After two weeks of recaps, HamaKisu (濱キス) returns with a new challenge for the Kis-My-Ft2 members – karaoke. Right from the start, I know I’m going to enjoy this episode, because I’m curious to see how well they do. There are few things I enjoy picking apart more than vocals, and I rarely hesitate to criticize poor singing when I hear it (being kinder to children and people with self-esteems so low the critique might cause them to cry, of course). It’ll also be interesting to see what songs they pick.

HamaKisu Title

All karaoke games have their own unique scoring system, and the one Kis-My-Ft2 are up against is a bit confusing. It works on a gong show principle – that is, if they aren’t doing well enough, the song ends. They “clear” a song if they manage to get through it.

Making Karaoke Confusing

How hard is it to clear? Well, the show’s producers are once again offering 1,000,000 yen (roughly $12,500) if Kis-My-Ft2 can clear on their first try. So, yeah, it’s pretty much impossible.

The ChallengeThe Challenge 2

They do have an experienced coach – Ehara Masahiro-san, who has appeared on Kanjani no Shiwake among other shows to show off his karaoke skills, and also does monomane (impressions) of vocalists.

Ehara MasahiroEhara Masahiro 2

Why some members of Kis-My-Ft2 are holding tambourines and maracas, I have no idea.


Fujigaya-kun is the first one up, and therefore the one to go after the elusive 1 million yen (a wad of 10000 yen bills which we assume is the full amount), which Hamaguchi-san has ready and shows off to the camera:

But Will They Ever Win It?

He decides to take a stab at “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana.” Will he manage to make his SMAP senpai proud?

Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana

I have no idea what criteria the program actually uses to judge the vocals, and I don’t think Fujigaya-kun did, either.

Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana 2

Fujigaya-kun’s singing is better than the SMAP average, though still within the SMAP spectrum (which is a pretty wide spectrum). I wonder how this machine would score a vocalist better than the original. The one on Kanjani no Shiwake does that pretty well, but I remember when Inagaki Goro-san from SMAP did a karaoke challenge and the machine actually required him to sing worse.

The other members were totally raucous during Fujigaya-kun’s attempt, shouting stuff out so often that I wondered whether it would hurt his score.

Boisterous Audience

After Fujigaya-kun’s try, Ehara-san showed them how it’s done, singing “シングルベッド” (“Single Bed”) by シャ乱Q (Sharam Q). Will he really be able to clear, or will the pro be embarrassed by the computer?

Ehara's Try 1Ehara's Try 2

In any case, he’s a wonderful singer, and any variety show is lucky to have him:

Kis-My-Ft2 in Awe

Now, someone in Kis-My-Ft2 has to clear a song, or they don’t get to leave. How long will it take?

Kitayama-kun was up next, choosing “Sekai ga Owaru Made wa . . .” from WANDS.

Kitayama's Try 1Kitayama's Try 2Kitayama's Try 3

His performance was good, and he really put his energy into it. It’s hard to compare it to Fujigaya-kun’s because the WANDS song is more demanding. I’m not familiar with the original, so I can’t make a comparison to that. Unfortunately, “good” is definitely not enough for this karaoke computer.

They edited out some rounds, and number 12 was Senga-kun, going with a SMAP song again, but this time with “Yozora no Mukou.”

Senga's Try

Senga-kun had a quaver in his voice that occasionally put him off-key, but his rendition got better as he went along and bore a strong resemblance to the original.

Meanwhile, Ehara-san left the building and Miracle Hikaru-san took over as coach.

Miracle Hikaru

Fujigaya-kun made attempt number 13, and he picked Kis-My-Ft2’s own “She! Her! Her!” If Inagaki Goro-san’s experience is any indication, this is a bad idea. In their own songs, each group member is used to singing their own part, whereas when a person sings someone else’s song, they naturally sing the most prominent of the vocal parts.

Fujigaya's Second Try 1Fujigaya's Second Try 2

I hate to say it, but to my ears (which do not correlate with the results from the karaoke machine in any way) Fujigaya-kun’s rendition was not very good. Then again, I’m not particularly fond of this song in the first place.

Miracle Hikaru-san explains the little characters we’ve been seeing and how they relate to the strictness of the computer’s standards.

What the Little Cartoons Are All About

Will this information help the Kis-My-Ft2 members clear a song with half the episode left? More importantly, what songs will they pick – the easiest songs available or songs they’re more familiar with?

I have to applaud Fujigaya-kun for a nice song choice – for song #23, he picked “Yuuwaku” (誘惑 – Temptation) by GLAY, which is one of my playlist favorites. I can’t say anything complementary about the way he sang the song, but it was a good to hear him make the attempt.

Fujigaya Sings GLAY

By the way, Hamaguchi-san does a special duet with Miracle Hikaru-san. How do you think that turns out?

Special Duet

This was a fun episode, and seemed fun for the participants, too. I wish they had spent more time on it, and showed some of the attempts they skipped over (most of them) by taking more episodes.

Altogether, the Kis-My-Ft2 members exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations. Not knowing much about the group outside of this program and Shounen Club, the performances of Senga-kun and Miyata-kun were somewhat surprising. I’d have liked to hear more to get a better feel for their relative abilities, though. As it was, we got a lot from Fujigaya-kun (three songs), and no clips of Tamamori-kun or Yokoo-kun singing.

Next week we’re again treated to something new – the Hamaguchi specialty of surviving off the bounty of the sea. Expect lots of underwater shots.