The last of the big three music festivals of 2011 was the MBC Gayo Daejun. SBS had messy performances, KBS had the worst fashion, and MBC forgot to invest in a good technical crew.  While the technical mishaps made me and many other viewers seethe in anger, the idols still managed to pull off enjoyable performances. Ree and I decided to join forces and grace you all with our snarky but hopefully insightful comments about the performances. With that being said, without futher ado ladies and gentlemen, we present you the 2011 MBC Gayo Daejun!

2PM: “Hands up” + “Back 2 U” 

Gil: 2PM went with the classy route with Hands Up, accompanied by an orchestra. The arrangement for this song was good and the boys looked very polished with their suits. Of course the large balls randomly floating around weren’t a distraction at all. However nice the orchestral accompaniment was, I was a bit perplexed that this is a club song clearly about drinking and having fun, and there’s classy violin going on. Regardless of the irony of the performance I still enjoyed it. But this isn’t a 2PM performance without some shirt ripping, the boys threw away their classiness and got their freak on with “Back 2 U”(Warning: This performance is not suitable for those who want their innocence intact, pregnant women, and the elderly).

Trouble Maker has nothing on this song. I watched the shaky fancams of this song before when they performed it at the Asia Tour so I knew what was going to happen but I still have to fan myself, omo. The main dancing isn’t too risque but I thought they would modify the song so they would perform  it without the shirt ripping and dry humping. But I was wrong., oh so wrong. Mind you, I love this song, it’s my favorite from them but when the time for the destruction of shirts? I had to immediately switch tabs lest someone come in and caught me watching Chansung in all his shirtless glory. I think that would explain all the ginormous floating balls that kept obstricting the view, they were meant to do that to protect the innocence of many young fans.

T-ARA +  SISTAR: “Now”

Ree: This stage was essentially superior to the majority of T-ARA and SISTAR’s individual stages. For one, the song is a much better performance song than any of their title tracks — seriously, something about girl idols performing in suits makes everything so much better. All four of them performed really well, although Soyu was slightly lacklustre. She became sloppy during certain parts of the choreography, but vocally she did really well, considering how weak she is usually during SISTAR’s lives. I has my eye on you, Soyu! Surprisingly Hyorin was the second weakest, her small part of a song failed to have an impact on me, and her line came out too soft, damn you technicals! But as per usual, performance-wise, Hyorin killed it. Hyomin did her small part well and she looked the hottest on stage (bias? I see no bias). However, I think it’s fair to say the show was stolen by Soyeon, she was loud, clear, and I haven’t found her to be as into a performance in a long time. I’m surprised she was chosen to lead the vocals instead of Hyorin, but I’m not complaining.

Actually, Soyeon as a whole really surprised me (as did Soyu). T-ARA are really poor performers live, and the mediocrity usually rubs off on Soyeon as well. But watching ‘Cry Cry’ and this performance, it’s good to see her getting the funk back. I missed that gorgeous voice of hers. I blame the songs both T-ARA and SISTAR are made to sing, the backing track is always so loud it almost always drowns them out, and it can’t be broken through until Hyorin starts shrieking into the mic. They’re both talented groups to some extent, but their material does nothing for them.

SHinee: “Lucifer” 

Gil: SHinee is back! Shawols rejoice for your favorite noona baiters are back without the pastel pants. I loved these outfits because they looked their age, but they did perform Lucifer so the possibility of the stylist noonas not burning those pants is fairly high. Lucifer is good upbeat heavy dance track so it was fun to watch, the performance itself was not anything out of the ordinary, the boys executed the song with their precise robotronic dance moves and sang their little hearts out (even with the mic problems)  but that little rock stage in the middle of the performance was all kinds of whack.

I’m sorry Shawols but I laughed the whole time they did it. It was fun to watch because Taemin (the guitar prodigy he is) was air-guitaring and Minho was fake drumming. It was possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen then their English lyrics were hilarious. I may not like SHinee but their stage was entertaining, just for the sole fact that that rock interlude  will always makes me giggle.

Super Junior: “Mr Simple” + “Bonamana”

Ree: I feel like this performance deserves an award simply because they aren’t performing ‘Sorry Sorry’. As per usual, Super Junior gets a nothing special song (‘Mr, Simple’), and performs it like nothing else. It’s admirable on their part, but frankly, a performance can only be as good as the song is, which serves as a problem for the boys. As far as I’m concerned, they should have just performed ‘Superman’ and then dived head first into that epic ‘Bonamana’ rock fusion. No, seriously, I was not expecting that. I think I’m in the minority who actually likes ‘Bonamana’ as a song, and this was a great surprise. Super Junior were absolute lunatics, running around the stage like these vandals who were about to trash everything in sight. It was very amusing to watch, and it reminded me of the MV for ‘Don’t Don’ a little bit. I definitely enjoyed the last bit of the performance, it reminded me that despite their mediocre material, hey, these guys are super stars. They can make war cries and aimless running look like the most hardcore performance in the world.

Wonder Girls: “Me In”

Gil: This  was one of my favorite girl group performances of the night, finally a rock stage that went right. Though I found the fake guitar playing to be a bit tacky, the girls still worked it and had attitude.  From the hairstyles down to the leather outfits, the girls looked the part and they acted the part of rocker chicks with sass. And Yubin’s rap actually fit in with the song so I was ecstatic about that. I don’t follow Wonder Girls but they really brought it with this performance so props girls.

Ree: I just need to cut in and spazz over this performance more — because it is hardcore. Easily my favourite performance of the night, and it completely reinforces why ‘Me In’ should have been the title track. Despite not being untalented, the Wonder Girls as performers leave a sour taste in my mouth — and I’m not completely sure if it’s just their material or actually them. But after seeing this performance, I’m leaning towards it being the material, because they rocked this stage like no other. I’ve complained about the stage production for a few of these performances, but the Wonder Girls nailed even that! The yellow highlights, the backdrop, the props, everything was so tightly done. These girls are fierce, they worked the stage like they owned it. Sure the hair-whipping bordered giggle-worthy at times, but on a whole it was fantastic. I never found Lim or Sohee attractive, but they looked fine for this performance. Especially Lim! Ye Eun, Sunye, and Yubin were fantastic — but I have to say Ye Eun is my favourite performer of the bunch. I smiled on reflex just watching her sing and perform.

It would have been a flawless performance if it wasn’t for the technical difficulties with the mic (that awkward silence during Sunye’s line, let’s pretend it never happened). And to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was some of the other girl group members sneaking in to sabotage the equipment. Because they know that the Wonder Girls pretty much made every other girl group performance of the night irrelevant.

And that’s a wrap for the first half of the MBC Gayo Daejun! Look out for part two coming shortly! Bringing you more slightly cynical, slightly fangirly, but completely well meaning, commentary from Ree and I!