When it has come to the last two Kohaku Utagassen broadcasts, I think I've started to look forward to a couple of things. Of course, for comfort's sake, there are the enka and pop veterans with some of their chestnuts that they've dusted off. And then there are the few new acts that have been invited to see what kind of oomph they provide.
For Kohaku No. 66, I was actually rooting for Shiho Ochi（越智志帆）, aka Superfly. Now, Superfly isn't exactly a new act since she's been around since I was still living in the Kanto. Just to recap, one of my hippie-ish students happily introduced the singer to me in one of our first lessons together near the end of the last decade. So, perhaps she isn't a new face overall but it was her first appearance on NHK's venerable (if no longer quite venerated) New Year's Eve special.
Just to see her by herself on the Shibuya stage perform the upbeat and inspiring "Beautiful" (she provided words and music) did put a thrill through me for some reason. Although I can't say that I've become a die hard fan of hers, I was happy to see Superfly with those vocals of her joyfully press forward with those optimistic lyrics about getting past the gloom and into the sunlight. I think she gave one of the highlights for the broadcast and she got some appreciative applause for her performance.
"Beautiful" wasn't even an official single but a track on her most recent album, "White" from May 2015. It's her 5th studio album which peaked at No. 2 on Oricon and became the 23rd-ranked album for the year. The song itself was used as the theme for the TBS drama "Mother Game".