In May 2009, allkpop held its very first singing competition allkpop Idol, showcasing the talents within the kpop fan community. With an overwhelming turnout of submissions, we eventually whittled the contestant pool down to fifty entries and, after multiple rounds of voting, Alan (cityincolors) and Lillian (lillianleemusic) came out on top in first and second place, respectively. Fast forward a year and a half, and we’re delighted to discover that both Alan and Lillian were just flown to Korea these past few days as finalists of the MBC Global “The Birth of a Great Star” Auditions – a huge congratulations to them!
As we previously reported, this audition gives a groundbreaking opportunity for aspiring singers all over the world. Over five hundred entries were submitted, and, through a fan voting on the MBC website, thirty-five contestants were selected to be flown to Korea for an all-expense-paid trip for the second round. Although the details have been kept under the wraps, this competition will have all the makings of a competitive singing reality show à la American Idol & Superstar K, so look out for Alan and Lillian on the MBC channel!
Although Alan and Lillian are actually in Korea as we type this (Lillian just informed me minutes ago that they’re having their second round auditions today!), they were able to set aside some time to talk to us about what they’ve been up to and what the MBC auditions and future will bring. Check out this exclusive interview below!
AKP: Last year, you were both the top two finalists of ‘allkpop Idol.’ What’ve you been up to since then?
Alan: Since allkpop Idol, I’ve only been doing casual covers and attending my university. Not too much has changed over the past year but I’ve been trying to sing many different types of songs.
Lillian: I had to take a bit of a hiatus when my mother passed away in November of 2009 (she had been sick for a while). It wasn’t until this past summer; I started working on music again.
Mark Agustin had made a comment on one of my videos, and I reached out to him and we collaborated on some songs including Son Dambi’s “Can You See,” which was so fun. That was my first k-pop cover I recorded!
AKP: How did you hear about the MBC auditions and what made you participate?
Alan: My friends had told me about it. I’ve also received questions whether or not I would participate, but I was busy at the time. I later on decided to make a last minute submission because I did not want to miss a great opportunity.
Lillian: I read about the MBC audition on allkpop, I didn’t seriously consider it until Mark encouraged me to audition. With only two days left to submit, I decided to do a cover of Park Bom’s “You and I” in English. I really didn’t think much about my outcome, but merely hoped for the best!
Check out Alan & Lillian’s first round audition tapes here:
AKP: When you found out that you’d made it to the second round, how did you react?
Alan: I was shocked! It was very unexpected at the moment and both my friend, Isaac, and I were extremely happy in disbelief that we made it through.
Lillian: I was nervous and excited! I was nervous about learning a song in Korean because one of the mandatory things for the next round is to audition with a Kpop song in Korean. It is incredibly intimidating for me to do this. My parents emigrated from Korea, so all my life they spoke to me in Korean and that was the only practice I’ve been getting. I went to Korean school for seven years so I know how to read and write, but I’m very shy when I have to actually use my Korean in public because I am insecure about my accent!
AKP: A lot of our readers are curious about this second round of auditions and your trip – tell us about what you’ll be doing during these auditions and in Korea in general.
Alan: We were to come to Korea and go through further rounds of auditions in the month of December. They had contacted all of the participating teams who made it through and provided us accommodations for the stay. The rest is uncertain to me right now but MBC will keep us informed every step of the way.
Lillian: They have told us that we have to prepare one song in Korean and one “freestyle” song. I’m guessing that “freestyle” is any song you want. In addition, they also told us that we could showcase any other talents we have including dancing and “pageant”.
After the 2nd audition, they will be sending us home within one or two days. If we do pass, we will venture into the 3rd round auditions, but we have not been given any information about this. I would have to say that in general, MBC has been rather discrete about our schedule in Korea. I don’t think we’ll know much until we are there.
AKP: In a few days you’re going to be on the other side of the world – have you been to Korea before, and what does this trip mean for you?
Alan: I have actually never been to Korea before but it’s one of the places I have always wanted to travel to. I am really looking forward to the trip. It is, for one, an important accomplishment in my singing, but also an eye-opening experience in a new environment. It will also be very fun to meet others who love and sing Korean music from all over the world. I will definitely make it my goal to enjoy my time here and make it a good memory that I can remember for years to come.
Lillian: I have been to Korea before. The last time I was there was when I was 18, right before college. I think this time around, it will mean so much more to me. My brother is actually in Korea right now and my dad’s side of the family lives there as well. I’m really excited to see how much Korea has changed since the last time I’ve been there. I’m also excited to see my family and eat some amazing street food!
AKP: Are there any activities or places that you are particularly looking forward to?
Alan: I am mostly looking forward to the food and the chance to see the cultural aspects of Korea. From reading and seeing videos about Korea, it appears to be a nation with a very deep traditional background, yet it has managed to develop and keep up with the rest of the world in the modern day. I’m sure there will be many interesting aspects that I will note on my trip.
Lillian: Korea is super famous for its night life and amazing street food and although I’m not so interested in going out at night, I am definitely interested in grubbing on the delicious street food they have in Seoul!
AKP: Are there any singers that you would like to meet in person or learn from as a mentor?
Alan: A couple of singers I would like to meet in person or learn from as a mentor would be either Sung Shi Kyung or Na Yoon Kwon. They are two of my favorite Korean ballad singers and I admire their voices. If I had a chance to meet them or even learn from them, it would certainly be a wonderful experience to me.
Lillian: I really love Park Bom. She has an amazing and unique voice. I think our styles are somewhat similar as well, so I’d really love to meet her!
AKP: On that note, if you could perform a duet with any Korean singer, who would it be?
Alan: If I could perform a duet with any Korean singer, I would want to sing with either Taeyeon from SNSD, IU or Narsha from Brown Eyed Girls. I love their voices and the songs that they sing are very beautiful.
Lillian: Definitely Park Bom (again). I think I had a fantasy about singing with her on the drive to work today!
AKP: An idol or group member you would like to meet?
Alan: I would love a chance to meet DBSK (Dong Bang Shin Ki) or f(x). I have only seen a couple of the groups’ members in person but to meet them all would be a completely different thing. DBSK was the group that introduced me to Korean music and I have been a fan ever since.
AKP: If you were to pursue a musical career, what kind of artist would you be, genre-wise? Could you see yourself in a group or solo?
Alan: I would prefer to be in a group because I work well with others and I’m sure it would be less stressful when there are others who can relate and work with you through it all. If I were to be a solo singer, I would prefer to sing ballads.
Lillian: I definitely love R&B and see myself fitting into that genre the best. I could see myself in a group or solo. I’ve been performing with groups and solo since I was a child, so I’m used to both.
AKP: What are your plans after these auditions, for this winter break and the future in general?
Alan: For now, I am not sure what I will do after the auditions. As for winter break, I will likely be spending my time in Korea due to the auditions in December. The future may or may not be very different, but I’m sure I will still be singing no matter how the auditions turn out.
Lillian: My original plans, before the MBC audition, were to go back to visit my dad in Chicago and spend some time with my friend. So if time allows, I will try to visit my friends and family in Chicago!
In general, I am applying for my second masters degree, so hopefully I will be accepted at either Berkeley or UCLA this spring! Also, I hope to keep doing what I love and cranking out some fun music videos on Youtube!
AKP: Any closing marks or message to our readers at allkpop?
Alan: Hello to allkpop and fellow readers! It’s been a fairly long time ever since the first allkpop Idol competition. A lot has taken place in the world of Korean entertainment over this time, but I am happy to see that the influence has brought more and more of us together as readers and fans. I want to thank allkpop once again for holding the allkpop Idol competition. It was certainly a learning experience for me that will provide lessons that I will benefit from through my future auditions. If you have auditioned or plan to take part in future auditions, I wish you luck and send you my encouragement! Have a safe and happy holiday season and also a wonderful new year!
Lillian: I just want to thank everyone for supporting me and my music. It’s been a blessing to be where I am today. If it weren’t for allkpop, I don’t think I would have ever thought to audition for MBC. I’ve met some amazing people through allkpop as well, including Alan, our fan favorite! Everyone has been super amazing and I just hope to be speaking to you guys again!
I’d like to send Alan and Lillian a huge thank you for setting aside time to talk to us. Congratulations for making it to the second round. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on you two, so best of luck to you both!
Remember to cheer Alan & Lillian on in the comments section below and support them on the following sites:
Alan’s Facebook Fanpage
me: wow !!
the videos ::