockstar’ kind of voice.
Comments: Harlem asked what type of songs does Bao Xin usually sings and Bao Xin answered, “Wild songs”. Indeed, he definitely belongs to Wang Feng’s team. A contrast between his gentle and delicate image, as pointed out by Na Ying. Once again, Jay does not fail to disappoint as he pointed out that Bao Xin managed to hit ‘doh’, a pitch so high which makes it something a lot of male singers cannot do. All that technicalities. Oh, and I was right. Wang Feng gave his pitch about being the most expert at the type of songs he sings and hence, Bao Xin should join his team. Oh hey, Jay is pulling votes for the ‘sister-brother’ duo which consist of him and Na Ying now. Na Ying joins in and says that while Wang Feng is great, Jay and her have more power since there are two of them, after which she proceeds to show off her high pitch too. That’s cheating!… Or not?
I guess not! Since Bao Xin picked Wang Feng after all, just like I predicted. If I were him, I would pick Wang Feng too. Wang Feng turned around the least times last episode (4 out of 7, as compared to 5 by Jay and 6 by Na Ying and Harlem) but I guess he’s not worrying at all because he only wants apprentices that would suit the style he is adept at teaching.
Contestant 2: Zhao Da Ge, 19
Song: All About That Bass / 我在人民广场吃炸鸡
First Impression: Woah, she’s young. And she only started learning singing (on her own) at 17 but here she is. I can’t help but think what am I doing with my life? When she first started singing the ‘All about That Bass’ part, I felt like her voice was more mature than her actual age. She sounded like she was in her late twenties or thirties and had some life experience which gave her voice a certain quality and I liked it. But when she went into her main song, I wasn’t as impressed. Her voice was a bit too shrilly for me. I probably would have liked it more if she sang a soothing love song or something.
But I guess what I thought doesn’t matter because Na Ying turned early in the song and acted like a fan throughout. I guess it helps that Na Ying likes this song, as she shared when Da Ge started singing. Anyway, all 4 judges turned eventually so kudos to Da Ge!
Comments: Harlem accurately pointed out that Na Ying was behaving like a fan and Na Ying said that she is indeed a fan. She loves this song and have been looking for someone who can sing this song for the longest time. If I were Na Ying, I would wait a little longer to be happy because my gut feelings is telling me that Da Ge is going to choose Jay. Ok, so this free spirited girl who wants to live life doing things she like while she is young and can afford time to do so is currently studying art in US and practices her singing in the shower and yet, she managed to make all 4 judges turn. Life, is unfair. Wait, I can’t help but like her now because she just shared that she chose these two songs because it’s about two most important things in her (and many other youth) lives: Dieting and Love. Na Ying and Harlem are both trying to convince her to join their team, trying to find common hobbies and interests.
Na Ying claims to love her kind of attitude, which I find to be quite similar to the vibe that Zhang Bichen, winner of Season 3, gave off. Maybe joining Na Ying’s team would be very beneficial to Da Ge since I always felt the fact that Bichen even had the opportunity to walk all the way to the end for a chance at competing was partly, or even largely, due to Na Ying’s fondness for her. Just as I thought Wang Feng decided that he doesn’t want to fight for her and only turned because he wanted to acknowledge her singing, he starts speaking. His pitch was that he could impart her some creativity and composing skills. Next up, Harlem asks Da Ge how much does she know about the judges and her answer is what I have said in earlier. She only knows ‘Jie Lun Ge Ge’ (Jay) the best due to her age. Jay probably knew that, and that’s why he didn’t bother doing anything to convince her at all. All other the judges tried telling her that who she like might not be most suitable for her. She said she understand that but I wonder if she really does. Jay’s only line was “I know this voice is mine. Join me if you are a competitive person”.
Well, well, well, she eventually chose Harlem! I guess Harlem’s pitch about happiness won her over. And his style of singing does match with hers too. So it’s not too surprising. Poor Na Ying then whines that, “This one, I really like. Really.” While Na Ying might not be the most suitable coach for Da Ge, I really do think that Da Ge would have gone far in this competition purely based on how much Na Ying adores her.
Contestant 3: Zhang Hui Chun, 38
Background: Woah woah woah. This is the famous singer, Zhang Hui Mei’s sister and she released an album before, 18 years ago. She stopped singing 9 years ago because of marriage and family reasons but now she’s back and I’m looking forward to this, big time.
First Impression: Okay, not very impressive. Sounded nice, but didn’t felt particularly outstanding. (Yes, my impressions are shorter and shorter because I have been writing this for so long and I realised there are 9 contestants today! I need to be more concise!)
Comments: Only Na Ying turned, but Hui Chun looked extremely excited by that. Harlem recognised her as Saya, Zhang Hui Mei’s sister right away. The other judges seem to have no idea about at all and were surprised. Wonder if this would cause some strain between the judges and Zhang Hui Mei lol. Anyway, Hui Chun has a sweet voice while speaking and her kids are real cute. Harlem then continued saying, “I don’t remember you sang this well in the past” and Na Ying said, “In retrospect, your high notes did sound like Zhang Hui Mei’s. The feelings were there and that’s why my team needs you.” Well Harlem, if she was that good, why didn’t you turn? And I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to compare her to her sister. After all, I’m sure she wants to be her own individual person. But well, into Na Ying’s team she goes! All the best to this single mum and let’s hope she can show her kids what true passion and capabilities are!
For the first time in this show, the judges left their seats and went backstage right after Hui Chun left the stage to find the kids and talk to them. That was a nice gesture, but I felt Jay looked pretty awkward haha. Time to get used to being a dad!
Contestant 4: Chang Yu (Shuhei Nagasawa), 20
Background: Whee he’s a mixed blood – Japanese and Chinese. Can’t help but to think whether this is some attempt to ameliorate Sino-Japan relations.
First Impression: I guess he’s drama ost-worthy, especially with the type of soothing love songs he sings. But if I concentrate really hard, I find his voice a bit too hoarse and not confident enough for my liking. Well, Na Ying just said his pitch is very good and turned as I said that. I guess my music sense is bad. Hey, Harlem turned at the last moment, just in time to see Chang Yu cry as he finish singing.
Comments: Na Ying and Harlem are touched by his song and yes, Chang Yu says he does like slow songs. I would think he belong to Team Na Ying too. Wait, I just heard Wang Feng’s voice! That’s rare. And he asked a question similar to ‘What is your dream’ but phrased differently. Haha, I guess he can’t ask that question anymore since he officially ‘gave’ it to Jay. Chang Yu then shared that when he was in Toronto, Canada, he went to Na Ying’s concert as a volunteer to give out lightsticks and pamphlets and was inspired by her to join the Voice of China. Hearing that, Harlem asked “Can I turn back?” Haha, he’s not even trying. As if it’s not bad enough for Harlem, Jay cut in right before Chang Yu made his decision and said that “Let me campaign for Na Ying a bit.” Maybe he realised how quiet he was this episode. Or that he felt like he needed to show that ‘Sister-brother’ alliance first so Na Ying would help him later, considering the fact that he haven’t got any apprentices today. But still, Jay was pretty cute and I agreed with him. Na Ying is suitable for him. And predictably, he chose Na Ying!
Contestant 5: Liu Wei Nan (Will Jay), 19
Background: Cute dude from Hollywood, USA! Another mixed blood, he has an American dad and chinese mum too. Seems like he’s musically inclined (and talented) since he was a kid as well.
First Impression: Quirky song, plays his own instrument, good english pronunciation, cute smile, decent in chinese as well. I like. His performance was a joy to watch but his voice is not the kind that I particularly like.
Comment: But as usual, who cares if I like it since he got 4 turns! First thing Harlem does: Stand up and confront the other judges for joining in the crowd and stealing his apprentice. Well, this is a definitely a sign that the contestant here is an extremely desirable one. Things turned funny as Will Jay said that Chinese is his second language and he is sorry if he doesn’t understand some of the things the judges ask. Harlem started going, “It’s okay I can speak English.” and Na Ying immediately went, “but he doesn’t understand your english.” HAHA. Harlem then started taunting Jay by asking, “You can speak English? Can you? Oh, 不can? (direct translation: no can) Then let’s not force it” to which Jay retorted, “Hey I filmed 2 Hollywood movies.” They are hilarious. Jay wins this round, but it’s still a fact that Jay ‘no’ can speak English. Na Ying said that she was impressed by how harmonious the whole song sounded even when he switched from english to chinese. Harlem agrees, and so do I. Will Jay also shared that he likes dumplings from dongbei and Na Ying immediately exclaimed, “Then I’ll make dumplings for you everyday!” which makes all the judges go, “Lies.” Hahahaha. As Jay is trying to get Will Jay on his team, Na Ying asked, “Hey Jay, we are an alliance right?” To which, Jay immediately stuck out his hand and said, “Let’s not be allies today.” HAHAHA. It’s not everyday there’s a talented apprentice like that. And during the pitch, Na Ying just went, “Wang Feng does not exist (so ignore him).” Indeed, Wang Feng hardly made his presence known this season. Will Jay is good at giving expressions but what I’m garnering is that… He doesn’t understand all that chinese the judges are using and is just pretending he’s not out of the situation. Hahaha.
This section is really funny because the fight is real. When Will Jay mentioned he would like his coach to teach him chinese and how to sing chinese songs, Na Ying immediately volunteered to teach him a sentence: My coach name is Na Ying. Oh, the lengths you would go for a student. This, Will Jay understood and he burst out laughing. Harlem then barged in to teach Will Jay Chinese too with the sentence: My coach name is Harlem. Wang Feng just laughed at the judges antics and Jay was starting to be competitive and said, “Is this what you guys wanna do? Well, if you come to my team, maybe I could write a song for you” That’s bribery!!! But bribery works because.. Will Jay chose to join Jay’s team!
And this is where I shall stop the post. I’ll be reviewing the remaining 4 contestants, hopefully in a few days time. I’ll also post a consolidation in that post. Meanwhile, watch episode 2 of The Voice Of China Season 4 – 2015 with english subtitles here. Be sure to click on the ‘closed captions’ option to get the subs.
[UPDATE: The youtube link with english subs is apparently removed, check out the raw version here instead.]
Tell me what you think of these acts and check out my recaps for The Voice of China Episode 2 Part II.