Oct 17 2011
Like the post title says, I know everyone is already done with this topic, but I felt like it’s significant enough that I need to comment.
So the results come in, and all four S/mileage sub-members have been promoted. Everybody pretty much saw this coming, but questions remain. Did management ever seriously consider kicking any of them out, or was it all a publicity stunt? And most importantly, was it the right choice?
I tried to keep an open mind at first. I was even optimistic. And after careful consideration/ watching the S/mileage live-streaming concert…
I think they made a mistake.
Somehow, it feels like a desperate attempt to stuff as many warm bodies in to the group as possible in hopes that someone would fill the hole left by Saki. The auditions were, as admitted by management (Tsunku I think) “rushed”. There was no application round, little time between the announcement and the actual audition, and only girls who were able to be in Tokyo on the appointed day and showed up were able to audition. The result? A much smaller field of girls to choose from. You can disagree if you’d like, but comparing the S/mileage audition finalists to the Morning Musume audition finalists, I believe that the overall “idol” quality was much lower in the S/mileage pool. Sure there was Karin, but she is apparently needed elsewhere (TBA). Miyazaki Yuuka was cute, but too old and too tall. Yamaga was a good singer, but just not pretty enough to be an idol (sorry, but she wasn’t). Oda Sakura was too shy, a terrible dancer, and again, not pretty enough. Jang had zero energy and couldn’t remember the song to save her life.
Keep in mind, S/mileage is quite a high quality idol group. They were chosen as the best of the Eggs at a time when there were tons of Eggs running around. All three remaining girls are very pretty, good dancers, and two of them are good singers as well. I’ve come to expect a certain quality from S/mileage, and I believe that at the very least, Nakanishi Kana and Katsuta Rina aren’t up to par.
First, Kana. Didn’t stand out at the audition, and even now I’m not sure why she was picked other than that she had a nice smile and seems like a hard worker. Her singing, and especially her dancing just aren’t nearly good enough. Period. She’s going to drag the group down. This isn’t Morning Musume which, to a certain extent, celebrates having different types of girls. It’s S/mileage. They all got the same hair cut for goodness sake. And did you ever notice how the S/mileage girls’ costumes are usually very very similar or exactly the same? (the other h!p groups almost always have variety from girl to girl). They’re supposed to kind of “match” when they’re performing. And Kana does not match.
Next, Rina. Is she talented enough? Sure. She’s probably the most consistent singer of the new members. There’s two problems. 1. Her looks. I don’t think she’s “ugly” as some have said. She’s even cute in some photos, but she’s no where near the three original S/mileage members. And looks are so very important in the idol world. 2. The much bigger problem, in my mind, her personality. Or lack there off. She seems kind of sweet… but that’s about it. S/mileage is known for their energetic, playful personalities. Rina bores me.
I still have hope that Meimi and Akari could become worthy S/mileage members, and really, I think they should have been the only two picked in the end. Both are good dancers, and both are pretty cute (though still probably not as cute as the original S/mileage members). Meimi definitely has a perfect S/mileage personality, and while her vocals are squeaky, that fits in with the group’s style, and she does have a strong voice. Akari also has pretty good vocals, and at least she has an idol persona to distinguish herself (Sporty Spice Girl).
So yeah, the girls would be heart broken, but if they were truly looking to create the strongest overall S/mileage, I think they should have cut Kana and Rina (or never let them in in the first place). It looks like their plan is to use Yuuka’s recent popularity surge (her mixi numbers are climbing like crazy!) to carry the group despite some weak members, and it’ll probably work, but it makes me sad to think of the S/mileage that could have been. All I know is that I like S/mileage a lot less with the new members than I did without them, and it’s not because I hate the idea of adding new girls. It’s because I care about S/mileage and they deserved better than getting stuck with the results of this hasty audition.