Phantom Singer: The Ultimate Musical Korean TV Experience

You’ve never seen a TV music show quite like this before.

No one ever expected this kind of music show to appear on Korean television, not by a long shot. The typical Korean music shows like Mnet’s “Super Star K” and SBS’s “K-pop Star” had dominated Korean music TV for a long time – so long that viewers were getting bored of watching essentially the same TV show over and over again for years on end. Therefore, when JTBC’s “Phantom Singer” first aired on November 11th, 2016, viewers were shocked by the sheer amount of top-end quality, classical music that was being shown on Korean TV for the first time.

The show’s aim is to create a four-member male Korean crossover quartet, much like Italy’s Il Divo, and the endgame is almost here, with the last episode of the show airing on January 27th. According to Kim Hyung-Joong, the producer of the show, “the winning team will receive 100 million won in prize money and will be given an opportunity to record their own album. They will also officially begin their career as a crossover quartet, performing tours and concerts.”

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When the first description of the show was released, it seemed like the show was only going to incorporate classical choral singers, which had many viewers turn away from the show in the beginning. However, the first episode of the show presented viewers with an incredible variety of male singers, quite arguably some of the best yet unknown Korean male singers there are.


The novelty of “crossover music” was what truly attracted more and more viewers to the show, and the unbelievable talent of each and every singer that had been and/or still is on the show resulted in an extreme boom in popularity for the show. So far, we’ve seen and heard an amazing diversity of songs, including Italian folk songs, Korean songs for children, and even American pop songs like Beyoncé’s “Halo.”

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The final episode of the show already aired on January 27th, and the three quartet teams had already sung their first two songs as the first part of the finals on January 20th. They sang their final two songs during the final episode, but we won’t spoil you with who won just yet!


As of January 20th, in first place is “Forte di Quatro (포르테 디 콰트로),” consisting of Ko Hoon-Jung (고훈정), Kim Hyun-Soo (김현수), Son Tae-Jin (손태진), and Lee Byeo-Ri (이벼리). Second place is “In-Gi Hyun-Sang (인기현상),” comprised of Gwak Dong-Hyun (곽동현), Park Sang-Don (박상돈), Baek In-Tae (백인태), and Yoo Seul-Gi (유슬기). In third place, but certainly not the least by any stretch of the imagination is “Hyoong-Spresso (흉스프레소),” made up of Ko Eun-Sung (고은성), Kwon Seo-Gyung (권서경), Baek Hyung-Hoon (백형훈), and Lee Dong-Shin (이동신).

These three teams represent the perfect embodiment of the essence of JTBC’s “Phantom Singer,” as there are opera singers, choral singers, musical actors, a rock artist, and even a brilliantly self-taught singer!

Make sure to keep an eye out for which finalist team ultimately won, and give yourself a treat by listening to one of the show’s past performances; there isn’t a single one that’ll disappoint you.

– Daniel Park (‘17)

Featured Image: JTBC

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