Morning Musume Happy 8 Audition is drawing to a close and we have new addition(s) to the Momusu family once again.
Although, .... I think Tsunku is choosing only one. Isn't that how the posters are like?
Which is why I'm so worried. (I worry a lot, no?) Because I consider the following equation:
Number of members recruited = number of years before Momusu disbands.
Been having this thought for a long time. It's the 10th anniversary of Hello! Project next year. And as i mentioned, that would be one of the best times to disband, and still leave with plenty of memories and legacy... and lots of sales. Makes sense to give the incoming member(s) a year or so to adapt with Momusu, and let the Momusu brand attach to their profile before they disband.
Pengie of Unchained thinks otherwise - 3 girls older than Koharu and 1 younger. Actually it's good idea, so that you have girls filling the age gap between Tanaka Reina(17) and Koharu(14). Since Pengie can see the future and has been right about "Cuntry Musume", I really really really hope she is right again. :D She can gloat about it all year if she wants. ^_^)
*Ahem*... back on topic...
If you want to be hopeful, then use this equation instead:
17 - (Age of youngest NEW member) = number of years before Momusu disbands.
I think being at 17 years old, Tsunku is capable of grooming the new member(s) to a certain extent that they can expand even after Momusu disbands. But that's my opinion. So I'm rooting for the younger finalists. Maybe he'll team the new girl with Koharu Kusumi to form another duo unit.
On the 6 finalists, Pengie has provided a good take on the girls, so go read hers. I'll cut mine short and go straight to the producer's mind, while guessing whom he will take in:
The Tsunku Mind
1) Tsunku likes to groom: Potential is the key, talent don't matter.
2) Tsunku likes small girls: Look at Mini Moni, Niigaki Risa and Takahashi Ai.
3) Tsunku likes good characters: Momusu is about character and personality, not singing. Whomever intrigues him the most, gave him a lasting impression.
4) Tsunku likes plain looking girls: This is Momusu's tradition, girls-next-door kind of look, yet making an idol out of them.
5) Tsunku looks for potential: With the potential growth in mind. He likes girls with character that he can build on
6) Tsunku is never right about girls: ALL men are never right about girls really. Tsunku thought wrong about "Naturally Cute" Yoshizawa Hitomi when she turned boyish, and he failed to get Takahashi Ai to keep her accent... etc.
7) Tsunku looks at age: Tsunku may choose based on age, normally does not choose the next additions where the age is higher that the youngest at the current lineup. With exception on the 5th Gen intake.
8) Best impression given during the final round: During and after the boot camp, it is then Tsunku sees which are the ones impresses him the most, in terms of character, singing, dancing and overall performance
[ EDITED Item 7: 03-12-2006, pointed out by hamada ]
In my opinion, I have no idea who he will choose. I don't know if he realised it, but this batch of audition is really weak. Why?
Only 128 girls are chosen in the first round. And 26 girls in the next, now down to 6 girls, where they will be, as usual, sent to boot camp to prepare them for the final day.
In previous auditions, (with the exception of 2nd Gen of 5000 participants), the number of participants advancing past the first round always break the 5 figure mark, peaking at 25,000 partipants during the Golden Age for the 4th and 5th Gen. We may say it is because that during those times, the auditions are broadcasted in major primetime slots i.e.. ASAYAN and muSix. But the 7th Gen audition had 20,000 particpants even though it was broadcasted on Hello! Morning only.
This 8th gen audition is also featured on Hello! Morning only, but with a measly number of over a hundred girls made it past the 1st round. This also means the number of girls who took part in the pre-auditions were very little. What happened??
The chances of choosing a better talent out of 20000 girls is definitely better than only 128 girls, yes? (Then again, sometimes Tsunku may have let lots of real talent slip past his judgment during the elimination heat.) Each Momusu member past and present can always boast on how they're chosen from thousands of girls. This time, it may be highlighted as the lowest point in Momusu auditioning history, and the chosen girl(s) will suffer, having the lowest credibility portfolio-wise. But... then again, UFA can always turn the tables by making a star out of the new member(s).
This has got to be the one time where Tsunku is really having the hardest time choosing. Why, I won't be surprised if he decides that no one is qualified in the end.
That said, here are my guesses:
Hanada Natsumi (15 years old, Fukuoka)
Tsunku says: Looks fine even without makeup, makes a good model, great stage presence, the new Nacchi (Abe Natsumi)
Jin says: Absolute raw talent, girl next door look, natural but unpolished voice, plenty of room for grooming. Looks a bit stiff though. Nervous maybe? But she's older than Koharu, so her chances may be slim.
Okumura Minami (16 years old, Oita)
Tsunku says: Good character, nice singing, impressed with the Japanese dance, have fine musical sense
Jin says: Reminds me of Koda Kumi's auditioning for Momusu, lots of confidence, great talent and nice singing. Koda Kumi didn't make it because Tsunku's not looking for an ace, this time its different. However, she's already well known through her blog already, there were lots of rumours circulating the Japanese BBS about her. This is paparazzi material. Also, she's older than Koharu. Slim chance, but we'll see.
Mitsui Aika (13 years old, Shiga)
Tsunku says: Momusu girls are about showing energy and this girl tries hard. Fresh impression, will be an interesting addition
Jin says: Don't know what Tsunku meant by 'kedarusa'. Aika is adorable and shy, bit weird but cute, one that tries hard, Aika had Tsunku's attention from the start, he likes her attitude. I think he commented on her hairstyle on the first round. (Not sure). Ah, but that can be fixed easily.
Satou Sumire (13 years old, Saitama)
Tsunku says: On singing with rhythm, even with training for 1-2 years still not possible. Needs "image training", has good heart, great smile, "babyface Sumire"
Jin says: Really adorable, a fan favourite. Though I think she's better off in Berryz Koubou or C-ute. Great character and performance. However, Tsunku may pick her to be in the Kids section instead of Momusu. May be a bit difficult for Sumire to catch up with the current line-up. And difficult to write songs for Momusu if she joins the group because of her "babyface" image. But there's a very good chance that she gets chosen cos' Tsunku gave her a nickname already.
Kikkawa Yuu (14 year old, Tokyo?)
Tsunku says: Good singing, sings with her own personality, a character that Momusu needs.
Jin says: I don't understand the part where Tsunku said about "(Kikkawa) putting her own 'mini *jingle' when she was told to sing in 16 beat", Maybe he means "ad-libbing"? I don't know. Tsunku seems to be impressed with Kikkawa's deliverance of her audition song that blends her own character in it. I like her look, reminds me of Shimizu Saki. She's got good attitube.
(* jingles are short snippets of songs, like the ones that you hear in commercials)
Masuda Ayami (13 years old, Tokyo?)
Tsunku says: Nice pace if included in Momusu, short height, uses her entire body as part of performance delivery, fun and "skippy", the next Mini Moni(?)
Jin says: I like small girls, she seems to fit in Momusu the best. I see in her a hidden personality that is just not showing yet. Will be interesting to see how she can catch up with the rest, and if Mini Moni would be revived.
Overall... very weak batch, and in the end it's character versus talent.
EDIT: This post is just my point of view, don't use this as a guide. The final pick may be totally unexpected for me. I'm still seeing a possibility that Tsunku will not pick anyone this time. Well,... he's the man, he's got the final say.
Once again - we'll wait and see. If Tsunku picks from this audition, Pengie better be at least half-right about her prediction... ^_^