Women’s Powerhouse & Musical Story with Different Genre (Episode 7 & 8)
Picking up from the first half of the series, teams are combined for collaboration with head-on challenge. The earlier link to review of the first 6 episodes as below:
The first match challenges 2 teams to perform 3 different songs:
Team A – Miriam Yeung, Eric Chou, Jam Hsiao, Zhang Bi Chen
Team B – Penny Tai, Liu Yu Ning, Bibi Zhou, Xiao Yi Chun (Somehow, Bibi Zhou’s name reminds me of Bibi Dong’s from Douluo Continent 😀 )
Romance in the Rain
The collaboration of Penny, Bibi and Liu Yu Ning performing Incessant Rain 雨一直下 Yu Yi Zhi Xia is very nice. My favourite in these 2 episodes so far. The original song is also very nice, but the collaboration of the three of them somehow injected some fresh air into the performance.
I felt that the other performances are average and reflective of the women’s powerhouse with the pieces as follows.
- Women’s Kingdom 女儿国 Nu Er Guo – a classic song with a duet between Liu Yu Ning and Xiao Yi Chun. Yi Chun’s voice is actually very suitable for the song, but Liu Yu Ning’s voice pales in comparison. The combination is a little weird, and not really a good match. Yi Chun is still young, barely 19. She will get more experiences with time, though in the series she does not really exude gratefulness for the opportunities & experiences in the series.
- Superwoman – Miriam, Bi Chen, Jam Hsiao – all 3 singers have powerful voices. The performance is good but there seems to be something missing. Bi Chen’s voice although powerful is sometimes touch and go, and her pronunciation of English is a little off. Mostly blending well, there are some areas which doesn’t mix so well with the 3 powerful voices.
- Stand By Me – the 3 girls (Penny, Bibi, Yi Chun) do seem to enjoy the performance, although I cringed slightly when Penny knelt down at Bibi’s feet. Err…
On the other hand, the second match challenges the remaining 2 teams to perform 3 different songs:
Team A – George Lam, Hu Xia, Joker Xue Zhi Qian, Chui Na Lisa
Team B – Lui Fong, Zhai Xiao Wen, Da Zhang Wei, Wang Su Long
Setting into the Dusk of Night
George’s team started the ball rolling with the Chinese version of Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – 敢爱敢做 gan ai gan zuo, with a rap in the middle by George. Great combination! The team’s 2nd performance is a duet between George & Lisa with the classic English song of Endless Love. George sung the song with Teresa Teng in 1982. George praises Chui Na Lisa on her performance and gives great advice to her that she doesn’t need to imitate other singers when singing this song, singing her own style is the best way of representing her own individuality as a singer.
The team’s 3rd performance is a duet between Joker Xue & Hu Xia on Dusk of Night 夜深了 ye shen le. Very different genre from the last 2 songs – very much rock-style. Of all the performances, this is my favourite.
Lui Fong team’s performance is actually very innovative whereby the 3 performances are presented as a 3-part musical stories, starting with the search for the princess through the piece 满怀可爱所向披靡 man huai ke ai suo xiang pi mi. Followed with a variation of 耶利亚女郎 Ye Li Ya Nu Lang, faster tempo with rap. The last performance ends with 给所有知道我名字的人 gei suo you zhi dao wo ming zhi de ren. Although the 3-part performances seem connected, I find these pieces average and does not pull me into the performances.
Growing into a Warrior like Genghis Khan, but Getting Wild like Ali Baba (Episode 9 & 10)
The episodes commence well, but provides a shocking pull-out from Miriam Yeung & Eric Chou’s team. Throughout these 2 episodes, I find the performances are average, except for one collaboration standing out and the 2 duets between George Lam & Hu Xia.
Sword Soul of Condor Heroes
The only one performance standing out for me ie Sword Soul @ 剑魂 Jian Hun performed by Da Zhang Wei & Wang Su Long. The song is the theme song for 2017’s Legend of Condor Heroes. The performance is slightly varied, with the opening based on Swordman’s theme song, which flows through very well. The song is originally sung by Wang Su Long. My key takeaway – Wang Su Long is actually quite a prolific singer and composer with many theme songs for ancient series.
Between Genghis Khan and Options
Whenever there is George Lam & Hu Xia’s performances, I look forward to their performances. This time round, for their first performance they choose a fast piece ie Genghis Khan the Great @ 成吉思汗 Cheng Ji Si Han, which I love very much.
It always amazes me that George can still sing so well at 74, especially such fast-tempo song. And mind you – he lost some part of his hearing on one ear (post his accident many years ago at Lisa Wang’s concert, falling down the stage). The only thing – he always asks for the time, as he feels sleepy. 😀
Their 2nd performance is Option @ 选择 xuan zhe. Slightly slower paced – but equally good. As George indicates, the love can be father-son’s love.
Bidding the Finale (Episode 11 & 12)
The finals start with a very meaningful photo-taking session with all the finalist pairs in traditional costume – cheongsams. The picture looks very nice, with George right in the middle. Very meaningful indeed. The 5 finalist pairs are:
- Joker Xue Zhi Qian – Chui Na Lisa
- Jam Hsiao – Zhang Bi Chen
- George Lam – Hu Xia
- Da Zhang Wei – Wang Su Long
- Penny Tai – Liu Yu Ning
The first part of the performances (episode 11) starts off with a cute & energetic performance by Da Zhang Wei & Wang Su Long in the pyjamas (!) with I Love Taking Bath @ 我愛洗澡 wo ai xi zao. My view – different with stage presence but not great. George and Hu Xia choose a slow piece in Decision @ 决定 jue ding. But I realise that George is better with faster songs, and Hu Xia on his own is unable to bring out the depth of the slow song on his own.
Of the 5 performances, I prefer Joker Xue & Lisa’s Match in Heaven @ 火柴天堂 huo cai tian tang, the original composed & sung by Panda Hsiung Tian Ping. I love this song, it is a very nice composition.
The 2nd & last part of the performances (episode 12) has a slow start with a duet between Jam Hsiao & Zhang Bi Chen. Jam Hsiao is actually a natural talent – playing the piano, composing, and his voice is very nice. Unfortunately, I do not really like the combination of these two as their voices just do not complement each other. It feels like Bi Chen’s voice is overwhelming Jam Hsiao’s voice. It does feel like the producer is giving a lot more chances to Bi Chen, usually praising her voice & performances.
Joker & Lisa’s collaboration also comes across as average. Generally, both are quite willing to take on new ideas to incorporate into their performances. Would be interesting to see how their career will move forward.
Da Zhang Wei & Wang Su Long’s final performance is a happy cum sad song, focusing on being happy in the midst of sadness & grief. Generally, all their songs are very varied, with a lot of novelties & innovations in terms of stage performances and mix of genre. As both are composers, it is natural that they will try new variations to their music performances. Although fresh, personally I find that their performances have been a little muted and perhaps forgettable. Very unfortunate, but this is the kind of trials and errors in musical journey. It is inevitable that audiences have personal preferences, the matching may be to some’s preference, vice versa. I will be looking forward to Wang Su Long’s songs especially OSTs, that is for sure.
My favourite – George & Hu Xia finish their final performance with A Man on his Journey to Strength 男兒當自強 nan er dang zi qiang. I love it that the elder singers always pay tribute to behind the scene producers, musicians & backup singers. It is really a deep show of respect to the full team’s contribution to any live performances and music production. Thusfar, George is one who always provide such tribute, showing his decades of experiences and his respect for all involved in the production. Their final performance is infused with traditional elements including the chinese trumpet and drums, giving the vibes of the journey taken by a person to find their strength.
While watching this series, I have always been looking forward to all their performances as they are reminiscence of the great songs & always surprises. I do believe Hu Xia has the most benefits from this show, reaping the kind of experiences from his many collaborations with George. Hu Xia has slightly improved his Cantonese, and would be interesting to see how he moves forward in his career.
Penny & Liu Yu Ning’s final performance is Sally Yeh’s (how interesting!) Courageously Walking Away @ 潇洒走一回 Xiu sa zou yi hui. Their performance is varied with blues at the beginning, to a little rock style in the middle, then moving to a more traditionally gentle guzheng’s accompaniment. Interesting variation, but personally I still prefer Sally’s version. Penny really has a very powerful voice, often overwhelming Liu Yu Ning’s more subtle boy-band voice. Although I do like their collaboration, Penny’s powerful chords may not be doing Liu Yu Ning any good. I really like Penny’s parting words – she describes herself as enjoying her own musical journey on her own, but since joining the series – she really enjoys having someone to accompany her to try new ideas to incorporate into performances.
Reality series can go either way – you either like it or you hate it. And I do believe the key success factor relates to real emotions & sincerity of the singers. Going with the flow is sometimes the best way to really enjoy the stage and music.
But Season 3 of Our Song – I love it for the variety of musicians and of course – my favourite team George & Hu Xia wins! They really deserve the win, even with such strong contenders especially from Xue Zhi Qian – Chui Na Lisa, Da Zhang Wei – Wang Su Long, Miriam Yeung – Eric Chou & Penny Tai – Liu Yu Ning.
My own conclusion – even though the younger ones can vary the songs with different ideas, what will pull the audience in is still the ability to sing out the emotions from your own experiences. An experienced singer with depth in years of experiences will have that ability.
One area that I really think the producers should not do is to bring back previous participants in earlier seasons. Although I do like Liu Yu Ning, Zhang Bi Chen & Xiao Gui, I really do think someone else should get the chance.