Don’t get me wrong, I love k-pop. Really, I do. I’m a huge fangirl. I watch all of the variety and countdown shows. I buy all the albums and merchandise. I even have freaking Super Junior set as my ringtone.
All of that aside however, what I can’t stand about k-pop is the lack of talent. Most k-pop stars out there AREN’T talented. For reference point, my definition of “talent” only takes into consideration the ability to sing. After all, these stars are technically singers, and therefore they should be able to sing well. QED. Dancing and other factors are also critical, but for the purposes of this article, I’m not taking those extra factors into account.
Granted, there are a handful of talented k-pop artists like Gummy, Big Mama, and Lena Park who were blessed with a God-given voice, a high-quality voice like Mariah Carey‘s or Whitney Houston‘s, not Sohee from The Wondergirls, or any of the Wondergirls for that matter.
Based on voice alone, I look at these k-pop stars and I think to myself, “Man, if they’re famous, then 90% of the population could easily be famous too!” I’m not contesting whether they’re pretty or whether they work hard. I’m questioning how much of their fame is actually based on vocal ability.
Here’s an example of what I mean by all of this. Take Mariah Carey’s voice. She was born with that voice, and then she had some voice lessons, and of course, her voice improved into the status that it is now. But the fact of the matter is, her voice was always fantastic to begin with.
On the other hand, take G-Dragon‘s singing voice (calm down, VIPs. I’m not purposely picking on him. He just happens to fit my example extremely well). In an episode of Big Bang‘s Making-the-Band reality TV show (remember from way back in the day when no one had any hopes for them?), Master YG remarked that G-Dragon’s singing voice had improved by A LOT week after week, and of course, the management team took that as a positive sign of progression, etc. etc.
I’m happy for him, that his voice improved and all, but doesn’t that mean he never had that great of a voice to begin with? Instead of seeing his vocal improvement as a positive thing, I see it as a negative thing. It’s the equivalent of taking an average person with an average voice and giving them voice lessons. Duh, their voice is going to improve by A LOT. But no matter how many voice lessons that average person takes, their voice is never going to sound like Mariah Carey’s because they were never vocally talented to begin with. See what I’m saying?
I SWEAR I’m not just picking on G-Dragon for this. Sadly, this scenario applies to +90% of the k-pop artists out there.
But at the end of the day, k-pop is entertaining and well-packaged. The songs are good, the dancing is good, and the performances are good. But perhaps the singing element is what’s holding k-pop back from reaching its full potential. K-pop stars complain all the time about poor album sales, but how do you expect me to spend $20+ on a CD of crap vocals?! I’m a fan, but I’m not deaf either.