너의 목소리가 보여 ( I Can See Your Voice Season 4 Ep.16)

I Can See Your Voice is Mnet’s musical program that tests its guest singers’ ability to discern tone deaf participants from skilled vocalists. I’ve been enjoying this since its premiere and over the years, it has been opening new doors to undiscovered talents and forgotten artists. This season is hosted by Leeteuk, Yoo Se Yoon, and Kim Jong Kook.

The program’s most inspiring success story by far is definitely Hwang Chi Yeul’s. I can still vividly remember the second episode from the first season where Lena Park appeared as a guest and Hwang Chi Yeul stood on stage as one of the mystery singers. Rockin’ his guyliner and flaunting his toned muscles, Infinite’s vocal trainer showed off his amazing dance moves and sense of humor. His lip sync performance, however, raised a lot of doubts. At that time, I also thought he was a tone deaf since his voice is just too powerful, just too good to be true. He was eliminated but he wowed the crowd with Yim Jae Bum’s song, “Confession”.

Lena Park asked him to continue making music and that’s exactly what he did. Soon, he appeared in Immortal Songs 2 and his heartwarming rendition of “Father” caught the attention of a Hunan TV executive. So, he flew to China and competed against talented musicians in I Am A Singer 4. In a span of three months, he managed to gain 5 Million followers on Weibo and continued to enjoy his immense popularity in China with TV show/event/endorsement offers left and right.

Two years have passed and now the multi-awarded (and wealthy) Hwang Chi Yeul returns to I Can See Your Voice as the guest singer.

The concept of the show is still the same: eliminate the tone deaf and sing a duet with a skilled vocalist. The song will be released as digital single. However, if the guest fails to choose a skilled vocalist in the end, the tone deaf will receive 5,000,000 Korean Won (5,000 USD) as cash prize. The format for the fourth season is a tad different from the first. This time, the mystery singers are not allowed to speak until they are chosen or eliminated.

An episode is divided into three segments. The first one is the singer’s visual. The guest must try to find the tone deaf solely based on the mystery singers’ physical appearance. Since Hwang Chi Yeul has experienced being a mystery singer himself, he is extremely suspicious of the contestants’ props, costumes, and identity set-ups.

The second segment is the lip sync stage where the mystery singers perform alongside a lip sync substitute. The guest must distinguish the real owner of the voice and by the end of this round, he must eliminate two mystery singers.

Before he makes his decision, Hwang Chi Yeul being the total package that he is, shows everyone exactly how lip syncing should be done.

Finally, three celebrity panelists are selected to defend one mystery singer each. Whether they are tone deaf or skilled, the panelist must defend them til the end. Their reactions usually play a big part in the guest’s crucial final decision. Hwang Chi Yeul chose to believe in Lee Sang Min who fell to his knees and begged him to pick his candidate.

As Chi Yeul prepares for the final duet, the mystery singers from the first season suddenly appear to sing some parts of his latest single and everyone recalls the episode that started his journey towards stardom. Fortunately, Hwang Chi Yeul picked a skilled vocalist to complete the emotional conclusion and there wasn’t a dry eye in the studio.

I got to know Hwang Chi Yeul as one of the original members of Knowing Bros. He looked very at home in variety shows that it took me a while before I realized that this adorable satoori-speaking guy is the same hunky vocal trainer that I first saw in I Can See Your Voice Season 1.  I wish he hadn’t left Knowing Bros. Obviously, he regrets it, too. Haha. Even though he lost his place in this popular variety show, I am sure he will continue to reach another milestone with his talent and humility.

Latest Updates:

Hwang Chi-yeul becomes best-selling nongroup artist since 2013

Hwang Chi Yeol Gets 1st Win Ever With “A Daily Song” On Music Bank

 

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시카고 타자기 (Chicago Typewriter)

Chicago Typewriter is the nickname for the century-old Thompson submachine gun, an infamous firearm from the US’ Prohibition era. In this fantasy romance tvN drama, it’s a literal typewriter from Chicago that falls into the hands of famous novelist Han Se Ju.
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Yoo Ah In plays Han Se Ju, a renowned writer with celebrity-looks whose life changes after he meets his self-professed no.1 fan Jeon Seol. The latter, who works at her own all-errands-service company, is tasked to deliver the mysterious typewriter right at her idol’s doorstep. 

At the peak of his career, Han Se Ju encounters every novelist’s worst nightmare: a writer’s block. His manager suggests that they hire a ghostwriter so as not to break a million-dollar contract. Se Ju strongly refuses the idea but to his surprise, a chapter of his new novel gets published online. It is the work of his ghostwriter Yoo Jin Oh.

This novel entitled Chicago Typewriter is about the lives of Joseon Youth Alliance members who bravely fought for the country’s liberation from the clutches of its Japanese oppressors. The protagonists are the calm and intelligent leader Seo Hui Young, the cool and charismatic Shin Yul, and the dangerous female sniper Ryu Su Hyeon.

Soon, Yoo Jin Oh reveals his identity while Han Se Ju and Jeon Seol both realize that the events in the story hit close to home more than they could ever imagine. As more chapters of the novel gets released, the three of them slowly uncover the memories from their past lives.

Meanwhile, Baek Tae Min who is famous for writing Fate, is struggling to produce a follow-up to his well-received debut novel. Turns out he isn’t the original author of this book. 

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Korean dramas that are set in the Japanese colonial rule are typically hard to watch but even though the torture scenes are not as vividly shown as the ones in Bridal Mask (if you haven’t seen it, watch it!), Chicago Typewriter has a story that can make you feel for its characters and has actors who can deliver intense performances in the heavy drama department.

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Fresh from his previous role in the epic Six Flying Dragons, Yoo Ah In continues to prove why he’s one of South Korea’s best dramatic actors these days. He perfectly nailed the role of the writer in a slump who’s confident on the outside but broken on the inside but he’s even more charismatic as the 1930’s lead activist. I thought he’d never have another sageuk hairstyle that could match his swoon-worthiness in Sungkyunkwan Scandal but I was completely wrong. Even in Hui Young’s death scene, I had a hard time choosing which emotion I should feel first. Should I cry over the tragedy or swoon over the hair?

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One must have saved an entire nation in her past life to have a boyfriend like Han Se Ju. Well, Jeon Seol literally did! And Im Soo Jung did an awesome job playing her. This drama marks her comeback after her 13-year absence from the small screen. With the way she encouraged her favorite novelist and the way she adhered to the rules of the revolutionaries, as a fan and an assassin, her characters in both time lines are equally badass. 


Go Kyung Pyo is a scene stealer through and through. He already raised the second lead syndrome to a different level in Jealousy Incarnate but he took it even further this time. Most of my favorite scenes from this series, both cute modern and tragic 1930’s moments, are from Yoo Jin Oh’s point-of-view. 

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Baek Tae Min is an iredeemable character who’s unworthy of sympathy. Luckily, I’ve seen Kwak Si-yang in Oh My Ghostess and he was adorable in it so this psycho role will not affect my first impression of the actor in any way. 

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Despite the unimpressive marketing that was done to promote Chicago Typewriter prior to its airing, I still had some pretty high expectations for the show upon knowing that it is from Jin Soo-wan, the writer of The Moon that Embraces the Sun and Kill Me Heal Me. As expected, the ludicrous fantasy and supernatural set-up is completely balanced out by realistic heart-wrenching tragedies from its historical portion. 

More than just the way Jin Soo-wan played with the words “Chicago Typewriter” and “ghostwriter” in both their literal and figurative sense, I am impressed with how she managed to keep the pieces of two interweaving time lines intact with one central theme: “You Only Live Once.” (Ironically, for the characters of this show, they get to live twice!) In both modern and historical parts, in both their fight for love and fight for freedom; I like that the characters don’t cling to the past, they don’t hold grudges, and just live their day as if it’s their last.

The fangirl meets idol storyline is not as impactful as the historical arc. Good thing, the series’ most emotional moments are unraveled before the modern-day sequences run out of steam. Most of the time, the show gets a tad predictable but the heartbreaking revelations are beautifully played out and they came with an equally moving soundtrack.

Chicago Typewriter is an incredible story of love and friendship that defies time and I bid goodbye to the show with tears in my eyes.