It’s been a little over two years since the first post of 5 Things I LOVED in K-pop was  released on August 29, 2010 (seriously, I thought it began in November), so it’s 5 Things’ 2nd Birthday (plus one month and one, no two, three? days).  To celebrate I looked over the past years’ worth of 5 Things posts and weeded out the best of the best of 5 Things.  It’s hard enough to pick 5 Things a week, so there was no way I could have picked 5 Things for a whole year.  We’ll start off the festivities by looking at the best of the past year in K-pop, followed by the best in K-variety, and the best of K-dramas.  Hope you all enjoy this little stroll down the past year of 5 Things!

It was a struggle to whittle down the best of the best in K-pop, but it had to be done.  These are a few of the stories that just missed the cut: a holiday wish from Amber and Henry, K-pop Star finalist Baek Ah-yeon‘s rendition of “Haru Haru,”  the notable comebacks of SHINee’s “Sherlock,” and Infinite’s “Be Mine” which got them their first ever #1 win, runners up for Best MVs include DJ Clazzi‘s “How We Feel” featuring 2AM‘s Seulong, LeeSsang’s “Hard to be Humble,” and Standing Egg‘s “Keep Going,” Big Bang‘s win at the EMA‘s and 2NE1 winning MTV Iggy’s Best New Band in the World.

5. Best Debuts

There were a lot of great debuts by rookie acts this year, but these two stood out from amongst the rest in my book.

B.A.P. are BAMFs

Truthfully, I was totally not impressed with all of B.A.P.‘s promotional hype leading up to their debut. Although I’m a fan of Bang Yong-gook’s voice and rapping, I had serious doubts. I have to say I haven’t been this impressed with a rookie’s debut since INFINITE. I thought the song, choreo, styling, MV, and live performances while not perfect, were all solid.

 Juniel shines on Sketchbook

FNC Music‘s rookie female soloist, Juniel appeared on last week’s Yoo Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook.  There’s been a lot of comparison’s between Juniel and IU, and I can see why after watching this episode. Juniel’s sunbae, C.N. Blue‘s Jung Yong-hwa appeared alongside her for moral support and to perform their duet “Fool.” I’m digging Juniel’s vibe and like both “Fool” and “Illa Illa” and can’t wait to see more of Juniel in the future.


4. Best Live Performance on a Music Show

Couldn’t pick just two, so here are my top three favorite live performances from music shows.

Lee Hayi has No Mercy

Another fave of mine on K-pop Star made it to the Top 10 with her soulful version of Duffy‘s hit song “Mercy.” The competition was stiff with her facing Park Ji-min, one of the top competitors on the show, but she pulled off another upset in the show. And can I just say that YG and JYP were such giggling fan boys?

 Nell rocks the Sketchbook

The audience for the latest episode of Yoo-Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook were in for a treat as Jang Kiha and the Faces, Hot Potato, Nell, Jang Phil-soon, and rookies Big Star put on performances.  All were in top form, but it was Nell’s performance of “Promise Me” that got my love.

 Hyori proves her worth

Lee Hyori guest starred in the k-variety show Show Me the Money, where underground and rookie rppers are paired up with their industry sunbaes to help them get a foothold in the industry–think K-pop Star for rappers.  In this episode of the show six of the contestants got to work and put on a performance with Hyori.  My fave performance of the set would have to be Hyori’s performance of  “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with with female contestant Kim Eun-young. Although I’m totally biased I would have to say that Hyori was in top form for the show.  After the whole scandal from her last album she had been laying pretty low on the K-pop scene, but it’d would be great to see Hyori come back soon.


3. Best Comeback 

Here are my picks for most notable comebacks and even though I selected “Gangnam Style” as a top thing the week it debuted, I would never have guessed it would reach 343 million+ views on YouTube and make PSY a worldwide hit.

 Tablo makes a comeback

He went through hell and back fighting against a relentless netizen group  dead set on proving that he was lying about attending Stanford University.  And even though in the end Tablo proved that he wasn’t lying, there are still doubts, his career was left in shreds, his family was shaken, and he was no longer the same confident singer of Epik High we all came to know and love.  Luckily, the music lives on in him and after taking a long break and switching ‘families’ to YG Entertainment, Tablo released part one of his comeback the album Fever’s End which included the track “Airbag” featuring Naul, that was just…  awesome.   Tablo, it’s good to have you back.

Gangnam Style

After a two year hiatus PSY returns with his 6th studio album.  The title track “Gangnam Style” dropped on the 15th and the song was composed entirely by PSY.  He also choreographed the MV which includes cameos by Hyuna, Noh Hong-chul and Yoo Jae-suk. The great thing about PSY is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he has his own distinctive sound, he knows how to have fun, and he’s not above making fun of himself.  Check out his boss MV for “Gangnam Style.”


2. Best MV

It’s a hard choice as there were tons of good MVs out there, but these are the ones that stuck out the most in my memories of the past year.

Fantastic Baby: Mind=Blown

So I was able to watch the “Fantastic Baby” MV late Tuesday night at the In N Out Burger on Sepulveda by LAX right after getting off of the plane from Hawaii. And yeah, mind=blown, but I’m still deciding if it’s in a good way or bad (Oh My god, did you guys see Daesung? When he flexed his shoulders and his traps popped… I almost died.) But I do think that I like the song better now, which is a sign of a good MV and I did ask for something different. I just also finished watching their comeback performances on Inkigayo and boy, it’s good to have Big Bang back.

 The Girls are back

Okay, at first listen I wasn’t a big fan of the song “Sixth Sense” it’s kind of Moulin Rouge meets Kpop, but it’s growing on me.  I liked the MV better, especially after understanding more of what all the symbolism in their video meant.  I love the Brown Eyed Girls and what they bring to Kpop- mainly their voice, both literally and figuratively.  Welcome back Girls.

  Why, yes I will

Hey, if Hyun-joong’s asking–I’m accepting. Kim Hyun-joong released these two great ‘marriage’ themed songs as a gift to fans for their support the past year. The MVs for the songs “Marry Me” and Marry You” are works of art, literally. Kudos to whomever found the sand artist and came up with the concept and storylines for these MVs, they’re great. I LOVE how each scene segues into the next to tell the story. Check out the MV for “Marry Me.”

And “Marry You.”


1.Best Live Performance in concert

So, I’ve only been to a couple of K-pop concerts this year, but they were so awesome they deserve the extra recognition.  Well, and the fact that I got to ride in an elevator with C.N. Blue made the concert trips that much more memorable.

F.T. Island Rocks!

And I really didn’t really know how hard. I wasn’t a big fan of F.T. Island, not that I didn’t like them, it’s just I wasn’t familiar with most of their music. I mainly knew of them because of Lee Hong-ki and my adoration of the K-drama, You’re Beautiful. But the boys do rock and Hong-ki is an amazing lead singer, he’s like the energizer bunny running around the stage and his singing was AMAZING. And their trying to communicate with the crowd with limited English–was adorable.


C.N. Blue is one of my favorite bands, second only to Big Bang. So when I heard of them coming to concert with F.T. Island in Los Angeles, the only thing that made me hesitate to go is knowing that Big Bang would be touring later on this year and how much that would cost to go to. I decided to bite the bullet and clear out the savings and max out the credit cards if I have to this year and just go to both–and so far it has been totally worth it, the concert was AWESOME. Next stop, ALIVE Tour 2012… chee-hoo!

A New Evolution

I don’t think any of the sold out crowd at the Nokia Theater last Friday night would disagree with me saying that the ladies of 2NE1 put on an awesome concert for fans.  Their New Evolution concert was a action packed two hour long show with a cool sets, a live band, a dozen or so back up dancers, and 2NE1 in fine form.

We were lucky that there were no glitches in LA and the concert started on time.  Although whoever decided on the alpha lines for the VIP ticket distribution probably needed to be reminded that Kim and Lee are VERY common names so a bunch of us stuck in the A-L line got into the sound check party late due to the LONG line (either that or the girls doing our alpha were very slow) and the M-Z line was practically non-existent in comparison.  Other than that small problem my only complaint was that YG weren’t selling the New Evolution shirts/tank tops like 2NE1 and crew wore at the end of the show and instead sold these mesh jersey shirts that were meh, but at least they sold merchandise.

The crowd was excited and appreciative and the girls didn’t disappoint with their high energy performances.  It’s all kind of surreal now, after waiting for months for the concert to happen it feels like it passed by in the blink of an eye, but at least we have fan cams.

Those were the top Things I LOVED in K-pop this past year of 5 Things, were they yours?

(TS Entertainment, KBS2, SBS, KBS2, Mnet, YGE, YGE, YGE, LOEN Music, KeyEast,