Welcome back to this week’s edition of Best of Weekly Music Shows! 2015 K-pop is picking up steam with comebacks, solo debuts and even some fresh blooded debuts. This week was packed full of new stages with the return of Nine Muses, U-Kiss and Davichi; the solo debuts of Yonghwa and Lizzy; and even the debut of rookie hip-hop group, 1Punch. So much happened this week that it’s hard to narrow down. But in case you missed it, here are some of my choices for the highlights of this week’s music show circuit.
“Juliette,” Jonghyun, KBS Yu Hui-yeol’s Sketchbook, January 24, 2015
While Jonghyun swept most music shows this week with his debut single, “Crazy,” it was his acoustic version of Shinee‘s 2009 hit that stood out. Jonghyun kills it with acoustic covers, in my opinion. We’ve seen a lot of Jonghyun lately, but it was refreshing to see him stripped down and returning to his roots. On top of that, this rendition completely made me forget the track is a Corbin Bleu remake, which is something the original track never fails to remind me of.
“I Can’t Tell You Exactly,” Teen Top‘s Niel (Lee Jang-hee cover), KBS Immortal Song 2, January 24, 2015
This week on Immortal Song, artists were covering classic hits of folk-pop legend, Lee Jang-hee. Teen Top’s Niel started off his performance with seductive dance moves and strong vocals — but by the end of the performance, he was in a sparkly gold jacket, afro wig and sunglasses. His cover was seductive, goofy and impressive all at once (plus I’m a sucker for seeing the middle aged women in the audience bopping along). The performance was so enjoyable, he managed to beat senior Kwang In-ha. No doubt Niel was giving us a taste of the wonder that his solo debut is sure to be (but hopefully sans afros).
“Not an Easy Girl,” Lizzy (After School), Mnet M! Countdown, January 22, 2015
After School member Lizzy made her solo debut on M! Countdown with the catchy trot track “Not an Easy Girl.” My favorite thing about this performance, aside from the adorable modern take on the hanbok, is that it showcases Lizzy’s diverse appeal. While she stands out as both a member of After School and Orange Caramel, it’s fun to see her shine with a concept that she can rock completely on her own. Lizzy’s solo trot career shows a lot of promise, and she seems to be enjoying herself.
“Checkmate,” Yonghwa and JJ Lin, KBS Music Bank, January 23, 2015.
CNBlue member Jung Yong-hwa also made his solo debut this week with the title track “One Fine Day,” but it was his performance with Chinese superstar JJ Lin that stole the show for me. Beyond the incredible live quality of the vocals, it’s apparent that the two singers don’t need back up dancers or fancy visuals to be able to entertain and enjoy their time on stage together.
“Drama,” Nine Muses, KBS Music Bank, January 23, 2015
Amidst the plagiarism controversy surrounding their comeback teaser images, Nine Muses has returned with “Drama.” We have finally been introduced to new members, Jo So-jin and Lee Keum-jo. I have to say, the plagiarism controversy involving pastel aesthetic and bob wigs seems almost irrelevant after watching the ladies strut around in black leather one-pieces.
“Playground,” U-Kiss, SBS Inkigayo, January 25, 2015
U-Kiss also made their return this week with the sweet, “Playgound.” While I’m not one for ballads in general, the song has grown on me throughout the week. It’s good to see U-Kiss back in action. The Inkigayo stage stood out for me almost exclusively because of the boys’ intricate pink and black suits, but I also think this stage in particular showcased their vocals the best this week.
“December” and “White Love,” Turbo, SBS Inkigayo, January 25, 2015
This week’s Inkigayo was loaded with special performances in celebration of the show’s 800th episode. As such, senior group Turbo made a special appearance to perform their hit “December,” which was the first ever song to win an Inkigayo trophy back in 1998. It was touching to see Kim Jong-kook reunite with Turbo, even though the group officially disbanded back in 2000.