NTV held the third program in its “Nodo Jiman Za! World” series for foreign singers on March 9. “Nodo Jiman” has been around for decades, mostly on NHK — “nodo” means throat and “jiman” means boast. It features amateur singers from across Japan who sing their hearts out before a nationwide audience. It has mainly been for Japanese (although African-American singer Jero once appeared on it).
Last year, NTV aired its own version — “Nodo Jiman Za! World,” specifically for foreign residents who love singing J-Pop songs in Japanese.
There are four groups (A, B, C and D) with four participants each. The participant who gets the highest score in each group advances to the final round to compete against the other group winners.
Chris Hart from the U.S. was the winner of the third ”Nodojiman Za! World.” Chris, in B group, sang one of SMAP‘s hit songs, “Yozora no Muko” in front of SMAP member and program MC Masahiro Nakai. After his great performance, Chris did a brief duet with Nakai. Nakai said that “Chris’s performance is amazing, so I’m embarrassed to be here. Chris’s performance is perfect, and I cannot find any weak points.”
One of the judges, veteran singer and television performer Akiko Wada commented that “I love black music, and while some Japanese singers cover back music, it is rare to see black people cover J-Pop. Chris covered ‘Yozora no Muko’ perfectly.”
Chris got the highest score and advanced to the final stage. In the final stage, Chris sang “Tashikanakoto” by Kazumasa Oda who is a very famous Japanese singer-songwriter and composer.
Nicholas Edwards from the U.S. won the previous ”Nodojiman Za! World.” Nicholas sang the popular Japanese hard rock duo B’z‘s “Love Phantom” in the first stage. Special guest Japanese fashion model Ayame Goriki commented that “Nicholas’s performance is amazing. I was so surprised that I couldn’t move.”
One of the judges, Japanese rock band HOUND DOG vocalist, Kohei Otomo said that “I would like to see Nicholas’s performance one more time and I would like to hear him sing a ballad.” Nicholas topped C group. In the final stage, Nicholas sang “Tsubomi” by Kobukuro, and was the runner-up.
In A group, Martina Miale from Italy sang “Time Goes by,” a song by Japanese pop and rock duo Every Little Thing, in the first stage. One of the judges, theater director Amon Miyamoto, commented that “Martina sings with beautiful Japanese language. Although Italian and Japanese languages are similar, Martina expresses polite Japanese language’s sensitivity and emotion very well, so her sweet voice strikes me.”
Martina advanced to the final stage. Martina performed another song by Every Little Thing, “Dear My Friend,” in the final stage© Japan Today