Welcome back to Best of Weekly Music Shows! Among the comebacks this week were stages from 24K, I.O.I, and J-Min. Blackpink, INX, and Jun.K made their debuts. G-Friend received three trophies total this week on The Show, Show Champion, and Music Bank. Hyuna won on M! Countdown and Inkigayo.

Without further ado, here are the performances that stood out to me this week.

Blackpink’s “Whistle,” SBS Inkigayo, August 14, 2016

Blackpink made their long-awaited debut this past week. While both “Whistle” and “Boombayah” lack something in my ears, they are doing well on the charts. Sure enough, they follow in their seniors’ footsteps; it’s very much in line with the YG sound – like a “Fire” 2.0. I think there’s still a lot to be desired from their stage presence, but the girls seem to have a good sense of teamwork, so that bodes well for them.

Ailee, EXID’s Solji, AOA’s Choa, Son Seung-yeon, and U Sung-eun’s cover of Sia’s “Chandelier,” SBS Inkigayo, August 14, 2016

This stage is honestly a mess. I think these special stages stand out but sometimes not for the best reasons. These ladies sound pleasant individually, but the staging is so awkward. Why are they in tiers? Are they trying to recreate a chandelier? It didn’t work and made the stage feel really stuffy. I kept wishing these ladies would interact or harmonize, and we didn’t get any of that until the end. The music was also too loud at some points overpowering some of the singing, and the parts could have been assigned more appropriately depending on vocal range. Anyhow, this stage had all the workings to be amazing but ended up flat more than anything else.

Astro’s “Breathless,” MBC Show Champion, August 14, 2016

Astro was quite the revelation when I saw them at KCON LA earlier this year. I’m not sure if it’s because I never really gave them a fair shot, but they really have that rookie group energy that is infectious – either that or Lindsay’s enthusiasm for them rubbed off on me. Nevertheless, they are extremely energetic during their lives which stands out because this eagerness to impress coupled with some smart, well-executed choreography allow them room to shine. Their music has that fun bubbly gleam, and they just might be bringing back some irreverent fun in K-pop.

Monsta X’s “Stuck,” KBS Music Bank, August 12, 2016

Monsta X have been on the grind these last couple of years. With so many live performances, they have also gained a keen sense of the stage. They’re in full stride here and have built a strong dynamic and stronger group chemistry. They are probably a catchy song away from their breakout moment and a well deserved one that would be.

Jun.K’s “Think About You,” MBC Show! Music Core, August 13, 2016

Jun.K’s pipes are smoldering, powerful, and astounding. Considering all the movement and energy he pours into the stage, his voice does not waver. He rides the beat and electronic distortions, and he does some vocal acrobatics with “Think About You.” Jun.K is so focused and immersed in his craft that you can’t help but fall into a daze watching — it’s a wonder that he hasn’t promoted on live shows as a soloist before.

I.O.I’s “Whatta Man,” Mnet M! Countdown, August 11, 2016

I.O.I is one of those groups that you might not have thought would exist a year ago. Appreciate the limited number of performances they put on because a year from now, they’ll cease to exist. It’s unfathomable how K-pop’s fast paced industry has churned out super-groups whose value is high because of the limited time frame in which they’ll be together. Aside from that, I.O.I just kill it here. The song has a recognizable sample, but it works well as they bring a fierceness to their choreography and are such a strong unit together. Enjoy this group while they last because the stars definitely had to align for them to come together. And together, they shine on this stage.

(YouTube [1][2][3][4][5], Image via Mnet)