I still can’t get over the finals of Korea’s Got Talent that ended almost an hour ago.
#1 Kim Ha-jun, sand animator
#2 Kim Tae-hyun, a very cute 10-year-old girl who sang Heal The World backed by a choir.
#3 Kim Jong-hwan, B-boy dancer
#4 I Big Harmonica Ensemble, harmonica players who performed a medley of ABBA (Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia!) plus Buttercup.
#5 Kim Min-ji, blind singer who performed You Raise Me Up backed by a choir.
#6 IUV, comic duo/lipsyncing
Are they funny?
#7 Kim Chang-yan, dancer who did some martial arts-inspired number
#8 Choi Sung Bong, opera singer. Called as Korea’s Orphan Boy, we all know his story. Abandoned and put in an orphanage when he was three, ran away and started wandering the streets of Seoul when he was five.
#9 Joo Min-jeong, robotic dancer
#10 Escape, magicians
The winners were decided through text voting and the Top Three were: the comic duo (IUV), the robotic dancer (Joo Min-jeong) and Choi Sung Bong.
The choices were odd, particularly that of IUV and Joo. I expected Kim Min-ji, the harmonica players, even sand animator and what about cute little Kim Tae-hyun? Many were also expecting Choi to win… but the result was a major upset. The robot dancer won.
This is not to undermine dancing as a talent. But in terms of performance-impact, Choi Sung Bong fared much better even if he sang an old piece, Nella Fantasia, which disappointed a lot of people. He should have heeded the advise of one of the judges on semi-finals night that when it comes to the finals, he can no longer bank on his sad story to win votes. He already has the talent, he should have aimed higher.
IMHO, the winner of Korea’s Got Talent should also represent the aspirations of the country. Korea is already known for its pop music. They have a gazillion of pop singers and dancers that perhaps the show’s judges and the voters wanted something more. But breakdancing, robotic dancing or whatever you call it is not exactly something that will make the rest of the world sit up and notice–as Kolleen Park, the judge who was “absolutely” sure that Joo would win–believed.
There are a lot of talents crowding the world. What does one need to do to stand out and be noticed? Certainly, more than “robotic dancing”. Choi already made the world notice with his story bringing attention to the show. On the live streaming on YouTube, there were people from Europe, America and Asia watching the show. Choi has done half of the job of making the world notice. But well, Koreans voted for Joo and that should reflect their vision of what talent is. Who are we to argue?
End note: It’s not really a sad ending for Choi. He will have his voice lessons from Kolleen and for sure, a recording contract will follow. Susan Boyle didn’t win Britain’s Got Talent but she’s a big star now. Choi will laugh, not cry, his way to the bank in the end. I just hope that he gets good advice from well-meaning people especially since he has no one around. And I also hope he smiles more often. Though that may be hard after losing tonight.