The ratings for the 60th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen were announced yesterday. The first half of the show garnered 37.1% while the second half was a little higher at 40.8%. Kohaku organizers tried to attract higher ratings by saving bigger acts for the second half of the show, including popular group Arashi, SMAP with their Michael Jackson tribute, and inviting British singer Susan Boyle to participate in the show. However it seems their efforts were in vain, as the ratings were even lower than last year, which earned 42.1%. NHK must come up with new ideas if they want to produce a miracle for this year's show.
The top performances in the first half of the show included Hamasaki Ayumi and Exile, as well as a group of child performers, including Kato Seishiro from the Taiga drama Tenchijin, Ohasi Nozomi from Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, enka singer Sakura Maya, and Johnny Jr's Snow Prince. They performed as part of Kodomo Kohaku (Children's Kohaku), which was the most eye-catching performance in the first half. The ratings went up from last year's 35.7% to 37.1% for this year.
While NHK saved the best performances for the second half of the show, the ratings were only mediocre. Not only was it lower than last year's ratings, but it was a mere 1.5% higher than the worst second half ratings in NHK history (2004 with 39.3%). However, in a poll conducted by the television broadcast company, out of the 40,000 people surveyed, 6,931 viewers rated Kohaku with a perfect 10 (about 10% of the audience). About 60% of the audience gave a score of 6 or higher, so it seems that audience members were generally satisfied with this year's Kohaku performances.
One of this year's judges was Mori Mitsuko, who won the People's Honour Award earlier in the year. Towards the end of the show, she was asked by MC Nakama Yukie to cheer for both the Red and White teams. Mori, who is close to 90, said: "Neither the Red or White team has won or lost." Then she said: "Is it alright for me to say it?" It seems she didn't understand what Nakama had asked her. Afterwards, audience members commented that Mori might have been sitting too long and was probably tired. Other people criticized Nakama for being too slow to respond. But online viewers said that Mori appeared very lively at Johnny's Countdown, which was after Kohaku. Her manner seemed very different.
Similar to Mori, Johnny's groups TOKIO and Arashi both attended Johnny's Countdown, rushing over to appear on time at Tokyo Dome. TOKIO's Nagase Tomoya was asked about his relationship with Aibu Saki. He graciously answered reporter's questions, saying: "It's good, everything's going well." When asked whether he will get married this year, is just smiled, implying it wasn't the right time.
As for Tohoshinki, who were rumoured to be disbanding after Kokaku, on the day of the performance, many online Japanese news sites reported that their management company SM Entertainment had already confirmed the split, although the specific date had not been announced. However, yesterday SM clarified the rumours, saying the reports were false. Yet it was apparent there was a rift between the members when they appeared on the Japanese program CD Countdown on New Years Eve. Xiah, Micky and Hero, who are at odds with their company, were seated far apart from Max and U-Know, who are staying with SM. They seemed to have no interactions at all.
Translated by: sparkles_n15 @ asianfanatics.net