Ranking of Vocalists

Vocal ranking of male and female idol vocalists

PLEASE READ BEFORE QUESTIONING/LOOKING AT THE CHART. Please do not repost chart without copying the background information. Don’t take the chart out of context.

Following is the ranking of idols and young vocalists that we’ve analyzed so far here at KpopVocalAnalysis. This list only includes idols who’ve debuted in 2014 or earlier. Idols who have debuted after 2014 were not analyzed due to the lack of material and the possibility of improvements happening shortly after the debut of an idol. Thus no debuts after 2014 shall be included in this chart. If a vocalist of any group that debuted in 2014 or prior is not present in this chart, that would be because their final rating would be at most average or due to lack of material for an analysis.

In 2013, we from KpopVocalAnalysis gathered together as fans, as vocal enthusiasts, and some of us as vocal instructors and vocalists ourselves to bring education and knowledge and to satisfy the curiosity of a community within a fandom. The following rankings we shall post have one thing that most others don’t have, hard work. Unlike what fans like to call the “opinion of experts,” mostly done by PD’s, Composers, and Music Critics, we have not only taken the time to listen to each single vocalist in these rankings individually, one by one, but we also have provided more than a simple sentence to describe how they use their voices/instruments. We have compiled a ranking system through our very own upbringing and learning process in order to properly categorize and find similarities between vocalists, technically.

Most other rankings take into consideration tone, emotion, and the individual taste of the listener. They normally don’t take the time to search through every vocalist there is and truly evaluate whether or not they’re truly good technical vocalists. Most of the time, these rankings aren’t even put together by vocalists or vocal instructors. So long story short: we have taken the time and consideration to give each individual vocalist a fair chance and listen through many videos and performances in order to fully understand how they utilize their voices. Our only aim was ever to teach and help each fan be aware of the truth behind the vocalists’ singing abilities. After working through more than 120 vocalists over the period of two years, we have gathered enough information to correctly categorize and rank them against one another. This list is not meant to be offensive. The criteria is not only attached to the rankings, but also to the main part of this blog. Each vocalist in the chart has been fairly analyzed before and if there are any questions as to why a vocalist is ranked as they are, the explanation is well within each vocalist’s individual analysis.

So after being able to finalize this big project and finally come up with a ranking chart and more than 100 analyses in the blog, we have reached our goal. To educate, to have a reliable source fans can rely on to find each and every vocalist they’ve ever been curious about and read about them all. Of course this is not the end of what we’ve started, many more vocalists will still be analyzed within the Korean music industry. So without any further ado, enjoy the rankings.

If there’s a question as to why a vocalist is ranked where they are, each individual vocalist in this chart has an analysis. So before calling anyone biased or before resorting to name calling, take the time to read these analyses carefully. If even after reading the analyses, there are questions and oppositions, don’t hesitate to maturely explain why you disagree with this chart. Keep in mind this chart is about VOCAL TECHNIQUE and vocal technique ONLY.

The rankings will be regularly updated as vocalists improve or regress.

LIST OF ANALYSES

Males:

vocalrankingguys

Females:

vocalrankinggirls

Last updated : December 25th, 2016

Overtime, an Idol’s vocal technique may either improve or deteriorate, therefore this list shall be constantly updated when new material surfaces and significant changes are consistently seen in the vocalist’s technique. Also, when more detailed analyses are given on idols, an idol may no longer be on the list or my find himself/herself in a higher or lower position.

This ranking is not to be taken out of context or to be used in any sort of way for petty arguments between fandoms nor to create fanwars. It’s a ranking created in order to give a visual interpretation and summarize the overall idea of the blog with each vocalist’s rating compared to one another. It is not created to offend anyone and is to be taken as seriously as one might wish to and should not interfere with anyone’s choice as a fan or affect how you see your favorite singer.

Even so, we are very open towards opinions and suggestions. If you find that an idol is not in the correct position, or that somebody else deserves a spot and we didn’t list them, do let us know. Link us to the idol’s performance and we will analyze it. If your reasoning is proven we will alter the ranking. As with what we’ve mentioned before, this list will be updated regularly.

We would also like to remind you that the ranking is completely objective and is solely based on VOCAL TECHNIQUE. Emotions, stage presence, entertainment factor, tone will all be ignored as they are purely subjective. If you feel that your bias is an emotional singer, someone else may not. Things that are subjective cannot be used as valid reasons for an idol’s rank.

Please refer to our judging criteria here if you are unsure how we determine an idols rank. If someone is placed above another Idol, it usually means that they are a more consistent vocalist, have better and more developed placements and registers, and is more resonant than the people below them.

FYI

These rankings include idols and young solo artists only. This means vocalists like Sohyang, Park Hyo Shin, Naul, etc are not considered idols, therefore, they are not ranked.

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524 thoughts on “Ranking of Vocalists

  1. I’m recently intersted in kpop l and singing although I’m only 14 year old boy.i also like your analysis (it is very detailed) .i have also tested my vocal range is e3-f5. but will I lose some of my high notes as my voice get deeper in the next few years

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  2. Oh I am not surprised to see EXO’s 3 main vocalist standing such a high 🤗
    What can you say about Chanyeol and Xiumin 🙄
    And I want to say thank you for your really hard work 😀

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      1. Xiumin is poorly trained? Really? I feel horrible. SM’s really wasting his skills then – he got in through a singing contest and yet?
        If you weren’t comparing Xiumin and Chanyeol to exo’s main vocalists, how would you judge them? I’m curious especially about Chanyeol because he’s into musical instruments and I wonder how helpful that is for him as an untrained vocalist.

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      2. What do you mean how I would judge them? They’re both throaty vocalists, Chanyeol is a chesty throaty baritone, while Xiumin is a shallow and tight tenor. Neither of them have established supported.

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    1. There’s an analysis on him, why don’t you read it? ^ ^ We don’t write these analyses for nothing, they’re done to explain exactly why a vocalist would receive a specific rating with detail about technique.

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  3. I thought there was an analysis on SM’s J-Min. Guess I’m just crazy. She’s not on the upcoming analyses list either? Didn’t realize how disappointed I’d be lol.

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    1. She never was supposed to be analyzed since most of her career was in Japan and then when she came to Korea, there was only very limited material for her. She’s also not usually requested and she’s not particularly skilled as a vocalist, so we didn’t feel the need to analyze her just yet.

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      1. That’s interesting. Would’ve thought she was better than other highly praised vocalists (that rank low). At least you made an actual decision rather than forgetting her like many people do. Thanks for the update!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t mean to be rude, but if you read the text before the chart, you would know. ^ ^ Sohyang has been analyzed but she isn’t meant to be included in this chart at all and the explanation is in the text.

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  4. Wow, I was surprised to see Kyuhyun is in the first position. I was his fans, but never thought that he could be ranked higher than Yesung. I admit he does have the vocal technique better than others. But I was still surprised to see it is in the first position. ㅋㅋㅋ

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  5. I think the text that is not in the respective idol’s images could be left without the black border around each letter if that’s possible, since it’s slightly difficult to read the criteria part in the blue boxes even though you already state it above the charts.

    It’s just a bit visually jarring even when you zoom in on it, though it shouldn’t be necessary for the stuff like the title and other text in red areas (I hope this makes sense lol). You could add it in the next edition of the chart whenever you decide to update it again.

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    1. Hyunsik is not on the list because he won’t be analyzed. He is on our future analyses list, listed as “vocalists we will not analyze” because it goes against our rules to analyze more than half of the vocalists within a group unless they’re sufficiently skilled. Since that’s not the case, and we already analyzed Eunkwang, Changsub and Sungjae, Hyunsik wasn’t analyzed and thus was not included on the chart, unfortunately. Logically he would be rated the lowest out of the four, so if anything, it’s for the best. I hope you understand.

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    1. Because we are going to make a chart that will include only soloists later on and because we only analyzed idols thus far, since they were the most popularly requested analyses.

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      1. Thanks! I actually found people on YouTube saying “Yeonjung has a resonant C6 in mixed voice!” And went straight to that video to listen to it. It sure was a C6 but sounded extremely heady, strained and pushed so I wondered how high she supported. Btw love how admins of this blog always reply in a few hours. Keep up the good work👍

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, I love your blog and I have some questions about the ranking. I read the rules but if you could only quick answer I would be grateful.
    1. Do you think western (most american) singers are way better than K-Pop singers? Are they at the same or almost the same level? I mean the pop ones, like Justin Bieber, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Adele, etc. They would all be at the Average position or K-Pop singers really are weak if compare to these singers?
    2. I know you already told you won’t analyze him, but I am really a big fan of him and would like to know: Do you consider Lu Han a good singer? Where would you put him in this ranking? Could you answer that without a big review, only with what you have heard from him?
    I feel very bad that there are only a few idols that are considered great singers, I always thought they would be as great as American ones.
    Thanks so much for the attention, I really appreciate your blog ❤ sorry if I bothered you.

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    1. Hi there! Thank you very much for loving our blog! ^ ^

      1. The standards we have for the blog are for contemporary vocalists in general, so anybody could fall anywhere within these ratings no matter what country they’re from. However if what you mean is that a majority of western vocalists would happen to be rated in a higher rating more often than K-pop vocalists, no, that wouldn’t be correct. The average and weak ratings are usually the most common ratings for trained professional vocalists in pop music, regardless of where they come from. So a lot of American, British, etc, artists would fall under weak, average and above average as well. Including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Selena Gomez, One Direction, Adele, Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift and such. It’s not like these standards we have are ONLY for K-pop and they’d be much higher for American artists. There’s a lot of prejudice that comes with K-pop, but most artists from the western world are often average vocalists. Good, great and such vocalists are rare in west, as they are in K-pop.
      2. Without a big review? So you wouldn’t like a long detailed answer at all? I don’t feel comfortable answering this question with just a rating. I’d rather explain why. At least I’ll briefly say that Luhan has very rough technique, he sings almost entirely from his throat. He pushes a lot, he is often throaty even around E4 and as a tenor, that’s hardly impressive. I do like his voice a lot, but his technique is very underdeveloped. He would be rated as a weak vocalist, without a doubt.

      As great as American ones? Again I believe you’re overestimating the vocal ability to many American vocalists as if they were better than K-pop vocalists. Very few American vocalists would be rated as great or even good. Actually aside from Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi (both possibly good vocalists), I don’t know any male vocalist in the west who would be rated higher than average, except maybe for Zayn Malik. As for females, great vocalists…the only one that comes to mind is Jojo, good to great or good, perhaps we have P!nk, Lady Gaga and such, but again not many. Don’t get sucked in by the wave of prejudice, American vocalists aren’t automatically better than K-pop ones. So they aren’t as great as American vocalists, they’re often better.

      Your comment did not bother us at all, thank you for your questions. ^ ^

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      1. So we could say that:
        Son Seung Yeon > Lady Gaga
        Jessica > Ariana Grande
        Jihyo >/ Adele (Sorry, I love Jihyo xD)
        Wheein > Jessie J
        Taeyeon > Tori Kelly
        Seohyun > Demi Lovato

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      2. Thank you for your answers ❤ I don't have a prejudice with K-Pop singers haha, I actually always found many of them better than most of western singers, I only was curious if that would be correct, looking on a professional view. It's because everybody always talk about how excellent western singers are, and looking at this ranking, I was curious if they would be much better than the K-Pop ones. Now I know that they are at the same level as the najority of the K-Pop ones. Thanks ❤

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  7. Sorry, I was just drawing my own conclusions.
    Anyway, do you think Gugudan, April, Berry Good and Astro as good as people say? Thier main vocalists seem to be just average or average to above average to me.

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    1. I don’t think Astro’s main vocalists are even average actually. Most people tend to overrate vocalists in general but a good majority are average and these groups are no exception.

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  8. At last, an unbiased list. I wanna ask you something, in terms of vocal ability, does BTOB (as a whole group) could be considered better than the most male kpop group out there? thanks

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    1. It’s hard to answer this kind of question simply because you have to take into consideration other members who aren’t main or lead vocalists and 99.9% of sub vocalists are weak so they weigh groups down a lot. There’s no criteria for comparing and talking about whole groups vocally so there’s no way to compare generally.

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  9. Hey! I have to say, I love the ranking — it’s just satisfying to see something being organized into a list aha.
    I was wondering whether it was possible for a weak or average vocalist to train and become a proficient or good vocalist? or is that impossible? I know that it required a god-awful lot of talent and practice to acquire the skill and technique to become a good vocalist, but hypothetically speaking, is it possible for someone to become a good vocalist without any talent in singing whatsoever. Also, I was wondering whether you have an explanation as to why Jeon Somi’s singing in English sounds significantly different to her singing in Korean. (or maybe it’s just me?) Her voice projection when singing in english sounds much clearer and supported but in korean her voice seems a bit more nasally and less supported? it would be great if you would reply, thanks!

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    1. Of course! That’s the whole point of these ratings for professionals, nobody is born into those ratings. They’re achievable goals any vocalist can train and be part of. Talent is only 5% of it, but this is all about hard work. Many vocalists have improved and their current ratings are higher than where they’d have been rated when they debuted. I don’t really listen to Jeon Somi.. is she the one from I.O.I? She doesn’t really at all so I’ve never heard her singing in English, at least I don’t think I have.

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      1. thanks for replying! Yes, she’s the one from ioi. idk but her voice when singing in korean comes off as too nasally than her singing in english. it’s okay if you’re not familliar with it tho.

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      1. Oh wow! I didn’t know that she had declined so much since she was younger lol. Again thanks for the reply.

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  10. Umm if you’re to put vocalists like So Hyang and Naul in this list where would they be if this list isn’t only for idols? Would they be at the very top?

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    1. I’m sorry but we have no plans of analyze B1A4’s CNU’s vocal technique as of yet. Please check our future analyses list before making requests.

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      1. Yeah I hope we get new material for her since she seems a bit more interesting to me (idk why lol I just got to know EXID). Jihyo too (But it’s definitely too early to analyse her).

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  11. Hi admin team! This chart’s super pretty, and I love how it looks!

    I was wondering if the reason Roy Kim wasn’t included on this chart is that he isn’t considered as idol singer? I know his analysis was released after the chart came out, so are you going to wait until after more idol analyses have been released before editing the chart?

    Also, I seriously hope that Gayoon and Min return to the music scene and show enough improvement to move up to the Average rating. They’re the strongest vocalists from two of my favorite (former?) girl groups, and it’s driving my OCD crazy by seeing how close they are from moving up. LOL They’re supported ranges fall within the Average category, so I feel like if they worked on improving their support even within their supported ranges, that would give them a sufficient boost. But then again, I’m not an expert, and unfortunately, they’re not nearly as active in the music industry as they used to be.

    And just a question for fun, were there anything vocalists that stood out while you analyzed them, either because you underestimated or overestimated their vocal technique? From reading, I can say that I definitely overestimated Gayoon and Tiffany, both of whom I originally thought were stellar vocalists before I stumbled upon their entries and became more educated on technique. I definitely underestimated D.O. and Taemin. 😉

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    1. Roy Kim wasn’t included cause he’s a non idol soloist. He’s gonna be part of our soloist chart. Niel and Jung Yonghwa I overestimated them a lot, Eunkwang I underestimated him.

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  12. Wow this blog is really informative, I’m actually learning lol. Great work on it!

    I know they’re not K-pop, but since I’m a fan, could you briefly give your opinion on the vocalists of Fifth Harmony? How would they fall on this chart?
    And also, just out of curiosity, since this blog is very objective in its entirety, who are some your personal favourites in K-pop? Groups or soloists that you enjoy? Or perhaps certain artists whose music you usually look out for? 🙂

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    1. Awww thanks for the compliment! I understand this is your first time commenting, so I’ll tell you we are a k-pop vocal analysis blog, meaning we focus on K-pop. Realistically speaking, K-pop is a lot better when it comes to providing material for analyses. Western pop makes hunting for live performances with good audio quality difficult, so I would not even do it. lol With this in mind, don’t assume we know these vocalists 100% because we don’t follow them if we’re not going to analyze them. I don’t know Fifth Harmony 100%, but I don’t think any of those girls, all sopranos, can handle notes higher than C5 consistently so I would have to say none of them would be even in the above average section.

      As for our favorites, we do have our favorite voices on the Team page, but you know I like lots of genres. I love bubblegum pop, pop-rock, R&B, musicals and ballads, so I like a lot of idol songs, regardless of who the artist is. I do love SHINee and SNSD, as well as Lena Park and such, but there are songs I like from every artist really, or almost every artist. ^ ^

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  13. Completely off-topic, but do you think JoJo (American singer) has good technique? I’m a huge fan and I can’t really find updated/detailed analyses on her. I personally think she is amazing, what are your thoughts on her?

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    1. Jojo has great technique, last year I heard a couple of supported F5’s from her. She has a crazy lower range for a mezzo as well, C3’s sometimes are just so easy for her, so neutral, so clean and supported. Even her head voice up to Bb5, not to mention her agility. Jojo is great, to say the least.

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      1. I never noticed how low her voice goes, but not that you mention it I just noticed how low her voice goes in Demonstrate. I’m seeing her in concert soon – so you just made me even more excited than before. Thanks!

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      2. wait, what? how can a woman have a really extensive modal range? from C3 to F5 it’s like 2 octave 2 notes 1semi. it’s more advance than a normal good soprano, and jojo is mezzo. what can stop her to have more extensive head reg up to like F6? isn’t it common for female to have real extensive head voice, but mix and lower? damn she is great

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  14. Correct me if I’m wrong. But what makes it different between Chen and U.Ji? Both really have a good low notes, and nicely support their mix. It just Chen can’t produce head voice but somewhat relax falsetto and U.Ji still a bit inconsistent with head voice.

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    1. Chen is a lot more opened than U.Ji. U.Ji’s resonance above B4/C5 is inconsistent because she lacks openness and freedom. He is a lot more relaxed and free. His lower range has also been proved to be fairly more consistent than hers. So there are more than a few differences between them.

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  15. I want to know the vocal ranking of all of the members of girls generation. Can you please email it to me. Pleeeeeeease :)))
    Thank youbso much

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    1. I don’t know the answer to this, I don’t pay attention to sub vocalists enough to compare them like that. As for Jimin, it’s explained within our future analyses list rules that we only analyzed the strongest vocalists of each group and only half of them, so naturally since Jungkook and V have better technique than Jin and Jimin, 2/4 being half only they were analyzed. The only exceptions to this rule would be vocalists with a high enough vocal skill to break the rule.

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