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Ken Lee (“Can’t Live”) is a phonetic interpretation of Mariah Carey’s 1993 cover single and Badfinger’s classic love song “Without You” performed by Valentina Hasan, a contestant who auditioned for the Bulgarian TV show Music Idol in February 2008. Although Ms. Hasan didn’t make the cut to the next round of competition, her audition clip quickly spread through Bulgarian internet hubs and gained over four million views within the first month of debut on YouTube.
Valentina Hasan appeared on Music Idol’s second season audition on February 7th 2008. The most viewed version of Ken Lee video, titled “Ken Lee or Without you by Mariah Carey”, was uploaded on February 27th, 2008 by YouTube user ArathBenedek. According to the video description: "The contestant’s name is Valentina Hasan, 29 years old. She’s from the village of Zvezdelina, in the Kardzhali Province. Valentina’s married and “Hasan” is her husband’s surname. She currently lives in Spain."
Karaoke Version & Lyrics
In an interview that took place in July 2008, Hasan explained to the Bulgarian media that she had no knowledge of English. She had just learned the song by heart and by ear, by listening to it repeatedly on a cassette recorder, and “sang it the way she felt it.”
No one ken to ken to sivmen,
Proper English Version
No I can’t forget this evening
Remixes & Parodies
Appearances in Mainstream Media
Music Idol: Take Two
The popularity of the video encouraged Music Idol producers to invite Hasan back to sing the song live a few weeks later. By this time, Hasan had had more training with the English lyrics, made fewer errors, and poked fun at her own interpretation by singing the final verse in her original style. This video was also posted to YouTube and received over 13 million views (all clips totally) by the first half of May 2008.
Interview Footage with Hasan
Mariah Carey’s Reaction To Ken Lee
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