First part of the episode was still focused on the auditions. We will fast forward to the end of the auditions and only the judges were left behind to decide on the finalists. Some of the interesting remarks:

Kim Jong Weon remarked that there is only 1 pianist for the entire show, and Joe Hahn was having doubts if he were able to fit into the bands. (We know who he is!!)

Yoon Jong Shin pondered if he should pass the (existing) entire group or not – but he concluded that this audition was meant to break up existing groups, much to Kim Jong Weon heartache expression as he came from a band himself.

All in all, too many talented people – from a total of 151 participants, they finally derived 53 finalists for Superband and categorised as follows based on their specialty.

Superband Finalists
Superband 53 Finalists

In fact, some of them are actually skilled in more than one area, especially vocals, who usually picked up an additional keyboard, or guitar. Or in fact they might actually be better with their instrument rather than being a vocal themselves, but they chose to enroll as vocal. So, just refer to this as a guideline.

The thirst for a bassist is real – there were only 4 of them for the many bands to be created. That said – I just realised that all bassists proceeded far into the game!

The day after audition, the finalists gathered in front of Superband building, and mingled around. Shortly, they boarded a bus were ferried to this place called Music Village in Gapyeong. And they anxiously waited and stared curiously at the empty benches opposite them.

All 53 Superband finalists seated
All 53 Superband finalists seated

Superband SuperMC, Jeon Hyeon Moo appeared, finally reducing the anxiety in the air. He then finally revealed why they were gathered there: to form their teams for the first round of the contest. But how?

JTBC Superband Super MC Jeon Hyeon Moo
Superband Super MC Jeon Hyeon Moo

16 Frontmen, 16 teams. Frontman is the leader of the band, and they were were nominated by the judges, not based on rank or reputation, but based on ensuring a good mix of different musical colors. And so, Frontman shall be placed with the charge of choosing members for their own teams – and the sequence of selecting their team members were drawn by MC.

Honestly, this is such an unbalanced way that JTBC Superband have chosen to proceed. I mean like you could also do round-robin style so each Frontman select their 1st member and so on. But no! The show producers decided to make it sort of funnily unfair so that last Frontman will end up with a really unbalanced team skillset. But, half the time I was definitely amused but also have higher anticipation of the very last Frontman.

Anyways, the Frontmen were not revealed in a go – but we went straight into the 1st round of mission, the 1 vs 1. The winning team will safely enter the next round, while the losing team will await the elimination announcements. After watching performances from both teams, the 5 judges will then vote to decide which is the winning team.

Round 1-1: Jo Weon Sang vs Ha Hyun Sang

First up, we have Jo Weon Sang Team:

Jo Weon Sang Team:
Jo Weon Sang (Bass), Lee Kang Ho (Guitar), Kim Young So (Guitar), Im Hyeong Bin (Guitar)
Jo Weon Sang Team:
Jo Weon Sang (Bass), Lee Kang Ho (Guitar), Kim Young So (Guitar), Im Hyeong Bin (Guitar)

Essentially, all 3 guitar geniuses and a bassist. This was the only performance team (ie. lack of vocals/singing) in the first round.

And they were up against Ha Hyun Sang’s Team:

Ha Hyun Sang Team:
Shin Ye Chan (Violin), Hong Jin Ho (Cello), Ha Hyun Sang (Vocal)
Ha Hyun Sang Team:
Shin Ye Chan (Violin), Hong Jin Ho (Cello), Ha Hyun Sang (Vocal)

Coincidentally, both teams were gonna perform Coldplay songs too. This makes me wonder how were teams matched up for the 1:1 mission. But based on the choice of words, from the judges/MC, I kinda believe it was based on a lucky draw.

Yoon Sang (Judge), asked regarding Jo Weon Sang team, if the choice of choosing the 3 guitarists was Weon Sang’s decision, or was it because the 3 of them didn’t want to stay apart. MC Hyeon Moo replied that it was Weon Sang’s decision. Yoon Sang remarked that it was quite extreme. And Joe Hahn jokingly added “No one else can have them!”

Jo Weon Sang Team

They revealed the scenes during the selection:

Superband - Frontman Jo Weon Sang, announcing his team members
Frontman Jo Weon Sang, announcing his team members

Heaving a big sigh, he said: “I will form a 4-person team.”

“Guitar…Kim Yeong So, Lee Kang Ho, Im Hyeong Bin.”

Even the 3 guitarists themselves were surprised:

Jo Weon Sang vs Team Member
Even they themselves can’t help but LOL

He took all the guitar!

So was everyone else in the room thrown into the huge surprise/shock/disbelief/lol moment xD. This was my favourite moment because it was really daebak!

Expressions when Jo Weon Sang took all 3 guitar
Caption: What is it with him?
Expressions when Jo Weon Sang took all 3 guitar
Caption: What are you trying to do!!
Expressions when Jo Weon Sang took all 3 guitar
Caption: Abandon all to despair
Im Hyeong Bin asked a question to Jo Weon Sang
Im Hyeong Bin raised his doubts about the team!

Im Hyeong Bin: I wanted to do something different, but the 3 of us had done a performance before together. I am worried that we will do the same thing again.

Jo Weon Sang: For us all to do something different, I can take charge of producing. Please believe in me!

Weon Sang can’t help feeling that he had made a lot of “enemies” right after this, after sweeping all 3 guitar geniuses, leaving none for the remaining teams. He was sheepishly apologizing a lot to the other frontmen. I can’t help but feel that he is so humble, yet greedy for his music in a good way. I appreciates humble-greedy people.

Why did Jo Weon Sang choose 3 guitar
What were you thinking when you chose 3 guitar?

He shared his thoughts on how he ended up choosing them:

When I saw the 3 of them seated together, I was thinking “Why are they together? Are they close?”. Then I looked at their profile information, thinking that with their guitar skills, it might help amplify my producer ability.

Soon they reached the dorm and had a little gathering session, speaking aloud their thoughts and ideas. Im Hyeong Bin wanted to play some well-known songs and he wanted a hair-raising effect from the audience. Weon Sang also wanted them to weave in each of their unique guitar skill into the song they are performing.

Superband: Jo Weon Sang Team
Jo Weon Sang team in dorm

Nightfall, Weon Sang suggested Adventure of a Lifetime – and one after another, the guitars started to play and experiment with the sounds (raise the pitch, lower the pitch, lets make it loud). Sensing the right song was decided, Weon Sang gathered them all at the floor to quickly capture all expression.

Superband – Jo Weon Sang Team: Adventure of a Lifetime

Everyone was impressed with their performance, judges and contestants, and their opposing team. They did get the hair-raising goosebumps effect they wanted!

Yoon Jong Shin (Judge) gave praises to Weon Sang, saying he felt impressed with how he played his bass. In the first part of the song, when Weon Sang was only playing the rhythm part, he felt like Weon Sang was taking too much of an advantage (of riding on the 3 guitars geniuses). Of course he was proven wrong when during the bass solo (and the switched to an electric guitar sound)! He called it a visual performance – with the way they played, he unconsciously inched forward to want to see even more. A very cool stage, he says.

Kim Jong Wan (Judge) also had his doubts when it first started slowly, but felt they expressed the key parts of the songs very well, and everyone had carried each of their part very well. He felt like it was a concert he had paid to attend, rather than a performance by 19 years old.

MC asked how did they divide the parts. Hyeong Bin said that while they had similar skill-set, each of them had a specialty which they expressed through the performance. Yoon Sang (Judge) helped add on that Kim Young So specialty was the artificial harmonics, Lee Kang Ho specialty was fast strumming alike in Latin songs, and Hyeong Bin specialty was the tapping technique. Yoon Sang voiced his hopes that the 3-guitar team don’t disband!

Joe Hahn said that it was soulful, and remarked that they were skillful enough to show-off which they were guilty of. The performance was powerful, and they managed to achieve the dynamic and loudness using drum-based-guitars. They killed it!

Yoon Jong Shin felt that they should let Coldplay know about this performance – with MC adding that the most likely person among them to be in contact with Coldplay is the Linkin’ Park’s Joe Hahn.

Ha Hyun Sang Team

Next up is Ha Hyun Sang performance – but first off, Hyun Sang shared that he wanted to meet people who played bowed string instruments through this program, as he really like that type of instruments. So in the first round, he rounded up a cellist and a violinist for his team.

In the dorm, they were then trying to search for songs to play. And suddenly they had an idea to include use of a loop station to which, Jin Ho, as purist classical musician, had no clue what it was.

Superband: Ha Hyun Sang Team
Hong Jin Ho: Loop?

Then they explained to him and showed him a video on it.

Then Hyun Sang asked if they know how to read chord? Jin Ho was stumped. In his interview, he expressed how different it was, modern music vs classical. In classical world, they would follow step by step, learn the music scores which was readily available. But band would instead start from chord melody. Because the way of learning was very different, he found it difficult for him.

On the other side, Hyun Sang was saying, he can’t read the musical scores, those beansprouts (haha). But through working on this, he felt like he met a totally new person.

So in the end, they had to quickly find a musical score for Jin Ho. Finally they gathered at the practice room. While they were preparing their instruments, Jin Ho was surprised when he saw Ye Chan fixing his violin bow’s hair, with Ye Chan revealing that he would waste away an entire bow after a performance.

Shin Ye Chan
Ye Chan on his violin’s bow

A quick peek on the amount of bows he had in his prepared stash from his IG:

Ye Chan revealed that he originally wasn’t like that until he started playing in band – he had to play alongside drums and he started to become very rough (energetic) while playing.

Jin Ho, on other hand, was very protective and very caring of his instruments – wiping down the bow and his cello – they were very clean! Ye Chan blurted out that he hadn’t wipe his instrument for over 1 year, much to laughter from his team.

Shin Ye Chan
Ye Chan showing his violin after the “no-wiping-for-1-year” comment

Like omgosh – especially for bowed-string instruments, which requires applying of rosin, it would stain the instrument if it wasn’t well wiped down. 🙁

Back to the practice, Jin Ho faced quite a bit of difficulty catching up with the other two as the “band” way of proceeding with the practice was quite different from what he was used to. He was very appreciative of Ye Chan, who understood both classical and band music, and rendered a lot of help to him.

Superband – Ha Hyun Sang Team: Viva la Vida

Yoon Jung Shin said with the background display, it felt like it was a busking area, and that they are a very experienced team of buskers. With their level of performance, there will definitely be a lot of people. However he added that, Ha Hyun Sang voice seems to lack a little power in it. Otherwise, he thought that this was a really good stage, with them offering things to watch and hear from this experimental performance.

Joe Hahn shared that he was concerned about the dynamic with just the guitar, cello, and violin. When they started they started banging on the guitar, he was then convinced that it was very cool stage.

Lee Su Hyeon (Judge) shared that each Superband episode, she anticipates the Ganeung-dong band’s team member (Shin Ye Chan is a member of). However, she felt that Ha Hyun Sang was very busy during the performance – Although cellist and violinist were very well in harmony with each other, she did not see the harmonious atmosphere from the 3 of them.

Result: Jo Weon Sang vs Ha Hyun Sang Team

Judges each voted for their pick – and it was revealed: Jo Weon Sang team won with 5-0. Jo Weon Sang shared that, (as per Yoon Jung Shin’s comment that he was riding on the 3 guitar), he was “riding” on them, that without them, he couldn’t have achieve this by himself. He started to stumbled on his speech, before quickly shyly ending it with a “Thank you!”

Behind the stage interview, Jin Ho was thankful to Hyun Sang for selecting him, but he felt sorry towards his team for not bringing the win, and ended up in tears.

Hong Jin Ho in tears
Hong Jin Ho in tears

🙁 He said that he definitely couldn’t achieve it own his own without his team. He felt that if he had understood more of band’s music, they would create a better result. So thus he felt very apologetic towards his team.

Round 1-2: Hong Issac vs Kevin Oh

Hong Issac Team:
Hong Issac (Vocal), Jeong Sol (Percussion), Lee Na Woo (Pianist), Lee Ja Weon (Accordion)
Hong Issac Team:
Hong Issac (Vocal), Jeong Sol (Percussion), Lee Na Woo (Pianist), Lee Ja Weon (Accordion)

This team rounded up quite a number of instrument players. Jeong Sol is a percussionist specialising in a wide variety of percussion instruments. It would be interesting to see what they came up with!

Kevin Oh Team:
Kang Kyeong Yoon (Drum), Lee Jong Hoon (Bass), Kevin Oh (Vocal)
Kevin Oh Team:
Kang Kyeong Yoon (Drum), Lee Jong Hoon (Bass), Kevin Oh (Vocal)

This was remarked as quite a formidable team too. Kevin Oh was quite the anticipated vocal, and Lee Jong Hoon was one of the highly rated bass player on the show too.

Hong Issac Team

Hong Issac was very lucky – he was the first to take his pick as a Frontman. He felt that with his selected members, they would be able to create nature music. Lee Ja Weon shared that he made a lot of notes on Issac, and Lee Na Woo also noted that he had wanted to work with Hong Issac.

Then they were gathered at their dorm, thinking about the song to perform. Issac played few of his songs, and was proposed to use his song for the performance. However, he wanted to make a new song – which was quite a far-fetched goal.

Superband: Hong Issac Team
Hong Issac Team at Practice Room

Their brainstorming carried onto a temporary larger practice room. Lee Na Woo shared that he had been playing piano covers for his entire life, ie. Beethoven, Chopin. In other words, he is a communicator. In order for him to communicate (music), he needs to be able to understand the feeling. But he felt could immediately understand’s Issac’s music, and with that, Issac felt very touched.

They started to throw out themes to brainstorm on, and landed on “Travelling”. With Issac randomly singing, Na Woo started to play around with the melody and they hit the eureka moment.

Hong Issac shared that it was most interesting working with Lee Na Woo as he is someone who had plentiful of exposure in classical music, and they both understand how to adjust and mold the music.

Before their stage, they were interviewed and was told that Kevin Oh made a very exaggerated expression “Yes!” when they were announced to be opposition team.

Superband: Announcing Kevin Oh as Hong Issac competing team
Kevin Oh announced to complete against Hong Issac

Much to their amusement, they were also feeling a lot of complicated feelings, like…not very pleased with Kevin’s expression. Even Kevin’s team was like “Really? You did that??”. Kevin then cleared it up – that no matter which team he was announced to complete with, he shall just confidently say yes.

Superband – Hong Issac Team: The Youth in my Memory

Kim Jong Wan asked who was the first member that Issac had chosen, and was replied with “Jeong Sol”. He remarked that that was his feeling from the performance, and that Jeong Sol is a gem. He added that his ears was immediately captured when he first heard the percussion instruments. He had no doubt that Hong Issac have a good mind for music.

Yoon Jong Shin remarked that they had a good sense in music, blending the song lyrics and Cinema Paradiso melody (composed by Ennio Morricone). It was later revealed that blending Cinema Paradiso melody was Lee Na Woo’s idea. Regarding the team performance, he felt it might have been better to have a bass.

Joe Hahn said that it was great, that it was easy for people to compose of something in their mind based on their song, especially with the video in the background. He felt that there was an even longer story to be told.

Kevin Oh Team

Kang Kyeong Yoon hoped to be in a team with Kevin Oh, and he did ended up being lucky. Lee Jong Hoon shared that he was in the same group with Kevin during audition, and the moment they walked out he hooked up (pun intended) with Kevin, asking to “Lets make a group together”.

Superband Lee Jong Hoon hooking up with Kevin Oh
Lee Jong Hoon hooking up with Kevin Oh

They they went to a park to discuss on the song. Kevin wanted them to also blend in their own colors and styles. They also highlighted not to end up being only rhythm to Kevin, which might not have a good result. So all in all, they should try and find a song that all 3 of them like.

In another scene cut, Kyeong Yoon was saying to Kevin, he was surprised when he heard that Kevin passed the audition. To which Kevin joking added, “You mean how did I pass when I was bad?” Kyeong Yoon quickly cleared up his remark, he meant to ask why did he wanted to join a competition again? Kevin says that he been meaning to do music, but hadn’t had much chance. Regardless if he was eliminated, he wanted to have fun, and make cool music. And they exchanged numbers, hoping to get more closer afterwards.

They had decided on the song, Owl City’s Fireflies. Kyeong Yoon said that, their version was like a 180 degree version of the original. Kevin then added that it would be like a feeling of a movie, starting with drum, then bass and guitar will join in. A new beginning.

Superband – Kevin Oh Team: Fireflies

The result is announced in the next Episode 4, we will continue on in the next post.

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