Welcome to 2015, Seoulbeats readers! However, this first music show recap of the year has the problem of also covering the tail end of last year. To say the pickings were slim is a massive understatement. Only Music Bank, Show! Music Core, Immortal Song, and Inkigayo aired. Exo took the first crown, and A Pink‘s chain of wins with “Luv” continued on Music Core, but G-Dragon and Taeyang took Inkigayo. Hello Venus  made  their comeback with “Wiggle Wiggle”, while Sonamoo debuted with “Deja Vu”. Still, even in a small collection of stages, there are always a few gems. Here are some that caught my eye. Feel free to comment with your own choices, readers.

“Luv,” A Pink, SBS Inkigayo, January 4, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQAcsjwUFMk]

A Pink is a group that has struck me as much more vocally skilled than they get credit for. On Inkigayo this week, they helped remedy that with a gorgeous rendition of “Luv”. It starts off acoustic, with a lonely guitar their only accompaniment. It added a sense of gravitas and maturity, a nice indication that A Pink is truly moving in a more mature direction musically. About the only way to improve this would have been to wear the gorgeous suits from Music Core.

“Up & Down,” EXID, KBS Music Bank, January 2, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8rzERa9Ylw]

EXID’s latest comeback has been appearing on music shows off and on for over four months, and I’m still not tired of it. The reason is best seen on Music Bank: it’s so damn fun. The sass pouring off the quintet plus their vocals made them the best stage of the whole show.

“Pung Pung,” ALi, MBC Show! Music Core, January 3, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBFLctqTVbM]

In this sea of rookies, it’s sometimes needed for a K-pop veteran to show the youngsters how it’s done. ALi’s latest comeback is a ballad, nothing but her voice, and she has the audience and me eating out of the palm of her hand. Her voice sounds so rich and soulful; it’s just heartwrenching. The addition of live strings are just a cherry on top of an already perfect song.

“The Winter’s Tale,” BtoB, MBC Show! Music Core, January 3, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Bn8oCXsQ84]

I  will fully concede to being a full-on grinch about holiday music, but BtoB’s latest winter offering has managed to melt my heart a smidge. BtoB are excellent at emoting through their singing voices, and it serves them very well here. “The Winter’s Tale” just makes everyone who hears it feel good. It’s like hot chocolate for the soul: no nutritional value, but that just makes it taste better.

“Young People Living On Dreams,” Eddie Kim and Lim Kim, KBS Immortal Song 2, January 3, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xUXgEneHPE]

The husky voice of Lim Kim and the mellow one of Eddie Kim are gold separate, but platinum together. They meld so sweetly, yet when backed with a more rock song, they still sound perfect. God bless Immortal Song for giving us performances like this.

(Image via MBC, YouTube [1], [2], [3])