Team Naying is the final group to go through the elimination round of determining who is in the top five. But since her team starts out with fourteen members, she has to first eliminate four people to get to the preliminary ten who will be participating in the pair battles. All four who are eliminated didn’t get prior screen time.
Naying’s assistant coach is Lang Lang, as in the world-class pianist. I’m impressed – gosh, I remember he used to be my role model back when I was still taking piano lessons. But I wonder why she chose to invite a pianist and not a singer to help coach her team. Regardless, Lang Lang’s performance and duet with Naying is pretty much flawless.
And interestingly Naying does not gift the members with free swag like the other teachers chose to do (headphones, shoes, etc.).
The pairs are as follows:
Yang Bo vs. Bai Jingchen
(Yang Bo wins)
Yang Bo sings 少年故事, and it’s a bit underwhelming. I think part of the reason is the song he chose – it’s not particularly interesting musically and does not give much opportunity to show vocal technique. The falsetto notes sound like he’s trying to reach them, rather than sounding effortless. Bai Jingchen sings 克卜勒, and it’s certainly a better song choice than A Little Happiness like he sang in the blind audition. But his performance is also so-so from a musical standpoint.
The judges comment that the two of them seem nervous today. Okay, so what I don’t understand is how come these competitors don’t get these type of comments during their blind audition, and just somehow become nervous before the second round? Anyway, Lang Lang says that he understands the pressure of going first since when he was younger, he was also assigned to play piano first in the competition. Also, apparently Yang Bo had to switch songs during practice; originally he was supposed to sing one of Jay Chou’s songs, but Naying didn’t like the way he sang it.
Naying chooses Yang Bo to continue in the competition.
Wang Chenrui vs. Hou Zhibing
(Wang Chenrui wins)
Wang Chenrui sings 爱情转移 and it’s a pretty good performance. She’s got the vocal technique, knows when to crescendo, and sings in both Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese, but somehow I don’t feel anything while she’s singing. That last high note was beautifully executed though. Hou Zhibing sings 不醉不会. I prefer his performance over Wang Chenrui’s, but I think technique-wise he’s a bit lacking.
Lang Lang gives a piece of advice to Chenrui that the moment she started singing after the initial piano part, it seemed almost like karaoke, the way she didn’t exactly connect to the prior feeling of that piano phrase. Naying praises Chenrui’s ability to control her notes – perhaps stemming from her participation in an acapella group.
Naying chooses Wang Chenrui to continue in the competition.
Su Lisheng vs. Yang Shan
(Su Lisheng wins)
Su Lisheng sings 难道 and it sounds gorgeous. He has a soothing voice that becomes increasingly sorrowful towards the chorus. Definitely my favorite performance in this episode so far. Yang Shan sings 九月 and it sounds amazing as well. Ugh, why did these two have to be put into a PK round with each other?
Naying says the two performances are tears-inducing. Wang Feng says he saw Lisheng’s hands shaking towards the later part of his performance, but not from fear, but from all his energy he put into singing. Harlem says Yang Shan’s voice was really able to transport back into time back when this type of 民歌 was more popular. Lang Lang says he prefers Su Lisheng’s performance a bit more.
Naying chooses Su Lisheng to continue in the competition.
Li Peiling vs. Zhou Yang
(Li Peiling wins)
Zhou Yang sings Rachel, a 70’s rock song. She’s got the power and it’s an engaging performance. Li Peiling sings 不要对他说, and it’s a perfect song choice for her beautiful voice. The high notes are clear, the low notes don’t sound like a struggle, and the notes connect nicely.
Wang Feng says that Li Peiling’s ability to sing at that level is amazing. Naying says that Zhou Yang has an unique power in her voice that allows her to sing the rock song so well. Li Peiling thanks her adoptive parents for raising her and says they are the only true parents to her.
Naying chooses Li Peiling to move on in the competition.
Yue Jingqi vs. Vinida
Yue Jingqi sings “It’s a Man’s World”. Love the sassy feel of the song. However, because he started off singing with a strong tone, there was not much space to crescendo. Vinida sings 给我一个吻, and again she starts with the “trick or treat, baby” phrase. Is that her signature line? Gosh, I love Vinida for trying to make hip-hop mainstream in China. It is so hard to make Chinese rap sound good, in part because of the literal sound of Chinese (well, at least to me), but Vinida makes it sound amazing.
Naying says Yue Jingqi’s bravery earns him a score of 100. She also says that she found out Vinida’s type of rap is not trap, but old-school. Yue Jingqi says that Vinida looks all cool onstage but her real-life personality is quite cute. He tells an anecdote of how one time she ate a lot of candy and then started asking Su Lisheng how many wheels the train they were boarding had.
Naying chooses Vinida to move on in the competition.
So at the end of Episode 9, the top five of Team Naying are Yang Bo, Wang Chenrui, Su Lisheng, Li Peiling, and Vinida.
Also, in the next episode, it will be Team Naying vs. Team Harlem Yu.
Thoughts about the top five singers of each team
My favorites, one from each team, are Zhao Xiaoxi (Team Harlem), Xu Geyang (Team Wang Feng), Pu Xiang (Team Jay Chou), and Vinida (Team Naying).
In general I felt like the top five of each team were somewhat predictable. None of the people who had little to zero screen-time prior to this round actually made it into the top five. Even if the best singers from the blind audition round actually messed up a little in the elimination round, they still managed to pass. In particular, I’m thinking of the Yang Meina vs. Guan Lingzhi battle. I was thoroughly impressed by Meina’s Diamonds in the first round, but thought her vocals did not shine in the second round. On the contrary, Lingzhi had the superior showing during the elimination round, but ultimately was not selected to move on.
Team Naying had a combination of great and not-so-great performances in this episode, on opposite sides of the spectrum. Li Peiling sang wonderfully and will be a strong contender for winning the entire competition. Vinida also did great but I’m not sure the Chinese public enjoys hip-hop as much as I do. The Yang Bo-Bai Jingchen matchup, however, was mostly sleep-inducing (sorry guys).
Bonus – gifs of judges
Gifs credit to 中国新歌声 Weibo