Year-end gayos 2012, part 2
I ended up liking the MBC show the most because it was actually exciting to watch all the way through despite its lack of collaboration stages. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge sucker for collabs (hence why my favorite performance was the SHINee/f(x) collabo which was, in all honestly, kind of a dud), but I have a lot more respect for a show where all of the “regular” performances are remixes or special stages of some sort. I mean, wasn’t that what these end-of-year shows all used to be like? When did K-pop concerts and special programs become so boring? Like, who wants to sit through a five-hour long version of Music Bank with ten thousand repeats of the performances we’d seen all year? I would think that producers would be all over the opportunity to be creative and remix a well-loved song for a show that’s guaranteed to have high viewer ratings. The fact that nearly every single performance at the MBC Daejejeon was creatively respun just for this year’s show made the entire program so much more exciting and fun to watch…which is why this post is so long, haha. Even Teen Top and 100% (AKA Irrelevant and Irrelevanter) had a great special performance that made me actually care about them.
Disappointingly but not surprisingly, SM really dropped the ball for this year’s program. A 20-second clip of “O” before a run-of-the-mill performance of “Catch Me” does not a remix make. Why can I never count on you to do anything cool, SM????
Anyway, the MBC show was a ton of fun and I enjoyed it a lot! Some highlights below.
ROCKETEER/MY FIRST KISS/MOVES LIKE JAGGER – f(x) & SHINee
This would have been great if it wasn’t so obviously recycled and half-assed. Minho did “Rocketeer” at the London showcase a year ago, Key and Krystal do “My First Kiss” everywhere and obviously SM’s 1.5 year-long love affair with “Moves Like Jagger” is still going (unjustifiably) strong. It’s such a shame because SHINee and f(x) did such a great job with this performance and I need more! Or at least, I need a full cover of “Rocketeer” by Amber (and no Minho, please and thank you). I’m such a sucker for K-pop idols covering American pop songs, but as awkward as it is to see Onew jumping around in a ridiculous metallic pink jacket and Taemin smushing his lips into the side of Krystal’s head, I kinda live for this stuff so please give me more than two minutes of it next time, okay?
(Full disclosure: I have a secret desire to see Onew do a ridiculously badass cover of “One More Night.” Or any Maroon 5 song. It would be awkward. But it would also be awesome.)
I WILL SHOW YOU – Ailee
I’ve never really liked Ailee as a performer and I think her amateurishness has really shown in her performances ever since her debut. This was the first time I’ve ever seen her let go on stage, and she does a phenomenal job — not a note out of place. At the risk of sounding grouchy, I don’t think Ailee’s really all that and a bag of chips. Her voice is great, but it’s not great enough to launch her to Beyonce-dom as a rookie. But she’s definitely growing, and it shows.
BABY GOODNIGHT/TRIED TO WALK – B1A4
Finally a version of “Baby Goodnight” that I can listen to without getting embarrassed. JINYOUNG IS SUCH A HANDSOME LIL KID. And “Tried to Walk” fit the outdoor venue surprisingly well. Speaking of which — why did all those poor kids have to perform outside in the freezing cold? Whose idea was this?!
WITHOUT YOU/60 SECONDS/THE CHASER – Infinite
Awwww, look at Sunggyu beaming when the whole group was singing “60 Seconds.” This performance of “The Chaser” was probably the best out of all three shows. A song like “The Chaser” is pretty dramatic on its own, but there was something about this performance that made it stand out above the rest. Maybe it was Myungsoo’s sparkly hair.
I DON’T NEED A MAN – miss A
FINALLY they perform this song. A+ on the stage props, as well as for performing (and still owning!) the song at 20bpm faster than usual. And the end when the male dancers were bowing 90 degrees to them, lol.
VOLUME UP – 4minute
Good song that kinda got forgotten in the mix of things as the year went along. And anything involving traditional instruments instantly wins my heart.
ALONE – Sistar
This is pretty standard for a rock remix, but it’s probably one of my favorite special performances of this song. I find “Alone” to be kind of unsettling because it’s too breathy, too drama queen-y, too “let-me-drape-myself-over-a-velvet-couch-and-weep-about-lost-love” for me to really take seriously, and Sistar always looks really restrained performing it. It’s nice to see them let loose and really perform this song for once.
MIDNIGHT/BEAUTIFUL NIGHT – Beast
This was even better than the SBS performance. I’m still finding it hard to believe how far they’ve come since their debut three years ago; these guys were practically the show closers for the MBC program. Kinda makes you wonder where the current rookies will be just a couple years from now.
1, 2, 3, 4/I LOVE YOU – 2NE1 and Lee Hi
This is a small, nitpicky point, but they should’ve had Lee Hi perform “I Love You” first instead of 2NE1 doing “1, 2, 3, 4” as the opener. It seems kinda mean to pass off the rookie’s own song to the wildly popular sunbae group before the rookie even has a chance to prove herself.
I’m not sure if I prefer Lee Hi’s version of “I Love You,” but she doesn’t do that annoying exaggerated vibrato at the end of each line like Bom and that’s really all I can ask for. Could’ve done without CL’s rap at the beginning of “1, 2, 3, 4.”
BAD BOY/FANTASTIC BABY – Big Bang
Tablo with his plastic baby doll, I can’t.
Ignoring the fact that they are dressed like silly people (Taeyang needs to change his hairstyle immediately), I liked how Big Bang went to no lengths to make this a polished performance and just jumped around on stage like it was their own concert. Big Bang tends to look stifled on the rare occasions that they appear on weekly music shows; it’s almost as if weekly music shows are like recitals for artists to prove themselves on the technical and critical aspects of their performances. Big Bang — for better or for worse — doesn’t seem to really care about that, and I kind of wish that other artists would adopt that same attitude for these end-of-year programs where everyone’s just out to have a good time and no one’s there to be judged. That’s kind of what made the MBC show so great: everyone was willing to take risks and have fun.