IZ*ONE has an impressive vocal line, but Yuri sits atop it as the group’s only main vocalist. However, after one AYO viewer expressed their doubts about Yuri’s position, her former vocal trainer Kim Young Min has weighed in with his opinion.

Kim Young Min, who has been training idols like Yuri, SEVENTEEN, and NU’EST in singing for 11 years, recently sat down with AYO to respond to comments surrounding idol vocals. One comment in particular that Kim Young Min had to respond to involved the IZ*ONE main vocalist—”I wish IZ*ONE changed their main vocalist“.

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While that first sentence may get WIZ*ONEs up in arms, the commenter did go on to explain their reasoning. In their opinion, the problem isn’t that Yuri is a bad vocalist—it’s that her voice is “damaged a lot“. The commenter then reasoned that they don’t think Yuri should have to sing high notes all the time, since “she sounds beautiful when she sings medium range” too.

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Yuri is known for her unique, husky tone and well-developed technique despite her young age. She has a vocal range of around 3 octaves, hitting notes as low as C3 and as high as C6. Because of her range, technique, and main vocalist position, she receives the majority of high notes in the group. In fact, YouTube user chaehoes counted 24 high notes for Yuri in the group’s BLOOM*IZ album. In comparison, Yena received the second highest amount with just 7 high notes.

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However, some fans have noted that her voice sometimes sounds strained. A Korean video entitled “The throat condition of Jo Yuri, IZ*ONE’s main vocalist” has accumulated almost 400,000 views on YouTube in less than a month. Fellow member Chaeyeon has also been preparing honey water to help Yuri’s throat since “La Vie en Rose” era.

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As Yuri’s own former vocal coach, who better to weigh in on the comment than Kim Young Min? Kim trained Yuri while she competed on Produce 48, right up until her debut with IZ*ONE.

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I trained her a lot with her best range and best songs until she debuted.

— Kim Young Min

The vocal coach says that he does agree that Yuri’s throat condition may not be at its best. However, it’s nothing to do with her technique as a main vocalist. Kim Young Min explained that after successful training, Yuri is “full capable of her [vocal] range“, meaning there’s no trouble with her hitting the group’s high notes.

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The problem, according to Kim, is that IZ*ONE’s schedule is jam-packed with music shows, concerts, and more. Having to sing live too often will take a toll on any singer’s voice.

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Her schedule is tough, so her throat can’t help being damaged like that. I felt bad watching her too.

— Kim Young Min

So, it seems that Yuri’s vocal coach disagrees with the sentiment that she shouldn’t be the main vocalist. On the contrary, Yuri’s skills make her perfectly suited to hitting high notes—it’s just scheduling that’s to blame for any straining.

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Lee Gyeol, fellow vocal coach of 17 years, chimed in saying that even Yuri’s face makes her a great vocalist.

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But from her physiognomy, I can say, “It’s a great singer’s face”. When you sing, the corners of your mouth should be up. When the corners are up, your muscles go up together, so it’s easier to put the sound to upper side.

— Lee Gyeol