Laura Vanamo Deserves Her Own Wota

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Many thanks to Shirenu, whose write-up brought this to my attention. Apparently, a young woman name Laura Vanamo went on Finnish Idol, sang the Kusumi Koharu song “Koi Kana”, and passed to the next round! Now that in itself is mildly interesting – but what struck me, and what made me real happy, is that Vanamo seems like such a sweet, likeable person. Seriously, she won me over right away – and given what an old callous bastard I am, that’s saying something.

As shirenu pointed out:

I have to admit, I was prepared to get embarrassed by her, but she had such a beautiful personality that she completely won me over. She was the perfect person in my opinion to represent us crazy Japan fans.

Amen to that.

After a bit of a dance – which in this context, doesn’t seem any weirder than some cheerleader moves – we see Vanamo during an interview – in her kitchen? Pantry? There aren’t any translations so I’m even more out on a limb than usual. The pantry setting makes me want to bake.

And showing off a cosplay outfit, which is kinda adorable. I’m glad they didn’t spend too much time on this, though, it would’ve felt too gimmicky.

At the audition for the show.

So she’s ready to show her stuff…

… and the judges seem genuinely excited. Well, two of them, at least. Though I think the hairy hunk on the left probably has a trademark scowl thing going, I dunno.

Now, the great thing about this performance is that she sings the song beautifully, but also that she tones down the moves so that it doesn’t feel so… um…

Koha Crack-y? Come on. You know what I mean.

She sings the song like she would any other song, gesturing only a little in the way Koha does. She does a good job of it, too, though she seemed a bit hunched over when she sings, like she’s getting ready to punch somebody. 

She stops at one point, then is asked to continue. Her continuation is actually better than the first one, like she’d warmed up and was getting more into it.

This judge seemed pretty taken by Vanamo immediately.

And hunky hairy judge seemed a little more difficult to win over, but seems open. That does make me think, would Simon of American Idol be as open? I don’t think so. Not that I could sit through much of the last season of Idol… I dunno, the bloom’s off the rose on that show. For me, at least.

What I love about her is that she’s an ordinary girl who happens to like Japanese music and wants to sing it to get on the show. She isn’t a freak show, she isn’t overly obsessed and – at least, sans translation – doesn’t strike me as delusional the way the joke contestants in American Idol are.

She was positively charming. I mean, there was one point when talking to the judges that she growls in this really low kick-ass voice – this in what I think was a contrast to being “moe” (I think?) – and even that was charming!

In a weird way, I’m thinking this is how you start at becoming an idol. I don’t mean the Finnish Idol – though certainly, she’s made progress in that sense – but in the sense of a Japanese idol, where charisma is as much a part of one’s talent as singing. I would say that she’s got a great nascent idol persona – accessible and charming (I keep going back to that word) and genki, but not too genki. Comfortable with herself, but also reserved enough that the audience wants to root for her and help her along the way.

Except all this isn’t an idol persona, it’s just her personality. I think. I dunno, it could be an act. But even if that’s the case, I don’t want to believe it’s an act, so right there she’s won half the battle. (All of which illustrates just how guarded I am about the whole pomo media self aspect of idol-dom. Celestia was right!)

I also find it a bit odd that I’d rather watch her than any of the current Morning Musume, including Koha. I don’t think I’ve sat through the entire “Pepper Keibu” PV more than once, maybe twice, but I’ve watched this clip several times over and haven’t tired of it yet.

And now I’m wondering exactly what kind of wota she is. Is she primarily into H!P, or does she like other things? Will we be hearing Ayu or Amuro or Koda Kumi later on? That’d be interesting.

Apparently, it takes singing a Finnish song to convince the judges she’s worth it. However, I’m thinking there’s bunches of wota around the world who’ve already decided in her favor.

Anyway, she gets her ticket…

And again, we’re back at the pantry, and she talks some more.

I’m sorry, I really don’t have much more to say about Vanamo at this point. I also doubt I’ll have much to say further, this could well just be a blip on my screen – albeit a very refreshing and affirmative blip.

Now initially, I just thought, “What a sweet girl, I hope she goes far.”

But this photo from the Finnish Idol site make me think she’s got a whole lot of hottie in her, too. Or at least a dash of ero kawaii, I’m not sure yet.

I do sincerely and honestly hope that she goes far. I don’t know if she will. I hope shirenu will give us some updates, or any other of our numerous Finnish J-bloggers. Someone this immediately compelling should already be an idol to my mind, and she deserves her own wota – not the nasty stalker kind, or the annoying wota-gei disruptive kind, but people who’ll root for her. So in that sense, count me as a Laura Vanamo wota.

… and I’ll stop now before that last picture makes me say something that shows exactly what kind of wota I can be. I promise I’ll behave this time, for her sake.

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11 Responses to “Laura Vanamo Deserves Her Own Wota”
  1. shirenu says:

    Wow I’m glad to see someone else blog about this!! She deserves all the attention she can get XD

    If you’re interested, I’ve posted a translation of her audition here: http://forum.jphip.com/index.php?topic=17090.msg513239#msg513239

    The long-haired guy actually was the most supportive of her in my opinion, it’s just that he always looks scary like that. XD And the female judge who probably looked the most impressed by her was actually the only judge to say ‘no’. Yeah Finns have weird body language, or something. XD

    Anyway, can’t help but love this girl!

  2. Henkka says:

    Ray, if you need to me to translate this for you, I’d be more than happy to. We just need to get someone to do the other stuff for it… I can only do the translation really.

  3. Gag Halfrunt says:

    According to the translation linked by shirenu, the judge with the beard admits to having ‘a fair collection of cantopop’, so perhaps he sees Laura as something of a kindred spirit. At the very least, he’s not going to dismiss her out of hand because she’s singing weird Asian music.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Woah I know her! Haha She’s amazing! I was in a cover group with her that bisbanded in early September. We used to make our own music videos but I think the leader deleted them from youtube =[ Wow, I wish her luck! She’s an inspiration to all Jpop lovin’ singers that aren’ts Japanese.

  5. zush says:

    although I live in Finland I’ve NEVER watched local Idols. But now there seem to be a real reason for me to take my remote control and push that unused button when time is right.

  6. Mippu says:

    Hmm. Very nice! Almost better than Koha-chan herself.

    But, please, please, someone tell her to push up her glasses! You can still do ‘ultra kawaii mode’ with your glasses appropriately seated on your face!

    @__@ Just a little thing that bugs meeee~

  7. Miara says:

    Hey guys 🙂 i am so pleased to read these comments. Laura is my goddaughter and i´m trying to gather all the blogs and chats about her for later on…cause if she is going to be like “one song star” i think she will appreciate to have everything saved 🙂
    I have to comment about few things about her and the pics at the beginning.

    She really is that adorable 🙂 Though very annoying sometimes too lol.

    That room is not kitchen or pantry…it´s her school´s students room, and the “hallway” with people really is her school of arts. She is VERY talented drawer, and surprise she draws anime/ manga what ever it is called 🙂

    She went to the audition just to try if she gets through, so i think she did nice 😛

    And there could be more to come next year…who knows 😉

    And by the way…there still is her dance-vid´s in youtube, there´s them like 3 or 4 with 2 different nick´s. If not found easily they can be found under names Dancingmirako or Mirakochan 🙂 Enjoy!

  8. Wendy says:

    Ahahah I accidentally saw her on YouTube dancing to SEXY BOY. XD

  9. Wiela says:

    I just noticed that Laura will be performing some “surprise songs” in Desucon (http://desucon.fi/) next summer. It’ll be interesting to see if the songs are H!P based or totally something else.

    (If the songs are H!P based it’ll be fun coincidence, since my cosplaydance group will perform some H!P music too 😉 )

  10. hana says:

    ahh~ laura is so cool, i was in 2 cover groups, one of them:the same group the other girl said a few comments back.anyways She is an amazing girl with an amazing voice and I’m gonna root for her all the way. ^^

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