Welcome to another week of music show recaps! This week was a busy week which saw the addition of three soloists to the pool of currently promoting artists — Hyunseung, Elsie (Eunjung) and Hyosung. The first two of the three are also making their solo debut for the first time, while Hyosung, as well as girl group Bestie, are making their comebacks. In terms of music show wins this week, the trophies from the four main public broadcast channels were divided evenly between Big Bang and BTS, and for the latter, their first place on M! Countdown marked the group’s first win on a public broadcast music program. However, this proved to be a bittersweet moment for the BTS themselves and their fans, as V’s actions during the group’s thank-you speech came under controversy, and the group’s success this promotion cycle round quickly attracted sajegi accusations. However, that is another story altogether – without further ado, here are some of the highlights from this week’s music shows:

Big Bang, “Loser,” SBS Inkigayo, May 10, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0XMQmRhw7I]

Everything about this performance of “Loser” is simple but well-done for me. The setup of the stage is different but not excessively elaborate, and the changing backgrounds evoke the right atmosphere and render the stage aesthetically pleasing. The choreography is fairly simple, but fits well with the laid back beat of the chorus. In addition, how the members can have a strong stage presence while literally just standing there is beyond me.

Hyunseung, “Ma First,” MBC Show! Music Core, May 9, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xKP2ooF9Xk]

What stood out about Hyunseung’s stages for “Ma First” for me is how interesting the performance is as it appears to be a mix of everything. Hyunseung alternates between delivering his lines while standing still and abruptly joining his backup dancers in the choreography, most notably in the bridge between his singing parts and dance break (which is sudden but very impressive). The dancing in itself is also a mixture of sharpness and fluidity — more noticeably the former until you reach the last verse. However, the best blend is between the moments when Hyunseung is appears serious and absorbed in his performance and when he seems to be having fun and just enjoying the stage.

Hyosung, “Into You,” Mnet M! Countdown, May 7, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMF8NDoH_HU]

I love Hyosung’s recent stages simply because of the energy they contain. Although the statement may sound odd considering “Into You” isn’t a particular bright or fast song, a closer look at the dance will indicate that the routine is fairly — for the lack of a better word — aerobic, and there is hardly ever a break in the choreography. If you’ve ever watched Hyosung on Weekly Idol though, you’ll know that this is probably nothing for her, and it’s this effort she shows in her dancing that makes her performances enjoyable to watch.

Ailee & Kim Min-sun, “Singing Got Better,” Mnet I Can See Your Voice, May 7, 2015

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

Although this program is not so much a music show as it is variety, this duet between Ailee and Kim Min-sun (model and a part of an indie band named Yellow Chip) is definitely good enough to be performed on the stage of a music program. Despite never having sung together before, their harmony in this rendition of Ailee’s “Singing Got Better” feels as if they had practiced for a long time. Kim Min-sun’s voice is very noticeably powerful and deep, and Ailee, upon recognising this, quickly allowed Kim Min-sun to take over the main vocal line of the song, while she herself harmonised at higher pitch and added ad-libs to the piece, rendering it more impactful. What is also particularly impressive about this duet is the fact that while both singers have very strong voices and neither was holding anything back during the performance, their singing did not clash or overpower each other’s but instead brought the song to a climax together. Their voices meld well together, and I am definitely looking forward to their single, to say the least.

Luna, “Sad Fate,” MBC King of Masked Singer, May 10, 2015

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbV3G8vkWbg]

I’m beginning to think King of Masked Singer is a gift for idol vocalists wishing to overcome the bias against idols as singers, as so many talented idols’ skills have been recognised through this program. And rightfully so, as Luna shows in this performance. The piece she performs is more mellow than powerful, yet for precisely this reason, Luna is able to showcase a different side of her as a vocalist in performing it. Throughout the whole song, she maintains an impressive level of stability in her singing and control over her voice, and instead of belting out high notes at the end of the song, she employs a different technique that causes them to come out sounding effortless and hauntingly beautiful. Although she was eliminated this round, maybe it is for the better, as now she has taken off her mask, people can recognise her for the skilled singer she is.

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