Episode 3 of the Voice of China fresh out of the oven! Another episode that I ‘live-recapped’, commenting as I watched for the first time. This time round, I cut down on descriptions (because english subs will be available here in one week or so) and added in more of my own opinions. Just a disclaimer, I am not good with music and my ability in reviewing is limited. Whatever I type below is basically what I, someone worse than an amateur, think and does not (and probably will not) represent what the majority thinks.
Contestant 1: Zhang Nan, 22
Background: Uni Year 3, studying Pop Music.
First Impression: Smooth, soothing voice. The type of voice I like. I was just wondering why they didn’t start with a rock song this week and then she started showing her rocker vocals during the transition before switching back to her lovely soothing voice. Not very much of a rock performance, but definitely has rock elements in it.
Comment: A judge pointed out that Zhang Nan looks like the rebellious kind but she said that it’s just her image, she’s actually very nice and would listen to instructions. Na Ying, the only one who turned for her, then pointed out, “No worries. Amongst all the students that my teacher had, I was the most rebellious one. Parents would tell their kids not to hang out with me because I’m an unpredictable one. But look, I’m also the most famous one today.” Haha such confidence! But then again, she is Na Ying so she does have the right to be that confident. With that, Zhang Nan officially joins Na Ying’s team.
Ok, that was fast, I was expecting a more entertaining and hyped first performance even though I did like Zhang Nan’s voice.
Contestant 2: Zhang Shu, 26
-What’s with all the ‘Zhang’s this episode.-
Background: She’s a law graduate and is currently preparing to further her studies.
First Impression: Woah, she’s performing Wang Feng’s song. But she sang it completely different, in her own rendition. She’s quite the rocker, very unlike her image. Talk about shockers. I’m not sure if I prefer her version over the original’s one, or if I even like her voice but if I close my eyes, she reminds me of a 60 year old man smoking and singing at the same time – the epitome of rock in my eyes. So I guess that’s a success. And indeed successful she is, all 4 judges turned for her.
Comment: She’s apparently the gem that Wang Feng is looking for – someone who can sing his song well but yet doesn’t sound like him or have a hint of him at all. It seems like she’s going to Wang Feng’s team since she did sing his song but it might just not be the case. Zhang Shu likes composing her own music, so she might just hop into Jay’s boat instead. Tense. And, the result is… she chose Harlem! Well, talk about unpredictable!
Contestant 3: Zhang Lei, 34
Third contestant and third Zhang?! Well.
First Impression: Sounds like someone with a lot of story and emotion behind his song. But that’s all, he sounds decent but nothing that amazes me or catches my attention. Jay also points out this song seems pretty flat. Na Ying stands up for Zhang Lei and said, ‘This song is hard to sing though.’ Well, I agreed with Jay. Probably not the best song for a competition?
Comment: Ok, I am wrong. Na Ying, Harlem and Wang Feng all turned for him towards the end. And the judges do indeed point out, ‘While he might not sound impressive with a lot of singing techniques, he has the ability to tell stories with his song.’ And yeap, he chose Na Ying in the end. Kinda predictable. He seems like the emotional kind which ties in the best with Na Ying’s style. Na Ying is doing well this episode, 3 contestants and 2 already in her team.
Contestant 4: Wang Fei Xue, 30
Background: Mum of a 3 year old kid, who postponed her dream chase for 3 years because of her kid.
First Impression: Her voice is very clear. Powerful, too. I’m not particularly a fan of her voice, but her performance and confidence does give me the vibe of an established female singer.
Comment: Wang Feng and Na Ying turned at the very end. Harlem acknowledged her extremely powerful high pitch. First thing Fei Xue shared is that, she had admired Na Ying since season 1. Looks like Na Ying is on a roll. On a side note, Wang Feng do look extremely relaxed and laid back, like he was not in a rush or panicky about the lack of members at all. Cool, true rockstar style. Hey, Fei Xue made her choice, and it’s Wang Feng! Surprise, surprise.
Contestant 5: Wang Di, 23
Background: Both parents had martial arts roots but he likes singing and aims to sing to make people happy. (Sounds like someone with potential to join Harlem Team already.)
First Impression: Quirky, playful and an extremely nice sounding voice! Oh, and Harlem is the first one to turn! He managed to hit high notes without sounding too sharp and shrilly, definitely a plus.
Comment: Such a pity only Harlem turned. It felt like he would be fit well in Jay’s team. When Harlem teased him about wearing a ‘skirt’, he shared that it was actually (hipster) shorts, which made Jay stand up and said, ‘I’m wearing these hipster pants too!’ And the punchline arrives when Harlem went, ‘Oh, so those are hipster pants? I always thought you just had short legs.’ HAHAHA. Loving the banter between these two. Back to Wang Di. He apparently has big aims, his dream is to see his students up on this stage and still have the judges turn around for them. I like that dream, and his voice. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this happy boy.
Contestant 6: Michael Liu Chang Yuan, 21
Background: Yet another US boy! And his surname is Liu too, just like fellow American boy, Will Jay from last episode. Will Jay sang in both english and chinese but Michael beat that and used 6 languages to come up with a new version of one of the judges’ song.
First Impression: Oh hey, it’s Jay’s 双截棍 again. It was sang by Chen Zi Tong in episode 1. But this time round, it’s a full complete pure rap. 1 word: impressive. That rap was amazing. It was crazy fast and hyped and all. And there’s this part where the lyrics goes so fast and yet was clearly audible – Spectacular. I don’t know how to appreciate raps but I’m blown away. This would have made a good first performance.
Comment: Welp, Wang Feng was the only who didn’t turn. And I had even thought this style would what Wang Feng would be interested in. Once again, I’m wrong. Back to the judges, Jay shared that he’s quite envious when he hears people singing in English. And it’s cool to hear people using English to sing his song. To which Na Ying immediately adds in, ‘Because you can’t speak English?’ Haha that burn! Jay then asked Michael to teach him one of the lines in another language, only to give up 30 seconds later because it was too tough. Haha. Harlem then asked, ‘So did you come here for Jay Chou today?’ to which Michael replied, ‘Maybe’ without even trying to beat around the bush, causing Harlem to be shocked. Epic.
Jay then went on stage to hug Michael and Harlem started screaming ‘Hey you are not a team yet!! What is this! Go back to your seat!’ Extremely amusing. And Michael totally gave off a ‘fanboy dream fufilled’ expression after the hug with Jay. Extremely adorable. And I have never noticed this but Jay’s dimple makes him look real cute too haha.
Contestant 7: Pu Yue, 17
First Impression: Clear, tranquillizing voice. Seems like this is the trend this week. Her voice has a tinge of child-likeness though. Enjoyable performance, but none of the judges turned.
Comment: “Too young, too young” was the first comment given by Na Ying as the judges were turned around. She’s 17 but looks and sounds more like 14, according to the judges. I liked her voice pretty well but I guess the judges all prefer to not take in contestants whom are too young. And indeed, she does look young, her hands are tiny. She also exclaimed her love for Jay, which further emphasizes her youth. I think there’s a very different culture here. 17 or 18 is considered too young, but look at the kpop idols. They probably debut by 18 and are only in their early 20s as they hit the peak of their popularity but here, they are treated like babies and the judges were extremely careful not to hurt her feelings and encouraged her loads. Not that being nice is a bad thing.
Contestant 8: Jiang Yuan Dong, 22
First Impression: 情歌王子 (directly translated: Prince of love songs). For a 22 year old, he sounds pretty old and he does give off the old vibe when he sings, with his hand gestures and all. He does lose some age when he shows off his young-ish singing techniques in the middle though. He looks geeky but I think with the appropriate imaging and packaging, he can turn into a very charming young man with good vocals that would steal the hearts of girls.
Comment: Jay is digging this performance, because he has the ‘China’ style in his performance. And yes, Jay is very insistent and proud of his chinese roots, as highlighted by his random outburst of ‘Chinese culture is the best’ and ‘I love Mandarin’. Yuan Dong has been listening to Jay Chou’s music since young and he was exposed to RnB through him too. And Harlem insisted, ‘He listened to your (Jay) songs only when he was young because he was ignorant! When he grew up and learnt, he started listening to RnB (which is my kind of music)!’
Another funny moment when Yuan Dong started stating what he like about each judge and when he reached Na Ying, all he could manage was, ‘Thank you for turning for me.’ which earned a laugh from the rest of the judges because he had nothing better to say about her. Bad move, kid. But he was nervous so I guess we could forgive him. He also shared that Jay was the one who impacted him the most, he used to not be confident of himself but it was because of Jay that he took the first step out to join his first singing competition which he won. He also shared, from that win, he had got a autographed album from Jay but he was not sure if it was just a patronizing gift by the production team, and not really signed by Jay. Jay then made a funny line about, “If it’s ugly, it’s signed by me. My handwriting is quite bad” Hahaha.
All the judges then felt threatened by their bond and started firing shots. Na Ying was the funniest, stating that Yuan Dong would be stuck in the same style of music if he chose Jay. But she was different, she would not limit his style. Plus she could also, and had sang RnB, although those songs were not famous. Haha. Even though Wang Feng was not competing for Yuan Dong, he also added a bullet by saying, ‘Jay just want to train your flute skills and be part of his band, and not your voice.’ when Jay suggested that Yuan Dong could just integrate flute playing into his song. Jay is indeed panicked after all the shots fired by the other judges and in the end he went, “Just ignore the rest of them!” Hahaha. No worries because Yuan Dong seems to be a smitten fanboy so off to Jay’s team he goes!
Contestant 9: Ma Yin Yin, 27
First Impression: Na Ying’s first outburst was, “such poise!” She had a slightly low and husky type of voice, which I feel makes it sounds seductive. I can almost imagine her starring in one of those movies where she is the sexy, seductive cabaret singer. She sounded polished too.
Comment: Harlem started off by appreciating her unique low pitch voice that is rarely found in female singers. Her dream is to make it into the international arena and Jay questioned, “Why do you need to go international when China’s stage is already so great?” Yin Yin gave the politically correct and inspiring answer of. “A lot of these other Asian countries are also doing very well. I think we Chinese singers also need to show the rest of the world what we are capable off.” And guess what did Jay say? “I just need to add, Chinese songs are still the coolest and the best.” Random outbursts of extreme patriotism, I wonder if he was paid to do be an ambassador and do that. Hahaha.
Contestant 10: Huang Xiao Yun, 16
Background: Just knowing her age worries me. Youth doesn’t seem to be an advantage here. But I guess it’s understandable since The Voice is aiming for mature singers with stories behind their voice.
First Impression: She sounds a lot more mature though. Another soothing voice. She reminds me of a female lead in an idol drama. I’m not sure if I like her voice or not. Just as I think I like it, because of the strength, it sounds a bit too shrilly and amateur.
Comment: “Little kid”, was the first thing Na Ying said when she saw Xiao Yun. See, point about different culture made again. If I were her and I heard that comment, I would probably rage internally. 16 might be young, but to disregard her as a kid completely would probably be torture to her. At least that’s how I would feel when I was 16. To make it better, Wang Feng did add ‘Turning around and seeing how young she is, and then thinking of her voice, this makes it even more amazing.” Xiao Yun eventually chose Wang Feng over Harlem.
As of now:
Team Jay: Chen Zitong (25), Xu Lin (27), Leon (21), Will Jay (19), Michael Liu (21), Jiang Yuan Dong (22) = 6 members
Team Na Ying: Zhu Qiang (24), Saya Zhang Hui Chun (38), Chang Yu (20), Sun Bo Lun (33), Zhang Nan (22), Zhang Lei (34) = 6 members
Team Wang Feng: Beibei (27), Yang Bao Xin (21), Lin Yan (39), Wang Fei Xue (30), Huang Xiao Yun (16) = 5 members
Team Harlem: Tan Xuanyuan (26), Zhao Da Ge (19), Usay Kawlu (26), Zhang Shu (26), Wang Di (23), Ma Yin Yin (27) = 6 members
And that’s it for today. My favourite voices this week were from Wang Di and Zhang Nan. Michael also put up a refreshing performance. Go and catch this week’s episode on youtube here and tell me what you think and who you prefer! Subs should be available in one week time.
[UPDATE: The youtube link with english subs is apparently removed, check out the raw version here instead.]
Recaps for episode 4 are now available here.