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[Girl Group Wars] Singer Rankings

Singer Rankings

Kpopencarta here.  I know it’s been a while since my last blog post, but I’ve been super busy the last few months.  I wish I had time to do recaps again, but alas I don’t think that’ll be the case.  Instead, I guess we’ll have to go back to my random musings on the world of kpop.  And so, without further ado, I present to you my rankings for the best vocalists in the world of female idols.

*Note before we start this.  2NE1 and Brown Eyed Girls were excluded from these rankings because I don’t really have enough exposure to them to judge.*

SSS Tier
Lee Haeri(Davichi)

For me these 3 are unquestionably the best of the current idol singers.  All of them have amazing range and control, and are versatile enough to tackle multiple genres.  The degree of separation between them in terms of vocal ability is so minute that I’m giving them a collective tie for first place.  They’re in a tier of their own with few coming close.

S Tier


Being soloists, it’s not surprising that these two have amazing voices.  Unlike with a group, you live or die by your voice.  With IU, she had to claw her way up from releasing songs like “Boo” and Marshmellow”, which was a criminal misuse of her talents.  It wasn’t until “Good Day” that she was finally recognized and started being able to release songs more suitable for her.  With Ailee, her talent was never in question and was a Youtube sensation even before being discovered by Wheesung.  Her performances on Immortal Song 2 only solidify her position of being one of the best voices of this generation.

A Tier

Jessica(SNSD): A+
Soyeon(T-ara): A
Song Ji Eun(Secret): A
Tiffany(SNSD): A
Kang Min Kyung(Davici): A-
Seohyun(SNSD): A-
Sunny(SNSD): A-
Luna(fx): A-

It might be my own personal bias showing here, but Jessica for me is the tops of this tier of singers.  The only thing that really holds her back from being in the tier above is that her live performances can sometimes be lacking.  Joining her on this tier is the rest of SNSD’s vocal line: Tiffany, Seohyun, and Sunny.  Each of them could easily be main vocal  in a different group, but alas they’re stuck behind the crazy talented Taeyeon and Jessica.

Two other SM-trained artists also make the A-tier cut in Soyeon and Luna.  Soyeon was famously part of SNSD at first, but then left prior to their debut due to personal reasons.  She’s long been one of my favorite singers and many times I feel she’s wasting her talents on some of T-ara’s songs.  I keep hoping that she’ll eventually make it onto Immortal Song 2, which is where Luna was able to really showcase herself.  The style of music that f(x) doesn’t really let her voice shine, but even still it’s evident that she’s their best vocalist by far.

With Ji Eun, you have another idol for whom Immortal Song 2 was a big reason for her being so high on the list.  She’s also had enough solo activities to show off just how good a vocalist she is.  In some ways, I feel she’s one of the most underrated vocalists there as she doesn’t get much recognition for it.  In comparison, I feel Kang Min Kyung is a bit overrated.  She is still a fantastic vocal, but she is clearly overshadowed by her partner Lee Haeri, who I already ranked earlier.

B Tier

Raina(After School): B+
Hyomin(T-ara): B+
G.NA: B+
Gayoon(4minute): B+
Eunji(A Pink): B+
Krystal(fx): B
NS Yoon G: B
Min(miss A): B
Fei(missA): B
Eunjung(T-ara): B
Suzy(miss A): B
Yenny(Wonder Girls): B-
Sun(Wonder Girls): B-
Lee Hi: B-
Baek Ah Yeon: B-
Jiyoon(4minute): B-

Not surprisingly this ended up being the tier with the most members.  Everyone here is solid vocalist, but have some obvious limitations in my mind.  Let’s start with the B+ members.  After School’s Raina and T-ara’s Hyomin I feel are both on the cusp of hitting the A-tier group, but they both lack the vocal range to keep up with those above them.  They’re both able to do multiple genres and are more than capable of carrying a song, but nothing about either singer really wows me.

The lack of a wow factor could also be said for the other three B+ members.  G.NA and Eunji both have powerful voices and decent range, but don’t quite have the same versatility as the A tier singers.  In the case of Gayoon, it might be an exposure problem for me.  Like the others in this tier, she has a decent but limited range.  I like her in the 4minute songs, but she could definitely use more stage presence when she’s solo.  Fortunately, she has Jiyoon as her complement and the two work very well together.  Their subunit’s main track of 24/7 is actually one of my favorite of the year and in fact the album itself is fairly solid.

Out of the 3 miss A members that make up this tier, I think Suzy has slowly made her way to the top.  Initially, Min was unquestionably their best vocalist, but recently Fei and Suzy have caught up.  None are very special in terms of singing ability, but they cover each other’s weaknesses very well and they pick songs that play to their strengths.  Suzy’s last few drama OSTs have impressed me slightly and even though this was still a mistake, I’m sure she’d do much better at it now.  Taeyeon’s solo for “Genie” is definitely not for everyone.

Krystal is an interesting case.  She’s definitely behind her sister in terms of development at similar points in their careers, but at the same time she’s also had more opportunities to shine on her own as well.  While she does lack her sister’s range she displays good control over what she is capable of and she’s shown her ability to handle different genres.  NS Yoon G and T-ara’s Eunjung are the same.  Neither have exceptional range , but display good control over what they can do.

Another pair that complements each other very well is Yenny and Sun from the Wonder Girls.  With Yenny on the higher notes and Sun on the lower notes, the two cover everything you need.  Which is fortunate because the other three members are fairly weak vocally.

The last duo that I’ll discuss are two of the top three finishers in the Kpop Star season 1.  Thekoreanjjang can speak to their abilities more, but from what I’ve seen both are talented vocalists, but very limited in terms of what kind of genre they can do.  Both are very young in their careers though so I’m sure they will be able to show more later on.  For now though, there are very specific roles that I feel they excel in, which are reflected in their respective albums.


14 responses to “[Girl Group Wars] Singer Rankings

  1. yjaemi July 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I thoroughly disagree with this list. I have many reasons as to why but I’ll stick to a few.:
    – Taeyeon and Hyorin don’t “amazing control” lol. Taeyeon has a good middle register however her lower register is practically non-existent and her head voice is undeveloped. She has some intonation issues and she is an inconsistent singer. She strains often and has shown almost musicianship skills. Hyorin has one of the best lower registers in kpop but she strains A LOT as well and is known to have intonation issues as well as having really shouty belts at times. Unlike Taeyeon however, Hyorin has shown to have some musicianship skills.
    – Ailee and Eunji are better vocalists than Taeyeon and Hyorin. Ailee has the best developed middle register of all kpop idols and Eunji very rarely strains.
    – Lol why are Gyuri and Seungyeon on this list? I love Kara but Gyuri’s technique is about as good as SNSD Sooyoung/Yuri’s. Seungyeon’s vocal technique is comparable to Hyoyeon’s. Gyuri and Seungyeon are VERY weak vocalists and have severe issues with their intonation, consistency, lower and middle registers, head voices, tone production etc.

    There are many more mistakes I could point out, but I’m too lazy to point them out lol.
    I love Taeyeon and Hyorin’s voices but they are extremely overhyped in terms of their technique. Both Taeyeon’s and Hyorin’s techniques are decent, not spectacular.

    And remember that there’s a difference between a singer and vocalist. A vocalist is ranked solely on vocal technique, so there’s no question about whether or not they’re good whereas a singer is subjective – so it’s based on emotion and how you personally feel like their voice sounds. I’ve told you all this based on their technique, not on my personal opinion (because if it was, then yes, Taeyeon would rank first. But unfortunately, she is overrated as with Hyorin).

    • kpopencarta July 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      To be fair, I did mention this as a singer ranking. However, I did err in the description by saying vocalist as this distinction is typically lost on people. I agree some of your main points, especially with Gyuri and Seungyeon on the list. I put them on there in a moment of weakness, something I have since rectified. Not having any real vocal training, I made my judgments based more on my feeling rather than actual technique as I am not qualified to do so. So yes, based solely on technique, this list would be drastically different. However this ranking was heavily weighted towards more subjective standards rather than objective ones.

      • yjaemi July 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        Yeah if I was to judge subjectively as well, our lists would be similar. I didn’t mean to come across as condescending or anything so sorry if I did. (:

        • kpopencarta July 13, 2013 at 6:03 pm

          haha no worries. Nothing wrong with healthy and reasoned debate. Its part of the reason why this blog was created.

        • Cyril Ebarvia May 11, 2014 at 11:10 pm

          every ranking of singers or any abstract matter will always be purely subjective, it doesnt matter if you use technique, voice quality etc. etc. in fact it is futile you can only say who you feel/think is better but you can never say in absolute fact who is really the best.

  2. KPOPER September 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    obviously IU SHOULD BE FIRST, i mean ailee can get to high notes too, but IU´s voice is better, while hyorin´s voice is pretty good too, then taeyeon is good, but she´s as good as Eunji, whoever made this ranking couln´t have been more wrong. Also, jessica?, she has a good voice, but i don´t really like her melody, i mean i prefer seohyun, also suzy is way better than some you wrote down there, so please! AND SUNNY???, PLEASE DON´T FUCK!!!

  3. Meee June 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I disagree alot alot alot.. I hope you see my comment. I’m a huge sone but I think Tiffany although her voice is a bit deep has a better vocal range than Jessica, Jessica sings like a cute baby which makes her voice cute but Tiffany’s voice is matured..
    Sunye I’ve heard her sing, her voice is amazing, she should be an A+.
    Eunji, come on she’s good, she can hit high notes without stress, anyone can listen to her songs and never get bored cos her voice is amazing..
    Luna, you’re right her talent just wastes on f(x) songs cos they’re soo upbeat. Her voice is really amazing..
    In my opinion, Krystal’s voice is way better than Jessica’s voice. I came up with this conclusion after I listened to Butterfly (TTBY OST)..
    P.S. Hyorin’s voice and Tae’s voice are amazing and I love that you said it. Their voices are so pure… I love their voices alot alot..
    (My Opinion)..

  4. Charmed92 August 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Firstly, Ailee is the best vocalist in kpop. I agree with Taeyeon, Hyorin, Haeri making the SSS tier, but Ailee she creat the SSSS tier, or at least rule over the SSS tier.

    Apart from this major error, i feel like eunji should be included in the A tier, apart from that everything else is on point,
    And i love you for letting Jieun enter the A tier. She is so underrated and perfect!

  5. j September 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    i am sorry about whether EUNJI@APINK only get B+ grade ?!?! Personally,she should at the very least at A+ grade

  6. Hottest Infinity October 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Youve got some serious problem. Sun and Yenny on the B tier? They should be on the top tier instead of Taeyeon. Even Yenny herself beats all GG vocals. This is the most inaccurate list ive ever seen. Sorry..

  7. oumcalsom February 18, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    if you commented taeyeon as sss teir, just keep shutting up.. why did you disagreed? as what i know taeyeon has the best vocalist aside from hyorin. i know that you commented because your idol hasn’t ranked… okey? PEACE??????

  8. cbramwel April 28, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    What a difference 3 years makes. Reps from the major companies have just chosen Tayeon as the No. idol singer, followed by IU and Eunji tied at No. 2. Ranking Eunji as B+ even 3 years ago was a travesty.

  9. Kaylapaige September 21, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Mostly I agree but there are a handful I’d probably score higher. But overall a great list, everyone has their own opinion so I don’t mind this list.

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