Welcome back to the Best of Weekly Shows, readers. As the year has turned and winter has set in, the annual slowing of the music scene has commenced, with few debuts, and comebacks from Dal Shabet, Anda, and Lucky J. Show Champion and The Show were still off the air, while the winners for the rest were all over the map. Psy took M!Countdown, BTS claimed Music Bank, and Inkigayo went to Gary. Yet while the pace has lessened, the quality has not, and these are my top stages of the week.
Up10tion‘s “So, Dangerous,” MBC Show! Music Core, January 9, 2016
An open secret of the music world is that while end of the year competition is insanely tough, as soon as the calendar flips over, everyone vanishes. Comebacks and debuts are rare, and suddenly, music shows run short of acts, letting smaller groups like Up10tion have more time, and can even resurrect older songs. And thank god, because I somehow missed “So, Dangerous” the first time around. This is a masterpiece of choreography. The moves are so crisp and defined, you could slice a finger open on them. Even more impressive is the flawless unison of posture and position, where everyone’s heads tilt to precisely the same angle, and sway exactly the same amount; all of which is insanely difficult.
Twice‘s “Like Ohh-Ahh,” SBS Inkigayo, January 10, 2016
Twice’s biggest strength has always been their live performance skills, what with their boundless energy and bounciness, so swapping them into cheerleader costumes was a great move. That alone could have gotten them here. But even more impressive than the best costumes of their entire run with “Like Ohh-Ahh” is the choreography. Which is completely different than their original choreography; the one they were using up through yesterday. Yet only one member has a mixup, which she quickly recovers from and is mostly unnoticeable. That takes serious skill.
iKon‘s “Dumb & Dumber,” Mnet M!Countdown, January 7, 2016
“Dumb & Dumber” is easily the best track iKon has released, both musically and performance-wise. iKon are performers rather than technicians, and this is right up their alley. It’s wild, it’s crazy, it’s chaotic, but mostly, “Dumb & Dumber” is alive. There is a definite sloppiness to this stage. Hitting the moves cleanly is clearly not a priority, with everyone opting for “close enough” instead, but it works so well with the insanity of the song. All iKon cares about is letting loose, and it’s hard to watch this without following suit.
BTS’s “Butterfly + Run,” KBS Music Bank, January 8, 2016
BTS’s Music Bank appearance this week won me over by putting two opposite styles of performance back-to-back, and knocking both out of the park. “Butterfly” is a poignant ballad, done with the members all standing stock-still. And they are captivating with nothing but voice and pure presence, powerful in the simplicity of the stage. “Run,” of course, is the opposite, a precisely choreographed, heavily stylized performance. But BTS have just as much power and vocal emotion here as in “Butterfly,” hitting their marks so gracefully, it’d be impossible to imagine them still if I hadn’t just seen it.
Dal Shabet’s “Someone Like U,” SBS Inkigayo, January 10, 2016
“Someone Like U” is a stage that has simple choreography, but is a lot of fun to watch. It depends on Dal Shabet’s ability to project rather than to dance, which is frequently harder, but done fabulously. The casual, mocking edge of “Someone Like U” is amplified by the attitudes of the members, each hair toss and hip pop filled with disdain and insincere wishes.
Those are my top picks for the week. If you think I missed any, add them in the comments!