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[Herald Interview] ‘Sing Again’ season 2 is not about finding new talents: producers

Chief producer Yun Hyun-joon (left) and producer Chae Sung-wuk of season two of JTBC’s “Sing Again” pose for photos. (JTBC)
Chief producer Yun Hyun-joon (left) and producer Chae Sung-wuk of season two of JTBC’s “Sing Again” pose for photos. (JTBC)
Nearly 10 months after the first season of hit music competition “Sing Again,” local cable channel JTBC returned with a second season spotlighting 73 singers who are talented, yet have been largely forgotten.

Over three months starting in December, the show featured heavy hitters who had previously released albums. Taking on the format of the previous season, each contestant was called only by a number, and the final winner took home a cash prize of 100 million won ($82,400).

Although the second season ended with a record-high viewership rating of 8.7 percent, according to Nielsen Korea, the figure was significantly lower than the last episode of the show’s first season, which surpassed a 10 percent viewership rating. Some viewers blamed the program’s lack of highly qualified contestants and entertaining elements.

“(A lack of new faces) was probably caused by this season’s singers all being of a higher caliber. Even we failed to predict the top three until the very end,” Yun Hyun-joon, the chief producer of both seasons of the show, said during an online interview with a group of reporters Thursday.

“I can’t agree on some of the points raised since ‘Sing Again’ is about giving a second chance to singers who had released albums in the past but either failed to gain traction or became forgotten. It is unlike other competitions such as (SBS’) ‘K-pop Star’ and (Mnet’s) ‘Superstar K’ that are aimed at finding completely new singers.”

Top three contestants on the second season of JTBC's
Top three contestants on the second season of JTBC's "Sing Again" (JTBC)
Criticism also came from some viewers that this season‘s show featured relatively well-known names. In response, Chae Sung-wuk, the producer of the show’s second season, emphasized it was a fair game. He explained that all the contestants had to compete against each other regardless of their singing ability and popularity and that made the program more special.

To avoid falling into cliches and making the second season a better quality program, both producers urged viewers and judges to forget about the first season. It was part of their effort to break down stereotypes of top contestants’ images. They also put extra effort into stage sets.

The producers are planning on returning with a third season, although the exact schedule has not yet been decided.

“We will take into consideration all the feedback from the second season and think of ways to make the new season more competitive. But, we’ll always keep the prime role of ‘Sing Again’ in our minds above all else. ... Instead of focusing on nine-day wonders, we are hoping to give a helping hand to earnest, talented singers in continuing their music career,” Yun said.

Chae, who believes the show’s lineup of contestants makes for the audition program’s uniqueness, said, “While producing season three, my biggest concern will be how to invite as contestants the outstanding singers out there that we do not know of.”

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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