Welcome back to Best of Weekly Music Shows, where we recap some of our favorite performances of the week. This week was a busy one filled with some long awaited comebacks. Among the most notable were MBLAQ who returned as a trio after members Lee Joon and Thunder decided not to renew their contracts last year. Lee Seung-gi also performed on KBS Music Bank for the first time in three years. Also making their return to the stage were Baek Ah-yeon, Seo In-Young, Melody Day, Timez, December, and Lee Ji-hye. Amid controversy involving vote rigging and music show blunders, the winners were spread out this week. Shinee had their ninth win for “View” on SBS MTV The Show. Exo received three trophies for “Love Me Right,” winning on MBC Show Champion, KBS Music Bank, and MBC Show! Music Core. Big Bang won number one on Mnet M!Countdown. Due to precaution regarding the MERS outbreak, SBS Inkigayo had some artists perform in front of an empty crowd and delayed their award announcement but did announce today that Big Bang had snagged their trophy as well.

Without further ado, these are my picks for the week. Please do let us know your favorite performances in the comments below!

MBLAQ’s “Mirror” on Mnet M!Countdown, June 11, 2015

While their earlier releases sounded closer to the K-pop center, favoring more electronic based dance tracks, the MBLAQ of recent has slowed things down and deviated from the pop norm. Their mid tempo singles have been utterly gorgeous and grossly overlooked, but nevertheless, they have continued to walk down this path with “Mirror.” “Mirror” is more personal than what we’re used to. Part of that involves the very public departure of two members that the public has grown to appreciate as part of MBLAQ. Now, we get a song, MV and performance embroiled with layers of symbolism — e.g. the three current members facing forward while two back up dancers stand with their backs turned towards the camera. The self-penned lyrics also hint at the painful aftermath of the group shakeup. This comeback leaves a deep impression and is wrought with meaning.

Boys Republic‘s “Hello” on Arirang Simply K-pop, June 11, 2015

Boys Republic impressed me with “Hello.” The song gave me a ’90s boy band ballad type of feeling with their harmonized choruses. The track is something that would almost work better in an acoustic or stripped down setting — which they did during a radio show at SimSimTapa. The group is definitely heading in the right direction with these self-composed songs. Hopefully with more distinctive staging and costuming, they will set their aesthetic apart from others and really gain the public’s attention.

Seo In-young’s “Lie” on MBC Show Champion, June 10, 2015

Seo In-young made her return to the stage this week accompanied by Kanto of Troy. I really enjoy the theatrics of her performances for “Lie.” The bar staging and use of rolling chairs brought a different type of ostentatious characterization to the act. Elly also sounds crisp with her unique vocal tone. The dynamics between her and Kanto play out pretty well on stage.

Baek Ah-yeon’s “Shouldn’t Have” on MBC Show! Music Core, June 13, 2015

“Shouldn’t Have” is a beautiful ballad, written and composed by Baek Ah-yeon herself and featuring Young K. The track has turned out to be a surprising hit in Korea. Its success was a slow and steady climb — it has been about a month since the song has been released. Another pleasant result of the success of the song is that she’s got a chance to promote it live on music shows. Amidst the hullabaloo over artists from SM and YG duking it out for chart domination, perhaps the real winner is this gem, which is also an unexpected underdog story coming from the other member of the Big 3, JYP Entertainment.

Exo’s “Growl” on Yoo Hee-yeol‘s Sketchbook, June 12, 2015

For their first performance on Sketchbook, the boys of Exo put on a great performance and also sounded pretty darn good. They did a special version of “Growl” backed by a live band and featured a few saxophone dance breaks. It was all quite fun and reminiscent of those good old days back when they were first promoting the song.

Shinee’s “View” on SBS Inkigayo, June 14, 2015

The summer season is starting to heat up with a lot of big names making their way back on stage in the next few weeks. “View” is my early contender for song of the summer. The incredible hook stays looped in your head for days. “View” also has all of the great facets of a memorable K-pop hit. There’s a simplistic whimsy to the melody, and the boys of Shinee nailed the hammer on the head by lightheartedly grooving along on stage. Is it too early to call it a classic K-pop jam?

(Mnet, KBS, MBC, SBS, Arirang, YouTube [1][2][3][4][5][6])