Welcome to another Best of Weekly Music Shows recap! This Friday Music Bank had it’s O-Song special, and Inkigayo’s stages were pre-recorded in Chungju to mark the 100 days countdown to the 2013 World Rowing Championships. MBC also held a ‘2PM Return’ special in lieu of their comeback. Aside from those discretions, this week also sees the debut of group ‘LC9‘; comebacks from groups such as B1A4 and 9Muses; as well as regular acts such as SHINee, Secret, Seo In Guk and 4Minute returning. The latter who are taking the stage without Hyuna. Dun dun dun!

Some really good and surprising performances were put on this week, and these are some of the highlights:

2PM‘s “All Day I Think About You”, MBC‘s 2PM Returns Special, May 11th

There’s something that makes me feel really nostalgic and sentimental seeing 2PM back on stage performing. I am all about ‘All Day I Think About You’, and I think it’s probably my favourite 2PM comeback song since Jaebum left. Although it could have been better, it’s so sensual and self-effacing that it’s been playing non-stop since yesterday. The choreography for it however, just doesn’t look as good or slick when it’s not in black and white. Although that could be faulted to the camera work  and stage production — too many jump cuts and the pink lighting with the low-angle shots do nothing to emphasise the casual vibe of the choreo. Also, the bit where they move their butts towards the audience? It was never not borderline comical. But it’s absolutely ridiculous with the intense screaming in the background and cuts to audience members creaming their pants.

Aside from that, because the choreography for this song is so laid back, the members don’t quickly turn into breathy, panting messes like they did in the past. Compared to his solo promotions, Wooyoung is doing a lot better. Junsu is great as always, and Junho remains reliable. No one in 2PM is close to being a great rapper, but Chansung‘s rapping live is just too gritty and rough to work with the song. Nichkhun is surprisingly decent, but his struggle with delivering his lines is visible and audible. Especially during his falsetto, where he sounds (and looks) like he’s being strangled and about to faint. He definitely needs to work on it. And by “need to work on it” I mean “need not have been given it in the first place.”

B1A4‘s “What’s Going On?”, MBC‘s Music Core, May 11th

I thought the stage outfits were kind of ridiculous until… no, they are ridiculous. But the song as a whole is rather ridiculous altogether. In a good way. “What’s Going On?” is definitely a grower, and although it didn’t sit well on first listen, it’s fun to watch them perform on stage, and it’s a more polished version of “Beautiful Target” in a way. The chorus is melodically catchy, and the chanting intercepted through it is cheery and youthful. It’s hard to differentiate the boys’ voices from the backing track, but this is more the fault of the sound guy than anything, since B1A4 have proved themselves to be apt live performers time and time again. CNU gets a fair amount of lines again compared to their past title tracks, so rejoice! B1a4 look comfortable on stage, and their performance prowess kind of makes me sad that as a boyband they haven’t seemed to be able to progress and hit it big the way other groups have. If only they hailed from a bigger/more influential company.

9Muses‘ “Wild”, MBC‘s Music Core, May 11th

Although I loved “Ticket”, maybe it’s because I don’t pay attention to 9Muses, but I’m always pleasantly surprised by how alright they are performing. They’re stable live and they’re very in synch with how they execute the choreography. “Wild” as a song is sort of generic and forgettable, and sounds like thirty other K-pop releases, but it’s hummable and has the same appeal as Rainbow’s “MACH” did, kind of dark and sombre, but upbeat and danceable. The problem is that everything about 9Muses is sort of safe, and as a group they don’t have enough collective stage presence to really stick out. Otherwise though, they do everything as a K-pop group reasonably well, and “Wild” grows on me with each listen. Plus, the stage design + costuming for this performance is so nice.

History‘s “Dreamer”, KBS2‘s Music Bank, May 10th

I wish they’d done the harmonies live, but “Dreamer” is still an incredibly strong debut song and the boys ooze with eagerness and sincerity that makes them adorable to watch. Out of all the “Dreamer” stages this week, this was my favourite because of the suits and stage set up. The problem with a song like “Dreamer” is — even though it’s leveled and pretty — there’s not really much the boys can do on stage. When the five of them were dressed down in as much varied colour as possible, it just felt odd watching them stand around performing the simplistic choreography.

Dressing them consistently in those beige suits fits perfectly towards “Dreamer’s” sonic aesthetic. Being in an open, outdoor space also made awkward gaps in the choreography when they’re kind of doing nothing a lot less noticeable. The vocals are wobbly at times, and they don’t perform as fluidly as I’d like them to. But with more performance they’ll improve, and with a strong company and debut at their side, I don’t doubt they’ll get there.

4Minute‘s “What’s Your Name”, KBS2’s Music Bank, May 10th

The hypothetical situation we’ve all come up with at least once in our lives has finally happened. 4Minute. With. Out. Hyuna. Say it isn’t so! And I’m not going to lie, I felt the absence. It’s amazing since musically Hyuna adds nothing to 4Minute, but it really goes to show the power of stage presence. Or maybe it’s because she has a large bulk of lines in the song, and her voice is still blaring in the backtrack while there’s little effort made to sing over them. Still, without Hyuna’s natural ability to just draw attention to herself even whilst she’s dancing in the background, it’s easier to pay attention to the other four.

Sohyun, although not particularly talented, is actually relatively pretty good filler. She’s very bouncy on stage, and she can deliver the lines she’s given with conviction. Which is more than what I can say about Jihyun, who’s not only blessed with the worst stage outfits, but has negative stage presence. Aside from that, Jiyoon remains reliable, and although Gayoon still performs some of the choreography rather flimsily, she slays her pre-chorus. Plus she gets the nicest clothes of the lot of them. As a whole though, they’re all a lot brighter than they were compared to “Volume Up”, and they didn’t collapse on themselves the way everyone thought they would without Hyuna. This performance was a highlight for me because all in all it wasn’t a bad effort from the girls. The song, as messy as it may be, plays to their strengths. But unfortunately you’re just always going to notice Hyuna. Even when she’s not there.

So Seoulmates, what did you think of these performances? And what were your favourite performances for the week?

(KBS2, MBCkpopTanVuLiveKBS2CTdaDreamer)