Welcome back to Best of Weekly Music Shows, where we recap our favorite performances of the past week. A number of artists held their comeback stages this week including, Eric Nam, GFriend, and Snuper. Vromance, Mamamoo’s brother group, made their debut on music shows. Beast and the Wonder Girls split the wins this week. Beast took home trophies from Show Champion and Music Bank – the latter of which featured Dongwoon hosting for the first time — while the Wonder Girls were the big winners on The Show, M! Countdown, and Inkigayo.
Here are my picks for the week, but please do include yours in the comments below![youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMYprKY9eQk]
Vromance’s “She,” MBC Show! Music Core, July 16, 2016
Vromance made their long awaited debut this week. The foursome are a vocal powerhouse group in the same vein as their sister group. They started off a bit tentatively on music shows but really found some range, stage confidence, and stronger footing later on in the week. While their personalities don’t pop as vivaciously as Mamamoo’s did during their debut, they do have this undercurrent of soulfulness and charm, brimming with talented potential.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRHkIH3zEO4]
Lee Eun-mi‘s “I Have A Lover,” KBS Yoo Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook, July 15, 2016
This week’s Sketchbook featured an all star collective as they hosted their top karaoke songs special. Noel, Davichi, and Buzz were some of the few among the list of stars guesting on the episode. My favorite — and of course the pick of the week — would have to be Lee Eun-mi. Her songs have been covered by many idols including, SNSD‘s Taeyeon and JYJ‘s Junsu. Lee Eun-mi sings her most well-known song “I Have a Lover,” and she still kills it a decade after its initial release. It’s not hard to forget why this song has become a standard. She bears her life in this song. You still feel the ache and grittiness behind every note. It is a joyous occasion when you can hear her sing.[youtube https://youtu.be/he3ZThBLrKM]
Seventeen‘s “Very Nice,” Mnet M! Countdown, July 14, 2016
While I may have preferred the outfit colors of their Inkigayo stage, I found the camera work and energy level of this performance to be stronger. I think Seventeen are the epitome of what there is to love about K-pop. They have so many fun moments, like when Jun exclaims “whoa” during his part at the front of the formation. While the pelvis thrusting choreo isn’t exciting to me, the group makes the most of their formation and movement to build dynamics on stage. They incorporate cute follow-along motions and also include sharper dance cuts to create a polished but lighthearted time on stage. The song itself is also very catchy, and this era adds onto Seventeen’s streak of enjoyable singles.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTmsxy2RnfM]
Wonder Girls’ “Why So Lonely,” KBS Music Bank, July 15, 2016
I am really loving “Why So Lonely.” The song hits all the right notes for me and the girls are striking the happy middle between sensuality and yearning. They have decided to go with the dance version this week, which is a smart move since most shows are not instrument-friendly. The dance flows well and makes good use of arm movements. I also love the vibrant colors of their outfits set to the washed out blues, pinks, and orange of the backdrop behind them. One of the only qualms I have, though, is with Hyerim being the only one not wearing a Powerpuff Girls printed outfit.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6K3W4d2SsQ]
Beast’s “Ribbon, Dingo Music, July 16, 2016
I love these stripped down renditions of K-pop. I think “Ribbon” lends itself to fewer accompaniments. When groups can just relax and sing to an acoustic guitar, it can favorable as the strength of the melody sticks out. For one, Junhyung surprised me with all his adlibs. Yoseob and Dongwoon are both great during their falsettos. Kikwang proves himself steady with his performance, and Doojoon really gets some crowd participation points after inspiring the other table to join along with waving their arms. All in all, it was an extremely fun — and drunken — version of “Ribbon.”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCieTB5DWZQ]
Stephanie, Stellar‘s Gayoung, VIXX‘s N, Lovelyz‘ Yein, Snuper‘s Woosung, WJSN‘s Cheng Xiao dancing to Lemaitre feat. Jennie A’s “Closer,” SBS Inkigayo, July 17, 2016
Anyone else loving these ultra dance festival special stages? It gives idols an opportunity to show their skill outside of their regular choreography. This week the modern and contemporary folks, dubbed Six Flying Dragons, got a chance to strut their stuff and they delivered. Stephanie was fantastic, really leading the charge first with her duet with N, before dancing in tune with the rest of the ladies. N’s gaze and movement just exudes charisma. The extensions and quality of movement from everyone was excellent. They were grounded, there were a lot of dynamics, and it was ultimately beautiful to watch.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h8Pe8qCONg]
G.Soul‘s “Where Do We Go From Here,” Naver On Stage, July 14, 2016
G.Soul’s On Stage performances were all highlights this week. The band versions of all three songs were worthy of being on this list. Of particular note, the renditions of “Crazy For You” and “Where Do We Go From Here” felt more dynamic than the recorded versions, with the band backing G.Soul adding some oomph to the minimal production of the original. It is a testament to the strength of the songs as they translated so beautifully with the band. The electric guitar is more pronounced here, drawing out the wonderfully complex emotions stirring beneath his tunes. G.Soul is a rockstar, and he deserves all the praise for continually staying true to himself and allowing his authenticity to translate over to his music.