20140219_seoulbets_yg2ne1snsdwarIt’s been a while since we had such a matchup of industry titans going head to head. The last time in recent memory was the stalemate that was when Big Bang‘s “Monster” went up against Wonder Girls with “Like This.” With big comebacks usually scheduled to avoid running into another big comeback, seeing two flagship groups from the two largest entertainment companies go up against one another is certainly a rare treat. What do you expect 2NE1 and SNSD to bring to this versus battle? Which side are you rooting for? Predictions?

Pat: I will readily say that I am expecting SNSD to come out on top and that’s because of the lack of quality releases from 2NE1 last year. Sure, SNSD gave us “I Got a Boy” but at least that was a somewhat step up from “Hoot” and “Oh!” and they performed the heck out of the song. The trio of songs 2NE1 released (“Falling in Love,” “Do You Love Me,” and “Missing You”) felt stagnant while their labelmates flourished, and I blame the YG production team. Someone please tie Teddy in YG’s basement and leave him there for a good year or two.

20140129_seoulbeats_2ne1_missingyouWith that being said, I expect another Teddy production, with the same old formula. I expect 2NE1 to bring their now tiring attempts at “swag” and “fierce” that one expects from a YG group. I expect Bom to once again wear those mini-dresses of hers with uber high heels as an excuse for poorly executed dance moves no doubt. I expect CL to ram her way through her raps and to scream them out at every performance. With SNSD, it’s a curious thing because we all know when it comes to SM releases, it seems that most fans (or non-fans and/or semi-fans) lament that the Japanese releases are better than Korean releases.

From the initial teaser, it seems that our wishes of a Japanese-sounding original Korean release from SNSD is on the way. Of course, no one really trusts SM teasers, especially after the f(x) art film-like teaser, but anything is better than “I Got a Boy” (which I admittedly jam out to) as long as it’s not a reversion to aegyo.

Logically, SNSD has it in the bag. It’s a scary thing to go up against SNSD. They have one of the biggest fandoms in Korea; one of the rare girl groups that have a balance of fanboys and fangirls. They are adored by the public and people will look into their release because of the name factor alone. I would like to get another 2NE1 song akin to their earlier material, but that seems unlikely. I’m continuously rooting for YG to surprise us with a magically quality song though.

20140219_seoulbeats_snsd_tiffanyLaverne: I’d have to agree with Pat. While I personally prefer 2NE1 to SNSD, 2NE1 has been disappointing this past year. Even at their peak, I’m not sure 2NE1 could compete with SNSD so for them to be where they are right now and claim that there’s going to be a big showdown, I just don’t believe it.

However, with all of YG’s hype and SM indirectly responding, I feel like there will be drama especially between the fandoms, and me and my popcorn are ready!

Lindsay: The two groups have different styles and different fan bases so the companies competing so heavily seems silly. Let each group do their own thing and don’t pit them against each other. It all feels like petty politics between rich men that care very little for the actual groups and who only care about their own egos. Pride rarely gives you indigestion, so YG and SM should just swallow it and get on with these comebacks.

I’d like to see both groups get whatever awards their song and performance deserve, but as the others have said, it seems unlikely that 2NE1 will have anything stellar to show us and I’m still cringing from “I Got A Boy,” so I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to either group’s comeback.

Gabrielle: SNSD will come out on top. They have such a strong hold in the girl group section that the girls could scream into their mics and still top the charts. Like 2NE1, they have an “image,” but they’ve shown (at least in Japan) they can turn out a good single. And say what you will about “I Got a Boy,” but they performed that song like the rent was due that night every night.

20130622_seoulbeats_2ne1_cl_stopYG has leaned so much on image lately that I don’t know what to expect from 2NE1 anymore. They really were one of my favorites and they still have a lot of talent, but they need to, for lack of better words, show up or shut up. I don’t need to see pictures of them with celebrities. I don’t need to hear how full of swag they are. I want a performance and song so good that I forget about their efforts in the past year.

My expectations are high for both groups because they have the potential to give us knockout comebacks, but I’m betting on SNSD because they’re more likely to deliver.

Mark: Chances are, neither side will achieve a decisive victory. 2NE1 will come back with something hard and edgy to revive their status as one of the nation’s top girl groups. SNSD will have something conservative yet slightly mature and let everyone know that they’re not going anywhere either. Both will trade places being number one on various charts and split music show awards almost down the middle. Both will likely start trends that will have the rest of the K-pop world ready to play copycat, thus effectively bringing to an end the game of no limit Texas Hold’em which we call the sexy girl group trend.

And then when they both run out of steam, Orange Caramel will make their comeback and in a few weeks, we’ll be talking about something else. That’s right. Orange Caramel will be the one to unseat these two from hogging all the trophies!

20130105_seoulbeats_snsd_igab1Kelsey: I think the clash is very similar to how the matchup between Girl’s Generation and Wonder Girls played out back when it was “The Boys” versus “Be My Baby.” And the situation is somewhat comparable, right? Both 2NE1 now and Wonder Girls then had to prove that they still have it, that a hiatus or an extended quiet period doesn’t mean that they are incapable of giving Girl’s Generation a good challenge. This will likely play out the same way, with the ending being predictable and anti-climactic.

Like with Wonder Girls, the stakes are much higher with 2NE1. All of the promotion about the new album has made this comeback feel like a “do or die” mission, which makes me wonder how YG would save face if this doesn’t pan out to be the commercial and critical success that he expects it to be.

It’s no secret that Girl’s Generation will win as far as sales are concerned (the culture of how fans buy SM artists’ music is unbeatable in most cases), but I just want to see good performances out of both camps. Competition does a good job of putting groups on high alert, and by this point everyone has high expectations for both comebacks and is dying to compare them categorically. It’ll only be a good pseudo-battle if the material isn’t underwhelming.

If not, I’m with Mark on the Orange Caramel train!

seoulbeats_20140122_2NE1Miyoko: Like everyone else, I expect SNSD to garner higher sales on their fan base alone. That’s not to say that’s the only thing the girls bring to the table, but it’s a huge determining factor for sales. In terms of the single, I don’t expect anything earth-shatteringly amazing from them, but I do expect it to be more mature, polished, and well-done. Though SNSD isn’t my personal number one girl group, they always perform well — let’s just hope the song isn’t so polarizing this time. I had such a love-hate relationship with “I Got A Boy” — awesome dance and some parts of the song were great, but the disjointedness didn’t really work the way it was supposed to.

However, what I predict is not what I’d want. I’ve always loved 2NE1, and while their recent stuff hasn’t been my favorite, I still liked it. I do have high expectations for their comeback, yet I am so worried YG is going to let me down, for all the reasons everyone’s stated. I want them to hit it out of the park — I don’t care about music show wins, or the “battle,” so long as the song and performance is rocking. I’d rather they get rid of the whole “all or nothing” vibe as well because it just makes me nervous for them as a group. I worry YG’s put something together to try and get attention, rather than playing to 2NE1’s strengths.

But, actually, I’d like it best if everyone won.

(Images via YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment, GQ)