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American Idol Eye Candy: John Park

Asian American males aren’t usually well-represented on American Idol. We had Anoop “My Prerogative” Desai make it pretty far last year, but he had to break past the shameful gates of the house that Sanjaya Malakar and William Hung built.

Asian American women have only had three spots in the Big Show: Pinays Camile Velasco, Jasmine Trias, and Ramiele Malubay [blogger's note: Thanks to the anonymous tipster who alerted me to my previous Ramiele omission!].

So even though AI Season 9 is still in the audition rounds, any glimpses of talented Asian American singers brings us hope. Even more so if they’re smoking hot, tall Korean and making Shania Twain feel like a woman.

Behold, John Park. He’s going to Hollywood:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLtQLvvN8R0[/youtube]

Yes, I’m annoyed by how “surprised” the judges were that Park could actually sing well. Were they expecting him to sound like this?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYWHrSEbZtQ[/youtube]

All that b.s. aside, good luck John Park!

May your smooth, soulful crooning get you to the top 13 and get thousands of other Korean men named John Park a few numbers at the club.

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  • http://iamkoream.com Michelle

    I missed this last night. Thanks for posting! I dunno if his voice is as good as Anoop’s but I can’t wait to hear more. Yeah, what’s up with them being so surprised?? Annoying.

  • HH

    I hope he goes far in the competition, but I also hope his voice is capable enough for uptempo/danceable songs – if I have hear another “Careless Whisper”, I’m throwing a bowling ball at the TV!

  • Lola

    thanks for sharing the videos, I thought he did great on AI and he is drop dead gorgeous.

  • Sylvie

    @HH,

    Agreed! “Careless Whisper” should be permanently banned along with all Phil Collins songs.

  • Yalie

    I was glad to see this piece (by way of racialicious.com). I don’t (really) watch American Idol, but as an anthropologist interested in media studies I am acutely aware of the importance of televisual representations of ‘minorities’ in the US (especially as these representations circulate globally). This said, I too am happy to see an Asian male positively represented. (And your quip about having to break past the shameful gates of Sanjaya and William Hung literally made me laugh aloud!) But I would also like to add two observations cum suggestions to this online conversation: In addition to being an anthropologist, I am also a ‘black’ woman (my parents are West African immigrants, though people do not automatically see an immigrant when they see me–much less assume I am a ‘model minority’–and this last social fact is the conceptual/discursive springboard for what I am about to write next), and as such I am also in a social category–like Asian men–which is all too often dreadfully represented and caricatured via negative (media) stereotypes as deviating from appropriate gender norms and idealized notions of attractiveness (e.g. the fat, loud, and/or ‘ghetto’ Angry Black Woman stereotype). So while I thoroughly understand why the author is happy to see Shania Twain remarking on an Asian man’s ‘hotness,’ I also think ‘we’ (e.g., readers of this blog) need to recognize (and re-cognize) the ways in which such ‘validation’ also re-inscribes the very white supremacist orientations and assumptions that construct Asian men (or Asians more generally; and black women, as I mentioned before) as outside an idealized whiteness/femininity/masculinity in the first place–as well as allow for a pernicious divide-and-conquer strategy that pits those constructed as ‘model minorities’ against those constructed as ‘problem minorities’ in an Asian-Americans-as-perpetual-foreigners/’blacks’-as-always-assumed-not-to-be-immigrants binary that is *always* in relation to how one measures up to whiteness (or fails to). And it is precisely in an effort to resist such already overdetermined and overdetermining binaries (and triangulations) that I decided to leave this message. To solidarity, then…

  • http://antisocial-ladder.blogspot.com Sylvie

    @Yalie,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful input! I’m also a media studies scholar and I can definitely see your point. Why should we consistently adhere to a desirability model that is predicated on whiteness? It’s something that I think a lot of people of color are working toward un-learning in efforts to create beauty paradigms that aren’t driven by some form of dominance.

    Unfortunately, the question of “how do we undo a master beauty narrative?” leaves us all confounded for the most part. Even if we eschew dominant beauty ideals, they exist all around us and must be dealt with in some form or other; our very resistance is rooted in its existence. So in the case of the emasculation of Asian American men — historically a White-driven movement — I think there is significance in a White woman (who fits her dominant group’s own notions of beauty) being visibly flustered and turned on by this Asian American man standing before her. In my opinion, it’s not so much “Well, if this White lady says this Asian man is hot, then it must be true”, but more of an indication that dominant notions of beauty are shifting; that fluctuation is proof that those ideals were faulty from the get-go, something that many (but not all) of us on the margins have known for quite some time.

    Of course, by no means do I think this one clip is a panacea to the laundry list of screwed-up media representations of race, gender, sexuality, and beauty. But it’s something that obviously has us talking. Some of us are empowered by it, some are just mildly amused, and some, like yourself, bring up these really salient issues of how our society’s structure is stratified racially and by gender. I think all of those gut response are valid and completely necessary to the larger issue at hand of who sets racialized beauty standards and the history of systemic marginalization that gave birth to it.

  • Yalie

    And thank you for your thoughtful reply. Yes, I agree that even resistance is still in relation to these dominant ideals, hence the overdetermination. Again, thanks for the thoughtful response.

  • http://ridiculouslycoolstyles.blogspot.com Angela Alvarez

    The music in the second video is beautiful. I have no idea what is being said but it spoke to me. I did a little research and am now very intrigued by traditional Korean music. I know it wasn’t your intent or subsequent to it but thanks for sharing this.

  • Pingback: The Elusive American Idol Contestant: John Park | iamkoream

  • Rayvin400

    Get over the “surprised” issue. They say that all the time to white people too. There could be many reasons someone could be surprised besides race. Please don’t play the race card.

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