Talented Doppelgängers: The “Hidden Singer” Phenomenon

Hello hello! In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that singing programs are all the rage in Korea these days. Aside from audition shows and shows like I Am a Singer and Immortal Song, there is one program that showcases the talent of singers who sound like well-known household names in Korea. I am, of course, speaking of the popular TV show on air on JTBC in Korea – Hidden Singer.

Now in its second season, this show aims to bring viewers the vocal talent of both very well known singers and their potential vocal doppelgängers. The show has brought a vast diversity of singers of all genres onto its stage, as well as a formidable panel of celebrity guests to try and name the singer with the closest similarity to the singer of focus in each episode. Hosted by popular MC Jun Hyunmoo, the show also contains an live audience which helps garner greater reaction from each of the singers on the show.

Today, I’ll be focusing on five of my favourite episodes from the show and touching upon what I like about them. I hope by reading/viewing this, you’ll discover yet another awesome program to watch. As a singer myself, I can appreciate this level of vocal talent gracing that stage.


1) Park Jung Hyun (Lena Park)lena-park-emergency

Lately, I’ve been enamoured with the voice of this legendary R&B singer from Korea. This episode was actually one of two pilot episodes for the show (the other being with singer Kim Kyung Ho), aired almost a year ago in December. The track of focus is “편지할게요” in the video below. The point of focus I want to pull here is the similarities from contestant one in the video (contestant three is Lena Park herself). It’s not easy maintaining that sort of voice, but to sound even remotely like it is a feat in itself. This is one of Lena’s most popular songs, and I love that they chose to sing this song.


2) Baek Ji YoungBaek_Ji_YoungP

Another singer who debuted in the 1990s, Baek Ji Young is widely considered one of the top female ballad singers in Korea. The episode featuring this top singer was aired in May of this year. To emulate her voice is a big feat for sure. Singing to “잊지 말아요”, the contestants’ voices all make it hard to distinguish one another. Quite simply, having that many singers sound like Baek Ji Young is rare. They do the song justice in a way that almost seems like Baek Ji Young’s voice is more common than previously though.


3) IU8391339952_061a4ebc2c_b

While not having been active as a singer for nearly as long as the last two singers mentioned, this pop princess’ voice is not to be taken lightly. The IU episode was aired last month, and it seemed to be one of the most popular ones this season. What really got me was the performance of “You and I” by IU and the contestants. Contestant one was IU herself, and what gave me goosebumps was how eerily similar the voices of the three other contestants were to hers, given that the song itself is noted for IU’s “three-octave” performance near the end. Again, another voice that is not easily emulated. Kudos to all of them.


4) Wheesungwheesung_comeback

The most recent episode featured the recently-discharged R&B singer Wheesung. Belting it out to his hit “안되나요”, Wheesung and the four contestants all had distinct tones that reminded me a lot of Wheesung but kept each singer distinct, and each of them are able to hold their own. Contestant five, however, had been speechless, when he was revealed and belted out those vocal trills. Singer K.Will, who was in the celebrity panel during that episode, gave the exact same expression I did when I heard those vocal trills. It amazes me to see the kind of talent that exists in Korea like this.


5) Bobby Kim20090206074254799a40748km5

Last but not least is the king of reggae-infused R&B music from the 90s – Bobby Kim. His feature was aired in April of this year. Bobby’s name is synonymous with R&B and reggae music in Korea. Singing “고래의 꿈”, which is one of his big hits, the chosen contestants all brought a different feel to the song with their voices. Contestants one and two sounded the most similar to Bobby, however. I was very surprised at the control of these singers’ voices. Bobby’s style of singing is rare in Korea, so these singers definitely bring a refreshing performance of a style of music that is very rarely in the limelight.


Which one of these episodes was your favourite? Did you like an episode not mentioned in this review? Who would you like to see next on this program? Personally, I’d love to see Naul, Jung Yeop, and Park Ji Yoon on the show next. Comment below! Until next time, take care!



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