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Ken Lee (correct pronunciation: "Can't live") is a garbled interpretation of the song "Without You", performed by Valentina Hasan (Bulgarian: Валентина Хасан), a contestant auditioning for the Bulgarian show Music Idol in February 2008.

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Performance

Just prior to her audition for Music Idol (the Bulgarian version of the Idol series) Hasan informed the judges she intended to perform "the Mariah Carey song 'Ken Lee'." When she was corrected that the song was called "Without You", Hasan said, "No. It could be, [but] I am not sure." In the fan montages circulating in the internet, her performance was intercut with footage of an actual performance by Mariah Carey for ironic comparison. When she was asked what language the song was, she replied firmly that it was 'English', which she doesn't speak well.

Although she did not continue to the next round of the competition, a video of her performance was soon posted on the web where it became popular in Bulgaria and abroad. Hasan's extremely broken English, coupled with her yet undeveloped singing abilities, combined to great comic effect, and garnered the video over four million viewings in its first month on the video sharing website YouTube.

Reception

Mariah Carey was shown the video after it aired on Bulgarian television, and on the French TV show "Le Grand Journal", an interviewer asked Carey for her opinion of Hasan's performance. Carey replied that she gave Hasan credit for her chutzpah and that anyone who had the courage to go on television and sing in front of such a wide audience deserved a round of applause.[1]

The popularity of the video encouraged Music Idol producers to invite Hasan back to sing the song live a few weeks later. By this time, Hasan had had more training with the English lyrics, made fewer errors, and poked fun at her own interpretation by singing the final verse in her original style. This video was also posted to YouTube and received over 13 million views (all clips totally) by the first half of May 2008.

Hasan's interpretation inspired many people to create their own parodies and remixes of "Ken Lee", including house, disco, and Dayana Mendoza-style performances. The Wandering Hands performed a particularly successful parody in Helsinki in summer 2009, after winning the Helsinki 10s.

In an interview, Hasan explained to the Bulgarian media that she had no knowledge of English. She had just learned the song by heart and by ear, by listening to it repeatedly on a cassette recorder, and "sang it the way she felt it."[2]

There is also another garbled song in Idol series audition, "Enum", a garbled interpretation of Linkin Park's song "Numb" by Dayadiarmon Soponyono. This performance was on the Indonesian version of the series, Indonesian Idol.[3]

References

See also

External links

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