SBS Gayo Daejun was held on December 29th and it started off with SNSD coming out of a diamond, the same diamond that Yoona picked up from “The Boys” video, and dancing to Daft Punk’s “Technologic.”  Did anyone else notice the resemblance between this song to “Mr. Simple”?  Then Super Junior joins in with a dance break, and lastly Super Junior and SNSD (Super Generation) finishes off the opener with “Moves like Jagger.” As the two openers, the dancing was mediocre. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The dance collaboration could have been epic, but it ended up somewhat lacking in the end.

Next we have U-Kiss performing “Time to Go” + “0330” + “Tick Tack” + “Neverland.” The biggest issue I had with this performance were the backup dancers.  They were unnecessary because not only were there enough of the members to dance by themselves, but also it was hard to differentiate the dancers from the U-Kiss members.

The second issue I had was the inclusion of 0330. Even though it makes sense to have 0330 in the performance (because they performed with that song earlier this year), it did not fit with the other songs. The other tracks were full of angst and power, but 0330 throws off that mood. Besides these two issues, everything else was great. U-Kiss has been consistently on top of their game in terms of dancing and singing.

Next is Rainbow, one of groups that improved image-wise this year.  We all witnessed the horrors of “gosship” girl, so it’s amazing to see how much they have grown from their debut. The whole fairy tale concept going on here was well-executed, making them look elegant.  As for the dancing, lets just say that they need better choreography with less of the whole jerk your chest and hands back-and-forth thing.

Teen Top dancing wise is really clean and up to par with U-Kiss. Unfortunately, they are not that great singing live. It felt like they were struggling, and maybe it would wiser to spread the lines between the members rather than giving 85% of the song to 2 people. Maybe they will get better with time, but for now they definitely need to work on the live skills.

Next we hit the ballad section. Currently I am not in the ballad mood, so it was a little difficult to sit through all those performances. Don’t get me wrong; K.Will, December, and Davichi are phenomenal singers, but it was just boring to me.  One section that threw me completely off was the K.Will performance with SNSD’s Tiffany. Their rendition of “A Whole New World” just sounded off; individually they are great singers, but the collaboration didn’t work out.  Perhaps it’s because the harmony portions were off, and Tiffany was having some difficulty harmonizing with K.Will.  Regardless, I don’t want to hear that again.

After the ballads, we have the rookies (Dal Shabet, B1A4, A Pink, and Boyfriend) performing snippits of their songs and things get interesting afterwards.  A P ink and Boyfriend pair up together to dance to “Cupid”, while B1A4 and Dal Shabet dance to “Hollywood.”  Given that A Pink’s image is like innocent fairies, I was confused to see them dancing “sexy”, but props to them for the one hand cartwheels.  Out of the four rookies, B1A4 is the one to look at for. It seems they like what they are doing, and do a great job at it too. If they keep this up then they will JOOM JOOM LIKE A ROCKETTE. Sorry I just had to.

The next performance was both surprising and yet expected. South Korea loves Beyonce, and it seems a lot of K-pop singers use Beyonce as their influences, so it is not surprising to see her dance covers during these award shows.  The unexpected part is the song choice; “Run the World (Girls)” is a really hard song to dance and you can’t half ass this, and if you do, you will be slaughtered by the youtubers.

Many of the performers are the mascots of their groups, so it was difficult to pick the best one because they all shined on their own. The only person that stood out was G.na, but it was mainly because her facial expressions were odd and misplaced. When people usually dance to this song, the facial expression is supposed to be in-your-face fierce, but her face looks like a deer caught in the lights. It seems like G.na had doubts on what she was doing, but then again, if you went to 45428364328 end of the year ceremonies, things start to get hard to remember. That’s the life of a k-pop idol for you. Overall I think they did a good job covering this song, so congratulations.

Following  “We run the World” We have the first horde of girl groups, Sistar, 4minute, miss A, Secret plus G.na.  Out of this batch, Secret was the best because they did something different. They preformed a rock version to their song, “Love is Move,” which resembled Jewelry’s “Superstar.” Maybe Secret should venture more into this route because they definitely can rock the style and attitude. The other groups failed to deliver anything extra.  Of course, there was a little dance break in the beginning, but it wasn’t memorable.

Oh SM Town, please do us a favor and abandon the whole fake band thing. It was a waste of time, but the saving grace was  Henry.  Fortunately for us, things start to pick up with the dance break with Victoria and one of the members of the upcoming boy band, Exo. To those who complain that Victoria only does bubblegum cutesy, here is something to prove that Victoria can be serious when needed. The whole martial arts portion with the guy from Exo was cool. Sure there have been “martial arts/ninja” ideas in the pasts festivals, but they weren’t really well executed compared to others in the past.

Afterwards we have Eunhyuk (Super Junior), Taemin (SHINee), and another member of Exo preform a dubstep segment. I was genuinely impressed.  It’s refreshing to see legit dancing versus hand flailing synchronization.  Then there is always a quintessential dance tribute to Shinhwa’s “T.O.P.”   They should really start covering different Shinhwa songs, such as “Perfect Man” and “Wedding.”

Performance wise, it was solid, but everyone was lip-synching throughout the majority of the performances.  Then here’s the duet from Taeyeon and Changmin. Can’t tell if they are lip-synching or not but Changmin’s voice suits rocks songs really well, and maybe DBSK should bring back something like “Triangle.”

Speaking of traditions, SM also loves covering H.O.T’s “Iyah” as well and the lip-syncing was unbelievable, but maybe it was because they didn’t even try to look convincing. We also get a sneak peak at the main vocalist of Exo.  What was disappointing was that Exo member lip synced, if you are suppose to “display your vocals”, you should actually sing.

We wrap everything off with an old DBSK FIFA 2006 song.  Anyone else think this song is misplaced?  Overall there was lip-syncing and live singing, which is actually a step up from SM because usually everything used to just be lip-synced.  And kudos to SM for making me enjoy the majority of the segments.

Following the SM act, we have Infinite and MBLAQ. Infinite dancing-wise is always solid, but I was expecting more  from them.  They stayed within their comfort zone but as artists, they need to learn to get out of that comfort zone.  It appears that MBLAQ was put to the back-burner while their rival B2st shot to fame after their respective debuts.  The dancing was sub par and I was bored before “Mona Lisa” started. Hopefully their next mini album will put them on the spot because their title songs are pretty good, with the exception of “Yeah.”

After School and pretty boy Kim Hyun Joong concluded Act 1. After School preformed the remix version of “Diva”, which was disappointing because I preferred “Shampoo”.  The Pledis Boys (please get a better name than this) joins After School for a joint performance to “Party Rock Anthem.”

The boys start dancing, which fails to impress.  Maybe it’s because this song is old and overplayed.  Fortunately, Kahi kills it when she starts shuffling, and she put the boys to shame, but maybe that’s just my bias speaking.

Overall the performances were OK, but I have a random request to Pledis before we move the act 2. Please bring back Son Dam Bi! It makes me sad that I don’t get to see her anymore. She didn’t even get to perform “Love Letter” with the rest of the crew when they were promoting that song, so please give her a comeback.

Look out for the Act 2 review!