We’re into the second week of March, and the comebacks just keep coming. The most anticipated comeback of this week was likely Ga-in’s solo, but there were also some lesser known artists’ returns such as Mad Town, Shannon and Stellar. Meanwhile, Shinhwa swept up this week’s music show awards, taking home the trophies from Wednesday’s Show Champion to Sunday’s Inkigayo. Below are some of the highlights of the week; as always, feel free to add to the list in the comments!

Ga-in, “Paradise Lost,” Mnet M! Countdown, March 12, 2015

[youtube https://youtu.be/cpwnSy2XyLY?t=1m56s]

Ga-in’s comeback stage this week is definitely one that should be mentioned first and foremost. “Paradise Lost” embodies the “artistically sexy” styled concepts Ga-in is known to portray, and while the performance of the song is undoubtedly sensual, it also comes off as exceptionally elegant. The dance combines both sharpness and fluidity and also does an impressive job of telling a story — the imitation of a snake in the first verse, for example, can be interpreted as a reference to the serpent in the original epic poem “Paradise Lost” by John Milton. The bridge in particular is quite breathtaking with Ga-in’s dancing in a glittering outfit, accompanied by the poetic whisper of the song. The dark lighting and costumes are also a plus, allowing the performance to be more dramatic than it already is.

Fiestar, “You’re Pitiful,” Arirang TV Simply K-Pop, March 13, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjk1vix_S9A]

I must say that I’ve been very impressed by Fiestar’s comeback this time around. Everything about “You’re Pitiful” is subdued, from the song to the concept to the choreography, yet it all works together extremely well. Some of the highlights of the performance were, for me, the remarkably on-point choreography during Jei’s lines in the verse before the chorus, as well as just how clean the dance is on the whole. The group also uses its male dancers fairly effectively — the jacket-draping is a creative move that matches with the meaning of the song. I’d also like to commend Yezi for how good her rap parts sounded and the song’s composer for the smooth sliding-in of the rap parts throughout the song.

Lovelyz, “Hi~,” SBS Inkigayo, March 15, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KqZZ51w9EM]

On the other end of what seems to be the girl group spectrum, we have Lovelyz, who are continuing to bring us the innocent image they debuted with. While “Hi~” didn’t catch my attention on my first listen, it’s definitely a grower, and part of the reason is because the lives are always enjoyable to watch. The members are consistently energetic in their performances and good at bringing aegyo to the stage without being sickeningly sweet. Another interesting aspect to note is that while the choreography of “Hi~” is fairly simple, the company seems to be able to take advantage of the Lovelyz’s relatively large group size to create dances that are based more on formations as opposed to the difficulty of the actions themselves.

S (Kangta & Lee Ji-hoon) feat. SNSD‘s Hyoyeon, “Weed,” KBS Immortal Song 2, March 14, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4WKd59hzM4]

After a decade-long hiatus, I’m glad S is up and promoting again, and this performance does a wonderful job of showing why. “Weed” is a song by Nahoona of the trot genre, yet if this is your first time hearing it, you would likely have never guessed. The group (sans Shinhwa’s Hyesung in this performance) sounds amazing in harmony, and when Kangta and Lee Ji-hoon’s voices come together during the high notes in this song, the cover is rendered incredibly powerful and resonant. The stage is also infused with energy, complete with flashy lighting, an abundance of performers on stage and even a drumming performance executed by the two singers themselves. In addition, the rendition carries hints of Latin dance music, and what SM artist is better suited to execute this dance style other than SNSD’s Hyoyeon? Although her rapping was quite average in this performance, she did redeem herself with her transformation and subsequent dance performance close to the end of the song.

Shinhwa, “Sniper,” MBC Show! Music Core, March 14, 2015

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

Finally, if you’re wondering why Hyesung was missing from the previous performance, it’s because he’s still promoting “Sniper” with Shinhwa! The legendary group achieved a music show all-kill this week, and one look at their stages will tell you that their success is well-deserved. Their live vocals are solid, and the dance is extremely sharp as usual; I will never cease to be impressed by how clean Minwoo’s “bang” part is. Another very minor aspect I find praiseworthy about this performance is their costumes, which follow a theme and allow them to stand out from their backup dancers but are also still quite unique from one another. However, what really makes the performance are the members. The confidence they exude on stage is the result of several years of performing, and their charismatic gazes are fierce enough to kill.

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