Korean Talent Shows: Korea’s Got Talent

There have been some interesting talent competitions on Korean TV recently. We followed the first series of Korea’s Got Talent which ended last weekend when the final was aired live on tvN and youtube. One of the finalists was singer Sung Bong Choi who became an internet sensation around the world after his first audition, partly because of his sad life story: He was an orphan but at the age of five ran away from the orphanage and became homeless. He didn’t go to school and slept in public toilets and made money by selling chewing gum on the street. Now he works as a manual labourer.  What a terrible life he has had so far. I don’t think I could have looked after myself when I was five. His story brought many, including the three judges – musical director Kolleen Park, actress and singer Song Yun-ah, and director Jang Jin – to tears.



Sung Bong Choi must have been the favourite to win and so we were not surprised when he was named in the final top three. But it was another Susan Boyle moment when it was announced that the winner of the first Korea’s Got Talent was dancer, Joo Min Jong, a female high school student. She won 300 million won cash prize and a Renault Samsung QM5 car. Sung Bong Choi came second but I’m sure just like Susan Boyle this is only the beginning for him. I thought she was a worthy winner. She had a lot of charisma and originality to her dance.


I also liked the act that came third. They were called IUV and were a female comedy duo – 3rd year high school students. They wore their school uniforms for the audition and when the judge Song Yun-ah asked them why they came to the Seoul auditions instead of the ones in their hometown in Chungnam, (about an hour away) they explained that they couldn’t take part in those auditions because they clashed with the final school exams. But the girls made it through the Seoul auditions and all the way to the top three with a fun lip-sync performance. I could watch this over and over again!

Other finalists included a primary school girl who sang in English, a young female singer who was blind,  a dancer who was also a contortionist, and a sand artist who created a story on a screen by rearranging the sand with his hand.


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