There’s just something about year-end shows. No fanwars over awards. A lot of groups are invited to perform, including ones from smaller agencies that get constantly overlooked. Collaborations between idols that cause an uptick in new or existing ships. It’s all worth the sleep deprivation to witness this celebration of K-pop live at the end of 2016.

Like last year, MBC got the opportunity to be the main closer of the music festivals. Obviously, this places a lot of pressure on the network to deliver a show worthy of the honor. While the time travel theme isn’t original, it was appropriately fitting since both Shinhwa and S.E.S were making their comebacks through the MBC Gayo Daejejun. What better way to welcome back legendary first generation groups than with a theme centered around their glory days?

Now, this show was several hours long, so unfortunately, I won’t be able to discuss every single performance. I will, however, highlight some of the more memorable moments from the event. If you feel like sharing your personal highlights, the comments section is open for that.

MBC Gayo Daejejun Opens With An Entertaining Mashup

The opening skit with idols trying to figure out a mysterious room with time portals was just short enough to get things started. After all, we came to watch them sing and dance, so it’s best to get to the good stuff immediately. Things kicked off with an electrifying stage by BTS covering Rain‘s “Rainism” and was followed by Twice honoring Lee Hyori with “U Go Girl.” Not to be outdone, B.A.P brought the screams with a sexy performance of TVXQ‘s “Mirotic”. Gfriend shed their innocent image for the Wonder Girls‘ “So Hot” while EXID wrapped up the intro with their rendition of Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra”.

Old School Groups Give Lessons On Longevity

Listen up! 2017 needs to be the year that fans recognize the path of older groups. They were on the stage when the current generation of idols was barely in diapers. These groups can still bring the house down, and they do it as well, if not better, than some of their juniors. Turbo pumped up the crowd with their hits “Again” and “White Love”, as Shinhwa made everyone lose their minds by debuting “Touch” for the first time. S.E.S also proved their staying power with their debut of “Remember”, drawing upon their classic ’90s sound to put everyone in a bright mood.

Gfriend + Kids = The Most Adorable Stage Ever

This feels like a cheat because you can rarely go wrong when you insert cute kids into a performance. Regardless, I was squealing as those sweet-faced cherubs sang along with Gfriend. There was something in their collaboration that came off a little cheesy, but I don’t care. Those children were adorable and made Gfriend look like sisterly angels. I can’t get the ending image out of my brain because they looked too precious.

Red Velvet and BTS Get The Cold Shoulder

There’s nothing wrong with performing outdoors. It’s actually great to see a huge crowd cheering on the groups on stage. However, there’s something to be said when you see more of the crowd than the group. Arguably, it’s not as if Red Velvet or BTS did anything significantly special with their stages, but that doesn’t excuse the terrible camera work. A few wide shots to break up the close ups is fine. Several, long wide shots for a majority of the routine is a huge no-no. Just because the stage is outside doesn’t mean that the rules of effective filming go out the window as well.

The Power of Three Shines in Collabs

Collaborations are a given for any year-end show, and it’s always fascinating to see who sings what with whom. Out of all of these joint ventures, I found the trios to be the most entertaining. In particular, I really loved watching AOA‘s Choa team up with Infinite‘s Hoya and Dongwoo for a fun, hype number. Her sultry vocals paired nicely with the upbeat rap style of Infinite H. I also may have been superficially swayed by Choa’s sparkly green dress that I loved, but seriously, I enjoyed the chemistry between these three.

SHINee and Infinite Become Flower Grandpas

You know how you don’t know you need something until it appears? That’s what happened here. Give me Grandpas Over Flowers SHINee and Infinite any day because they are hilarious! I nearly died laughing at Hoya’s failed attempt to do Infinite’s famous scorpion dance from “BTD”. Equally amusing was watching Key and Onew perform “Ring Ding Dong” as if age had zero effect on them. This was a humorous way to introduce both groups as they did their respective songs afterwards in their current ages.

Once again, MBC pulled off their year-end music festival with very few hiccups. The camera work was mostly consistent, and nobody suffered from audio mix-ups or mismatched title cards. I loved the countdown portion and the group ending. The stage settings may have been simple, but that only left more room for creativity from the idols. As the final main music show of the year, MBC Gayo Daejejun held up expectations, which is really all I wanted out of 2016.

What were your favorite performances from the 2016 MBC Gayo Daejejun?

(YouTube, Image via MBC)