It’s the week of the Gayos, culminating with MBC’s show on New Year’s Eve, which usually ends up being the best of the three. While SBS’s broadcast last Sunday was certainly messy, it’s unfortunate that KBS suffers from a different problem this year. Honestly, their Daechukje was mostly just kinda… boring. It was hindered a bit at the outset. Out of the three broadcasts, it had the least interesting line-up (for me personally). It also didn’t help that most of the special stages ended up being ballad duets/solos or covers of songs that really weren’t current. One of the guys from vocal group Noel apparently couldn’t even be bothered to learn the lyrics, and quite unsubtly read them from his hand (!).
The stage was cool. I’ll definitely give them that. It was one of the bigger stages I’ve ever seen in a show like this, and allowed for a lot of unrestricted movement and special effects. Some groups used it well. Others got a little swallowed up. The “spider cam” (I think they called it?) was also pretty neat, offering a sense of blockbuster grandeur to some of the performances. I loved when it swirled around the groups, zooming in and out like some drunk ghost. The vast LED backdrop provided some of the night’s best visuals (BTS, VIXX, Infinite) and I loved when the runway portion of the stage would suddenly race with lights (hot pink — or is it “pink hot”? — in EXID’s case).
I also liked the fun filmed bits where BTS and VIXX went to ambush “unsuspecting” contest winners. They were pretty awkward and cute. I wish other groups would have gotten in on the fun. In fact, one of my biggest wishes for MBC’s show is that we’ll see some more interaction between the performers.
Now the performances, on the other hand, were a different story. Idols seemed a bit tired. It’s understandable. This has got to be one of the most grueling weeks in an idol’s schedule, but some of the groups just looked messy (sorry, EXO) or uninspired (sorry, Shinee). The sleepy feeling reached a peak during the endless, downbeat performance by Kim Changwan Band that closed the show. I know they’re probably legends and that the older crowd probably loved it, but god it was drowsy.
BUT, and this is a big “but,” there was one performance that really stood out. As always, I will admit bias, but judging from the reaction online I am not alone in thinking that Infinite really killed it tonight. With that, I’ll try to whittle down my top performances (there weren’t as many as with KBS).
- Infinite – Far and away, without a shred of doubt, the performance of the night. Throughout their history with the gayos, Infinite have been known for their remixed performances. A rock-inspired rendition of Bad was just what I had hoped to see, and they didn’t disappoint. Anyone who doubts their vocal ability and in-sync dance performance simply needs to watch this. I was actually surprised they followed EXO (usually it’s the other way around), and worried that that would dampen some of the crowd enthusiasm, but they really gave a lesson on how to put on a live show. Looked badass, too.
- Zion.T & Jungkook – Yanghwa Bridge is always going to lend itself to a special, emotional performance. I’ve seen Zion.T do it as a duet with plenty of artists, but BTS’s Jungkook was really the perfect choice. His emotive, somewhat somber vocals really complemented Zion.T’s vocal presence.
- BTS – It was weird and sad to see them perform as a six-piece (Rapmon was injured earlier in the day), but that didn’t totally dampen the power of their charisma. Jimin’s solo dance intro was particularly nice.
- Gfriend – Yeah, maybe I was just still so excited for the first performance of the night, but I feel like I need to give these girls a shout out. Most likely due to their (super) rookie status, there weren’t any frills or effects, but I thought the camera work really captured the energy of their song.
- GOT7/BTS/VIXX – Dance “battles” rarely turn out all that exciting when filmed on such a large stage. They’re just hard to capture. But, it was fun to see the different colors of these three groups. BTS owned it. GOT7… I really love you, but you’ve gotta stop with the flipping around and find some more interesting choreography.
- AOA – Not much to say. I just thought the remix tonight had more oomph than on SBS’s show. And it’s still a beast of a song.
Oh, and also… what the hell was up with B1A4’s terrible pants?