The competition reality show Survival: I Am a Singer has had an extremely successful first round, despite its rocky start and initial controversy where the original PD (producer/director) was replaced. Recently, two constant favorites, Park Jung Hyun (a.k.a. Lena Park) and Kim Bum Soo, have been given awards indicating that they have “graduated” successfully from the show, while one other contestant, Yoon Do Hyun Band, was disqualified. And with that signals the last of the original seven contestants. It will be interesting to see how the show endeavors to evolve, and if it will be able to keep audience interest without the big names of its first go-around.
There have been articles and interviews, like whenYG spoke out, stating that the success of the show is due to the fresh musical alternative it offers from all the other idol-inundated programs. This view of the appeal in something different was iterated in a recent talk I had with someone from a Korean media company (interview to come up soon!).
The show’s overwhelming popularity and the public’s love for its music is perhaps most easily seen in this chart statistic on Gaon. The chart takes into account combined digital sales for the first half of this year, taking into account streaming, downloads, background use and mobile use, and Kim Bum Soo’s rendition of 체발 (Chebal, or Please) leads the way with a figure of 298,344,387.
At the very least, the show makes available to the public audience music that is “diverse” and innovative compared to most other mainstream offerings. I am all for the avenues this show can continue to foster, but I hope that it can not only continue developing a taste for diversity but actually integrate somehow with the mainstream Korean music industry as well. There needs to be that acceptance and interaction for there to be an impact on the scope of Korean music and for the show to continue its success, without the fickle public getting tired of it.