Just Bananas About: Week of 3/21/16

Earlier this year, the Infinite Challenge members had a mission where they wrote down their wishes for another member that year.  If member was unable to get the letter out of their hidden mailbox before time ran out, then they’d have to complete the task before the end of the year.  Jung Joon Ha failed to get Haha’s letter out of his mailbox and he wrote that he wished Jung Joon Ha would audition for the rap competition, Show Me the Money.  Jung Joon Ha would have to compete against approximately 9,000 other contestants.

In preparation for the upcoming auditions, Jung Joon Ha sets out to learn more about the genre.  He was first inspired to rap after seeing Eminem in 8 Mile.  When Haha said that he wanted to see Jung Joon Ha busking on the streets, he mistook it to mean that he’d be riding around in buses writing lyrics, just like Eminem.  I’m pretty certain that Jung Joon Ha was half-joking when he said this but he took a lot of buses that morning to the filming location which certainly made him the Bus King.  Hur hur.  However, one of the first buses he took that morning just happened to be the Tayo Bus (aka Ride Me Bus) after the children’s animated series, Tayo the Little Bus.  And so his lyrics were about the bus.

He finally arrives at the hall where the other members are waiting for him.  Jung Joon Ha is about to be schooled by Block B’s Zico about rap and the culture.  He breaks down three popular sub-genres of rap: Trap, Boom Bap and Ratchet.  Trap typically is slow and has an aggressive lyrical style.  Boom Bap is heavy on the percussion.  Ratchet is melodic and the rap is often done in a sing-songy fashion.

So when Jung Joon Ha is asked to bring out the lyrics he jotted down that morning, he’s a bit embarrassed to show it.  Obviously the other member make fun of the fact that he wrote about the Tayo Bus as it seems childish but Zico takes a look at the lyrics, he’s able to spin it and actually make it sound decent.

The other members also all take turns in rapping and Zico points out that MC’s are pretty good at rapping because they know where to make the inflection.  I wasn’t surprised that Haha would be good at rapping because Reggae music has some overlapping qualities with Rap.

One of the last things that Jung Joon Ha learned that day was what rap name he was going to go with.  He and the members go through several options but settle on a fairly girly name, MC Minzy.  Haha.  His training doesn’t end there as he does turn the Tayo rap into a music video as well.

Now, it’s time to actually get ready for the competition and he fills out the necessary forms.  On the day of the audition, he shows up to find hundreds of contestants already there.  I’m surprised by the number of people who are cheering him on.

Of course, Jung Joon Ha does say that some people are annoyed that he’s there.  He’s celebrity who is taking away some of the attention from other contestants.  However, I think most people are just amused by it.  Some even take selfies with Jung Joon Ha.

The production team tells him to get off the line for the moment to tell him that his members are there to support him.  Since Haha is the one that gave him the mission, he plans to stick around ‘til the very end.  Jung Joon Ha does what he needs to for the Mnet broadcast which includes several takes of screaming “Show Me the Money” with this fellow contestants for the cameras.

He finally enters the arena to sign the necessary papers and get his contestant number.  As he’s waiting around, he sees Gil in the distance, who is one of the judges this season.  However, he doesn’t say hi in order to create a clear boundary between contestant and judge.  Haha gives Jung Joon Ha one last hug before he must go into the arena and gets ready to rap.

There’s a big opening ceremony where each of the judge teams are being introduced.  Gil is paired up with Mad Clown and I can’t help but get misty-eyed at seeing Gil again on Infinite Challenge.  I had stopped watching Infinite Challenge right before Gil’s DUI and started up again when they did the 90’s revival concert.  So I kinda missed out on the aftermath of the scandal, even though his absence was clearly felt when I returned to the show.  Jung Joon Ha also can’t hide his emotions at seeing Gil on stage again.  He tells another contestant near him to cheer Gil on because Gil is probably so nervous being center-stage again.  Haha also cheers Gil on from the stands.

As the first group of numbers is called, Jung Joon Ha watches from the stands and gets to know the contestants sitting around.  He looks on and is shocked to see how good rappers aren’t getting the pass.  His neighbor tells him, he just has to be better.  Jung Joon Ha even practices his rap while sitting there and Haha is just amused by it all.

Finally, his group of numbers is called up and the contestants find their numbered spot on the floor in order to wait their turn.  Simon D is the judge for Jung Joon Ha’s group.

Jung Joon Ha completes his rap and there are people on the stands who are filming him. Haha comments how well Jung Joon Ha has done and perhaps all that practice has paid off.  They don’t show Jung Joon Ha’s full rap at the audition and that’s intentional as they don’t want to overlap with the Mnet broadcast of it later on.  When I heard the lyrics earlier on the show, it was quite clever.  We also aren’t told the result of his audition either but I have a feeling that Jung Joon Ha probably didn’t make it pass the first round.  However, winning wasn’t the goal for Jung Joon Ha.

And the thing that made me totally tear up was what happened afterwards.  Jung Joon Ha had finished his audition and Gil comes over, without even saying a word, to hug him.  They were that close that they don’t need words to understand how much they support each other.  Oh great, now I’m tearing up all over again. Despite even more controversy this season over the organization and the judging of the competition, I am interested in watching it again because Gil is such a great producer and I’m curious to see him in the spotlight again.

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