Monday, July 12, 2010

Some Thoughts on "The Voice 2" and the Plight of HK Music

I haven't really been watching a lot of series lately (though I definitely have tons on my list that I still need to watch), so I've unfortunately been "slacking" with blog updates. Since I'm feeling a tad bit guilty (for not keeping up with blog updates), I figured that I would post here goes.....

I've been watching the singing competition "The Voice 2" every weekend and I must say that I am quite disappointed with the caliber (or lack thereof) of this season's contestants. And I'm also a little bit disappointed with the judging (BRING BACK TERESA CARPIO!!!!!)....or maybe perhaps I'm just too harsh when it comes to judging music, because to be honest, a few of the contestants that I felt should have been eliminated by now are still in the running (and a few that I thought were pretty good actually got booted).

For example, I really feel that Vivian Chan (the short skinny girl with the squeaky voice) should have been eliminated a long time ago -- her voice is so squeaky and she sings soooo high that I get goose bumps every time I hear she's been off-tune a couple times already. Yet, the judges seem to think that she is awesome (???) -- at least that's what it sounds like based on their comments (though last week, I'm not sure what happened because the judges would praise the contestants for being great, but then turn around and give them extremely low's like their comments aren't in line with their scoring...weird). Anyway, I don't see what is so "awesome" about this girl -- plus I feel that she also needs an attitude adjustment....she comes across to me as very stuck-up and arrogant, which I absolutely cannot stand! If I were judging, I would have kicked her out long time ago (like right after Emily and Harddie got kicked out, since she seems to be of the same "mix" as them in terms of singing skill -- in my opinion at least). Ok, I admit that since I'm not a "pro", I may not be able to see the supposed "nuances" in her voice or her singing that the judges may see (and hence why they continue to let her pass), but speaking from the perspective of a regular audience member and a long-time music listener, her singing REALLY hurts my ears!

Another example is Shadow (I forgot her last name)...honestly, all she does is yell and scream when she sings (and I mean that literally -- anyone who has heard her knows exactly what I mean). And it's not just a normal scream, but one that I would describe as borderline 'bloodcurdling' (I'm surprised she hasn't totally ruined her throat by now). Yet, since she is doing the screaming all in the name of Rock (I guess you're supposed to yell and scream when singing rock songs??), the judges seem to be ok with it -- which, to be honest, is something I don't understand.... could it be that perhaps 1/2 of the judges are "rockers" so they appreciate that type of music more? But if we're talking about a mainstream singing competition, I would think that the focus should be on getting them to learn regular singing skills (like pitch, tone, pronunciation of lyrics, etc.) first, then branch off into other "specialty" fields such as rock, rap, etc. Yes, I do understand that each "singer" has their own style and perhaps Shadow's "strength" is in singing rock songs -- but by only singing rock songs where majority of the song is yelling and screaming, isn't that "taking shortcuts" in a sense? I mean, how can one truly hear correct pitch and tone, etc. if the entire song consists of yelling and all "skills" are masked by the loud music and screaming? You don't need skill to yell and scream -- heck, if that's what a singing competition is all about, then a 2 year old child can surely participate and win!!

These are just 2 examples that come to mind (though there are definitely more). The bottom line is that singing competitions in Hong Kong have definitely changed over the years (more like decades) – and NOT necessarily for the better. Part of it could be that there just aren't that many talented people out there anymore, but I think the more likely reason is because the standards are so much different now -- society has become so focused on "political correctness" nowadays that it seems we've all had to lower our standards to accommodate everyone for fear of "hurting their feelings" or be accused of being "insensitive" or "discriminatory." In the long run, this hurts society more than it helps....


  1. Honestly, I listened to rock before and I honestly don't think it's just about the 'yelling' part so don't know what the judges were thinking. OR perhaps I'm no expert so I wouldn't get what is going on either. Sounds painful to watch. Let's just hope that the few that you mentioned won't make it into the final OR it would be very messed up. But I guess we shouldn't expect much either.

  2. I agree...well, maybe that's why I'm not into rock music at all -- because I absolutely don't understand it.

    Well, let's see what happens in next week's episode!