Looks like it’s that time of the year again where the Kenshuusei have a pretty big test and hope to win. Unlike last year’s mega amount of changes, this year it feels quite different as only four members left (which 2 were Yanagawa & Funaki and the other 2 I’ll talk about at the bottom) and we gained 5 new members.
Also like last year, Tsubaki managed to perform a new song, another Chisato Moritaka song, this time “Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo”. Though beyond that, let’s see what the trainees brought to the table, shall we?
Song of Choice: Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai
Wow, kicking the test off is the song that’s the most recent of the bunch from Juice=Juice. Honestly, I really like how Akiyama tries out these harder songs (and more recent tunes) for sure. After struggling with her “The Power” last year, I was surprised at how much better she got with this song. She does sound like she’s yelling a lot of it, but she’s quite confident in it so, I ended enjoying it a little more than expected.
Song of Choice: Moonlight night ~Tsukiyo no Ban da yo~
Being one of the sheer favorites last year, I was surprised she chose the album opener from Momusu’s 10th album to tackle. It seems she was trying to mimic the various members through the track, especially the Sayumi/Linlin line in the original. For as fascinating as it was, I didn’t think Kurumi did as well as she did with “Senobi” as she somehow faded towards the end…but she’s still in the higher tier vocally within the group.
Song of Choice: Akai Freesia
Being the first of the newcomers, Kotomi sure picked a well-known track for newbies in Melon’s Akai Freesia. I will say, her voice is kind of a hard listen (almost slightly akin to Yumei’s). I also could tell she was quite nervous and slightly monotone and couldn’t keep up with the melody very well. A lot of training will have to happen as she has potential, but it’s really difficult to see where that point is currently
Song of Choice: Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi
Seems that Hikarun really likes Berryz (she’s done Otona na no yo! and now another sing in the same year essentially. Also after showing how much she’s gotten through last years “Nakimushi Shounen”, I was very excited to see how she tackled this track. There’s really nothing to say, she impressed me once again with a more difficult track here. I mean she’s getting vibrato which is a plus! The only thing she messed up on is holding out loud notes, but beyond that…still one of the best performances!
Song of Choice: Yumemiru Fifteen
Wow, I’m surprised Sakiko got the crowd going and she’s new like WHOA! It’s funny how her voice suited the song almost snuggly with her voice. She’s still sort of green as she forgets lyrics here and there and her voice loses energy through various areas (those high notes she’s able to hit unlike when Minami Nomura did this song a couple years back). I’m interested on where she goes in the program for sure!
Song of Choice: Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe
From the new KSS, I was surprised Noguchi would chose to do a slightly more mature song tackling this song from Momusu ’14. For me, she definitely sounded nervous which effected a lot of the first half of the performance, but once the song hit the louder areas, she was more comfortable. She has a lot of potential, but needs to learn a little more control in loud parts, but she’s pleasant to hear.
Song of Choice: KoiING
On the flipside, one of the eldest of the KSS currently, Kaedii decided to switch things up and tackled a ballad (where in the past she had more energetic songs). I have to say, her voice sounded different here than whenever she sings loud songs which might excite fans of hers. For me, her voice sounded too different, but she managed to sing it with passion and is more impressive than I thought.
Song of Choice: SHOCK!
After last year doing “Suki na Senpai”, I was hoping for more from her and she’s gradually rising in the ranks so I was excited to hear this. She’s getting better that’s for sure and her take on SHOCK! is something I wasn’t expecting. She still has some kinks in performing, but her singing loud is bringing more yays than quiet parts (plus she needs to keep close to the mic there >.>). Also being nervous from how well Kaga did was so awwwws. She’s improved so much!
Song of Choice: Itoshiku Kurushii Kono Yoru ni
I think this gal really likes Eri Kamei because it’s a second year in a row where she did a song connected to her (last year was “Haru Beautiful Everyday”. Unlike last year though, Momona sounds a lot more confident and doesn’t sound flat and lifeless which is great for her! Definitely an improvement was made here for the better!
Song of Choice: Watarasebashi
Saori once again choosing to do an Ayaya song? Unlike her powerful performance of “GOOD BYE Natsuo” last year, she decided to go for a ballad here! I was always impressed by the things she’s done so far and it shows because she sounds delightful and has a nice voice for the track but wait…she has a recorder solo?!? How surprising, yet cute of her to pull off…one of my favorites!
Song of Choice: The Matenrou Show
One of the youngest additions out of the 5 newbies, Kirara as cute as she is decided to tackle a song that’s a bit slightly mature for her, but with the disco vibes going on. I actually thought she was decent and managed to keep up with the song and notes quite well. The problem is while she did great in those aspects, the power in her voice is still noticeably weaker so the song sounded thin. More training can easily fix this I hope, but as a first timer, she was surprisingly good.
Song of Choice: Hatsukoi Cider
I mean it’s Ruru, where can you go wrong with this gal? Tackling one of the more fun Buono! songs, Hatsukoi Cider was an easy choice for her to tackle. I do think she’s being a little bit shouty, but it’s a lot more tamed than the last couple of years she’s had songs that asked for power. Not much else to really say though, Ruru is still one of the best vocalists in the KSS.
Song of Choice: Kiss me Aishiteru
Horie just knows the songs I love and now kicked it with a C-ute song and she delivers again a powerful and lovely performance of this energetic song. I feel like she was trying to mimic some members, but I liked her versatility. I have to say, there really was nothing wrong with this performance, just straight up one of the vocally best of the evening for sure!
Song of Choice: Yattaruchan
So last year, Rion did “Yuugure Koi no Jikan” and all I could think of was how nervous she was singing and now this year with Yattaruchan, her confidence is leaps and bounds and she was just having fun with the tune. However, not all was golden because her trying to tackle this song is difficult (especially having problems during Meimi’s big solo line). Though the cute side of things was done well…maybe I would’ve focused on a song with note movement…but this was an improvement for her.
Song of Choice: Momoiro Kataomoi
I already knew going into this that it as going to be the hardest song to listen to, but I hate to say, but, Yumei has slightly improved from last years mess. Her voice is still struggling to find its place and it’s distracting, but she’s managed to have bits of good moments, despite taking baby steps…it feels like the training is SLOWLY starting to work its way through I feel like…I just hope it moves faster…
Song of Choice: Crazy Kanzen na Otona
Moving from “Suki-chan” last year to this sexy song from our NGP girl, Shimano was trying to impress with a song I love. I feel like she was trying to sing quieter than the track so hearing her was a little struggle. I do feel like she sung a smidge better, but I feel her diving into notes to be a little maddening. It’s not bad, but still needs work.
Song of Choice: Daite yo! PLEASE GO ON
Last time this was performed in a Shindan Test, it was the first one where Rie Kaneko. When it comes to Nagisa’s performance, I was surprised she was doing worse than she did in her “FOREVER LOVE” of last year. She actually was off-tempo and her voice was breaking here and there (though it sounded like she was heavily dancing so it might excuse some things). Not bad, but not as great as last year.
Song of Choice: Romantic Ukare Mode
In last years test, I felt like of the newbies then, I felt Mizuho was the best of the 7 introduced and was curious to where she stood this year since others had started to blossom. Covering a Mikitty song, I was excited to see how it’d turn out and my first thought was that Mizuho sounded a little like Chisato here and there :0 She handled the song well and she’s gaining power in her voice which is a plus too. Great performance!
Song of Choice: Inspiration!
I definitely remember Kanatsu singing in last years test with the strange decision of tackling “Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai”. It seems she did it again choosing a B-side from “Renai Revolution 21”. Her voice comes off light and airy so unfortunately it doesn’t suit the funk-based track very much. I feel like she’s grown a little bit, but she needs to learn to be consistent in volume (or handling the mic), but I love the little vibratos she puts in…cute to say the least!
Song of Choice: Glass no Pumps
Then we have the other elder of the Kenshuusei and Reina having Glass no Pumps is interesting to say the least. While I do admit she’s improving every year, this year with Glass no Pumps, she did sound like she was struggling with breathing control and trying to come off sexy but ending up getting off kilter. Not her best performance…
Song of Choice: Tsumetai to Kaze Kataomoi
Ending the test, we have our last of the new batch of KSS and Momohime was given this song, Riho’s farewell A-side. When I first her speak, I was like oh god this could be the worst performance. HOWEVER, once she started singing, it was like a slap in the face. She managed to sound amazing (except for the falsetto note at the end of the chorus). While it might not be the best performance, it’s the most unexpected of the bunch
HERE’S THE RESULTS
BEST DANCING: Akiyama (Since we probably won’t get visuals until H!S next week, I’ll just take their word for it, but the first performance winning this is shocking!)
BEST SINGING: Takase (I mean, she was top billing as it is, but seeing her win over others like Onoda, Horie, and Kaga…quite alarming to say the least, but still Congratulations!
JURY AWARD: Inoue (last year, Inoue won a special award from Captain and she was part of the jury this year. I mean it should count for something…I’m not sure of the specifications of how/why she got the award, but yay for Hikarun!!
BEST PERFORMANCE: Kiyono & Kasahara (Runner-up: Takase) – Now I hate to be that blunt, but I definitely couldn’t see how Kasahara won this at all as she was more run-of-the-mill more than anything compared to most other performances…at least with Momohime, it was down right impressive doing that song. Though kudos for Takase managing 3rd in all this.
So here’s my personal best performance to worst!
8. Ono M.
20. Ono K.
I guess it should be mentioned, since I haven’t written news about it, but both Okamoto and Takemura had finished their training (although I feel like Honoka didn’t even DO any training as she went AWOL for most of 2015 before she left and Takemura was the last of her Generation (herself, Kana Saito and ANGERME member, Maho Aikawa). Miu never stuck out to me, so it wasn’t too big a loss for me…but either way…letting you all know!