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"I'm not a good singer, but I just like it."
June 7, 2011 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Sung-bong Choi auditions for 코리아 갓 탤런트 (Korea's Got Talent.) (SLYT. The singing starts around 2:45. Video is unrestricted.)
posted by zarq (33 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I see a lie in formation
posted by parmanparman at 2:54 PM on June 7, 2011


So what's up with that "not a good singer" bit? Is this a case where a someone singing classically wows people who don't know classical singing, but isn't impressive to people who do know it?
posted by smackfu at 2:54 PM on June 7, 2011


More backstory from HuffPo to induce you to watch the video. Apparently, he was at some point homeless and has been fending for himself since he was 5 years old.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:02 PM on June 7, 2011


I'm mostly weirded out by the fact that the name of this show is a transliteration of "korea got talent" rather than some suitable and slightly ridiculous* translation like "The Korean People Collectively Have Precious Skills, As Befits Them As Koreans". Instead, the Hangul up there says something like, "ko-lee-ah gat teh-lun-tuh".

That's pervasive branding.

*am Korean, also slightly ridiculous
posted by peachfuzz at 3:04 PM on June 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


So what's up with that "not a good singer" bit? --- It's the "[X] Has Talent" narrative formula. Underwhelm the audience with a dowdy appearance and self-deprication, to lower expectations, and then start belting it out. It worked for that frumpy Susan Boyle, two years ago.
posted by crunchland at 3:09 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would totally adopt that kid whether he can sing or not.
posted by Mister_A at 3:13 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's up with that "not a good singer" bit?

In Korea modesty is a more important part of social etiquette than most western countries. Even people who are very sure of their ability will sometimes show "false modesty". Of course the setup in the video suggests that he may actually just not be very confident due to his personal history.
posted by Winnemac at 3:13 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean, he busted his ass to take exams SO THAT HE COULD GET INTO HIGH SCHOOL! This kid deserves a break.
posted by Mister_A at 3:14 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bong Sung Choi, everybody knows one...
posted by tigrefacile at 3:14 PM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Saw it earlier, and grabbed the Kleenex. Part of me wants him to win big, get on a label, live the dream as a singer in clubs... and then I worry he might get used by sleazy managers or something - he kicked my maternal instincts into overdrive all I want to do is protect the young lad. Whatever happens, I hope it puts him in a happy place in life.
posted by dabitch at 3:24 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're curious, the song he sang is called "Gabriel's Oboe," written by Enno Morricone, and is the primary theme in the soundtrack of the 1986 movie called The Mission, starring Robert Di Nero and Jeremy Irons. It was listed in the top 25 soundtracks in AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores, a list of the top 25 film scores in American cinema.
posted by crunchland at 3:27 PM on June 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


Thanks, crunchland, because that is exactly what I was wondering!
posted by annsunny at 3:34 PM on June 7, 2011


Saw this last night. My wife cried.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:52 PM on June 7, 2011


I'm not gonna cry... I'm not gonna cry...

oh damnit
posted by desjardins at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's amazing that this is so obviously calculated to tug on my hearstrings and yet my heartstrings are still tugged.

I know that they're deliberately playing up the hard-luck parts of his story--that they left out, for example, that he's had training. I don't think he's a particularly good singer, even. And yet, this video gives me suspiciously watery eyes.

Godammit, *'s Got Talent formula. So transparent, yet so effective.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:15 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So wait....are you telling me that REALITY TELEVISION ISN'T REAL AT ALL!?!?!
posted by Fizz at 4:15 PM on June 7, 2011


Cool video.
posted by Meatafoecure at 4:24 PM on June 7, 2011


it's amazing that this is so obviously calculated to tug on my hearstrings and yet my heartstrings are still tugged

That's precisely what I was thinking Kutsuwamushi. The production and editing of the ________'s Got Talent shows is such a formula, and you totally know that they're doing it while you watch, but yet it still works. Knowing when to swell in the music, etc. People so funny.
posted by dammitjim at 5:02 PM on June 7, 2011


The story isn't that he's not "good" and then turns out to be pretty good. The story is that homeless people can be extraordinary human beings. Which... feels a little cynical.
posted by basicchannel at 5:22 PM on June 7, 2011


You can also see additional Korea's Got Talent performances on their YouTube channel.

tvN, the Korean cable channel that licensed "Korea's Got Talent", also licensed ITV's "Popstar to Operastar" but simply called it "Opera Star." This was shown earlier this year, and featured a mix of idol singers and older more established singers.

- Opera Star's winner, Tei, performing La donna è mobile from Verdi's Rigoletto. (Originally a ballad singer, he's currently the vocalist for Handsome People).

(peachfuzz, shows that are licensed from overseas don't get the "suitable and slightly ridiculous translation," using the English title - e.g. Project Runway Korea or Korea's Next Top Model. I think the only place you still get translations like that are in boy band names)
posted by needled at 5:29 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's no William Hung.
posted by bwg at 5:31 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "[Your Country]'s Got Talent" formula has been so well franchised that they didn't even need the subtitles. Sympathetic judge, backstory, start song, raised eyebrows, applause, belt out rest of song, cut to the weepy judge, yes votes all round and then finish with the Ant 'n Dec clones lurking backstage.

Saying that, I hope he makes a million billion won from it.
posted by rh at 7:37 PM on June 7, 2011


Oh, what's with the audience laughing when he said he was a manual worker? Did it sound funnier in Korean or were they just being dicks?
posted by rh at 7:45 PM on June 7, 2011


Actually, the song he sang is called "Nella Fantasia," which is based on the aforementioned "Gabriel's Oboe." The lyrics are in Italian.
posted by needled at 8:56 PM on June 7, 2011


"Oh, what's with the audience laughing when he said he was a manual worker?"

My Korean is limited, but I _think_ the word he used was kind of a euphemism. Kind of like somebody telling you they're a "consultant" when you both know he or she is actually unemployed.
posted by bardic at 9:18 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not only did I cry, I started crying at the exact same time as every woman in the video.

Down to a science, these guys.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:41 PM on June 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Oh, what's with the audience laughing when he said he was a manual worker?"

My Korean is limited, but I _think_ the word he used was kind of a euphemism. Kind of like somebody telling you they're a "consultant" when you both know he or she is actually unemployed.


Actually no, he just straight out said he was a manual laborer. It got laughs because it's such a straight answer*, along the lines of if you asked the same question to a stranger in a bar, and without batting an eye he tells you he's a contract killer or the Prime Minister of Finland.

In other words, one might imagine that he would use a euphemism, like "I'm in agriculture development" or "I manage waste disposal."

* scripted, no doubt
posted by war wrath of wraith at 10:38 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Korea EVER going to get bored of Nella Fantasia? I feel like I've heard this song almost every day for the last year here, somewhere or other.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 11:30 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the comments on the video, when the subtitles said "manual labor", he was saying something to the effect of "I do very hard work". The joke I guess, was lost in translation. Now if you will excuse me, I must tend to these damned leaky eyes...
posted by TheCoug at 12:42 AM on June 8, 2011


Simon Cowell (yes, he's behind this) is a 21st century mass entertainment television genius. Yes, there are countless things that are very probably poor and/or destructive about what he does (an endless stream of fairly mediocre amateurs being churned through a super short moment of fame, making huge amounts of money from them then abandoning them in a heartbeat, bringing untold amounts of terrible dross into the charts, etc. etc.).

But man does that guy know how to make compelling mass market TV moments. Across the world, series after series, his formula of people off the street, "hard luck" stories, smart editing and smidgen of talent leaves his competitors standing. (Insofar as, there's no-one else that has this many entertainment shows, syndicated so widely, winning such huge audiences).
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 6:32 AM on June 8, 2011


oh and by the way: great kid. Best of luck to him.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 6:33 AM on June 8, 2011


The word he used for manual labor is "Mak No-dong" which is kind of a colloquial, kind of unrefined way of referring to manual labor. A direct translation would be something more like "hard labor" or "grunt labor." So the laugh is definitely more at the directness of the answer as opposed to saying something more acceptable for public/televised talking like manual labor or "I work in construction." In Korean, because there are levels of politeness in speech, there's a subtle bit of comedic effect and appreciation given to very direct unobtuse wording that you sometimes see purposefully scripted into comedies and variety shows.

Also, in Korea a laugh doesn't always mean the person is laughing AT somebody. There's also the nervous laugh that can be a surprised guffaw or slight "haha" to dissipate unease. Or the "oh, that's too bad" sympathizing tut-tuting smile or laugh, like when you fall and that old lady who saw you totally eat will tch-tch as she gives you a tight-lipped smile of empathy. That type of laughing is more like a "Welp, what can you do about it, haha." I also kind of have a terrible habit of doing a nervous laugh or smile that I think sometimes people think of me laughing inappropriately or at somebody's expense when dealing with non-Koreans and had no this was a weird thing until reading "Ugly Korean/Ugly American" in my teens, which was a book about common cultural misunderstandings written by an expat. He had a whole entry about "What's the deal with Koreans laughing at inappropriate times? Are they dicks or something?" and I finally got the weird reactions I'd sometimes get from my American teachers.
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:33 AM on June 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


And here's the latest Korea's Got Talent sensation.

In U.S. terms, imagine a 58 year-old running a diner in the middle of nowhere, who says he's going to sing ... and then he starts singing.
posted by needled at 7:47 AM on June 12, 2011


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