The Seoulbeats Ultimate Idol Showdown is underway and for those of you who are having trouble filling out your bracket predictions survey, we’ve got the inside scoop you need to turn your bracket from bust to boom. See what our panel of experts have to say about your faves, your least faves, and about the weather!
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What are some potentially intriguing matchups to watch out for? Which underdog is most likely to pull off a surprising upset? Who are the clear favorites to win the whole thing? Which horse are you betting on?
Amy: I helped put together these brackets thinking that the winners were going to be pretty easy to spot, but as I was actually plotting things out on paper this morning, the brackets are harder than I thought they would be.
I think dance and vocal for the guys will be pretty easy to predict, but once we get to the final for looks vs. variety, I have it down to Jaejoong and G-Dragon, and pitting those against each other makes me weep. Not even because I like either, but because it will be a truly epic showdown of who will have the bigger fanbase. Because how do you compare Jaejoong and G-Dragon?!
My guess for the ladies is a little bit more straight-forward. I’m thinking Taeyeon will ultimately nab the Ultimate Female Idol title since her international fanbase will carry her through.
Laverne: I think the ultimate female idol will result in a showdown between Taeyeon and CL but it’s hard for me to predict male winners. Male idol fandoms are rabid and merciless so I’m looking forward to see who will come out on top — could you imagine a matchup between members of the same group? Or a TVXQ vs. JYJ matchup? What a brutal bloodbath that would be! Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) that probably won’t happen so for male idols. I’m going to place my bets on G-dragon and Junsu.
Amy: I predict that Hyori will go up against CL at some point and I just can’t see how CL will win over Hyori. CL is lightyears ahead of Hyori in terms of talent but a lot of people still really, really, really like Hyori so I think Hyori will knock CL out.
Fannie: I’m here with my bowl of popcorn ready, anyone want some?
For the initial rounds, I’m really excited to see how all the Shinee vs. Exo showdowns will go down (Taemin vs. Kai; Minho vs. Kris). I can also easily see SNSD taking the overall leads for the female brackets, even though I don’t personally consider any of them the best of their respective categories, besides Yoona. I guess SM is really doing something right, if I can easily assume their fandoms are to have the greatest voting power.
The dark horse that I’m rooting for is prettier-than-a-girl Ren, but he’s going up against Jaejoong in the first round so there’s not much hope in that. Jaejoong is going to win everything because Jaejoong wins ALL the polls — and I don’t even mind!
Camielle: For the guys, there are a few that straightaway have no logical chance of winning this. I have in mind most voters will be second or third generation idol fans so Hyesung is out. Eventually Yunho and Changmin will cancel each other out. This will obviously come down to whose fans are more rabid, and in my mind that leaves the Exotics vs. Shawols vs. ELFs. The legacy of Super Junior may not stand up against the more virulent Exotics. So this ultimately leaves it between someone from Shinee and someone from Exo.
For the ladies, Ailee should win for voice on technical and power merits alone, but this is about popularity more than anything else, and scandal notwithstanding, she doesn’t have a huge chance. Ultimately, this is going to be a battle between SNSD and 2NE1. That’s basically what the whole first part of the year has come down to — from comebacks to missing singles, then missing videos for said comeback singles. Be that as it may, I’m not particularly a fan of either group. As for who takes the crown in the end, I can’t say I’m at all sure.
Potential dark horses? For the guys, I’d like to see G-Dragon or Lee Joon make it to the later rounds. For the ladies, I’d like to see Ga-in, Ailee, or a “veteran” like BoA or Kahi.
Ambika: I feel like in the first 12 or 24 hours of the poll, we’re going to see more objective opinions for each category, which should be varied and interesting to follow. But then after that, it’s just going to be fandom power. I’m curious to see if people consider the categories at all when voting or just go in with eyes for their favorites.
I don’t follow TVXQ or JYJ, but even I can acknowledge Jaejoong’s looks and Junsu’s vocals. It’s one of those things that you inevitably hear about in K-pop, along with “Mirotic.”
For females, I’m expecting Taeyeon to go against Ailee at some point. That should be interesting considering Taeyeon’s fanbase and the support Ailee’s gotten over the last year alone.
The male groups side is going to be wickedly fun to watch. I’m putting my money on T.O.P if only because I think he makes everyone considering voting for his opponent really think about if they’re making the right choice or not, especially in the visual category.
Andy: I’m secretly rooting for all the underdogs. The nominees are pretty deserving. It will eventually be SM vs. YG, with JYJ members also involved. That’s expected, since they lead the way in fandoms, popularity, and money. I’m looking forward to seeing if old school K-pop artists (Hyesung, Hyori, BoA and Rain) still hold favor in the eyes of fans. The bracket really highlights how much talent is actually in K-pop.
To me, the ultimate male idol should be Rain, because he’s a freaking legend and still puts on impressive shows. However, I think Jaejoong will win, which is fine, because he’s great.
For females, it will likely be Taeyeon vs. Yoona, which I’ll find funny seeing how inner-fandom battles play out. The bottom bracket is brutal and Yoona will win, because I seriously doubt CL or Dara will beat Yoona. Blackjacks are vicious, but Sones maybe more so. I’m actually rooting for Amber because she’s an all-around great idol.
Dora: For the female variety bracket, I’d say that Amber has a huge chance. Although some of the other girls are quirky or just plain hilarious, Amber has always been well-liked by many fandoms, and she says the cutest yet most accurate things. But, again, once we move past the categorized brackets, everything will just come down to a popularity vote. I agree with Fannie in that SNSD will probably dominate, but not without some competition from 2NE1, just as Camiele said. Personally, though, I’d like to see BoA at the top.
With the male idols, I’m sensing a JYJ vs. Big Bang vs. SHINee battle. I kind of wish that Amy could have separated Jaejoong and G-Dragon enough so that they would meet in the finals instead of the semis. But what’s inevitable will always come, so I guess we can end the pain early and bid farewell to one of them a bit sooner. Currently, I’m just curious as to who will make it through between Yunho and Jay Park in the first round.
Gaya: Camiele, I wouldn’t want to discount the non-Exo fandoms — remember when Nu’est beat Exo (and B.A.P) to win Best Debut in our mid-year polls of ’12? And then Ren tweeted about it and the poll actually ended up in the news. Granted, Nu’est haven’t been as active and award-winning as Exo in recent times, but I’m with Fannie in hoping that Ren’s recent turn as a member of Boys’ Day will spur an upset in the early rounds. Ren for the win!
Willis: Fannie, I refuse to believe Jaejoong will dominate this poll! He may very well come out on top of the visual category but my prediction is that he will get beat out by G-Dragon in the bottom half of the male draw. I predict the winner of Taemin vs. Kai will go on to capture the best male idol overall. In this case, I am placing my bets on the relatively younger Exo fandom upsetting their Shinee seniors during their early stage matchups.
Mark: Judging from the real March Madness (NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament), when there are so many competitors in the arena, the variables are endless and the pundit who makes the safest picks never ends up with the winning bracket. In order to separate your bracket from the rest of the pack, you must not be afraid to make bold predictions. Here are a few likely scenarios that will turn your bracket from a pretender to a contender, IF they happen to play out.
Male Upset Special: Rain defeats Heechul. We will be reminded of the power of Rainism.
Female Upset Special: Nana defeats CL. I will be spamming this poll every minute. Who will join me?
Championship Round: Ren of Nu’est defeats Ren-nie of Boys’ Day. We will be reminded of the power of Androgynism.
Miyoko: On the girls side, I think people want a SNSD vs. 2NE1 showdown, so that’s what might happen. But as Mark said, I don’t think we can’t underestimate certain people. I would not be surprised if BoA ended up in the final two females. She’s the only one I could see getting a one up on Taeyeon, though ultimately, I think either Taeyeon or CL will be the final female. Other girls not to underestimate: Amber and Ailee, for reasons already stated.
I don’t think the guys side is clear cut either; I think the visual category is especially challenging. Male variety seems the most straightforward to me (i.e. GD), but I bet in the initial voting there will be some upsets. If our last year-end polls are any indication, I think the final two will come down to Shinee vs. Big Bang or Exo. Possible upsets: Super Junior is not as powerful as we’d think. Babyz will take someone from B.A.P farther than we expect. Not to the final two, but far.
I’m just excited for the potential in-group battles: T.O.P vs G-Dragon? Taemin vs Jonghyun? Dara vs CL? Maybe I’m taking too much enjoyment in this.
And secret fangirl dream? Taemin takes it all. I’ll see you on the poll-spamming battlefield, Mark.
Laura: Like most of the others, I can see a YG vs. SM battle coming on in the final stages. But I want to throw in Yunho and Dara for those last showdowns — maybe the both of them don’t have the most intense followings in their respective groups, but I think they’re universally well-liked and could garner the votes of people who are still undecided. They’ve also both recently had comebacks which could be an advantage for them.
The most interesting rounds for me will be the ones that involve older idols or those who are not currently promoting because it will be fascinating to see how fickle or enduring a fan’s devotion really is.
Regarding the disappointment, I’m already steeling my heart for the potential early elimination of Sandeul and IU. I’m rooting for them but I could see the Shinee and Sistar fandoms being too strong for them to overcome.
Johnelle: The only thing I know about March Madness is that there is always a big upset. In our brackets, I’m guessing that a number 2 seed will be upset by a number 7 seed. On the male front, I have a feeling that Zelo just might have enough fortitude to beat out Eunhyuk. Although Eunhyuk has the venerable ELF nation behind him, Zelo has the power of the new generation of rabid K-pop fans. On the female front, even though Sunye is one of the most loved leaders in K-pop — she’s now on break being a married woman with a baby and the state of the Wonder Girls is up in air with Sohee leaving JYP Entertainment — I’m going to say that 2NE1’s Bom will be able to overtake Sunye and move to the next round.
Now that you’ve filled out your bracket, care to share your picks?
(Images via SBS, B2M Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Cube Entertainment, Sidius HQ, Loen Entertainment)