Perhaps you have heard of SBS’s newest variety show called “Fantastic Duo” hosted by Jun Hyunmoo? Well, It’s certainly one of my favorite shows as of late. I did not start watching from episode one, but rather I started from episode 3. I stumbled upon this show when clips of Taeyang performing an awesome rendition of “Eyes, Nose, Lips” with some girl called “Rhythm Gangsta” created a storm on my Youtube feed. After a while, such clips seemed to just proliferate like crazy. Then, I saw a video clip of EXO on that same show pop up. I’m not a “fan” of EXO or anything (but I recognize the members’ talents), but I was surprised. EXO members rarely show up on variety shows. I decided to finally watch one of the numerous clips of Taeyang’s duet for “Eyes, Nose, Lips” and I was hooked. Getting my act together…I started watching “FanDuo” from episode 3. It was amazing. I started a countdown until episode 4 aired. I watched that. Amazing. While waiting for episode 5, I started from episode 1 again. Might as well, right? Simply. Amazing.
This show is chirped as “a show where fans can sing a duet with their favorite singer using their cell phones.” I find this show especially meaningful not only because of this fact – that ordinary people leading ordinary lives with their hidden singing prowess – but also because of how music can really bring people together and also because of how this show gives people the opportunity to get a second chance at their dreams. The duet renditions of various songs performed are actually recorded, and the singers are able to earn royalties. In addition, the winner’s rendition of the song is copyright protected even 70 years after the death of the singer.
I haven’t been able to find the pilot episode and watch it, but I have heard Kim Bum Soo and Fishcake Girl (Kim Dami)’s rendition of “Missing You Like Crazy.” It seriously got stuck in my head from the start. What does this mean? Well, only good songs get stuck in my head 😉 Their rendition almost brought me to tears – and I was just listening to the audio only. I’m not Korean, so I did not understand 95% of the lyrics, but nevertheless, it was beautiful.
I will now go on to give you my 2 cents on each episode and my thoughts on them. It’s not really possible to avoid spoilers because even from the guest list, you’ll know who won, but please see – and hear – the amazingness yourself!
Fans apply though a phone app by singing a “duet” with the singer that’s going to be participating on the show. Even celebrities apply – be it to support their friend/sunbae, or to show their inner fanboy/fangirl (like Kyuhyun). On the set of the show, the panel (not even a panel…probably over 10 cast members), the 3 singers competing, the previous winner seated on the throne with his/her FanDuo, Jun Hyun-moo, and the audience )(comprised of applicants on the phone app – so basically they’re all fans) watch through the clips spliced together by the production team. Before the big reveal of the final 3 contenders for the spot of the FanDuo of one of the 3 singers, the panel yells and explains their endorsements.
After the 3 contenders are revealed, they first show off their talents by singing (usually) a song by the signer they want to become a FanDuo with – a must to woo their very professional bias 😉 Then, they are asked to go upstage. The singer sings the first verse, and the 3 contenders are only allowed to sing when their light comes on. Beautiful harmony and vocal prowess radiating ensues.
After all of this nerve-wracking business, more nerve-wrackign business: the singer chooses his/her FanDuo by eliminating them one by one with the button-that-turns-on-a-grim-red-light treatment. As of episode 7, this has changed to just killing 2 birds with one stone: basically one press of a button to eliminate 2/3 instead of one by one.
Episode 1 – 2
Singers: Im Chang-jung, Taeyang, Lee Sun-hee, Kim Bum-soo
I almost died because Im Chang-jung is so hilarious. He was actually in the pilot apparently, but he lost to Kim Bum-soo, so when he first came out he made cute little vengeful gestures at Kim Bum-soo. I’m not really familiar with relatively older songs (90’s), but I totally agree that he is amazing. Another highlight was Taeyang, Kim Bum-soo and Im Chang-jung’s impromptu rendition of “Eyes, Nose, Lips.” Although it seemed like Im Chang-Chung wasn’t too familiar with this 2014 hit, thus his guitarist miming, when the trio actually did sing together, it was a performance like no other. Like I said, I am not super familiar with the legends, but Lee Sun Hee is truly amazing. I really really really loved her special collaboration with Kyuhyun of Super Junior. “Fate” definitely had lyrics I did not understand at all, so I was super shocked when I actually cried.
I do have something to say though – the Big Bang Bankers who were contending to be Taeyang’s FanDuo – give them a big round of applause please! They were hilarious and talented~ I miss them.
Episode 3 – 4
Singer’s: Byun Jin-sub, Jo Sung-mo, EXO, Lee Sun-hee (gee, I wonder who won ep 1-2)
RUNNING MAN SHOUTOUT!!! HAHA APPLIED :))))
There was a lot of rage on the Interweb because of these episodes, but I actually do kind of agree. As you know, EXO was invited onto the show. From the start, I knew that this was a strategy of the producers, obviously, to bring up ratings and attention for the show – which is really understandable. However, EXO’s participation wasn’t really amazing…they just weren’t given the opportunity to show off their talent. It felt like the show was exploiting EXO, and EXO didn’t really have much to gain aside from their appearance fee. Why do I say this? Well, for one thing, during the initial competition, EXO’s potential FanDuo’s did not sing EXO songs. I know that EXO is an idol group, and their songs may require an idol-flair (if you know what I mean), but I’m sure if you were good enough to be selected, it’s possible to tweak the EXO songs a bit to make it a duet performance. Also, let’s not forget other EXO songs like “Miracles in December” or “Baby Don’t Cry” or even “Moonlight” – those are definitely possible, right? In addition, I feel like EXO’s final performance with their FanDuo was a little lacking…sighs….not a good couple of episodes for EXO huh.
On the sunnier side of the egg, Jo Sung-mo certainly was able to heat up the stage, to the point where EXO got super excited and started to flap their jackets furiously. With so much fervor on set, it’s not wonder Byun Ji-sub got a bit drained, but he was still amazing. Definitely a legend!
Episodes 5 – 6
Singers: Shin Seung-hun, Jang Hye-jin, Ailee, Lee Sun-hee (Yep.)
To be very honest, I didn’t really like these episodes much. I was really looking forward to these episodes because Ailee is freaking awesome. I felt like the show showed (heh heh) overly too much favoritism towards Jang Hye-jin. I don’t know the full story behind her, but I respect her and I truly sympathize her and everything she has been through, and I know the show definitely must talk about her, but I really do think they overdid it. The balance was gone. Ailee’s three contenders for the spot as her FanDuo were crazy amazing. From the Bank Teller, to Eel Girl to Ice Cream Girl. O.M.G.
Episode 7 (Episode 8 is not Out Yet)
Singers: Kim Soo-hee, Vibe, Wheesung, Lee Sun-hee (def.)
You may chop my head off, but I must be honest; I don’t really know these singers. Maybe Wheesung, but meh. I am ignorant.
Vibe’s Yoon Min-soo is known for his soulful ad-libs, and boy did they slay this episode. Norally, singers are only allowed to sing the first verse “with” their 3 FanDuo candidates, but he just threw in his adlibs through out – the effect was obviously magical. I can’t wait to experience more of the magic from all the singers in episode 8!