Third performance; “I Don’t Know” by Uhm Jung-hwa
In terms of emotion and connecting to the song, this was much better than Taemin’s first performance. It was like he had monitored his first performance and then methodically worked out what needed improving. Even so, I still could not shake the feeling that it was still rather stock. Taemin hit everything, he modulated his voice correctly, he looked down when he was supposed to, and yet, what still frustrates me is that he never makes one movement that seems unrehearsed, that seems spontaneous, that disturbs one piece of hair on his perfect head. At his climaxing note, it was all very correct, but at the same time, did we really feel the buildup to this climax? Did we really feel a sense of relief when he returned to the chorus?
Of course, we must return to my number one complaint against his voice; his ‘thickness’. It much more regulated this time around, but it still lacked clarity. When I mean ‘clarity’, I do not mean we understand everything he sings, but rather we can distinguish it from background music, and indeed, in some cases, the background music overwhelmed Taemin’s vocals.
Taemin seems like he does not wish to take risks, or even worse, he knows he cannot take risks and come out the stronger.
Fourth performance; “Terminal Mapo” by Silver Bell Sisters
The first thing I typed while watching it was, “good god not more dancing this song is not his style at all”.
As I complained in my second review and in my review of his fifth performance (below), having Taemin dance so much is a mistake. Especially this time around, because this kind of doo-boppy, sort of happy piece is not a place to choreograph Taemin’s signature pop-and-lock. Compare to Kyuhyun’s performnace of an upbeat, happy duet with Kim Min Jong, in which they choreographed this silly dance at 1.59s:
Notice another thing? Both Kyuhyun and Kim Min Jong were smiling and so obviously enjoying themselves. Mapo Terminal is likewise a fun song, but Taemin’s facial expression for the majority was a stoic stone. Notice one more thing? Other than silly dance in the middle, Kyuhyun does not do any complicated dancing for the rest of the song, and yet delivers a performance, in my estimation, even more upbeat and engaging than Taemin. It would have been better if Taemin had minimal choreography so he could focus on bringing the best vocal performance to the stage. That is what a singer is; someone who can move others just by opening their mouth.
Likewise, with his third performance, Taemin is missing clarity. He is missing dynamic modulations; the entire song was mostly just one volume. He had lots of backup singers. He got covered by background music sometimes because he did not project. I do not usually comment on clothing, but he could have worn something colorful to emphasize the upbeat nature of the song.
There is, however, one golden spot: 3.19s. Taemin just lets go for a bit, and it is actually quite beautiful. But then after a few seconds of looking into the black abyss, Taemin runs back to his safe cave.
Fifth performance; “Wrongful Meeting” by Kim Gun-mo
When considering Taemin the performer, I actually quite liked the performance.
When considering Taemin the singer, I was highly dissatisfied.
f(x)’s Amber guest appearance! Taemin three dance breaks! Pretty trance lights! Trance clubby music! All in all, a very exciting performance. Yet–
Like with his second Immortal Song performance, Taemin falls back on his go-to crutch, dancing. Some people may say it is playing to his strengths, but I disagree. This show is called “Immortal Song”; naturally, everything but voice is supposed to be secondary. Then why does Taemin have so many dance breaks compared to the other participants? Even in the original song, there are only two places where one can have epic dance breaks, but coincidentally, Taemin’s song is arranged so that there are three dance breaks. Hmm.. Taemin is really sticking to his cave this time..
From the start, Taemin had heavy backing vocals (singers whom you can see at 7.05s), and his high note was safe and boring. I was impressed by his accuracy but then immediately dissatisfied with how he elongated the note and let it die out so ignominiously. It was a good stock performance by Taemin, his thickness of voice did not show as much, but then again, this song was not as hard to sing as his previous choices. He simply did not have to bring out his terrible throaty voice; moreover, he did not have the time and space to do so as he was vigorously dancing; in this way, this performance is very true to Taemin’s real ability as a singer (which is a sad revelation as I head off to listen to SHINee’s Sherlock).
This was an example of a performance that drew perfectly from everything, from the environment, the music, to the performer itself, to hide weaknesses in each. To distract from Taemin’s emotionally flat voice, we had the dance and flashing lights and orange jacket. Additionally, the arrangement of the music was terrible– the rough transitioning from trance to live band music and back to trance, and back and forth, but then we did not pay attention as our attention was riveted to this young man in a orange flashy jacket, this young idol, this young entertainer, this young performer.