Home-grown Mandopop singer Derrick Hoh, 27, has come full circle in his eight-year showbiz career.
Propelled to fame by the 2005 reality singing contest Project Superstar, the boyish Hoh will be sussing out talent in the local leg of the auditions for Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3 on Sunday.
The unassuming singer talks to My Paper about his own gruelling training in Seoul, his stance on plastic surgery and his successful foray into English tunes.
How does it feel to be a judge for a reality singing competition for the first time?
I feel good. Now it's finally my turn to judge others, after being judged for such a long time. (Laughs)
Coming from a similar environment, I have some idea of how this thing works. I will try to come up with my own style of judging.
What will you be looking out for in the K-Pop Star Hunt contestants?
I want to find someone who wants (to be a K-pop star) really badly. You can get someone who sings and dances really well, but you don't see the spark in his eyes.
Eventually, the contestants we choose will undergo three weeks of training in Korea; it takes a lot of mental power to get through it. I need someone with a strong heart.
You trained in Seoul last year under dance choreographer Feel, who has worked with boyband Super Junior. How was it?
It was pretty tough. I told my dance instructor to give me hell. I was there for two months, it's like a crash course as compared to those who train for years. He really gave me hell. I went for classes at 12pm and went home at 4am.
Other than the time spent having lunch and dinner, I was basically dancing all the way. I was really skinny, I lost 8kg. I was too into it, but I brought back lots of experiences and memories with me.
Korean stars are willing to go all out to achieve perfection, even going under the knife. Would you do it yourself?
I talked about it with my stylists to find out more about what is going on in the Korean industry. I was taken aback at how you do work on the body from top to toe.
Not that I want to do (plastic surgery). I respect Michael Jackson, but his nose. People saw it, knew (he did surgery), and got scared of it.
You've been releasing English songs, and the single Forever even topped the iTunes chart in February. Does this signal a switch to English tunes for you?
We did these (English tracks) as a side project. Turns out the results were pretty satisfactory. I wouldn't rule out a full-fledged English album.
I'm a Mandopop singer at heart. I love singing in Mandarin, and I even want to explore singing in Cantonese.
Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3 Singapore Auditions will be held on Sunday at Bugis+. Visit www.kpopstarhunt.com
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