Everyone’s eyes were on this weekend’s livestream of MBC‘s Music Core as their first show since announcing their lip sync ban went to air. Having watched the show, I’m not sure if the ban actually came into effect this week itself, but f(x) sounded pretty live so it’s a good sign.
But while the focus surrounding the ban has been on how it would affect idols and their agencies, what about the ban instigator itself? There must have been at least a couple of reasons for such a drastic step to be taken. The desire to have idols honestly perform their expected duties seems like reason enough, but there must be something in it for MBC. And so, I present to you the six most likely reasons why MBC has banned lip syncing.
1. The MuCore CP is secretly a fan of [insert rookie group who can sing well live here]
And who can blame Park Hyun-suk? Groups from mid-tier and smaller companies like Spica, 100%, Mamamoo, Ladies’ Code, etc., bring a wealth of talent to the stage that makes it hard not to stan for them. They have been noticed by international K-pop fans for their strong vocals during live performances, and there’s a good chance that our good CP has as well. Being a fan of such minnow groups, it’s hard not to feel some resent towards the bigger acts who seem to gain more attention with decreasing effort.
If fans could, they would shine the spotlight on these rookies; and in Park’s case, he actually can. Banning lip syncing doesn’t necessarily guarantee that these rookies will start winning awards, but it will give them a greater chance to showcase their vocal superiority, thus gaining more attention, and gradually, more fans who will eventually help these groups win their music show award. And then we can drink in all those beautiful ugly sobs their faces make during the acceptance speeches, encore and fansign event after the show.
2. They finally got good enough equipment to properly showcase live performances
Well, they could have! But the more likely answer is that they haven’t, so I’m really just pulling your leg here. But, and this is a radical idea: maybe they want to get good quality equipment. I have no idea why they would want to try something so crazy as providing equipment that can ably support live performances but, hey, more power to MBC for wanting to try.
And maybe, at some point in the distant future, they might even try to get instruments to be played live, too! Gone will be the days when it seemed like a miracle that CN Blue has their instruments plugged in; good equipment shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a right!
But for all of this to happen, MBC needs to get have and use the equipment; which brings us to…
3. The crew has gotten sick of all the crazy choreography
..And the required camera angles to accompany it. Once upon a time, music show cameramen (and women, but mostly men) used to have free creative rein, coming up with all sorts of camera angles and techniques to showcase .. err, some of the performances on the show. But, having to constantly innovate, companies are now encroaching upon cameramen’s territory, which has likely left them bamboozled.
Now they have to get a camera to the right spot in the air for the Sunny Hill member to point at, have a camera in a random corner so that Taeyeon can be seen, and even get a helicam so that a good view of Exo‘s choreo is provided. There have even been stories of cameramen being manhandled by SM choreographer Shim jae-won to get the desired angles and shots for “Growl” performances, and music shows were probably forced to hire that one magician SM has on its payroll to levitate a cameraman through the “diamond pose” at the beginning of “Overdose.”
This lip sync ban is a sign that the Music Core crew have decided that enough is enough; no one manhandles their staff but them! Much of the ambitious choreography does not allow for quality live singing unless, as the adage goes, you’re Shinee, so there is a high chance that dances will be modified to make it easier for idols to sing live without going into cardiac arrest. This would then lead…
4. To increased musical quality in K-pop
There are a lot of things going through a performer’s mind: which camera should I look at, which random act of fanservice should I do, am I far enough away from that magician’s field of levitation? Sometimes, there are so many things happening on stage that the music itself can be forgotten, especially when lip syncing.
If idols had to sing live, then maybe they’d realise the ridiculousness of the high notes they had to reach and the incoherence that is the idol rap verse, as well as inanity of the words they are saying: maybe the English-speaking idols will realise that that English phrase doesn’t conjugate correctly, or the girl group member will notice just how many times she has to say “molla” in three minutes. God knows the crew certainly have. And maybe, just maybe, this realisation will lead to smarter song writing and composing that doesn’t want to make the crew want to rip their inner ears out.
5. The crew has bets on which idol group would be the first to crumble
Who will be the first to reveal their previously hidden weak vocals , modify their dances or even skip Music Core altogether? Forget sports, this is a booming industry! To get in on the action early, Seoulbeats will even soon be introducing a new betting app to join our app suite, with the best odds this side of the internet (Seoulbeats does not condone gambling among minors. Or gambling at all. We’re just trying to make a living here, folks).
6. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt
This is the least credible reason on the list, I’ll be honest. Sure, it appears to be taking a while to enforce and we have no idea how long it will last given MBC’s alleged past (short lived) instances of banning lip syncing, but I am 100% sure that MBC will be sticking to its guns on this one, and will one day become the new Music Bank, a show which still makes every single artist sing live for every single performance.
(Twitter, Images via MBC, SM Entertainment)