Hello! Project / Jpop / S/mileage

S/mileage New Members Announced!

Today the newest members of S/mileage were announced – congratulations to Hello! Project Eggs 竹内 朱莉 (Takeuchi Akari), and  勝田 里奈 (Katsuta Rina), as well as 3 girls new to Hello! Project, 中西 香菜 (Nakanishi Kana), 小数賀 芙由香 (Kosuga Fuyuka), and 田村 芽実 (Tamura Meimi).

Holy crap, S/mileage’s member count has more than doubled!

There were some stipulations, though. The new girls are, for the time being, “Sub-Members” and may be added as full members, put into their own group, put into (or back into) the Eggs, or dropped completely, depending on Tsunku & company’s whimsy. Tsunku also mentioned that current members of S/mileage could also be demoted…

The winners surprised me, although they shouldn’t have – they rarely pick the best ones. The only one out of the new members that I really wanted added was Takeuchi Akari, who has gotten quite cute and has some vocal talent. Other favorites of mine were Miyazaki Yuka (fit the S/mileage image well and could sing), and Miyamoto Karin (I have been a fan of hers since she joined the Eggs). I would love both of those girls in Morning Musume, so here’s hoping they show up for that audition!

The girls that got in to S/mileage do have some potential…

Kana is really cute but I have not heard her singing (or I have and don’t remember it). Her speaking voice was deep! She’s from the Kansai area, which is something different for S/mileage!

Fuyuka, she never stood out in the audition to me, except for looking like an elf (in a cute way) and being ridiculously skinny.  Her singing was not very strong, it will probably improve, but as of now, it’s very “light” and not too great.

Meimi is incredibly cute, but her singing voice is so shrill it’s a little painful, and did S/mileage really need to get even MORE high-pitched than they already were? If she can tone the voice down a few notches she’ll be good though.

Rina is very talented vocally, she will sound great in the songs, but is visually unappealing… A makeover might help.

Akari was one of my favorites, she has become cute in her own unique way. I like that she’s very recognizable, and her voice is already very good and fits with S/mileage. If she can learn to control the vibrato just a little more she will be fantastic.

Overall, my opinion of the adding of the new members is pretty much the same as when they announced it – it’s not something I wanted, it’s going to change the group which was doing well, and I think it’s just a big stupid publicity stunt (which of course worked and got them lots of publicity. Grr). The newbies might grow on me, but I would have much preferred they just create their own separate group or something, rather than interrupt a group that has worked hard to get to where they are.

In the meantime, I am very curious as to how S/mileage will sound in the future with the new members.  I’m hoping for the best.

-Jess ♫

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