KBS aired their annual Gayo Daechukje on the 28th with a large roster and special stages planned out for “one big K-pop party.” The event was hosted by Dahyun from Twice with Jin from BTS and Chanyeol from Exo, reprising their roles as MCs from 2017.

The lineup included performances from BTS, Wanna One, Seventeen, BtoB, Monsta X, Twice, Sunmi, Red Velvet, Exo, NCT, Got7, Stray Kids, Day6, GFriend, A Pink, Oh My Girl, (G)I-dle, AOA, Lovelyz, Momoland, WJSN, Chungha, Hwang Chiyeol, Norazo, VIXX, NU’EST W, Yong Junhyung, 10cm, Roy Kim, Kim Yeonja, and Celeb Five.

Traditionally, end of the year festivals make for the greatest time for groups to showcase performances fans wouldn’t normally see, different group collaborations, covers of older hits, girl/boy group stages or gender switch covers. There wasn’t much of this in SBS’s Gayo Daejeon, whereas the KBS Gayo Daejeon tried their hands in more special collaborative stages and family stages. The performances were not as exciting as would be expected for an end of the year festival.

KBS also relied heavily on SM and JYP presences with their own entertainment family specials on top of individual group performances. The family specials didn’t add much other than more screen time that seemed to overshadow all the other acts (even BTS).

However, there will always performances that were enjoyable to watch and surprises around every corner. Here are a few highlights:

BTS Special

The BTS special started off with an approximately minute and a half solo from each member. For someone who unfortunately missed out on their concert this year, getting to see the solo performances from the Love Yourself series was a treasure. Notably, Jimin showed off his beautiful dance skills once again with “Serendipity”, somehow the way he moves is like watching a water stream.

V stole the show with his “Singularity” performance though. Initially from the music video I thought the hand from the coat hanger V was green screened in but obviously I wasn’t paying enough attention, it was his own arm! I am even more impressed now at his abilities to express loving embraces and rejection with his own arm. Also, from fan cams, V can be seen hilariously joining in Suga’s solo performance as a backup dancer (almost makes up for the video freeze KBS has not fixed).

Best Family Special: SM Entertainment

The introduction with all of SM’s older hits made for an unfulfilled tease as the actual performances covered past hits only from the performers: Exo, Red Velvet and NCT. What won me over SM’s special was the beginning with DJ Hyo’s “Punk Right Now” and Red Velvet grooving alongside her. “Punk Right Now” is a really fun song and I was excited to see it performed on the big stage. The SM family does their best to show off their best as well, following up with a dance solo with their best dancers Kai and Jisung.

Best Collaboration: Sunmi, Seulgi & Daehwi – “Heroine”

For those familiar with the variety TV scene this year knows the background behind this collaboration is a special one. Sunmi and Seulgi were paired up on Secret Unnie and the friendship they developed from the show made them one of this year’s favorite friendship goals. With Daehwi, Sunmi has expressed her favoritism towards Daehwi’s dance cover of her songs and thus a great collaboration is born!

Seulgi fits in with the song as if “Heroine” was a duet all along and Daehwi’s entrance mid-song showed the world why Sunmi favors his cover’s so much. Daehwi shows a level of versatility that will benefit him in the long run. This was the type of collaboration I was looking for.

Best Girl Group Performance: Momoland – “BBoom BBoom (Mix Version)” + “BAAM”

One thing year-end music shows try to do to make performances “different” from the rest of the year is to show remix versions, normally with just a dance break. Momoland blew up this year with their hit “BBoom BBoom” and had the best remix incorporating past catchy hits such as ‘Sorry Sorry” – Super Junior, “Ur Man” – SS501, “Ring Ding Dong” – SHINee, and “La Song” – Rain. Even for a song that become over played, incorporating the past hits made “BBoom BBoom” an even more fun and refreshing to watch.

Best Boy Group Performance:  VIXX – “Scentist”

There is a reason why VIXX went viral from their end of the year performances last year; all their stages are always so theatrical. VIXX is consistent in this manner bringing a new take to their “Scentist” performance with the introduction of “Possession”. N is not given enough credit in the K-pop world for his graceful dance movements as he leads in front. His long neck accentuates his head rolls. And somehow all the members of VIXX are always so sensual in their movements.

Do you think Ravi is giving the mullet a priestly take or is that his hairstyle now?

Second runner up: Seventeen with “Getting Closer”. Seventeen always has energetic stages with unique choreography making every experience watching them live seem like a brand new performance.

Best Special Stage: “Kissing You”

This was picked mainly because I don’t think the “Hush” stage lived up to the same fierceness Miss A exhibited whereas the cute stage of “Kissing You” was more natural and cheerful to watch. Being from SM, Yeri looks like she could have originally been part of the SNSD. All the girls in this performance also have a natural adorableness to them that didn’t make dancing with the large lollipop cringe worthy. Most enjoyable part was getting to hear Twice’s rapper Dahyun’s sing.

Best Stage Overall:  Kim Yeonja – “Amor Fati”

The best stages are the ones that don’t have to elaborate. Trot singer Kim Yeonja closes the show with her past hit “Amor Fati”. It is her song and her presence of a singer alone is enough to get the whole theater dancing along.  The best part of it all is just getting to see the idols have fun and being silly.

Readers, share your thoughts and which performances you enjoyed in the comments below!

(Korea Portal, Youtube. Images via KBS World.)