Welcome to the 3rd annual Kenshuusei Recitals! A lot has changed from last year (basically everyone but 6 members: Kaga, Ichioka, Inoue, Danbara, Yokogawa, and Funaki had either become members of groups or left the program). Talk about a huge wave of differences but we have a GIANT list of new girls to actually listen to this time around. So let’s get to it shall we?
oh BTW, Kobushi and Tsubaki Factory performed (the latter covered a Chisato Moritaka song, “17sai”.
Song of Choice: Nakamushi Shounen (2010 mix version)
As the first girl to perform, I wasn’t expecting Hikarun to sound as amazing as she did (honestly, this is so similar to Karen Tanaka (though we’ve seen Hikaru actually train to become better and it’s paid off in spades). I was surprised she did choose the updated version of Nakamushi Shounen, but it really worked out as her voice suited the rockin’ atmosphere and she just gave it her all…Probably my favorite performance of the recital!
Song of Choice: Be Genki <Naseba Naru!>
One of the new members (and the youngest of them), Honoka chose a pretty interesting Berryz song to perform. Sadly, I think for her being just 11 years old, her performance definitely wasn’t the greatest, luckily she’s got a lot of time to learn and become a better singer overall. Though I will say, her tone, timing, and note-hitting was rather all over the place. Really, maybe someone should’ve said this song might’ve been a bit too difficult…>.>
Song of Choice: Haru Beautiful Everyday
Covering the Eri/Aika duet from “SEXY 8 BEAT”, this was another song choice I wasn’t expecting from a new Kenshuusei here but there it is. To me, Momona’s voice was a bit flat throughout the track and her holding notes made it somewhat worse in the long run. Better than Honoka, but her voice was quite strained through her performance.
Song of Choice: GOOD BYE Natsuo
Ahhh, the strong singer and winner of last year’s test, Danbara came back in a fury by performing one of my favorite Aya Matsuura tracks. Honestly, despite having some shouty parts and some parts where he voice cuts because of what I think is from dancing, Ruru pulled off the song very well and the chorus was powerful (especially at those certain parts where it’s high and powerful). She’s definitely still a powerhouse and an impressive singer.
Song of Choice: Shabondama
I know she was already in a PV this year, “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare”, I was curious to what these ex-NGP girls were capable of and we’ve seen it so far from Rei Inoue and Ayaka Hirose so I was definitely expecting some firepower. Though with a song like Shabondama, it made me so curious! I have to say, Kizuki pulled it off with flying colors (maybe the grunting was a bit much) but she was on point through most of the song (the ad-libs are prolly the weakest parts, actually).
Song of Choice: GOOD BYE Natsuo
A girl I was quite curious about (I was also with Ami Tanimoto and Kiki Asakura but both became Tsubaki Factory members). Also choosing to perform GOOD BYE Natsuo, I was worried she wouldn’t quite stack up against Danbara who for all purposes is a fantastic singer. So I was happy to hear that Onoda kept up as well. In some ways she was better than Ruru, but other times not so much. Saori’s voice a little deeper too so it worked in her favor in the verses, though the chorus was a weakpoint.
Song of Choice: Romance no Tochuu
Another brand new KSS member, Yanagawa chose a more recent entry, Juice=Juice’s major debut tune. Since I have no idea what to expect out of this gal, I was wondering if it was good or not. To me, she’s a bit loose on her vocals but there are times where I find myself hearing Karin in her voice (though there are times where she sounds younger too). There’s a lot of potential here and with some work she could pull the Karin voice (plus, I did chuckle when she tried to do Sayuki’s dive notes before the chorus). Not too bad, but potential is there!
Song of Choice: Suki-chan
I’ve had my share of curious of worries for Shimano and performing Suki-chan wasn’t exactly helping. Shimano’s performance was OK, I was surprised more at the fact that her voice is more on the cuter side of things, but sadly it didn’t feel like she felt confident enough for this song (which is probably why I also felt that it was slightly one of the weaker performances too). Maybe a song of a lower range would fit her better.
Song of Choice: FOREVER LOVE
Hey! Someone that performed a C-ute song here. As the eldest KSS, I had high hopes for her also because she was an NGP KSS. Honestly, her performance is alright if not slightly messy and not tight like I was expecting. I mean she also has a lot of potential because she hits some clearly epic spots, but that’s surrounded by quite a lot of missed notes too. People have said it’s a bit disheartening because of her age and this could be the final axe (but I hope not, she seems so mature and reminds me of Maimi).
Song of Choice: Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta
As one of the worst performances last year, I was hoping that Yumei would get better and after her mehness of “Bagel ni Ham & Cheese”, I was surprised she chose a more raw song from Berryz. Unfortunately, while she has improved slightly, she is still one of the worst of the KSS. Her voice this time was so nasal and she really couldn’t stay on most notes (though the fact she tried to use vibrato is risky even for her). Yeah…sadly once again a pretty poor performance (she’s still a stunner though).
Song of Choice: Love take it all
Kaedy comes next with her performance of Love take it all and I thought that was a shockingly advanced choice for her but hey I have to say for being one of the most popular KSS. Her take on Love take it all is pretty strong though I feel like she’s shouting a lot through the song, but she has an unwavering power about that really shows her skills. Honestly, this was a pretty great offering (a lot better than last year’s “FIRST KISS” performance).
Song of Choice: Yuugure Koi no Jikan
Another new member, Rion’s choice to do the kind of cutesy album song from S/mileage was interesting. Though I have to say, Rion’s performance was a bit all over the place. I also heard a LOT of nervousness in her voice as it was wavering all over as well. Though she did slightly get better in the chorus (plus the high note quips are cute too). I think once she gets over those hurdles and strengthen her voice better, Nakano could have a very adorable voice on her (such a baby voice!).
Song of Choice: Senobi
I still think being the lone addition of her generation, Kurumi chose a STRONG Juice=Juice song to perform and she aced it almost perfectly. She’s got a strong voice and her vibrato sounds really nice to listen to as well. There were some shaky spots, but Senobi was a great choice for her and shown off her potential (plus it helps with being in an indies idol group prior as well).
Song of Choice: Dream Last Train
Interesting choice of picking a SATOYAMA song to perform (more or less Triplet’s song). Considering the song’s melody used more of a lower tone, Takemura tried to match it as well and she didn’t do half-bad (the lower notes were a challenge and she lost rhythm in a few spots) and it kind of lost fire the longer it went. I think with some more training, she could fix these problems up easily. Not the best, but definitely not the worst.
Song of Choice: Nakimushi Shounen (2010 mix version)
So Reina chose the same song Hikarun opened this test up with? Interesting! I can’t help it, but Hikarun performed better than Ichioka sadly though she’s gotten better as a singer as well (reminds me of someone with a stronger lower tone). I think she could learn a little more, but she’s sounding passable now.
Song of Choice: The Power
Then comes a string of brand new KSS members starting with Mao. Interesting song choice of C-ute’s, The Power, as it’s another risky and advanced choice of song. I actually thought Mao did well with what she got and really kept up with the song (of course, her voice does need work as it lacks a full sound right now, but she was hitting the notes…it’s just stamina that needs work).
Song of Choice: Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai
Ok, I definitely know that this Momusu song is a bit more difficult (to be honest, shouldn’t have been a choice) but here we are with Kanatsu trying here. Like I said, it’s a bit too much for her to handle, but she tried her hardest here and at some points she got notes right, but her voice escaped from the mic and I think she was more focused on the dancing (which could be the reason she sounded winded and far from the microphone). OK performance, but maybe an easier to handle song next time.
Song of Choice: Daisuki 100 Manten
I definitely remember Kisora Niinuma performing this last year, so interesting to see it come up again for Mizuho. There’s really not much for me to say here. Ono’s performance was pretty nice and she has a nice clear tone her voice and with some work here and there, she could be a strong performer. Of the new batch of KSS, I think I will follow Mizuho’s journey as she’s the best of the newbies.
Song of Choice: 21-ji Made no Cinderella
I think the girl that I was most looking forward to hearing is definitely Funakki and she delivers a great performance with this Berryz classic. She has a lot of personality in her voice and already sounds like a sheer ace with how nice her voice sounds and the emotions she puts behind. Definitely a voice I want to hear in Hello! Project prime!!!! Shame that it was so short!
Song of Choice: Suki na Senpai
Ending out the test, we get Kokoro (btw cute name) performing Suki na Senpai (a song that’s synonymous with girls debuting in H!P). It’s not bad, but it’s nothing totally special and Kokoro’s voice needs some work as she’s missing notes or ends up being flat. Not the most memorable performance
So the results are in as well so let’s see
BEST SINGING: Funaki (Runner-up: Danbara) – Surprised actually to see Funakki win this award! She did sound the best and definitely suited the position but beating Ruru?!? Wow, stroke the ego XD.
BEST DANCING: Ichioka & Hashimoto – While we wait for visuals of the performance, I was pleasantly surprised by these two (might explain the not-so-amazing vocal performances) but this is great for Reina especially.
CHARACTER AWARD: Horie – Not sure what this means, but it’s perhaps the idea that Kizuki owned Shabondama like she did that might’ve caught the judges attention. Still very awesome!
SHIMIZU AWARD: Inoue – I am even more confused with what is with this award (Captain wasn’t even a judge though Chinami was >.>). Still, this must mean something hinting and I’m happy that Hikarun won this (not sure why, but hopefully we get an explanation).
BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD: Kaga – YESSSSS, it seems like Kaga is getting a break here and the fact she won big a HUGE margin says a lot for Kaedii. Would love to see what she wins from doing so (I don’t think they announced what the prize is yet, maybe a solo for Nana Tamago? Maybe a first slot position for another new unit??? CONGRATS KAGA!!!!!!
My personal thoughts on vocally who did the best are: (top to bottom)
Also announced a couple days prior, Kana Saito had left the program…unfortunately I had no real opinion about her as there was very little of her to be heard…so I’m not too broken up about it. I will say it makes me wonder how her generation even happened (herself, Miu Takemura, and Maho Aikawa)…they aren’t all that great (though Aiai is in ANGERME so who knows).