I watched the first episode of KARA Project…I know, I’m a horrible human being! Originally, I wasn’t going to watch it, I swear (I learned my lesson after Who is Next: WIN when Team B lost and I cried myself to sleep to BIGBANG’s Love Song even though it didn’t even really fit the mood). But then the teasers of each girl were released and, I won’t say who, there were two girls in the running whose possible insertion into KARA would definitely lead to a mental breakdown. So I HAVE to vote. And since I have to vote, I might as well make an educated choice, though I’m not going to lie, I’ve already made up my mind as to who I’m voting for. And after watching this episode, I’m definitely voting for those two. So let’s summarize the first episode for you and then introduce each Baby KARA member (still disgusted with myself after falling under DSP’s evil spell). Sidenote: I hate you DSP. First SS501 and now KARA, you can never have nice things because you suck.
EP 1 Summary
It’s the usual survival reality program. The girls (aptly named Baby KARA) are trainees and then one day each one is brought into a room and interrogated about what it would feel like to be part of KARA, the expectations, the stress, their personal lives, the sob stories. Then the girls are informed that each week they will be given a KARA choreography and song to learn. They have to record the song in the studio and then perform in front of different live audiences. After each performance they are judged and scored by “experts”, and those scores are then added to a popularity vote (20%), performance rating vote (30%), and global popularity score (30%). So these girls are literally on a roster, trying to trample over each other to get the coveted spot, or spots, I’m still unsure about that part. The first song chosen was Step, and the girls worked hard to learn the choreography. However, in the end, they disappointed the judges as a whole, in a totally-not-planned dramatic ending.
Contestant #1: So Jin
When I saw the teasers, she was in third place for me (I was going by looks), now, after the show, she’s in second. So Jin is the leader of Baby KARA because she’s the oldest member. She likes playing jokes on the members, but she worries that she might be too aggressive as a leader when she gives criticism and helps them practice. She’s also very confident and has the most presence when the members are standing in line. Her only worry is that she’s already 23 and that’s considered the age limit for late idol debuts (this is the age of debuting 15 year olds). She’s decent vocally, a passionate dancer and she’s pretty. I approve! After the Step performance, her criticism by the judges was that she stood out to much and needed to learn how to let the other members shine. Frankly, I don’t think that’s a critique! More like, oh, sorry I’m so much better than them.
Contestant #2: Shi Yoon
When I first saw the teasers, I didn’t care where this girl went so long as it wasn’t KARA. I still feel the same, though I wouldn’t be totally devastated if she made it (looks-wise). Honestly, I didn’t remember anything about her and had to rewatch her parts. She morphed into one really tall person with Chae Kyoung (another member I’ll mention later). In the recording studio, she was underwhelming (to me) but the vocal coach gave her credit for practicing and thought she did well. She’s much prettier on the show than she was in the teaser. She apparently thinks her face is asymmetrical and I think that’s funny because she looks like a model. She’s timid and says she’s a good actress. Then when she tried to do a dramatic crying scene, the tears wouldn’t come and she became embarrassed. But she played it off and it was funny. She’s likable and pretty, I’m just not sure about the talent department. For the Step performance, her criticism was that she kept looking at the floor and didn’t appear confident. She seems like she still needs to be a trainee for a while but I can see her becoming an idol or actress. I know this sounds shallow, but the music industry is shallow, but she has the face.
Contestant #3: Young Ji
When the teasers came out, she was my second favorite. Now, she’s dead last. She was the only member that really struggled in the studio recording of Step and received the worst evaluation. So she got teary-eyed in the studio. And she also cried in her first individual interview. She apparently made a promise to her parents that she would pass this final challenge and become a singer. She transferred from another company and the move was very difficult for everyone. Yes that’s all very nice, I feel for you, only I don’t really connect with her. So I don’t. Oh, when they asked her what she would do if she were criticized for being the new KARA member…she said she’d cry. The only member that said that and concentrated on the pain of it all (then she’d “overcome” it). Everyone else said that they would either learn from the experience, work harder, give time to adjust or think of it as possible future praise or encouragement. I’m sorry, but this girl is a wreck. Don’t put her in KARA. I would tell you what the judges said about her performance but she had a leg injury and was in the hospital the rest of the episode…….yeah. There’s only one clutz that I love to death and she’s already in KARA. She doesn’t need competition in the falling department:
Contestant #4: Chae Kyoung
Chae Kyoung didn’t stand out for me. She does look a lot younger in the show than she did in the teaser video. She’s 19 but looks 15. Her blood type is AB and she seems very quiet and reserved. When they asked her if she thought she lacked anything to be a KARA member, her totally honest answer was, “My dancing skills need to be improved. I don’t have as much stage experience as they do. I’m not good with facial expressions or eye glares.” (What on earth, that’s considered a skill nowadays in K-Pop? Orange Caramel should hold classes.) I’ll give her props for being sincere but netizens are going to eat her alive for her self-recognized flaws. She says her parents are more ambitious than her because she’s not a good student. I mean, it’s funny, but come on, tell us some good qualities here. You’re throwing yourself under a bus! She’s adorable though. Her criticism from the judges was that although she was pretty and a good dancer, she wasn’t drawing attention to herself. I agree. She has time to learn though.
Contestant #5: So Min
It’s my favorite member! She was my favorite in the teasers and my favorite in the show! Doesn’t she look like Hara’s little sister? If she doesn’t make it I’m going to be so heartbroken (oh great, I’m attached already, this is going to hurt. Why do I fall for these corporate beartraps?!) She gets flustered when you tell her she looks like Hara and her smile is kind of creepy (awww). She is also full of wise words: “The KARA members are already complete, they know who they are. I will learn from them one by one.” (I throw flower petals)I can totally see her being a part of KARA, she fits the look (mature, beautiful, with Hara being the slightly-alien-like quirk that spices things up—imagine two!). The thing about So Min is, Korea will either love her or hate her because she looks like Hara. Either they’ll love her for looking like someone they admire so much or hate her for supposedly taking away Hara’s unique look. I hope they love her because I love her. Oh my god, I’m so totally going to cry in this finale…Anyway, the judges thought So Min did the best in the Step performance and praised her.
Contestant #6: Chae Won
Yes, yes, I know what you’re all thinking. But she’s not an AKB48 member. Chae Won is 18 and her commute everyday is 4 hours long (home, school, DSP building, home). If she makes it into KARA she says she wants to become a member KARA can’t be without (yeah, I don’t know about that, KARA has done without a lot of members). Anyway, I think she’s too young and doesn’t really fit the image of the group. DSP probably knows this and is only putting her in this show to familiarize viewers with her so they can debut her in a year or two. The judges are divided about her Step performance: the choreographer thought she needed to practice harder and KARA’s manager thought she did the best considering her short period as a trainee.
Contestant #7: Yoo Ji
…Yeah. Yoo Ji was on K-Pop Star 2 and is confident about her dancing. She says KARA is like a dictionary that she needs to learn from and I’m hoping that was just a terrible English translation a la SM. There’s not much to say about her. That’s it. The show really didn’t concentrate on her a lot now that I look back. In judging, KARA’s manager said he was the most disappointed with her. He’d praised her the most during dance practice but she lacked the same confidence and skill while on stage. My only concern: Don’t stick this girl in Rainbow, that’s the last thing Rainbow needs. I am warning you DSP, don’t pull a Core Contents Media reorganization frenzy. I might just get an aneurism.
**Results For KARA Project’s First Round of Votes
1st. Young Ji
2nd. So Min
3rd. Chae Kyoung
4th. So Jin
5th. Chae Won
6th. Shi Yoon
7th. Yoo Ji
HOW IS YOUNG JI IN FIRST?! She literally did NOTHING the first episode. I’m done. So done. Gonna go cry in a corner.
If you have the heart, you can watch the first episode here: