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.