56th Kohaku Uta Gassen rundown (2005 edition)

It’s already March, and I still haven’t watched the newest Kohaku Uta Gassen. Actually I skipped last year’s too. And the year before. It just wasn’t interesting any more. It seemed like the organizers were trying too hard to rope in younger viewers, so they kept inserting younger acts even where they didn’t belong. For example someone would be singing a lovely enka song and you’d have Momoiro Clover or whatever girl band is currently popular standing in the background doing/singing nothing of particular interest. And it just got worse and worse with every passing year, so I up and quit watching Kohaku entirely.

But eh, I’m a bit nostalgic for it, and I still have some of the older episodes that I burned to DVD a while ago (alas due to licensing issues Kohaku is never formally released on DVD) so I’m going to take the next couple of hours to watch and comment on the 56th edition (第56回NHK紅白歌合戦), which is the first one I ever watched. Maybe over the coming months I might watch the others until I finally catch up to 2014’s episode.

Intro

The version I have starts with some adverts (and actually has adverts running through). That’s a lot of sponsors! Ahh, those are some tasty-looking gyoza…

gyoza

Blah blah, Mino Monta and Nakama Yukie and some actor and presenter I’ve never heard of before, then all the performers file onto the stage. This was the first time Kohaku tried the multiple presenter thing, but I guess it didn’t go well with the audience because they didn’t try it again until around 2009 when they decided to use all of Arashi. Nice traditional outfits on the presenters though.

1 細川たかし (31) 北酒場 – Hosokawa Takashi – Kita Sakaba (31st appearance)

Nice white suit. How many buckets of black dye did he pour on his head :-p You’re not fooling anyone, old man. Great voice as usual. I’ve always liked this song, though I could do without the little hop and dance those behind him were doing. They should have spent the time learning the words so they could sing along.

2 川中美幸 (18) 二輪草 – Kawanaka Miyuki – Nirinsou (18th appereance)

Stupid Gorie didn’t have to fall when she was introduced. These non-funny gags are part of the reason I stopped watching this show. Sweet song, and I like dark but flashy kimonos like hers.

kawanaka miyuki

Introduction of Guest Judges

They’re just there to look good. Their votes doesn’t really count for much. I remember when people thought Kotooshu was going to be the next big thing in sumo. I used to watch Kurihara Harumi’s cooking show on NHK World, but she adds too much sugar to everything.

And then some more blathering from the judges about a new phone voting system and some other stuff like that. Zzz.

3 鈴木亜美 (3) Delightful – Suzuki Ami – Delightful (3rd appearance)

This was Suzuki Ami’s return to Kohaku as well as her return to showbiz after a long break. She and her parents sued  her talent agency, for one reason or another, and thus she was blacklisted for a while. I read an article once that theorized that when she sings “Give me a chance! Give me one more chance!!” it’s the showbiz world she’s talking to.

Interesting outfit, but she can’t sing that well, she can’t dance and she’s not that cute. Well, not that that ever stopped anyone. Body shake it! Body Shake it now! The song is definitely catchy but the dance is moar liek Badly Shake It, amirite?

suzuki ami

4 北山たけし (初) 男の出船 – Kitayama Takeshi – Otoko no Defune (1st appearance)

Great voice, and he really nails this song, which was apparently written by his mentor Kitajima Saburo. Nice of the older veterans to appear and give him support. Fune gaaaaa yuuuuuuuuuukuuu. Then he starts crying at the end… oh, boy.

5 水森かおり (3) 五能線 – Mizumori Kaori – Gonnousen (3rd appearance)

Another lovely voice and a nice, simple song. Btw, I hear the reason Mizumori Kaori likes those floor-length dresses is so she can wear super-high platform shoes underneath. Heh. As a fellow shortie, let me tell you: just accept your shortness already!

mizumori kaori

6 w-inds. (4) 十六夜の月 – w-inds. – Juurokuya no Tsuki (4th appearance)

Super-ugly outfits, band members who aren’t that good-looking, can’t dance, can’t sing… Normally I just forward through this performance, but since I have to review it for the purposes of this post, let’s say this just represents the state of much of the music industry worldwide.

7 坂本冬美 (17) ふたりの大漁節 – Sakamoto Fuyumi – Futari no Daigyobushi (17th appearance)

Nice performance, I really like the yellow-and-blue motif of the dancers behind her. I normally find Sakamoto’s voice too sharp and nasal, but it really fits the song this time. Also I really want her blue-and-white sea spray motif kimino. Probably costs like $10k though. ^^;;

8 布施明 (21) 少年よ – Fuse Akira – Shounen yo (21st appearance)

Another great voice and a lovely, encouraging song. I always mean to learn to sing it, but I only got the chorus down. Shounen yo! Tabi ni deta nara! Ame mo furu, kao wo agete! Hit the beat! Keep your beat! Unnecessary shenanigans with the Kamen Riders fighting stumbling enemies behind him, but that’s fanservice for the KR fans so I don’t begrudge them. Aha! Someone fell down. Ao, the things humans must do to earn a paycheck. Shigeki Takahashi looks rather nervous.

fuse akira

9 コブクロ (初) 桜 – Kobukuro – Sakura (1st appearance)

Another unfunny skit with Korokke, Mino Monta and Mori Shinichi. Plus announcer Yamamoto blatantly reveals that he’s been reading everything off a teleprompter. We know that already, but at least pretend you’re not! I don’t care too much for Kobukuro’s music. Not a bad song, though.

10 松浦亜弥 (5) & DEF.DIVA (初) モーニング娘。 (8) 気がつけば好きすぎて♪盛り上がって♪LOVEマシーン! Matsuura Aya – Ki ga tsukeba Sukisugite (5th apperance) Def Diva (1st appearance) – Moriagatte. Morning Musume (8th apperance) – Love Machine

Blah, blah… A special performance with several girl bands working together. This was probably the last time Momosu was even remotely relevant before AKB48 made their big splash, so I hope they enjoyed it. Is delicious mutton dressed as lamb. Very pointless segment with bad music (actually Love Machine is rather catchy) that I normally skip.

11 氣志團 (2) One Night Carnival – Kishidan – One Night Carnival (2nd appearance)

Akko makes a surprisingly convincing gang leader, but I don’t know who the other lady in the skit is or why I’m supposed to care.

Funny story about this song – I first encountered it in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan (NDS game), so when I later heard it in Kohaku I thought “Hey, they’re covering a game song!” Then my brain corrected itself and I remembered all the songs in the game were real songs. Haha, brain fart. Can you master baby! Master baby! Catchy song, and the stuff going on behind is slightly funny. Poor foreigners, it’s not easy making a living in Japan, is it?

kishidan

12 BoA (4) 抱きしめる – BoA – Dakishimeru (4th appearance)

Unnecessary introduction in Korean by one of the SMAP guys. I wonder if his Korean is any good. I liked BoA’s hairstyle so much I’ve copied it a few times since. And the choreography is rather boring, but she does give it her best. Not a bad performance. I wonder what BoA is up to recently.

boa

13 ゴスペラーズ (5) ひとり – Gospellers – Hitori (5th appearance)

More unfunny skits. I’ve heard the mp3 version of this song and it’s not bad, but here the lead singer really butchers the song when it’s time to hit the high notes. Actually the whole harmony is just off. I’ve heard amateur acappella bands that sound much better than this, but I guess in the land of the blind (Japan) the one who does something new is king.

14 長山洋子 (12) 三線:夏川りみ 芭蕉布 – Nagayama Youko, with Natsukawa Rimi on shamisen – Bashoufu (12th apperance)

In my version there was an advert break before this. I love the relaxing sound of this song. Interesting little thing she’s got on the corner of her eye there. Nagayama Youko was a fading pop star when she decided to reinvent her as a folk singer, which has worked so well for her I find it hard to believe she was ever anything else. I think Natsukawa Rimi is wasted on the sanshin though, since she’s a good singer (one-hit wonder?) in her own right.

nagayama yoko

15 森山直太朗 (2) 風花 – Moriyama Naotaro – Kazahana (2nd apperance0

Love the song, love Moriyama’s falsetto. Kazahan made me a Moriayam Naotaro fan in one shot. It was used for some drama, so the people showed up to support him or something like that. Unnecessary, as I keep saying. But at least there’s a simple background and simple clothes to let us focus on the great song. Rururururirarira~

16 藤あや子 (14) むらさき雨情 – Fuji Ayako (14th appearance) – Murasaki Ujou.

Twins pull off a silly magic trick, but at least they manage to produce a wisteria bloom that is marginally related to Fuji Ayako (Fuji = wisteria). Fuji Ayako is as beautiful as ever, and I like the little wisteria on her fingertip. Murasaki Ujou isn’t one of my favorites, but it’s a good song, and the performers behind her don’t distract from it.

fuji ayako

17 美川憲一 (22) 愛の讃歌(越路吹雪)– Mikawa Kenichi (22nd Appearance) – Ai no Sanka

Ai no Sanka is a Japanese cover of Hymne à l’amour, one of Edith Piaf’s chansons. It was made famous in Japan by Koshiji Fubuki, a friend of Mikawa’s who died in 1980. For once Mikawa comes out in an understated (by his standards) outfit and instead thrills the audience with his piercing voice and evocative style of singing. The guy can really sing when he puts his mind to it, which is why I got annoyed in subsequent Kohaku’s where all he ever did was sing “Sasoriza no Onna” in increasingly ridiculous outfits.

18 倉木麻衣 (3) Love, Day After Tomorrow – Kuraki Mai (3rd appearance) – Love, Day After Tomorrow

Stupid Kohaku exercise. I think this Hiromichi guy had a DS game come out or something. Meh.

I haven’t heard from Kuraki Mai in a while, is she still performing? I remember really liking this song and downloading one of her “Best Of” albums, but I think this really is her best. Can’t remember what the other tunes even sounded like, but this is a good one. Her simple outfit is really nice too. I bet she was teased like crazy about those ears as a kid, but they’re cute now.

kuraki mai

19 前川清 (15) 夜霧よ今夜も有難う(石原裕次郎)– Maekawa Kiyoshi (15th appearance) – Yogiri yo Konya mo Arigatou

Signature tune of Ishihara Yujiro, popular actor and singer who died of cancer in 1987. I’ve heard the original and TBH it sounds better than this cover, but well, whatever. I lol’ed evilly when Yamamoto called Maekawa Yamakawa by accident and loved it even more when Maekawa said “Yamakawa deshita” at the end. ^___^ See, the spontaneous moments of comedy are so much better than the manufactured skits.

Then lots of Mino Monta loitering around the radio booth.

20 島谷ひとみ (4) 亜麻色の髪の乙女 – Shimatani Hitomi (4th apperance) – Amairo no Kami no Otome

A cover of an old song from 1968 by a Japanese band known as the ‘Village singers’. Great voice, nice song, but what a hideous dress! Though I guess if you can sing that well it doesn’t matter whether you wear a sack or not. TBH I prefer the original song without the upbeat tempo and drums and stuff, but whatever.

amairo no

21 平原綾香 (2) 明日 – Hirahara Ayaka (2nd appearance) – Ashita

This song always puts me to sleep. Hirahara’s voice is a little too breathy for my liking too, but that’s just her style I guess.

22 鳥羽一郎 (18)・山川豊 (11) 海の匂いのお母さん – Toba Ichiro (18th appearance) Yamakawa Yutaka (11th appearance) – Umi no Nioi no Okaasan

Kaa-saaaan, kaa-saaaaaan, ogenki desukaaaaa. I find myself singing it from time to time. I quite like this song. Apparently some people started thinking the two men were brothers because of the song. What’s Yamakawa looking all tearful for at the end?

23 香西かおり (13) 無言坂 – Kouzai Kaori (13th apperance) = Mugonzaka

Gorgeous kimono and I love, love the hair decorations. I looked into buying some traditional hair decs, but they’re all so expensive if you want good stuff. And yes, I do watch Kohaku for the outfits, why do you ask? On topic, the song is lovely, but it seems like Kouzai Kaori sings the same song every single time sooo… yeah. And honestly her voice isn’t so great, especially the screechy ‘zakaaaaa’ at the end.

kouzai kaori

24 スキマスイッチ (初) 全力少年 – Sukima Switch (1st apperance) – Zenryoku Shounen

Another song I first heard in Ouendan, but this time I was wise to their tricks. I usually don’t like nasal voices like this, but this one works somehow. Or maybe I’m just biased because I liked Ouendan so much. Anyway, fun song and cute little kids with afros in the background.

25 伊藤由奈 (初) ENDLESS STORY – Itou Yuna (1st appearance) – Endless Story

1st and last I’m sure, since she was just running off the popularity of the Nana movie at the time. Which is a shame, because I really like the song (apparently copied from heavily inspired by a Faith Hill song called “If I’m not in Love.” I should check it out). Her voice isn’t anything special, and someone should tell her to stop breathing so loudly into the mic, but I like the song so nothing else matters. Since Itou hasn’t released anything since 2010 and hasn’t updated her official blog since 2011 I guess it’s safe to say this song will be her sole showbiz legacy.

ito yuna

26 TOKIO (12) 明日を目指して! – TOKIO (12th appearance) – Ashita wo Mezashite!

What did they have Joshima come over fpr anyway? Not one of Tokio’s better songs. What? Don’t look so surprised, they actually have a few. And look, they’re playing their own instruments. That’s gotta count for something in a Johnny’s group, right? Not bad, but I usually skip this one too.

27 CHEMISTRY (5th appearance) almost in love

Huh. I’ve been skipping this since the first time I heard it. Listening to it again, yuuup. I was right to skip it. The song is no good and the guys can’t sing AT. ALL. Only marginally better than w-inds.

28 大塚愛 (2) プラネタリウム – Ootsuka Ai (2nd appearance) – Planetarium

I like the song enough, though the studio version is better because they can disguise the slight screechiness of her voice better.

2005 marked 60 years since the end of the war and since the nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so the next three performances commemorate the event. I kind of like the way they aren’t like “Evil America, how dare you drop the bomb” but more like “Let’s avoid this happening again if possible.”

吉永小百合による原爆詩の朗読 – Yoshinaga Sayuri reads poems about the bombs. She’s known for doing that, apparently.

29 さだまさし (17) 広島の空 – Sada Masashi (17th apperance) Hiroshima no Sora

My first introduction to Sada Masashi, whose music I’ve since become quite fond of. This song isn’t one of my favorites though, but since it introduced me to his style I can let it pass. …Actually I like the song, especially the drums, but the dreary topic keeps me from wanting to listen to it.

sada masashi

30 森山良子 (10)(・森山直太朗) さとうきび畑 – Moriyama Ryouko (10th appearance) with her son Moriyama Naotaro – Satoukibi Batake

Zawawa zawawa zawawa. That’s an onomatopoeia for the sound of the wind rustling through sugarcane fields in Okinawa, where the bloody Battle of Okinawa took place. Zawawa zawawa zawawa…

End of the first half, broken up by the news in Japan and by adverts in my version. See, now I want a bottle of Ponzu and a packet of choux cremes. No fair.

全員ソング スキウタ1位曲 「世界に一つだけの花」– Everyone sings “Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana”

Mega smash-hit song by SMAP that I’ve never seen the fuss about. Another song I normally skip. SMAP leader Nakai is wearing his usual hat to cover up his balding pate. I wonder if he’s gotten a hair transplant since. It worked for Rooney!

31 倖田來未 (初) 倖田來未 スペシャルバージョン Koda Kumi (1st appearance) Koda Kumi Special Version

A medley of Koda Kumi songs. The drooling old men (Yamakawa Maekawa Kiyoshi, Fuse Akira and Horiuchi Takeo) brought in to cheer her now just show her chief selling point – flaunting her body. I like her (possibly manufactured) bubbly persona, so it saddens me that she doesn’t think she can succeed without fanservice. She probably can’t though.

dirty old men

32 D-51 (1st appearance) NO MORE CRY

The chorus is definitely a cover of some western song that I can’t remember. Nothing else of note about this song.

33 浜崎あゆみ (7) fairyland – Hamasaki Ayumi (7th appearance) fairyland

Blah. I shouldn’t have to mention that I’m not a Hamasaki fan, though she does have a few catchy tunes out there. Of which this is not one. And she’s lip-syncing to boot! “No she’s not” you claim. Puh-lease, Ayumi Hamasaki doesn’t sing that well live. A hater? W-who, me? You found me out!

34 氷川きよし (6) 面影の都 – Hikawa Kiyoshi (6th appearance) – Omokage no Kiyoshi

My sister is a huge Hikawa fan, but I find his voice a little too nasal for me. Not that the ladies are really listening to him sing anyway. But he’s not that handsome either so, huh? But I actually like this song quite a bit, sad to hear it’s not one of his bigger hits. Now, where do I find that outfit to buy? XD

hikawa kiyoshi

35 ゴリエ (初) Pecori ♥ Night – Gorie (1st and hopefully last appearance) Pecori ♥ Night

Another deviant like Mikawa Kenichi. That was very well done, but I don’t care if I never see this guy on my TV screen ever again.

36 WaT (初) 僕のキモチ – WaT (1st appearance) Boku no Kimochi

I almost wrote Boku no Kimchi, which would have been better… haha, their microphones fell down. Hahahahaha! Okay, that was great. And the song isn’t exactly terrible either. Better than the other boy bands so far, at least.

タイムスリップ60年 昭和・平成ALWAYS – Time slip to the 60’s – The Showa and Heisei eras.

A tribute to actress Mori Mitsuko, who was 85 at the time and passed away in 2012. She’s watching the show like “What is this I don’t even.” Only of real interest to people who are nostalgic for older eras of Japan. Another section I usually skip since even the nostalgic songs are badly sung.

mori mitsuko

37 小林幸子 (27) 越後絶唱 – Kobayashi Sachiko (27th appearance) – Echigo Zesshou

Who is this Hiroshi guy? Another flash in the pan, I guess. Kobayashi Sachiko gets panned a lot for her singing, but I like most of her songs. I like her outfits too. I hear she was taken out of the most recent edition, which is a bit of a shame.

38 T.M.Revolution (3rd appearance) WHITE BREATH

Yay, Takanori Makes Revolution! I like the song, but he’s just yelling here. Unnn, zannen. My sister has been to one of his concerts (because she has all the fun) and said he has incredible energy that makes the whole place come alive. Wish I could go to one of them. Yakushimaru Hiroko is just watching him like…. what’s with this guy? 😀

deliberately bad shot of tm revolution

39 一青窈 (3) ハナミズキ – Hitoto Yo (3rd appearance) Hanamizuki

The only song one hit wonder Hitoto Yo is ever allowed to perform, it seems. I find it boring and usually skip this part. She had to drop out of the showbiz industry a few years later due to some kind of disease so maybe I shouldn’t make fun of her.

40 グループ魂 (初) 君にジュースを買ってあげる♥ – Group Tamashi (1st appearance) Kimi ni Juice wo Katte Ageru♥

Song about an abusive relationship, it seems. I’ll treat you like trash but I’ll buy you juice sometimes so it’s okay. I guess it’s supposed to be set in kindergarten or something, that’s the only time you can get away with that. The lead singer wanders off into the audience… this isn’t the kind of unscripted performance I was talking about, but whatever.

group tamashi leader

41 aiko (4) スター aiko (4th appearance) Star

Aiko looks so small and cute that I really want to like her, but every single one of her songs I’ve heard has been dead boring so she’s not helping me out there. Wonder who’s taller, Aiko or T. M. Revolution?

42 山崎まさよし (初) One more time, One more chance – Yamazaki Masayoshi (1st appearance) One more time, One more chance

Heard this song here first before watching 5cm a Second, a very boring anime movie. Love the song. I was lucky enough to borrow a CD of Yamazaki’s live performances once and it was interesting to listen to, but this is definitely his best song, even though it’s rather non-typical of what he usually performs.

You notice his introduction was merged with aiko’s and there was no introduction of the one afterwards? They were running out of time and decided to save a bit of time that way. Maybe we can blame the Group Tamashi guys for it, or all the stupid skits we’ve been seeing so far.

43 ポルノグラフィティ(4) ジョバイロ Porno Graffiti (4th appearance) Yo bailo

Meh. I like Porno Graffiti despite their unfortunate name, this song is rather generic. It’ll probably grow on me if I listen to it a few times, but I don’t wanna.

44 石川さゆり (28) 天城越え – Ishikawa Sayuri (28th appearance) Amagigoe

I like Koda Kumi’s kimono. Gorie doesn’t even deserve a mention. I can’t commend the lyrics, but I do like this song, and I remember this particular performance of Ishkawa Sayuri’s Amagigoe being stunning, so I’d better take a bathroom break first… Okay, back. …That was brilliant. Actually I never get tired of watching this song performed, but this was doubly excellent.  An understated but emotion-packed performance, really convincing. I love it.

ishikawa sayuri

Haha that Pearl Soy Milk with Yoshimi Iwasaki, she looks like she has to force herself to drink the stuff. How many thousand takes did they do to make her this sick of the drink? Being a star ain’t easy.

45 森進一 (38) おふくろさん – Mori Shinichi (38th appearance) Ofukurosan

How many times has this man performed this song at Kohaku? Probably 20 times out of those 38 performance. The first time I watched it I was like “What a sweet song” but he sang the same song the next year… and the year after that… meanwhile he has other better songs like Kita no Hotaru and Erimo Misaki so I don’t know why people keep asking for this one. It’s a good song, for what it’s worth.

46 AI (1st appearance) Story

The name is pronounced Ai, not AI, Mino Monta. Another song I really liked, but non-indicative of the rest of AI’s works, which are more rap & R&B and not really to my tastes. I also like her outfit, though I don’t think I could pull it off. I’d probably try if I knew where to get that top though…

AI

47 アリス (2) アリス プレミアム 2005 – Alice (2nd appearance) Alice Premium 2005

I LOVE Alice so much it’s easy to forget this is the first time I even heard of them. I knew Tanimura Shinji from Subaru and Horiuchi Takeo from songs like Joudan ja nee, but I had no idea that they were ever in a band together. I love both the songs they performed: Kurutta Kajitsu and Tooku de Kiteki wo Kikinagara. I don’t know which one I like more, though I guess I do find myself singing Tooku more often. Something about that “nanimo ii koto ga nakatta kono machi de” line just grabs me. Alice also performed the original of the Champion song Takumura butchers in Hajime no Ippo, if you’ve ever seen that great anime. I’ll have to do a proper post on them one of these days.

alice premium 2005

48 夏川りみ (4) 涙そうそう – Natsukawa Rimi (4th appearance) Nada Sousou

Huh, so she does perform. I remember our teacher made us listen to this in Japanese class once. I liked it then, but I’ve heard it too many times since, especially since that’s all Natsukawa Rimi ever sings on shows. I want to go back and listen to Alice again.

49 Def Tech (1st appearance) My Way

I normally don’t like rap, but I quite like this song. I even downloaded the MP3 and listened to it a few times afterwards. How did they make the images appear on the floor? A projector would be blocked by the singers, so… hmm. A screen on the ground? Maybe just a trick for TV viewers. A passionate performance.

def tech

50 松任谷由実 with Friends Of Love The Earth(初)Smile again – Matsutoya Yumi with Friends Of Love The Earth (1st appearance) Smile again

I like the Korean guy’s voice, I hear he’s an opera singer or something. Naruhodo. And I’ve always liked Matsutoya Yumi since long before I even watched Kiki’s Delivery Service. This song is a bit sappy, but I really love the performance. Surprised this is Yumin’s first appearance on Kohaku, what with her popularity.

51 DREAMS COME TRUE (10) 何度でも〜紅白スペシャルバージョン〜 Dreams Come True (10th appearance) Nandodemo Kohaku Special Version

Don’t they get tired of singing this particular song every year? But it’s become a tradition now so there’s no helping it. Another song I liked the first time I heard it but quickly got tired of.

52 五木ひろし (35) ふりむけば日本海 – Itsuki Hiroshi (35th appearance) Furimukeba Nihonkai

Probably my favorite Itsuki Hiroshi song, though I also like Shiodoki quite a bit. I hear he does his best to sing a different song every Kohaku. You hear that, Mori Shinichi, Dreams Come True? A simple, no frills performance, just the way I like them.

53 渡辺美里 (初) My Revolution – Watanabe Misato (1st appearance) My Revolution

Every year Kohaku has one or two artists who were popular years ago but never showed up on Kohaku back then, just to liven things up. Great song from the 80s. And good on Watanabe for making an entire career out of only one song, lol. Only a pop star could pull off a top like that to boot.

watanabe misato

54 m-flo (1st appearance) ♥ Akiko Wada (29) HEY!

What was Akko thinking? She looks so out of place and her ‘singing’ makes everything even worse. Horrible song, horrible performance. 0/10.

55 中島美嘉 (4) 雪の華 Nakasima Mika (4th appearance) Yuki no Hana

Okay song. Nice voice. Straighten up, luv. Yuki no Hana was a mega hit for Nakashima so I’ve always tried to like it, but it doesn’t really do it for me.

56 北島三郎 (42) 風雪ながれ旅 – Kitajima Saburo (42nd appearance) Fuusetsu nagare tabi

I snickered when the paper snow went into his mouth. Sabu-chaaaan! He’s so cute.

57 天童よしみ (10) 川の流れのように(美空ひばり)Tendo Yoshimi (10th appearance) Kawa no nagare no you ni

My favorite Misora Hibari song, probably because it’s the one I heard first. Tendo’s delivery is rather more powerful than the version I’m used to. It also sounds a little more upbeat than the slightly sad Hibari version. Especially the ‘Aa’ part, which is more wistful and longing than the short sharp burst here. I quite like this interpretation but it will never beat the original, which still makes me break out in goosebumps on occasion.

tendo yoshimi

58 SMAP (13th appearance) Triangle

I really wanted to to skip this one, but in the interest of fairness I have to watch it. Blaaaaah. I think the only SMAP song I like is Arigato. Man, but Nakai is a horrible singer and the weird kid isn’t much better. Kimutaku, Goro and Kusanagi put a little more effort in, but the others are just hopeless.

Results

The White team (men) win despite the terrible performance at #54 which would have cost me their vote if I’d been voting at the time.

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