After all these years of K-pop consumption and awards shows, there really is no point in viewing the Mnet Asian Music Awards for the accolades that are given out; everyone knows that in terms of reflecting the state of the Korean pop industry, they’re only as accurate as a faulty guage. Rather than gripe about wins and defeats, we’d all do better to appreciate the calibre of these artists – the MAMA stage presents our favourite stars in a different, more performance-heavy form.

For the fans who missed the show due to various reasons — including copyright restrictions — I’d say that you’ve missed out on quite a lot. Some of the better acts didn’t make it onto the official channels.

These included the SuperStar K performances (so good, you would’ve thought the microphones were EQ’ed perfectly) and the opening act by Jaurim and Lee Haneul (still got the cheers, despite facing an audience who’d probably not have kept up with their releases regularly).

Another one worth mentioning is the performance by Aaron Kwok. I like myself some Chinese pop, but what’s funnier (at least to the audience members who are familiar with C-pop) is the part where the EXO team mistakes his performance for the opening of “Sorry Sorry”; the follow along before stopping in sheer mortification. Side Note To SM: while you specialise in culture technology, you certainly don’t dominate all aspects of it.

Here are the best bits of the rest of the show:

We can always count on the “TroubleMakers” to put up a good show and they certainly don’t disappoint. The showiness of their performance lent itself to a large scale event. This was followed by Infinite’s concert-friendly showing, with an added featuring by Hyuna.

While 2NE1 did try their best, the microphones hadn’t done them any favours. Watching the show with my sister, she commented that their labourious singing conjured images of chickens in a slaughterhouse. Understandably, singers should be well-prepared for such occasions, but a little more help in the audio department would’ve helped.

The foxes did not go “Bar Bar Bar”, but Ylvis did deliver a rousing rendition of their rambunctious gag song — brownie points to them for showing us that the Sistar girls are very much into the Norwegian viral hit. The guys were also great sports in lending their support to Crayon Pop, helmuts and all.

EXO came, took home one of the biggest prizes of the night (not bad for a group that’s barely two-years old). Nice dance moves for “Growl”, but I was distracted by the mismatch between their sneakers and suits. What’s wrong with wearing good ‘ol brogues?

Rain’s back! He shows the newbies how it’s done, and he remind us of a time when K-pop was a better kept secret.

As usual with Mnet, the best performances were lined up at the end. Big Bang gave the audience what appears to be a mini-concert, with arena-friendly renditions of old favourites and newer hits. While some might dismiss it as YG favouritism, we’re better off not letting fact get in the way of a good show.

And lastly, we had a medley of crowd favourites by Stevie Wonder, which proved that you didn’t need flashy dance moves, heavy microphone equalisation or stage pyrotechnics to give everybody a good time and to keep the attention from flagging.

(Mnet, YouTube [1][2][3])