2AM’s Jo Kwon appeared as a guest judge for the August 23 episode of the Mnet survival audition show “Super Star K5” , and his critique of one of the contestants drew ire from some members of the public. The contestant was no other than a senior artist in the Korean music industry Han Kyung Il. Using his real name of Park Jae Han, the singer performed in front of Lee Seung Chul, Hyun Mi, and Jo Kwon. Jo Kwon, not recognizing his senior artist, said to him “It’s not that you can’t sing well, but your singing was a bit greasy. Truthfully, there are a lot of people who sing as well as you; even in noraebangs, there is always someone as good as you. I have to think hard about this…but I wasn’t moved today. You didn’t leave an impression. You seem to lack a bit of your own unique style. I’m sorry, but I can’t pass you.”
After veteran singer Hyun Mi gave her remarks and passed Park Jae Han, Lee Seung Chul dug further and found out that the contestant was actually Han Kyung Il who debuted in 2002 and has released five albums and three singles so far. When Jo Kwon heard his name, he immediately recalled the singer, having enjoyed singing his songs when he was young.
Lee Seung Chul also gave Park Jae Han a pass, which allowed the contestant to move onto the next round of auditions, although both Lee Seung Chul and Hyun Mi expressed some concerns with the singer’s voice.
After the broadcast, viewers took to the internet to criticize Jo Kwon, commenting, “How can Jo Kwon judge Han Kyung Il?” “Noraebang was a bit harsh,” “How could you not recognize your senior artist?”
On August 24, Jo Kwon responded to these criticisms through his Twitter. He wrote, “I personally hate leaving these kinds of messages. To have been given the position of a judge means there is a right to criticize. That right is not easy, and there were parts that were edited. I did my best in that position. I am upset that I am receiving so much hate for a personal critique. It can be that there is a difference in opinion, but it is a pity that there is a controversy over me being a judge just because a junior artist criticized a senior artist.”
He continued, “Although a lot of time has passed, I am sorry I didn’t recognize my senior. Just as Lee Seung Chul said that once you are a singer, you are forever a singer, [Han Kyung Il] will forever be my senior.”
The singer in middle of this controversy, Han Kyung Il, also responded to the controversy. He wrote a handwritten letter and took a picture to upload online. He wrote, “I was able to look back at my singing career again because of ‘Superstar K.’ I am truly grateful to the judges who critiqued me fairly. I was embarrassed because Jo Kwon was so apologetic after the recording. I am more sorry ^^; I want to thank ‘Superstar k’ and everyone who supported me! I won’t give up on my dream of being a musician and will continue to move forward.”
What do you think guys? It is yet another case of netizen over-reaction? Do you think a junior artist has the right to critique a senior artist?