Recently I was browsing Maji De 2ch, a blog that posts translations of 2ch threads (2ch is basically an anonymous board that was the inspiration for 4chan. You can talk about anything but there is often discussion on idols). I like browsing the various sites that do 2ch translations, just because it’s often very interesting to hear about things that Japanese fans talk about.
The post that caught my attention was this one. Essentially, it’s reactions to a talk that Sashihara Rino did, where she said that, if you aim to be an idol, you don’t have to learn how to sing or dance.
(Translation from the Maji de 2ch Page)
Meimi’s been a good vocalist for some time, but given some time to improve and given songs that show of her vocal skills, she’s been getting buzz, at least from Hello!Project fans.
I’d say this is similar with girls like Ishida Ayumi, as well. I became a fan of hers both because of her dance skills and because of her drive to become a good dancer.
This isn’t exclusively Hello!Project. AKB48 has had various singing contests and things, which allows girls like Iwasa Misaki and Takeuchi Miyu to shine. Natori Wakana is also a strong singer who gets notice for her voice. Would Iwasa Misaki have been able to rank at #33 last year (just out of the Undergirls) if she didn’t have her vocal skills and her brand new enka career? There’s no way to know for sure, but vocal skills can definitely help girls.
However, as a counterpoint, I don’t think JUST singing and dancing are the only things that can make a girl stand out. They’re the most popular talents to have, for sure, since being an idol means a lot of singing and dancing. However, AKB’s Matsui Sakiko is a very skilled pianist, which has allowed her a great deal of press.
2. Girls have to actually try and practice once they get in.
Being initially unpolished is fairly acceptable among idol fans. No one is going to expect a new trainee to AKB to be the best singer and dancer the group has seen. However, very few girls can make it if they don’t try, or don’t seem like they’re trying. Girls like Shimazaki Haruka are few and far between, and that type of push is a big gamble. One of the most popular things to show of idols is videos of them practicing, working hard. That’s the key here; practice and hard work are fairly essential, once you’re an idol. So while I’d say you don’t have to be inherently talented to get in, you have to at least try.
3. It’s all how a girl is marketed.
This is the big one. Inherently untalented idols can be popular IF they are marketed well. I mean, look at Sasshi herself. She’s not exceptionally talented, but plays this up, and plays up that she likes idols.
An idol who isn’t the most popular in her group but who does this exceptionally well is S/Mileage’s Nakanishi Kana. Kana, when she joined especially, isn’t particularly good at singing or dancing, and is kind of clumsy. However, it seems like she tries really hard and always looks happy about the whole thing. Recently, in S/Mileage’s latest single ‘Yattaruchan,’ Kana got a prominent role by having a spoken part that became the most notable thing about the song.
However, one of the most memorable instances was in the dance to Choto Mate Kudasai. In this, Kana purposely messes up, and jumps the wrong way. It’s a little thing, but it puts her front and center. It says that she and management are aware she isn’t the most talented, but they want to show her off anyway. This is important.
Ultimately, while I think that being talented can be an advantage, that ultimately it is mostly how a particular idol is marketed.
What do you think? Do you like talented idols or idols who aren’t very good at singing or dancing? Do you agree with Sasshi? Comment below and I’ll write a Your Thoughts post next week!