Team Harlem Yu is the third group to go through the elimination rounds to reduce members from ten to top five. I have mentioned in previous recaps that Team Harlem is my favorite out of all the groups because there is just such a high concentration of musical talent and creativity among the members. As such, the vocal battles were intense and even Harlem teared up at one point trying to decide who to choose.
The opening performance is Harlem’s assistant coach Mavis Fan singing an interesting Bollywood-esque song, and Harlem joins her halfway through for a duet. Love it. Love their energy and how they hype the audience by continuously asking “Are you happy?” in the lyrics. Mavis Fan is a Taiwanese pop singer who specializes in jazz and rock-and-roll music.
Teacher Harlem encourages everyone before the performances to just be brave and have fun while singing. He also gifts everyone with nice shoes.
The pairings are as follows:
Ji Kehao vs. LilAkin (Akejiang)
(Ji Kehao wins)
Ji Kehao sings 旋木, and gosh, I’ve fallen in love with his voice once again. Similar to last time, he’s chosen a song with a tropical-rainforest feel. It’s as if he’s singing a soundtrack to a travel channel. LilAkin sings 让我一次爱你够. The opening sequence before he sings is especially heartfelt. It’s a phone call between him and supposedly his father where his father tells him to stop goofing off making music, and that all that money is meant for him to become a doctor anyways. 😦 The actual song he sings, approximately translated to “Let me love you enough once”, is interesting — it starts off like a chill song, with nice beats, and then there’s this AMAZING rap part. As in, the best rap I’ve heard on the show so far. But… checking the Youtube video of his performance, there are quite a lot of dislikes.
Na Ying says she’s curious to know whether or not the earlier phone call was between LilAkin and his father. He says it isn’t, but these words have continued to resonate with him as he grew up. Wang Feng comments that from a musical standpoint, Ji Kehao has brought his province’s way of singing to this stage in a very natural and pleasant-sounding manner. Jay Chou says that if Team Harlem is up against Team Jay Chou, then LilAkin is preferable, but if Team Harlem is up against Team Na Ying, then Ji Kehao is preferable. Assistant coach Mavis Fan says that Ji Kehao’s music has transported her to the grassland, and she tells him to have more confidence. She says that LilAkin’s singing gives her a sense of the future and is also creative. Mavis leans towards choosing LilAkin.
Ji Kehao wishes his little sister a happy birthday and says that he actually has more self confidence than before — it’s just that he realizes he still has room to improve. LilAkin says that he wishes people can open the gate of their flower garden, or heart, to see the beauty of this type of music. Next Harlem says some wise words: Back when he was still relatively unknown in the industry, he was happy singing his songs. But as soon as he became more popular, he lost a bit of that happiness because his thoughts became oriented towards how he could make more money next time. So he encourages the two of them to keep a heart of happiness. Harlem ultimately chooses Ji Kehao, and it’s pretty clear that he absolutely was not expecting to be chosen.
Yao Xi vs. Li Ruixuan
(Yao Xi wins)
The two bow to each other before the battle starts, how cute. Yao Xi sings 青春修炼手册, and I absolutely adore this performance. It’s just as playful as her Little Apple rendition, and she masters the “sha dooby doobop” in the song. And I applaud her stage presence. There’s this one part where it’s an electric guitar interlude and she strums an invisible guitar while approaching Ruixuan, who pretends to be shocked by the impact. My goodness, they’re adorable. Next Li Ruixuan sings 谢谢侬. I don’t think his voice has quite enough depth to capture the character of the song, and the whole performance seems a little muted. He does demonstrate versatility when switching between the more jazzy parts and the rock-and-roll chorus. Not to mention: he looks over at Yao Xi in the middle of the song and she’s all smiles.
After the battle, the judges start shipping the two of them. Harlem says he didn’t tell Yao Xi to go tease Ruixuan in her performance, and says he suspects the two contestants really have feelings for each other. He also reveals that Ruixuan has slower reaction, so maybe he won’t be able to process the fact that Yao Xi teased him until after they’re both backstage later. Ha ha! Mavis Fan says she leans towards choosing Yao Xi because she’s able to make every song she sings her style. Harlem praises the power behind Ruixuan’s voice.
Yao Xi says that she looks at Li Ruixuan as a little brother, but he doesn’t look at her as an older sister. Li Ruixuan decides it’s storytime, and tells an anecdote of one night when Yao Xi said her throat hurt, so he brought medicine to her house.He forgot to knock on the door though, so he had to wait maybe twenty minutes in front of the house. And ever since then, he hasn’t considered Yao Xi to be an older sister figure. Yao Xi says maybe they were enemies in a past life, so this life they use music to solve their problems.
Wang Chuang vs. Wu Yingxiang
(Wang Chuang wins)
Wang Chuang sings 忘记拥抱, a ballad. Her voice, particularly when it reaches the chorus, has a depth to it that seems not to belong to a 19-year-old. She sings with much emotion. I would critique her high notes, though, which sometimes seem shaky and unsure. Wu Yingxiang sings 秋天别来 – also a ballad. And I don’t think it works. High notes are a struggle, low notes don’t exhibit depth, and the chorus sounds almost whiny. However, her runs are gorgeous. I just feel like this was not the right song for her.
Wang Feng says both of them are young but have developed voices. Harlem says that both contestants were a little off-key today. Wang Chuang tells her mom she’s sorry they had a fight after the first performance and explains that since she is now a young adult, that she would like to make some decisions on her own now. She cries while talking to her mom, and even Harlem tears up. Wu Yingxiang says she’s very thankful that her sister said a simple “Good luck” to her. Harlem ultimately chooses Wang Chuang.
Fu Hao vs. Zhao Xiaoxi
(Zhao Xiaoxi wins)
Fu Hao sings 东方破, which opens to nice beats. And he has such an unique voice! However, the beat drop was unsatisfying and I feel like the melody doesn’t fit the backing beats. And then he suddenly switches to singing The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face, which does not transition smoothly. On the other hand, Zhao Xiaoxi picked a smart song to sing: 花田错. It not only showcases his beautiful falsetto like he showed off last time in singing Kiss by Prince.
Team Harlem calls this group “dance music”. Jay Chou says it takes some musical talent to change such a Chinese song 东方破 and turn it so un-Chinese, and then says that Zhao Xiaoxi had a lot of energy onstage today. Assistant coach Mavis Fan says she leans towards Zhao Xiaoxi.
Fu Hao says originally he thought it was a big challenge to mix EDM with such a classic Chinese song, and he was very scared. And he says he hopes Teacher Harlem is not too disappointed (Harlem: “Not disappointed, not disappointed”). Zhao Xiaoxi says he grew up in a very traditional family and they all wanted him to study instead. But Xiaoxi says he’s gone this far now. And he also says he’s happy playing with music on Team Harlem. Ultimately Harlem chooses Xiaoxi.
Guan Lingzhi vs. Yang Meina
(Yang Meina wins)
Guan Linzhi sings 给自己的歌, and I like this performance more than her first audition on the show. She has a lovely, controlled vibrato, and the subtle crescendos and decrescendos elevate her cover. Listening to Yang Meina sing, I think her style of singing is influenced by American pop. First she sings Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in a very similar way to the original, and now even when she sings a Chinese song, it somewhat sounds Americanized with the belting and certain lengthening / shortening of notes and such? It just sounds a little awkward, whereas the first time when she was singing an American song it fit just right. I would say this is a step down from her first performance.
Guan Linzhi says she chose to sing this song today because the first time heard it, she was touched even before half the song had finished. She says she once sacrificed a lot for love. Wang Feng says sometimes experience is a weapon, in that some songs can only be sang by someone who can really understand the meaning of. Teacher Na Ying says she gives 100 likes to Meina’s performance.
Ultimately Harlem chooses Yang Meina. He says sorry to Linzhi, who says she has no regrets and was happy to sing on Team Harlem. She also thanks her daughter for staying by her side during this time. Linzhi also tells Meina to keep up the good work.
So at the end of Episode 8, the top 5 of Team Harlem are Ji Kehao, Yao Xi, Wang Chuang, Zhao Xiaoxi, and Yang Meina.