TV: Korea’s got…talent?

I still can’t get over the finals of Korea’s Got Talent that ended almost an hour ago.

There were 10 finalists according to sequence of performance:

#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.

This was her audition piece:

#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.

Audition piece:

#5 Kim Min-ji, blind singer who performed You Raise Me Up backed by a choir.

Her story:

#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.

His sob story easily made him the crowd favorite with people across the world rooting for him to win.

#9 Joo Min-jeong, robotic dancer

Her performance here was better than the finals though most of it was just visual effects:

#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.


12 thoughts on “TV: Korea’s got…talent?

  1. I really liked this season of KGT. I really thought Sung-Bong or Kim Min-ji would be in the top 3 lest Sung-Bong win. I was shocked that the dancer won.

    I was touched by Sung-Bong’s story but moreso by Kim min ji. It was overall a good show.

    Good blog!


    • Thank you!
      I was disappointed that Sung-bong didn’t win, I was rooting for him too.
      But some friends in Korea said the domestic audience may have been turned off by the apparent cover-up that the network did in order to sell his story more (he did take classical voice lessons), and that may have influenced the way they voted in the end.
      I was also shocked that the dancer won!


  2. I was absolutely floored and the choices of the Korean voters! I found a you tube clip of Kim min ji and couldn’t get enough of her and sadly found only 3 videos. This young lady was hands down the best talent of the show and should have clearly won 1st or at the very least, 2nd place. I’m truly shocked. I pray Kim will get her break with some record producer and share this beautiful voice with the world!


    • that’s what happens when it comes to sms votes 😦
      perhaps they could do it so that there will be an “audience choice award” and the winner chosen by judges, taking into consideration the audience choice too.
      ah well, I hope the winners all succeed.


    • i agree with ozzie4150! while there obiviously are many talented people in that contest, minji kim was a standout. just imagine coping with blindness and not being able to read music and still perform like she did. all with total reliance on her ears and talent. i also appreciate the humble and sincere way she handles herself with nothing to hide. i wish more personal/professional related information becomes available soon so we can get to know her better and be able to follow her career as it soars! and finally the nature of such show may make it harder for everyone who is talented because it pits each person against each other even though their talents are probably like night and day. i can see it now (meant in a respectable way) minji touring with one of my favorites andrea bocelli. i can dream can’t i? best regards to minji from jeff in the u.s.a.


  3. if i may add some things to my last comment about minji kim. like so many others that have commented on her performances, i cry each time i watch the videos, and each time seems like the first time. i hope that someday someone writes a book about her because the world needs more all-around decent entertainers to be brought into the spotlight. it would be fantastic to be able to meet her someday, give her a warm hug and tell her thankyou for being who she is and for giving us her memorable performances. i hope the readers won’t mind that i elaborated. thanks in advance. jeff


    • Sorry took me a long time to moderate your comments as I didn’t check. been busy with other stuff.
      well even if this particular season of KGT has long been over, obviously I’m not the only one who was disappointed with the results. rest assured that everyone in that contest are living their dreams.


      • hello again: thanks for responding to my comments about min ji kim. does anyone know what the status is with her and her career? i’m kind of confused after reading things on the internet. i’ve read that the semi-finalists and the ‘top’ 40 singers may be offered a deal with sony music. is that true? if so, what does it all mean to those of us interested in hearing more of her music? and lastly, any liklihood that a dvd may be available from the 2011 korea’s got talent program? it would be nice to see at least the auditions, semi-finals and finals, of say the top 5 contenders in each of those three shows. from jeff in the u.s.a.


      • that’s also the last I heard about them, that they’d be offered a contract with Sony. haven’t read anything from our Korean paper and I read it everyday. I will ask my friends there if I have a chance 🙂

        (as usual delayed reply)


  4. thank you yupkigirl for the recent response to the inquiry about any possible recordings from min ji kim. not to be a constant bother about these topics, but any news as well about a dvd of the top performers (see past remarks), and any address to send a nice letter of encouragement etc., to min ji from a fan in the u.s.a.? i hope to visit korea someday, and who knows, see a korea’s got talent show and maybe even meet min ji! one more thing. does min ji get any press or recognition in korea, or has she been forgotten? i really hope not. i wish someone would put her in contact with mr. david foster (andrea bocelli, charice, jackie evancho, etc.). then her career would surely take off! i know you’re busy, so a delayed response is better than no response. sincerely, jeff gordon


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