More Comments About the Upcoming 9th Morning Musume Audition

Greg New Profile PicMorning Musume has always been the front group for Hello! Project and recent and upcoming changes will basically tear down the roster that has been together for some time. In many fans eyes this is a sign that perhaps the group is on its last legs. Some have declared Morning Musume dead to them while others hold on to the hope that the upcoming 9th generation auditions will help bring the group back to their former glory.

In my update to the Morning Musume graduation news I made a few initial comments regarding the upcoming auditions and now that I’ve had some time to discuss this with a few others I would like to expand upon those thoughts. What I may say will probably not be popular but we can’t agree on everything can we?

The lower age limit for those who want to audition is what bothers me. I’ve stated that fact in the aforementioned article, on Twitter and in chat room discussions. Yes UFA has to do something to freshen up their sinking ship of a front group but 10 year olds?

I realize that previous auditions have yielded some members of the group at a young age such as 3rd generation member Goto Maki (13), 4th generation members Tsuji Nozomi (13) and Kago Ai (12),  5th generation members Niigaki Risa (13) and Takahashi Ai (14), and 7th generation member Kusumi Koharu (13).

That’s all well and good. Back when those members joined the group Morning Musume was extremely popular and they could afford to take in a few youngins and develop them. There wasn’t any real competition to deal with so they could get away with whatever they wanted and the fans would eat it up (mostly).

Those days are long gone and if UFA is serious about bringing in some young blood the chosen few better have some spectacular talent, an overwhelming personality or a crazy combination of both. (I would prefer a spectacular talent over personality) It would also be nice if the new recruits were to be closer in age to Mitsui Aika (give or take 2 or 3 years) instead of Frances & Aiko.

With that said I think that lower age limit should be at least 14-16 years old. Given that the average age of the 5 remaining members of Morning Musume is 20.4, a 4-6 year age gap from youngest to oldest (on average) would be acceptable. Of course that would mean that the upper age limit would also have to be jacked up to just under the oldest member’s age. So that means Takahashi’s age minus 1 which equals 22. (A slight remodel of my previous suggestion of 16-25 years old)

Given the remaining group dynamic I think that this modified range will allow for a reasonable sampling of applicants who can presumably fit in with the rest of the group at a faster pace.

I went over vocals in my last post, but for those of you who missed it I’ll just quote it here:

You have these girls who are in their late teens to early 20’s. Their voices have matured and together they all sound pretty good. Is it really a wise idea to throw in some kid(s) (whose voice(s) will probably sound like a helium filled chipmunk) in with what they have left?

The potential harmonies are going to sound very off and probably ear bleedingly so. I hope the producers have their auto tune skills up to par.

H!P’s flagship group needs a lot of help and the more stronger singers they can get out of this process, the better off they will be.

I say all that because I feel there’s a need to go back what the group was in the 1st – 3rd generations and for that to happen there need to be more capable secondary vocalists. I seriously hope this audition doesn’t end up to be a personality contest because that would be a major step backward in the evolution of this group.

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear complex vocal arrangements similar to ones from songs like Morning Coffee, Memory Seishun no Hikari and Manatsu no Kousen instead of simplistic crap like Seishun Collection and Tomo? I don’t know about all of you but it would be nice to have Morning Musume return as a real vocal group again.

These are the other requirements from the audition page.

10-17 year old girls, who love singing, please gather around!

I’m really lively and bright!
I love to sing so I want to be a singer!
I want to be a part of the showbiz world!
I want to be cuter!
Please find my talent!
I have no confidence now but that bright day will come someday!
I have no confidence but people around me recommended this so I’ll try my best!
(8 )私が芸能界に入らなければ、この先芸能界はつまらなくなると思っています!
I have to enter the showbiz world, I think the showbiz world now is boring!
I have the confidence to be number 1 in the showbiz world!
I love Morning Musume (Hello! Project)

Rough translation courtesy of lilcazza of JPH!P.

I’m not exactly fond of points 5 – 7. (Assuming they are translated correctly)  Why the fuck are you auditioning if you don’t have any confidence and/or no discernable talent? Perhaps this is something that will push contestants to do their best or maybe it’s something to weed out potential losers? I have no idea. I think it’s the former.

I also wonder if this audition will allow applicants from other countries to enter. If UFA is looking for a bit of international appeal why not do it? I mean there’s been a winner of an audition from Korea (what the hell happened to her?) and of course the soon to be departed Jun Jun & Lin Lin from China.

There are millions of little white girls just gagging to be the next Beckii Cruel & bring about the end of the world as we know it. I bet that could offer some unintentional hilarity should they be allowed to enter.  I hope for a second coming of Mika Todd if that were to happen (because that would be cool), but that’s just me.

How about adding to the group from the pool of eggs that they have? Lin Lin came from that batch and perhaps there are a few more deserving talents who can get a shot at the main group of H!P. Or maybe start stealing from the Nice Girl Project. Hiring from within would be nice. Less work and somewhat reduced training time, it’s something to consider. There’s also taking in AKB48 rejects. Hey, they took in a few H!P audition rejects.

Is this going to have any television coverage? H!P doesn’t exactly have a program that lasts more than 5 minutes these days. Will UFA be able to wrangle up 30 minutes to an hour of air time so fans can invest themselves in the whole audition process? If they can’t get TV time I suggest using the Up Front Channel on YouTube as an alternative then they can go for as long as they want & edit the content to their liking.

Wow this was a long kind of rant-like kind of deal wasn’t it? These auditions are an important time in Morning Musume’s history whether you like to admit it or not. There is a reason for all the doom and gloom attitude from fans because there are a lot of unknown factors that could either be the savior of Morning Musume or its downfall.

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Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.