Review: Super Wave Korea 2011

All the contestants at the end of the show

Last Friday, I went to Super Wave Korea 2011 to cover the event which was being held at the Korean Canadian Cultural Association (KCCA) and jointly hosted by the KCCA and the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO). They had additional help by their partners and sponsors Hallyu Dongari (a Korean culture club) of York University, the Korea Club from University of Toronto, Vivace Music Academy, and Samsung Electronics (who provided some great prizes for both the contestants and for the raffle).

So what was Super Wave Korea 2011?

It was mainly a talent show in which non-Koreans could showcase their love of K-pop and Korean culture by either singing or dancing. The contestants submitted YouTube videos of themselves and the top seven (four dance contestants and three singing contestants) were selected to perform and compete at Super Wave Korea. 

Simon and Martina, from Eat Your Kimchi being interviewed

One of the biggest attractions for many in the audience (and for many of the contestants and media) wasn’t the talent show but two members of the audience – Simon and Martina from Eat Your Kimchi. To be honest, I would have loved to interview them as well but didn’t want to interrupt the young fans. I sat two rows behind them though so I was able to observe how they dealt with all their fans and man, was I impressed. They were unfailingly friendly and accommodating to everyone! 

Traditional Sangmo performance

The show started off with a Korean ribbon dance performance, which I believe is called Sangmo. The dancers and drummers were fantastic – I would highly recommend watching a similar performance if you get the chance. They were followed by a taekwondo demonstration by a group of children. They were super cute! And then it was time for the main event – the talent show.

One of the dance acts - loved their sweatshirts!

The dancers were the first up. 6K.G, Mitzi and M.Y. Soul Dance Crew were group performers followed by the final dancer, solo freestyle dancer Tania Sanclemente. The three groups were good and each had slightly different styles and music they danced to. But they were all blown out of the water by the amazing performance Tania put on. I love freestyle dance to start with but she rocked!

One of the singing acts

They were followed by the singers – two solo acts and one duo. Unfortunately, all were plagued by sound and microphone problems so it was hard to truly judge them. The two solo acts were Vivian Tran (who sang while playing the guitar) and Celina Huang, and the duo consisted of Wendy Pu & Samantha Yip.

Thoroughbred State and DJ Jaybe

After all seven contestants performed, the show was paused for the audience to grab some yummy Korean food. I loved the kimbap especially! Okay, that’s probably because I was really craving kimbap last week but it was good.

And we were treated to three performances while the judges were deciding the winners. First up was Thoroughbred State, hip-hop group from Toronto who were accompanied by DJ Jaybe (who also played at the Say Kimchi Halloween Party). I was impressed by them and am looking forward to their debut album. Then a soft-rock band called Alvo played a set – not my style of music but the crowd seemed to enjoy them. And finally, Korean solo singer Seohoo graced the stage. While I’m not very familiar with her music, she definitely has a lovely voice. She was also one of the judges and the Director of Vivace Music Academy. The other two judges were Randy Snape from the KTO and Janiece DeJong, who was the founder of Super Wave Korea.

Finally, the winners were announced and the grand prize went to solo freestyle dancer, Tania Sanclemente. A huge congratulations to Tania and to all of the performers and contestants for an entertaining evening.

Yummy food and lots of volunteers

Positives from the show:

  • Great vibe in the audience.
  • The MC, Shimmy had a great connection and rapport with the audience and was entertaining throughout the evening. I’m not familiar with him but plenty of the audience seemed to be. Great choice!
  • Volunteers from the two university student groups meant there were plenty of bodies for all the jobs.
  • Great Korean food during the intermission and when some of the dishes got low or ran out, two women made more.
  • Eat Your Kimchi’s duo attended the show which was a huge coup for them.

Things to improve for next year:

  • Audio – all of the singers had problems with the microphones which sucked for them. I admired how all three singing competitors pulled through the difficulty but it was an unnecessary hardship for them.
  • I was never asked for my name or organization when I checked in as “press”. This is problematic for two reasons. First, anyone could have walked in and said they were media. Plus it’s important to know which media outlets covered you so you can look for their coverage/reviews. Good coverage and reviews can be used for marketing next year and to attract more sponsors. It also allows you to track who was supposed to come, who did come and who should be invited back next year.
  • There was a huge delay in announcing the winners and while the MC did a fabulous job at filling the time, it was obvious the delay was unplanned.

Rating: 4/5 – I would definitely recommend it and the issues were all ones that could be easily fixed.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday – this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it’s taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I’m the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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