Welcome back, readers, to the Best of Weekly Music Shows. This was a very busy week in K-entertainment, with the solo debut of miss A‘s Fei, plus comebacks from Stellar, Zhou Mi, Eric Nam, Beatwin, and FT Island. Yet despite the crowded stages, the top spots on every show were swept by G-Friend with “Navillera”. Still, just because the trophies were taken by one artist doesn’t mean they were always the best. These stages are my favorites of the week. Think I missed one? Link it in the comments!

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh4z2RTHsG8]

“Cry”, Stellar, The Show, SBS MTV, July 19, 2016

After Stellar’s more in-your-face comebacks, “Cry” makes for a nice change of pace. It’s flirty rather than sexy, with a callous bite. The mellow post-disco instrumentals mesh with their voices for a surprisingly strong performance, one teeming with confidence and genuine ease on the stage. It’s a different look for Stellar, but the change from sexy to flirty seems to suit them, and it might be just what the doctor ordered.

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg2nI39Y868]

“Very Nice”, Seventeen, Show Champion, MBC, July 20, 2016

Okay, Seventeen, you win: I actually like one of your stages. Not because of your cutey-boy charm, though. Oh no, it was your fabulously synchronized choreography that thawed my heart. The crisp movements, the quirky moves, the impeccably unison hip thrusting; it’s all wonderful. The cheeky vibe given off by the members is just the cherry on top of “Very Nice”. Keep this up, Seventeen, and I might casually like you.

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmSvKHMVMmo]

“Take Me Now”, FT Island, M!Countdown, Mnet, July 21,2016

FT Island’s latest comeback is right up my alley, with its turn for the emo. “Take Me Now” is powerful, a beacon for the lonely and isolated, an angry scream against a harsh world and a refusal to take one more second. The roiling turmoil is only enhanced by Hongki‘s voice, thick with bitterness and resentment but clear as a bell in how little patience he has left for those who have crossed him.

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIU9hvjVa4E]

“Can’t Help Myself”, Eric Nam featuring JinJin, Show! Music Core, MBC, July 23, 2016

Eric Nam’s “Can’t Help Myself” earned itself a slot on this list off of one major element: charm. Eric is practically Prince Charming himself, making the ladies swoon as he croons. He’s mastered a delicate balance here– cool enough that we want him, dorky enough that we  think we can get him. It makes the entire song feel more personal, as if he is in fact singing directly to every girl in the audience.

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=QynzSd6aEIA]

“What’s Your Number?” Zhoumi, Inkigayo, SBS, July 24, 2016

Zhoumi, on the other hand, is not Prince Charming. “What’s Your Number?” paints him as the persistent geek, but it’s a role he plays well. The emphasis is on “role”; “What’s Your Number?” is very theatrical. The staging, the choreography, even the costuming is all reminiscent of a Broadway play, and as a theatre geek, that speaks to me. It’s so over-the-top in its ludicrousness that “What’s Your Number?” veers back around into relatable.

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