One week from today, the new members of S/mileage will be revealed. Even though my excitement about the change in S/mileage's lineup kinda comes and goes, it's gonna happen, so we might as well accept it and at least try to be excited about it.
This whole audition process has really helped me have a LOT more respect for Ayaka and her ability as a leader. The girls were all really shocked when the announcement happened, and a couple of them were pretty bummed about it. But Ayaka didn't let it get to her for very long. She stepped up and encouraged the others to keep a positive attitude. Ayaka has turned into a very positive and welcoming LEADER, and I am so proud of her. Yuuka, on the other hand, is still throwing a pity party. I still wub her, but she needs to lean on the other members for support more and try to see the good in this.
I am hoping that they keep the same formula after the new members are added--the line distribution especially. I'm not usually all for equal line distribution all the time (because some people sing better than others and that's a fact of life), but that's a big part of what makes S/mileage unique and fun. The style of the girls' voices and the dances makes equal line distribution a must.
Here's the latest Hello Pro Time footage:
And this channel has footage from each of the finalists to give you an idea of their singing and dancing abilities, as well as how they answer questions from Tsunku. (My Japanese ain't exactly great, so I kinda skipped over a lot of those, but if yours is better, you might enjoy it!)
My personal ideal number of new members is four. The quartet concept can easily be doubled, and each current S/miley can have a mentee, which I think would be fantastic for them, and really help them all work together to be a great group.
My top picks for four new members, in no particular order:
#1: Oda Sakura, age 12.
OH MY GOD MY HULA GIRL MADE IT!!!! YAY!!!! (2chan has confirmed that #33 is Oda Sakura.) This girl smiles all the time, and clearly has the talent to go far.
Sakura has been my favorite since day one. Out of all the non-Egg auditioners, Sakura has the best voice. Her dance moves need a little work, but her voice more than makes up for it, and S/mileage needs another strong voice.
She has a very unique look. I like how dark she is, and her hair is gorgeous. She also has clearly not had her eyes done, which really endears her to me. (This is a silly bias of mine--usually getting eyelids done is not the girl's choice, but I think it is great when parents do not choose to get their daughter's eyelids folded.) S/mileage totally needs her.
SHOULD BE MENTORED BY: Fukuda Kanon. Kanon's personality would compliment Sakura's very well. I can totally see these two becoming best buds. Kanon is also the best dancer (imho) in the current S/mileage, so she would be a great coach for our little blooming flower!
#2: Tamura Meimi, age 12
I can't get enough of this girl. Many people have called her the Riho of these auditions because Meimi appeared in the Shugo Chara musical with the current S/mileage members, so she is already a fan favorite. But she is for a reason. She fits the image of S/mileage perfectly--her voice is cute, she's a fantastic dancer, and she has the button-cute personality to match. She's got the smiles to go miles!
SHOULD BE MENTORED BY: Maeda Yuuka. This would be a great fit personality-wise, but this pairing is largely for Yuuka's benefit. Yuuka has taken the auditions the hardest, and having someone familiar around would really help.
#3: Takeuchi Akari, age 13
Duh! This Egg is absolutely perfect for S/mileage. Her training clearly shows in her footage, she's cuter than a box of kittens, and she has worked hard for a few years before this audition. This Egg is ready to hatch.
SHOULD BE MENTORED BY: Wada Ayaka. These two would have a great energy together.
#4: Katsuta Rina, age 13
Oh, you though I was going to pick Miyamoto? Nope! I think Rina would be a better fit. Rina is not as strong as Karin or Akari, but she is still strong. She is an Egg who hasn't had a lot of spotlight time, but she has a great attitude and a drive to learn. She is a bit shy, but she's not fragile. She seems very ready for this next step.
SHOULD BE MENTORED BY: Ogawa Saki. Saki is a huge goof and an obvious extrovert, so I think she would be the best one to bring Rina out of her shell. Saki has really come into her own as a performer and an idol since the girls debuted last year, and Rina can bounce off of that.
THOSE I WOULDN'T MIND SEEING IN S/MILEAGE, BUT DON'T LIKE AS MUCH AS THE OTHERS FOR WHATEVER REASON:
#1: Miyamoto Karin, age 12
Ok, I absolutely ADORE Karin. She is by far the best auditionee in every possible way. This Egg needs to hatch, and I will be there holding a blowtorch under her incubator.
However, I want her in Morning Musume. Really, really, REALLY badly. Her voice is pretty much flawless, and though I hate to play this card, she would be a great ace to replace Ai.
#2: Yamaga Kanae, age 16
Nakky's doppleganger!! She is gorgeous and has a lot of potential. But the way she carries herself also says Morning Musume to me. Plus, she is older than most of the auditionees. While I don't see this as a bad thing, I think it puts her closer to Momosu.
#3: Aoyagi Momoka, age 14
I really do want this girl. There is just something about her that screams "idol." I wouldn't mind seeing her in S/mileage or Morning Musume. However, I'd like to give her a year in the Eggs and see where she goes. But I adore this girl.