Could this guy be a K-pop idol? Top K-pop composer says 'yes'
NUS undergrad spends weekend practising for Korea-China talent competition, instead of studying for exam today
His university classmates may have spent the weekend studying for an exam being held today.
But instead of hitting the books, local undergraduate See Kai Zheng, 22, used the last two days to memorise dance moves and song lyrics for the auditions of China-Korea talent show Super Idol, which was held in Singapore last weekend.
Thankfully, his efforts paid off.
His 1.82m stature and strong vocals caught the eye of one of the judges, Mr Kim Hyung Seok, a famous music composer in Korea.
Mr Kim, who has worked with prominent K-pop stars like Beast, EXO and Psy, told The New Paper through a translator: "To be honest, the quality of Singapore's contestants is not that strong, but I do see a lot of potential in Kai Zheng. If we guide and train him well, he has the chance to become an idol."
He added: "He left a deeper impression on me as he can sing quite well. Ultimately, we are looking for people with the potential to become better."
Mr See was one of the seven contestants chosen out of 60 on Saturday to return for a second round of auditions yesterday.
Super Idol, a joint project between Korea's MBC MUSIC and China's TV ZONE, is looking for young males aged 16 to 25 for its second season, which expanded its search from Korea and China to include contestants from Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.
The chosen hopefuls will go through a rigorous training programme and selection process in Korea under Mr Kim's tutelage, before they debut as idols in China.
Mr See sang Wang Lee Hom's Forever Love and also danced to popular K-pop group Big Bang's Bang Bang Bang during the second round of the auditions.
The second-year National University of Singapore student, who is reading statistics at the Faculty of Science, told TNP: "I was very nervous during day one of the auditions as I felt that I wasn't really prepared. They told me to prepare a dance for round two, so I took three hours to put together a short dance routine on Saturday night."
For Mr See, who has previously joined Channel U's Project Superstar and channel M's K-pop Star Hunt, being able to enter the K-pop entertainment industry has always been a dream.
"At first, I didn't want to go for the auditions as I had to study for my exams, but I thought I would just give it a try as it's a rare opportunity." he said.
"If I do get in, I might stop school for a semester or a year to focus on this."
On being named by Mr Kim as one of the more outstanding hopefuls, Mr See said: "I don't regret taking time off from studying to come to this audition. It feels good to be acknowledged."
Another shortlisted contestant was Mr Shao Chongchong, 22, from Xiamen, China, who is studying music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He performed Mayday's Suddenly Miss You So Much during Sunday's audition.
Miss Karen Lu Yao, artiste development director of Hiyoung Media (Hunan) which has invested in the programme, said the show was expanding its talent search because of the quality of the men here.
She said in Mandarin: "We find Singaporean guys to be more sophisticated and manly. They can also sing well and have good vocals. We don't want to just look for pretty faces."
She added: "These days, there are more women who are willing to spend on merchandise and music produced by male idols, which is why we are only focusing on male talents. We want guys who are young, handsome, and talented to form a boyband, be it a three-member team or bigger."
At first, I didn't want to go for the auditions as I had to study for my exams, but I thought I would just give it a try as it's a rare opportunity.
- Local undergraduate See Kai Zheng