So, last week I mentioned Dimash Kudaibergen, and linked a couple of clips. The couple of clips were not, of course, all that I listened to — on his official channel he has, ummm, a lot. Including full concerts.
But I was very curious — as one is — about who did beat him in the Singer 2017 contest.
So… I found the full episodes (there are 13 +1 benefit concert) (someone subtitled them), each about 1 hour and 20 minutes long. Then I had to go to wikipedia because I didn’t understand the contest rules. It’s a contest for professional singers. So you have to be invited to go.
But you get voted off the island every second episode. The judges are 500 audience members, and at the end of all performances they list their favorite 3 performances, and all of these are tabulated, and results are listed every 2 episodes — the average of your score is taken.
At 22, Dimash was the youngest performer to appear on the show — and the show started with people in their 50s and 60s, as well as younger performers in their 30s.
What I learned was that it wasn’t about the singing but about moving the audience. And actually, all of the performers could do that — so I really enjoyed that part. I hated the vote announcement, though — so after the first heartbreaking episode, I… didn’t watch the results. I found out when I watched the next episode because some of the starting performers weren’t there.
In the middle-ish, challengers are brought in. They have it harder because in order to remain on the island they must place in the top 4.
I say all this because I realized that I was watching, by the end, as if a long, slow story was unfolding. In particular, I liked to watch the Lions (the only rock band) as they kind of grew into performing for that audience. And I loved that for the last performance the singer — the front man — asked that they simply be introduced as the Lions. He felt that there was something isolating and separating by having his name – and only his name – called out, because he was part of the Lions; they were all in this together.
And they did improve. They stretched. It was interesting.
(I also had to ask a friend to explain why the names they announced and the names on Wikipedia were totally different, because… I couldn’t follow; I had to go to youtube and list the wikipedia names to see who they were talking about by performance T_T).
And I ended up watching, oh, all of the full televised competition (with subtitles) because of that. I felt like I was watching the olympics, with the various interviews and human interest stories.
The winner was Sandy Lam (that’s not what she’s called anywhere in the show, but that’s her English name and that’s what you find on youtube and wikipedia if you are, well, me).
I think I’m glad I cannot read Russian (there was a Dimash interview that was subtitled in which the announcer said, before Dimash appeared, that Sandy Lam won for thin political reasons because she’s Chinese and Dimash is not. I wanted to kick him). I wished while looking at youtube comments, that I couldn’t read most English -.-.
I know, I know: don’t read the comments. But, well. You know how you’re sometimes bursting with excitement and joy and delight and you want to read other people who feel the same way? Yeah, that. And there were some. But… a lot of hate and rage and frothing.
I found Sandy Lam compelling every time she was on the stage. Is her voice Dimash’s? No. But no one’s is. Her voice is nonetheless unique and there’s a strength to her on the stage – a quiet strength – that draws the eye and the ear; there’s a flexibility to her performances and an understated power; she never drives things over the top, but — I really liked her. And I could see why she could — and did — win.
But there’s a song that’s an ear worm for me and… it’s in Chinese and the title is in Chinese and when I went to the iTunes store, my ability to find it was… zero.
What’s interesting to me is that I make — possibly all people make — narratives, stitching small moments together. I did not do this while listening to Dimash the first time; nor did I from watching individual performances or even his concerts (although I admit the 6 song set he performed in the pouring rain was an exception); but it was almost inevitable for me while watching the actual competition, the competitors.
One of the singers performed his strongest piece – it was hugely emotional – and finished bent over. And stayed that way. And I said — out loud, here, three years later where obviously I can’t be heard — No, no, get up. Stand up.
And then, seconds later, the other performer reaction shots: The lead of Lion said, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry.”
Dimash said (I believe they were in different rooms at the time): “He’s crying.” He was.
This is the reason I sometimes don’t like writing in coffee shops. Because sometimes — not often, but sometimes — I will weep while writing. I’m a touch typist; I don’t need to see the keyboard or the screen. This is… not something that one ever wants to do in public. I don’t do this all the time; there are some things that don’t make me weep, obviously, but are deeply felt. (The last half of Grave was possibly the hardest in terms of tears.)
My husband just walked by and said: Oh, I understand that. Sometimes I weep while I’m coding. (Yes, he is still alive.)
But — I think, for me, it goes back to the elephant. Even for the singers. You don’t just have to be yourselves on stage, you have to expose things, open windows into vulnerable places that real life has taught you to protect. Or, alternately, you have to genuinely be having fun if you want to invoke that in the people who are watching. I think that’s the only way to evoke those emotions in an audience: by being in those moments.
I am, of course, still thinking, but I am also working on the story for Monday, or the proofreading and formatting of the story for Monday.
ETA: I think that’s why it’s very hard to compare writers and written works; we have to reach for something in ourselves, and be that, while writing – and we’re not other writers, but ourselves. No one else will write your books. No one else will write mine. All of the books that work have parts of who we are embedded in them.