I’ve written at length about survival series, along with my distaste for them and the culture they foster. Learning that Road to Kingdom would feature eliminations was a gut punch. That constant threat of danger is meant to make the series more thrilling, but all it does is frustrate.
It’s absolutely cruel that these groups who need a spotlight won’t necessarily get to see the entire series to its conclusion. And it makes the show less enjoyable to watch. If you come into it supporting a certain group (like I do), it’s hard to enjoy the other acts because they just feel like competition – despite the fact that I love all the groups on the show, and have for some time. It’s a disservice to everyone. Even if you don’t have a horse in the race, the constant ranking pits these groups together when the real spirit should be one of collaboration. After all, those were the moments that made Queendom so enjoyable. Fans and viewers have been vocal about this.
Anyway, this is all to say that I thought the ranking this week was absolutely ridiculous. Honestly, it pissed me off, and pretty much ruined the whole episode. I get that taste is completely subjective, and that others are likely irritated or excited with the results for different reasons. But strictly on a performance quality standard, I couldn’t believe the results.
REMAINING ROUND ONE PERFORMANCES
Pentagon – Very Good (original by Block B)
Truthfully, this left me a little cold. I mean, it was solid and had a lot of energy, but I kept waiting to be surprised. Very Good is a really hard song to cover because Block B have such a distinctive personality, and I think it would have been better to totally transform it rather than just add jolts of intensity. I was shocked that it ended up ranking so high.
The Boyz – Danger (original by Taemin)
I’m in two minds about this performance. I mean, they get my instant praise for picking Danger – truly an underrated jam. It’s a good fit for The Boyz, and they did a great job. Obviously, from a technical level this was stunning. Lots of stunts, and they were all pulled off with flair. But, the performance as a whole didn’t quite hit me in the way that my two favorites did. I fully admit that some of this might be down to bias. The Boyz have been the series’ anointed ones since before Road to Kingdom even aired, and I always find myself naturally rooting for the underdogs.
Stacked against last week’s performances, my ranking for the first round would have been:
3. The Boyz
1. Golden Child
The actual ranking was… not that.
This time we get a “reinterpret your own song” mandate, which is probably my least favorite kind of round because I’d rather see these groups perform material they’ve never attempted before. Oddly enough, we only got to see one stage on this episode. I would have preferred that MNET pad the last twenty minutes with fun (this is supposed to be fun, right?) behind the scenes material and kept all the performances to a single airing. But, what are you gonna do?
Pentagon – Shine / Spring Snow
Another Pentagon performance this episode? Well, this was a lot better than their first one, mostly because they did two of their best songs. The luggage choreo was clever and I liked the arrangement of Shine. However, I’ve got strong feelings about the enlistment concept. As touching and nice as it was, I don’t think this was the place for it. It kinda seems like cheating within the context of a competition? I mean, none of the other groups could have had that same emotional trump card, and that’s not really under their control. But then again, that’s why this shouldn’t have been a damn eliminations-based competition in the first place. I’m sure MNET was rubbing their hands with glee at all the added drama.