The live performance shows for Superstar K
(warning: audio autoplay
) will start beginning this Friday, September 4, 11 pm, Seoul time. The South Korean version of shows such as American Idol and Britain's Got Talent, 713,503 hopefuls in 8 Korean cities were winnowed down to 10 contestants, all vying for the 100 million Won (approximately USD 80,400) prize and recording contract reserved for the winner. The show has been a massive hit for Korean cable music channel Mnet
, garnering viewership above 6%, or 1 in 10 televisions on at the time, where 2% or higher is considered a hit on Korean cable TV.
Superstar K's tearjerker moment so far was the group challenge featuring a blind contestant, which brought judge Lee Hyori to tears
(the male judge is Yang Hyun Suk
, head of YG Entertainment
and former member of legendary Korean group Seo Taiji & Boys). For those who prefer the trainwreck aspects of such competition shows, episode 2
with judges Wheesung
, Alex from Clazziquai
, and veteran singer Hyunmi
is a treasure trove, including an exchange between the judges comparing the pain of childbirth and circumcision as an adult (even if you don't understand Korean, the judge's facial expressions require no translation).
The top 10 contestants have been in seclusion for the past month
, having had to turn in their cell phones, no access to internet or TV, and undergoing dance lessons, vocal training and physical training. Contestants have been told to lose weight or gain weight to look their best on camera. Currently leading in internet votes
(which count for 20% of the score, with 70% coming from SMS votes on performance night and 10% from the judges) is one-half of self-described "street musician" duo Lost Cats
(길 잃은 고양이), Jo Moon-Geun (조문근 - he's the one in the hat). On his way to the top 10 he passed the duet challenge paired with Berklee student and fellow top 10 finalist Jung Sun-Kook (정선국) with an enthusiastic rendition
(starting at 4:35 mark) of Korean rockers Yun Do Hyun Band
's "I must have been in love" (사랑했나봐)
. The Lost Cats had one last street performance
featuring some fellow top 10 contestants before going into seclusion.