Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thoughts on S/mileage's audition results

Like always, I wanted to wait a day (or at least get a good night's rest) before I make a long essay post like this entry will inevitably become. That way I can let whatever has happened sink in and not make rash spur-of-the-moment posts.

Anyway, by now it's already "old news" that Katsuta Rina, Takeuchi Akari, Kosuga Fuyuka, Tamura Meimi, and Nakanishi Kana are S/mileage's new sub-members.

The real question is just what does being a sub-member mean? Two months ago I asked that same question and thankfully today Tsunku shed some light on the subject in his blog. It's sort of what I hinted at, but not quite. For now, the new members will be in S/mileage's new single. During their Fall concert, he will evaluate them and decide their fate. They could stay on and be permanent members (Akari is definitely not going anywhere, I think), be put into the Hello! Project Eggs for more training, debut in a new group (traditional S/mileage fans, rejoice), or for the cruel option, be kicked out of S/mileage entirely.

The sub-member idea I like; it's just the above way of going about it that I disapprove of. I'm sure that the threat of their dream being pulled away from them is enough to get them to work their butts off, but it has to be nerve-racking for them to say the least. I can only imagine how one of them would feel to be a S/mileage member for a couple of months and then demoted to Eggs status, never knowing if or when they will get another shot at it. Or worst case, have to leave Hello! Project all together.

Another reason why I'm not too fond of the way the sub-member idea is being executed is because it's quite unforgiving. Nearly every Berryz, C-ute, Morning Musume, and S/mileage member (and Manoeri) made mistakes when they were first starting out - maybe it was a flubbed MC or maybe it was completely forgetting the lyrics (some still do that today). The difference here is that if/when a S/mileage sub-member makes that mistake, it's quite possibly grounds for demotion. I just can't help but feel nervous for the girls. Even if all five new members perform as well as they can, I have a hard time imagining that S/mileage actually becomes a true 9 person group. If Tsunku wanted things that way, he could have just made them full-fledged members outright. To me, this whole sub-member idea just seems like an extended audition.

Like I said above, I'm not completely against the sub-member idea; I just would do it differently. The idea that Tsunku had for Berryz Koubou 7 years ago (to rotate them with the other Hello! Project Kids members) is intriguing. Obviously, that would be crazy to implement now with both Berryz and C-ute being veterans to the industry, but I like that idea with S/mileage. Figure out a way to pick which four or five members are featured (popularity probably wouldn't work at this stage because all of the original four S/mileage members no doubt have more fans than any of the sub-members) and switch them around. It's very AKB-like, but it's exciting and would stir things up, like Tsunku wanted.

As for the new members themselves, I have no real complaints about them. I'm not going to say that "x member" doesn't deserve to be in there or something like that. Yes, I wanted Karin to join (more on her in a second), but I can't complain about the results. As the HelloPro! TIME training camp episode showed, some of the audition hopefuls did make mistakes, but by the time the 3rd round came around, they all did exceptionally well in front of Tsunku (and all of us). Even the previously large gap between amateur auditionee and Egg started to close. There were still a few small mistakes like forgetting a word or two, but they all came a long way considering where they stated and what they went through to get that far.

Now about Miyamoto Karin. Her talent is undeniable. If you weren't sold on her before, well, she went through the S/mileage auditions by not making a single mistake (as far as I could tell). Not only that, but she showed her flashes of brilliance while arguably being the most well rounded audition hopeful. So then why was she the only Egg not chosen (unless you count Dayeon, whose status is confusing at the very least)?

If it were regarding any other audition, I'd be extremely worried, sad, and probably a little angry at this point. But, let's not forget that Morning Musume's 10th generation auditions are in full force. I honestly believe that Karin would shine more in Morning Musume than she ever would in S/mileage. That isn't a knock against S/mileage; I just mean that Morning Musume's songs are much more unfair (line distribution wise) than S/mileage songs (though that could certainly change with a larger group). That way of doing things angers a lot of fans, but it does give individual members a platform to make a name for themselves.

One of the major reasons why I believe Morning Musume has continued to survive a countless number of graduations (many of which contained their most popular members at the time; Aichan's upcoming is no different) is because of a couple extremely talented members in nearly each generation that rose to the challenge set in front of them. From Abe to Gomaki to Aichan (not necessarily in that order; I'm skipping a lot of members and generations, obviously), we've seen a passing of the torch to younger generation member(s) to carry on the Musume name.

As the days go by, it seems more and more likely that Riho is next in line to fulfill that role and I absolutely believe that Karin can do the same for Morning Musume's 10th generation. After Aichan (and Gakisan who isn't too far behind her) graduates, the group's overall talent level will plummet without a couple of young guns to eventually take their places. And it is for that reason why I'm crossing my fingers for Karin to be the ace of 10th gen. With Riho, Karin, the rest of 9th and 10th gen (and of course, the senpai members), Morning Musume once again would be poised to keep the tradition alive.

tl;dr version: i like the sub-member idea, just not the execution because it has the possibility to be really harsh. i'd rather they use the original Berryz plan instead. i'm happy for all of the winners and i can't complain about the results and i won't as long as Karin joins MM and starts a new era of dominance with the rest of 9th and 10th gen


  1. Well thought-out and well-written post. A hundred times better than some of the asinine hate I've seen spewed around on H!O after the announcement.

    I welcome them all and hope they all make it (my standard position on anything H!P)

    I'm assuming this means Karin just got into Momusu. (Keeping my fingers crossed)

    I'm expecting some of the other contestants to also pop up for the Momusu auditions. I'm also expecting a bunch of new Eggs in the future (like they did with Mogi and Aina).

    What I really want now is to hear their new single and the ability to buy the Tsunku-version of Uchouten Love they used during the concerts.

  2. Very long... yeah, didn't read the whole thing. I'm not a reading person ^^

    I just like to say, MM will continue to have the same level of talent level with new members. I think this 9th gen was special because we get to see them excel at a very fast pace. I'm talking ALL members. 5th gen had Ai-chan was pretty fast. Hints of Gaki-san was pretty fast too but didn't see her in full form until Momoko came in front of Gaki-san with her pinky up or when she entered a haunted house. Konno and Ogawa didn't have much and they just graduated (although the romance with Makoto and Yossy was awesome). I think I will like 9th gen due to skills from Riho, a Boke in Zukki, an "idiot" in Ikuta, and an all-rounder in Fuku-chan. Everyone will bring something new to MM and I like that, unlike some generations where some overshadows the others (5th gen and 6th gen anyone?).

    Whether I like Karin in MM is another story. I know she is good and all but it really bounces the question of why she didn't make it into 9th gen. I don't think there was a big difference when she auditioned for MM than in S/mileage. I think most people think that a cute face like her shouldn't be in H!P Egg. But think about it, Yuka and them were in there for 4 years before being in S/mileage and Yuka was as cute as her. Right now. And besides, even if you add Karin to MM with the 9th generation, she doesn't have much compared to the other 4. Riho dominates her in singing and dancing, Zukki is way funnier than her and we got a cute-type member in Ikuta. What will Karin contribute to MM? I don't know...

    I dun think it is all about looks and skills right now, S/mileage has got that, adding Karin won't do much because all she does have are looks and skills. Nakanishi was probably there because she can speak in Kansai dialect. Some past members that could were Kago and Nakazawa (pretty funny people I must say).

    It seems that I like hating what most people think... oh well

  3. @tommyvd: Thanks for the compliment!

    Of course, I'm hoping the same for Karin. I mean, when someone is the clear frontrunner and doesn't make any mistakes, how can she not be added? Isn't that exactly what the point of an audition is? To find someone that dominates and/or does exceptionally well. So yeah, I'm hoping for some familiar faces in the 10th gen auditions as well.

    @SFG: I counter your long comment with an equally long comment of my own. ^^

    Yeah, that first paragraph is pretty much what I said near the end of my post; Morning Musume has survived this long because of new members stepping up to the plate and excelling.

    Yes, Karin didn't make it into 9th gen but you have to realize that she was up against many more talented people compared to now. At the time we still had the likes of Kikkawa Yuu, Furukawa Konatsu, Sengoku Minami Saho Akari, Kitahara Sayaka, etc, all of which are much, much more talented than Karin (though, of course none of them made it either, but they were still Eggs at the time). Not to mention that Karin was only 11 years old.

    Now, Karin is a year older and has had another year of professional (Egg) training, which makes all of the difference in the world.

    It's debatable on whose more talented - Riho or Karin - but they are both pretty close. Riho had professional dance training before the auditions and was in a play (Fashionable). Karin has professional dance and singing training via the H!P Eggs and has been in a movie and a couple of plays. That's not even mentioning all the live experience Karin has (H!P concerts as an Egg back-up dancer, as a Shin Minimoni member, and in the Egg concerts).

  4. You can say that's why I don't like to watch auditions. People that I don't want in that got in makes be feel bad.

    But like I said, looks and skills doesn't matter much right now. AKB got popular because they went crazy on TV, doing what H!P members and other idols won't do. If H!P got more members that will have that kind of effect, it will be better.

    I think no song H!P brings out will bring them back to the glory days. I'm talking about the 80-100k copies mark. Uchouten LOVE got that much because it was the 4nin's last single, not because of the song or a sudden raise in popularity. I know it is sad because I really think some songs should have sold better than what it got, but that is how the music industry for you. AKB didn't get 1 million because of the songs either, just what they did in PVs and whatever (that is why Sakura no Ki ni Narou got lower than Everyday Katsuya even though it is a better song). I think a true artist is when their albums outsold their singles.

    It is getting off topic but yeah lol

  5. Between you and I might as well just close my worthless blog . . . again lol. For I agree with your judgements 90% of the time anyway & when I get around to posting something the two of you pretty much have covered it all ready 8)>

  6. I agree with pretty much everything you said so I won't make a long comment.

    S/mileage is the H!P group I'm least interested in. Mainly because their music style doesn't stick out in H!P. I mean MM, Berryz and C-ute all have distinct styles but S/mileage is kind of in between them all... Therefore I hope Tsunku picks members that will bring something new and different to S/mileage.

    I have gotten more interested in S/mileage since the news came out they were going to have a new member, which proves Tsunku succeeded in getting attention.

  7. Yeah, I think Karin will be a Momusu. That'll make us fans very happy.

    I'm thrilled to see Akari, Fuyuka, and Meimi make the group! I can't really see Kana and Rina in the group despite being named as members. I guess we'll just have to wait and see but I hope my 3 manage to stay in the group.

  8. I think he'll save Karin for Gen 10 ^^ Because she's talented and cute~

  9. Karin will without a doubt but put into Momusu. There is no way she got that far through the auditions just to be placed back into Egg status. Especially with her talent.

    She is a powerful force. Momusu needs that extra talent to somewhat compensate for when Ai graduates. I think it'd be a good challenge for Riho as well. They look similar, have similar personalities, are good dancers, and pretty decent in their singing. However, I think Karin has the upper hand as far as singing. I would have loved to have seen her in S/mileage but the more I think about it, the more I think her voice would be more suited towards Momusu's style with more training. Momusu needs that boost. Maybe she is being saved for that purpose and will probably debut with 10th gen. Any other reason behind her not being added just wouldn't make sense to me.

    As for the lineup, I like it. I knew Rina would for sure get picked. A lot of people have called her ugly and used that as a reason for her "lack of talent." She was one of the best singers that auditioned, and she, along with the other girls deserves her spot. I also agree the way this sub-member thing is being handled is harsh as well. But I think this is being done to appease fans. A lot of people hated the idea of auditions for S/mileage, but to be honest I think they need it to stay on the same playing field as other top idol groups. I think the concept eases a lot of people's feelings on the whole idea and might actually have people become more accustomed to the extra pairs of legs. Should they do well as far as sales go, progress in talent, and show their true colors, the wota will back them up.