20140116_seoulbeats_golden_disk_awards_trophyEstablished in 1986, the Golden Disk Awards are the pinnacle of mainstream success in the Korean music industry because of their reputation in accurately and fairly assessing said success. The judging criteria in general gives heavier weight to digital and disk sales over judges and votes. The only exception to this is the popularity award, which obviously uses votes more heavily.

This year’s awards show was held on January 16 at the Grand Peace Palace of Kyunghee University in Seoul. It was hosted by Minho of Shinee, Yonghwa of C.N.Blue, Doojoon of BEAST, Taeyeon and Tiffany of Girls’ Generation and actor Oh Sang-jin.

Unfortunately, before the awards show even started, a problem occurred. Some 30 minutes before the show was to begin its broadcast at 4:30 P.M. (KST) the cue sheets were leaked online. They not only featured a list of the performances to come but also the results of the awards. jTBC, the company broadcasting the event, said that they were trying to identify who leaked it but that they could not comment on the authenticity of the cue sheets despite their accuracy.

Despite the leak, the show still went on. It featured not only conferment of awards but also a slew of exceptional performances, including homages to past Daesang winners. One of my favorite covers was that of B1A4 performing “Road” by first generation K-pop group G.O.D. It was a lovely rendition of the song, and even their outfits were a great echo of the original music video.

Another strong performance came from Infinite with their short arrangements of their last two singles “Destiny” and “Man in Love.” The septet has always been strong as dancers, but their live vocals were also on par for the event, particularly those of vocalists Sunggyu and Woohyun. They were all energetic and definitely enjoying themselves, and it was great to see inclusion of footage from their first world tour in their introduction.

C.N.Blue rocked the stage, performing their single “I’m Sorry” with much vigor and enthusiasm. Groups who play instruments instead of dance often have more opportunities to improvise and play around with their repertoires, and Yonghwa’s ad libs interspersed throughout the song and made the performance different and a delight to watch. Plus, the group had a fantastic entrance to boot.

And definitely worthy of a mention was the collaborative performance of Baechigi and Ailee. They of course opened with their shared track “Shower of Tears,” a definite treat considering Ailee did not promote alongside the rap duo despite recording it with them. Then, they transitioned into a short cover of “Love the Way You Lie” by Rihanna featuring Eminem before going into Ailee’s 2013 single “U & I.” Overall, it was a strong performance that was quite well-balanced between the two artists.

And there were quite a few other noteworthy performances as well. Shinee‘s rearranged ballad version of “Dream Girl” as a segue into the original was fantastic. Infinite’s Woohyun and Sunggyu gave us a knockout performance of Jo Sung-mo‘s “Do You Know.” And Bangtan Boys (BTS) were crisp and dynamic in their performance of “No More Dream.”

Some technical issues with poor sound quality in several performances were distracting and annoying, and there were some performances that were hurried and consequently a bit messy. As a whole though, the show was steady with some great performances between announcements of more winners until the final grand prize.

By the end of the night, Psy took home the digital daesang with “Gentleman,” his follow-up single to his global hit “Gangnam Style,” which won him the same award the previous year. And despite their rookie status, Exo won the disk daesang with their first full-length album XOXO, giving their agency SM Entertainment their sixth digital daesang in a row. Since TVXQ‘s Mirotic in 2008, an artist from the label has won each year, and Exo’s win continues their streak.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Grand Prize – Digital Daesang
Psy – “Gentleman”

Digital Bonsang
A Pink
Davichi

Ailee
4Minute
C.N.Blue
Sistar
2NE1
Lee Seung-chul

Grand Prize – Disk Daesang
EXOXOXO

Disk Bonsang
EXO
B1A4
f(x)
Infinite
Beast
Shinee
Girls’ Generation
Cho Yong-pil

New Rising Star (Digital)
Crayon Pop
Lim Kim

New Rising Star (Disk)
Roy Kim
Bangtan Boys (BTS)

Most Popular Star (Digital)
Girls’ Generation
Roy Kim

Most Popular Star (Disk)
Shinee
Beast

Hip-hop Award
Baechigi

Producer Award
Cube Entertainment’s CEO Hong Seung-sung

Goodwill Star Award
C.N.Blue

Ceci Asia Icon Award
Shinee
Sistar

Executive Committee Special Award
Jeon In-kwon for Deulgukhwa

(Sports Chosun, YouTube [1] [2] [3] [4])

What did you think of the results? What were your favorite performances of the night?