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Road to Kingdom: Episode Four Recap and Ranking

At one point when discussing his groups’ concept during this night’s episode, VERIVERY’s Dongheon mentioned “night hags.” I thought to myself: “Why, that’s the perfect description for what I briefly became after watching episode three’s ranking!”

I’ve pulled myself back from the brink of last week’s rant-a-thon. That ranking disaster, coupled with some convincing internet rumors, quickly transformed Road to Kingdom from my most anticipated 2020 K-pop event to an exercise in unnecessary frustration and disillusionment. But, that’s kind of been 2020 K-pop in a nutshell. Hell, that’s been 2020 in a nutshell! So, go on with your bad selves, MNET.

Ever the glutton for punishment, I’ve strapped myself down to watch episode four. Fists clenched, nerves frazzled, and teeth grit. I’m here.

This week’s theme was “My Song,” but it might as well have been “classical music meets horror show,” as most groups chose some piece of the two as inspiration for their reinterpretation. I guess brighter performances don’t win competitions. Maybe that’s why they’ve become an endangered species within the K-pop boy group realm.

No rankings or elimination tonight – thank god – but I’m already preparing myself for upsetting news next week. Why can’t they all just be performing for one another, followed by hanging out and getting to know each other’s stories? Come to think of it, I used to watch a Swedish show with that exact concept years ago, and it was delightful!


MY PERSONAL RANKING


7. TOO – Magnolia

This concept was decent, and it was certainly well-performed, but this just wasn’t for me. The mix sounded too much like the generic boy group fare I often complain about, with way too much trap. But, I liked the costumes! And for a just-debuted rookie group, they really are impressive.


6. ONEUS – Lit

Full disclosure: I’ve never really liked this song that much, and that probably has something to do with my feelings on the performance. It was fun, and I really liked the theme and staging, but I felt like there was too much going on and the guys kind of got lost in the parade of performers constantly flowing in and out. I mean, there’s no way that a spectacle like this couldn’t look cool, but it didn’t leave much of a lasting impression once it was over.


5. Pentagon – Shine / Spring Snow

You can read my thoughts in last week’s recap.


4. ONF – We Must Love / Moscow Moscow

I liked this. The guitar and orchestra mix really worked, and the clock was a cool bit of choreography. It reminded me of an end-of-year performance. What holds it back for me is a lack of dynamics. I felt the same energy all the way through, so there wasn’t really a climax or moment that made this stand out.


3. Golden Child – Wannabe

Putting my bias aside, based on the first half of this performance I was honestly prepared to rank them lower. The staging felt too standard and forgettable. But, then the violin came out. As a fan, I’m so happy that Joochan had the chance to showcase this skill. From here on out, the performance caught fire and the rearrangement really stood out. RTK is a performance-based show, so this won’t do them any favors within its confines. But, this is the audio recording that I’ll most want to listen to. They really know how to unveil a gradual build, which makes the finale all that more impactful when it hits.


2. VERIVERY – Photo

There was some really inventive staging and choreography here, and I loved the heavy metal remix of the track. Photo’s a great song anyway, and it was a smart choice with the concept they were going for. Speaking of concepts, I find horror performances like this to be a little silly, and tonight’s stage devolved too far into Halloweentown for me at times, but it was very clearly presented and sustained my interest all the way through. Most improved, for sure.


1. The Boyz – Reveal / Catching Fire

The Boyz were made for a show like this, and they know how to use the stage better than anyone else. I don’t like Reveal as a song at all, but this arrangement greatly improved upon it. And, this performance had their most impressive stunts yet. The “ships crashing” flag moment was a stunner, but so was the opening vignette with the picture frame. Just really good, creative story-telling,


Lots of switching around in ranks this time, huh?

30 thoughts on “Road to Kingdom: Episode Four Recap and Ranking

  1. i largely agree with your ranking, although i must correct you on one point– i’m sure Joochan can play violin properly, but he was most definitely miming it in this performance. the violin isn’t mic’ed at all, and he was visibly playing up his “”bowing”” for the performance. it’s a really understandable performance choice, since violin is already such a difficult instrument to play while standing/sitting still, but it still just felt too gimmicky to me. the weak first half of the performance plus all the violin miming left a pretty sour taste in my mouth, so i actually rank Golden Child moreso towards #5… the rearrangement is interesting, but i just hope people won’t operate on the false assumption that Joochan was actually playing the violin part during the performance. it’s just unrealistic.

    oh, and my top pick was actually Verivery’s performance!! but maybe that’ll make me come off as too blatantly biased, seeing as i’m a VIXX stan… i’m just someone who got quite into Reveal’s original arrangement, and so i didn’t totally love its makeover. the crashing flags moment was positively breath-taking, but i still felt that VRVR’s overall performance was much more cohesive and engrossing overall.

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    • As a violinist I could tell he knew HOW to play the instrument but it was obvious he was just miming to the backtrack, since Mnet/music shows usually don’t even have the set-up for live instrument playing anyway…not even for normal bands most of the time. Still, it was nice to see someone who actually knows how to hold the damn thing properly, lol.

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      • I was checking that out as well. (I played violin for a few years as a kid too.) He knows how to play the instrument, knows how to hold it, and he was miming for this performance. Very good miming, very theatrical. I don’t know / can’t tell / (don’t care) if he is the violinist on the track itself.

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        • He is. If you ar following them around he posted a video on twitter practicing and when they discussed the song he promised the guys he will practice hard for it. I know for fact he have the least confidence in violin even though he plays it damned well. I don’t know much about how to play it but I spent 8 years in music and singing orinted class even though I’m quite bad in making music.
          Back on track he practiced hard for the recording and I think he mimicked it down well maybe he really played it and just was muted out, it could be the best solution though to make it look real.
          I agree that their performance and item usage was lacking comparing the other groups but I loved the story line. It was simple but interesting. I would love it if there are more members in the whole showtime reaching for the violin but I was statisfied with this much as well.

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      • (Actually, when I saw the painted violin hanging up there in the beginning of the performance, my mind first went to “How are they going to incorporate Devil goes down to Georgia into kpop?” Now that would have been a sight to see!)

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  2. My rankings would be:

    7. TOO

    Honestly felt bad for them. they don’t have much song choices and, actually did okay considering they had no experience yet. The balancer acts entered too late to the stage, around 3/4 of the stages are just them dancing in devil and angel clothings.

    6. Golden Child

    Not bad, orchestal remix are nice. It just don’t have the storytelling staging and song remake (Wannabe stayed somewhat the same) others had.

    5. ONF

    Cool marionette and hand clocks. Not sure why they need Moscow Moscow, though i guess it’s more “Thematically relevant” for the servant – master unrequited relationship story.

    4. Pentagon

    It’s cheating to use real story but, it still makes people engaged to the performance. It’s a good last hurray for jinho.

    3. Oneus

    Just a fun festival-lite performances. The broom – body replacement, the lion dances, etc.

    2. Verivery

    The best horror inclusion (As expected from vixx brother). The nightmare part stayed relevant throughout the story, and the ending scene is classic horror (Also the best ending part for this episode). Heavy metal remix are always fun too.

    1. The Boyz

    Very in their elements. Won’t be surprised if they win again. Been looking forward to the ship-crashing but, the idea to continue the story from the last time is nothing short of brilliant. They had the most coherent story out of the groups too.

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  3. Wow I actually largely disagree with your ranking, despite having almost the same ranking as yours for the previous round.

    I personally favour the song rearrangement over the stage stunts and dance, and my personal ranking was

    TBZ > ONF > ONEUS > Verivery > Golden Child > Pentagon > TOO

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  4. Not gonna lie, Golden Child wasn’t at their best this week, so if I were to rank them I would be hovering between 3 or 4. Personally I look at two aspects of a performance: Aural and visual. If I were to mute the videos and just focus on what I’m seeing, Golden Child would be near the bottom. But if I was listening to audio only, Golden Child would be on top. I really like their arrangement.

    I’m just so sad that they might have been the ones eliminated.

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  5. as i said in my previous comment, i became a fan of golcha after RTK. im in too deep to continue watching RTK after this episode. nevertheless, im going to try to give an objective personal ranking (sounds oxymoronic but im really trying):

    7. PENTAGON: as i mentioned in my previous comment, i wasn’t a fan of the emotional ending either. if i were to disregard that and focus solely on the performance, they would definitely be last for me. no doubt the songs are great by themselves (pentagon has a wonderful discography), but they didn’t sound like one coherent song when mashed together. compared to the showiness of the rest, they definitely lose out in terms of the complexity of their choreography, stage utilisation etc. it felt like a regular music show performance rather than one in a competition.

    6. TOO: this performance was okay. again, impressive for rookies, but neither the dance nor song left an impression. all i remembered was being confused by the jerky transitions between the guy with scales and the other members, and being even more confused when the guy with scales did pretty much nothing besides hold the scales.

    5. VERIVERY: this was a solid horror performance, but again i wasn’t drawn to the song or dance. unlike the higher-ranking groups, i didn’t feel like searching the song or group up. it was just horror, horror, horror, but i didn’t see how that related to the theme “our song” or how it showcased their talents.

    4 / 3. GOLDEN CHILD / ONEUS: if i were to be very honest, GC was in 4th place when i livestreamed the episode. however, i rewatched the performances and thought more about the theme/story, and eventually bumped GC up to 3rd place for their storyline and arrangement. since i’m not sure how much of that is my bias speaking, they’re sharing 3rd and 4th place for now.

    ONEUS undoubtedly executed a solid performance. it was fun, upbeat, and i enjoyed the comparatively unique concept. i thought it was a great use of dancers and props to fill the stage, which i felt was where GC fell short.

    I would say GC unfortunately spent their money on the wrong things. the orchestra would be a great choice where there was a live audience, but there wasn’t. i think they could have afforded more dancers and stage tricks to fill up the stage like the other groups did, and it was likely because of that that I felt their stage lacked something when i first watched it. also, they could have emphasised the storyline more – the difference between not being able to get the violin (representative of a high level of musicality) and being able to reach it in the end wasn’t emphasised enough, and i didn’t see it until i read a couple of fan theories. i guess it was partly MNET’s fault too, because the camera ended up moving a bit too much for the violin and joochan’s hands to be aligned. nonetheless, props to their arrangement, joochan’s violin, and the stunts that they did by themselves. it is extremely unfortunate what’s about to happen, because after knowing them more i feel like they’re the top in terms of talent. in any event, they might benefit from saving the money that would otherwise have been spent on these expensive stages for their comeback!

    2. ONF: wow, what a great song. i immediately added it to my playlist after their stage. at first i thought they were cheating by using yooa, but she wasn’t featured too much and the stage was great otherwise. i liked the pacing of the stage, which varied enough to keep me glued to the screen. it was also a good climax and end. overall a very satisfying watch.

    1. THE BOYZ: while i wasn’t the biggest fan of their first stage, i felt like the stunts here weren’t overdone and didn’t detract from the performance. the whole stage was a bunch of beautiful frames put together, and the song was great too. they’re undoubtedly the best in terms of showiness and concept mastery, and i fully understand why they’ve continually ranked first. just send them to Kingdom already! (although i’m a bit concerned as to how they’ll keep paying for these beautiful stages… i’m sure they don’t come cheap)

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    • Great take on the stages, I agree pretty much with 90% of what you said.

      Unfortunately, we all know that TBZ and Pentagon most likely will continue dominate as the top 2. While I have no qualms with TBZ being first again given how well-rounded their stage was, I admit I’m a little miffed at how praise has been showered on Pentagon for the emotional send-off which from a competition aspect, has been very underwhelming and not suitable for the stage.

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      • if you follow pentagon, the boys themselves said that the competition wasnt their priority with that performance. they made that stage as a gift to jinho, thus why it was personal and emotional. i guess the other groups just felt touched enough to rank them higher. but their 3rd place WAS for their cumulative ranking, and NOT their ranking for the 2nd round.

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  6. .

    All heat and no light.

    And the vigorous arm waving that passes for dancing.

    I don’t know why they bother wearing mics, none of them are singing or rapping live. If I didn’t know these groups, I would swear it is all the same group. I would be like my sisters when I go on about kpop, “wait, is this a new group, you sure about that”.

    I would put the Korean holiday festival on top, because I am a sucker for that sort of thing, followed by the sails-flags-crashing-raising thing, followed by 30 seconds of ZE:A – scratch that – Golcha violin solo.

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    • Same..I went to see the performances on YouTube and comments are “How are they so stable while singing”.The urge to reply was too strong but I stopped myself luckily.. one person didn’t and he/she must regret that decision by now based on the replies.

      Also I would like to point out the lighting and the stage…I can’t focus on the performance and am unable to see the choreo clearly bcoz of it..I don’t know what we call it but those disco lights, the background the floor,everything seems moving and glittering.
      In this regard I preferred Queendom stage more although the camerawork is better here.

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      • Yes, thank you, I used “light” metaphorically as well as literally. Why is the stage so dark?

        Queendom also used canned vocals, and I was the idiot commentator on another kpop site at the time. It was quite upsetting – the canned vocals, not the comments back. I mean, Bom, this was the best she could do, and its a rec … I’ll stop there.

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  7. After seeing all the performances I remember that The Boyz and Verivivery killed it. Pentagon was better than most. Dissapointed with ONF and Golden Child though they weren;t the worst. Oneus was fun but I’m still waiting for a crazy bonkers all-out Valkyrie performance. And I didn’t watch TOO’s performance because I don’t like Magnolia.

    Seeing these performances made me think of how Ateez’s music bank Win performance was better than all of these except the best two. It would be crazy if Ateez were on this show and performed a remix of Wonderland/Win with their bombastic pirate concept

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  8. I feel like Pentagon is going to pass by on their status. In my opinion they should be eliminated. They look like rookies compared to all these other groups.

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  9. As with the last round every group was at least verging on great, which has resulted in a wide range of opinions and rankings. Here is mine:

    1) Oneus- Am I biased when it comes to Oneus, yes very much so. Do I still think they deserved first place this time, yes I very much do. Kpop fans often say things like a song slaps or hits and in my opinion Lit is just one of those rare songs that actually does. Lit is already an unbridled wave of force that slams into you from beginning to end, but what really sold me on this stage was the members themselves. Each member was given an extensive solo part during this stage and each one of them more than handled their own. It was an unending stream of killing parts from one member to the next. Also, if you are not familiar with Oneus or this song they literally switched up everything. The order of the song was completely redone as was a good portion of the line distribution. They destroyed any expectations I had on how this was going to go. For example, Seoho (the one in the blue outfit on the gold throne, who is their main vocal) rapped his way through an entirely original verse. (Fun fact all of the members of Oneus can rap and if you don’t believe me look up the fan cams of Crazy & Crazy from their US tour.) To me this stage was bursting at the seams in the best way and Oneus had total control of it all. They threw a party on that stage and it was bigger and better than the actual MV, or the stage they put on at MAMA’s. I think it was one of the members of the Boyz who said it was like an Olympic stage and I could not possibly agree more.

    2) Verivery- If I was to rank this round purely on the reinterpretation of the song, I would rank Verivery first. The inclusion of rock guitar during the chorus was downright propulsive, not to mention the explosive climax towards the end. On top of that I am not sure if Photo’s pre-chorus was always that eerie or if the nightmare concept just added to the eeriness, but either way I loved it. My biggest complaint about their last performance was that the concept was in cohesive but none of that exists here. This concept was clear, it was effective, and it was creepy as hell. In my opinion this groups performance showed the largest jump in quality between the last round and this one. They absolutely nailed it.

    3) ONF- At first I was skeptical when they announced that ONF would have a guest in their performance (it just didn’t seem fair) but when it became clear she had no lines in the performance I was cool with it. As with their last performance this stage stood out to me for two major reasons. Firstly, the stylish flair and utter commitment that they bring to every stage and secondly, their god tier vocals. Honestly their main vocal (Hyojin) alone has won my heart with his hypnotic delivery (even if it’s not live here). This stage created a series of amazing moments that flowed together seamlessly and topping it off with the transition into Moscow Moscow at the end was the icing on the cake. If there is any group on this show that I was not a fan of before but am going to leave this show a fan of it is going to be ONF.

    4) The Boyz- I know so many people love the boyz and so many people from the fans to the show itself continue to rank them very highly. They are technically outstanding, and their effort is clear in everything they do. I get why people love them and I want so badly to love them that way too, but so far I just haven’t. They continue to expertly pull off bold and powerful stages and I wouldn’t argue with anyone putting them first. However, I will say even though whole concept was amazing I completely missed half of it until I watched the full episode with English subs. The rebellion idea was super clear (hence the hunger games apparel) yet I had no idea that this stages story line was meant to be a continuation of their last stage until they told me. Making it a continuation is a really cool idea but as Ravi (Vixx) said earlier in the episode a concept doesn’t work if the audience needs to be told what it means. As always, they were amazing, but as with the last round they just didn’t get to me in the same way that everyone I ranked above them did.

    5) Too- Thus far Too’s collective brain has impressed me immensely, they have managed to bring together truly engaging concepts and entertaining stages with only a month in the kpop world under their belt. This stage was very clever, but it was a bit on the messy side. I am not sure if it was the production, the camerawork, or the group itself, but it just felt slightly tilted if that makes sense. Also, while the concept was very clever, they gave certain roles in the story to certain members which didn’t match the line distribution of the actual song. So, some members were lip syncing their way through lines that were not theirs. It wasn’t necessarily overdone, but it was noticeable. Too started this round at a disadvantage given their much smaller discography yet they still did quite well for themselves.They have much more to show and I look forward to it.

    6) Golden Child- Oh, Golcha how I wish I didn’t have to put you here. Honestly, Too and Golcha fell pretty close for me. Too had a much better concept but Golcha had the more technically proficient stage. Personally, I choose to rank a better developed concept above technical proficiency. So firstly, JooChan’s violin playing was nothing short of magnificent (even if it wasn’t live) and should be appreciated as such. However, outside of the orchestral add on the majority of this performance felt like something we would have seen on M Countdown when they originally made a comeback, rather than a competition level stage. They were fantastic, but it felt like the level of fantastic that they bring to every stage. After the last rounds rankings (no matter how much we might hate them and/or disagree on them) I don’t think very many people would disagree that both Oneus and Verivery stepped it up after ranking so low. Yet as much as I hate to say it, I don’t think Golcha did the same. Did they deserve to be ranked fifth last time, absolutely not. However, the reality is they did rank fifth and this performance just did not reach the level it needed to after ranking in the bottom three last time. At this point I love Golcha a lot and I don’t want to see this hurt them, but I am very afraid it will.

    7) Pentagon- Honestly, this performance does not truly rank last in my mind, but it was so different and so emotionally weighted in comparison to the others that I don’t know how to rank it. It is unfair to hold the other stages to this level of emotional intensity and yet they spent so much needed time on the emotional aspect that it’s also a bit unfair to hold this stage to the competitive level of the others. This performance was uniquely beautiful and heartfelt in every way and on a personal level I respect their choice to go this way. Enlistment is something all boy groups will have to face, and I can’t imagine how scary that can be when the future of the group afterwards is completely unknowable. So, I don’t think for a single second that anything about this stage was faked or meant to garner sympathy. They did this for themselves and I wish them nothing but the best going forward.

    Overall, these stages were super fun to watch but also super nerve wracking as a fan, so I can’t even imagine what the groups themselves are going through. So, honestly I almost don’t want anyone to win the golden ticket to Kingdom. The idea of putting any of these groups through this mess again sounds more like torture than a prize. I sincerely hope being on this show gives each of these groups a significant boost in popularity because they sure as hell deserve it.

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    • Agreed with everything you said (apart for the unclarity of The Boyz’s concept), I ranked them almost like you. I’m very sad that TOO didn’t manage to properly execute what they were going for, be cause the concept is great and the whole Justice part is awesome. Apart from that, what a show it was!

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    • Personally Oneus performance didn’t get enough praise and recognition.

      There were many references to Korean culture, folklore and films.
      From Ravns talisman freezing and unfreezing the demons, then them turning into brooms, the lions, the zombies coming as the moon turns red, people explain the folklore and go into more detail in the comments of the vid.
      I loved the more theatrical side and the incredible facial expressions (Hwanwoong and Keonhee especially)
      And Seohos rap was amazing.

      I was left really impressed, and the fact that the screen is so busy means I just have to watch it even more 🙂

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  10. I decided not to put Pentagon in the ranking because I actually don’t know how to react on their stage. Musically on point as well but I think these boys have to work really hard to keep up with the dancing to the dancing monsters like Too or The boyz. And performance sadly requires it. They can pull of quite hard routes like Run away but they keep it in the bag for now. I’m curious if they are taking a turn there. Back on track I know that this is such a hard time for them, first member enlisting and the others will follow quickly it’s a hard time for a smaller band to survive. But it just didn’t felt right. I believe their sincerity they wanted to do it for themselves and the fans but it was so different. I don’t want to rank them low so I’m gonna leave them out for now.

    6. Oneus: As much as I know Seoho have an injury and I was thankful he could participate sitting. Imagine how bad he felt for making it harder to choreograph something together. I liked the overall concept, the way they pulled the red moon in, red moon itself reappears in traditional korean thingies a lot, they love the concept and it fits them. BUT I anticipated Valkyre or one of their amazing B track. Because their B tracks are 11 out of 10. Like Hero or something like that. It suits them. So for me Lit was a bit lower than I expected I think they haven’t show their full potential yet.

    5. TOO: Even though I was sure they were put in to fall out fast after the first performance with Magnolia, they amazed me with Rising sun. They surely top tier rookies but this episode didn’t bringed what I wanted. The concept was great and fitting. Just like red moond sages and demons appears in Korean traditional fantasies a lot. As a gamer I can assure that almost every traditional vibed korean mmo/mmorpg got something from it like Blade and soul. The whole storyline is just about that. So it was a great touch but honestly the music didn’t left much impact.

    4. ONF: Even though I love them a lot, I don’t think they did that great in this episode. YooA was a great idea, she made the whole stage more “believable” marionette needs a doll figure. But as you said, there were too much dark concepts. I would go crazy for a full energized Complete performance. I would fell out of my chair just like that Too member when they announced their ranking. I’m sorry I don’t remember who was it but I loved it.
    All in all I loved the music but I missed a bigger built in the performance. It was great til the end, and God I do love this band so much but something was definiately missing for me.

    3. Golden Child: As many said, their stage was quite simple for a competition. But the way they put classic music into their song once again was a genius idea. They could stay in the line with that just like how TBZ continued their story line. As I mentioned in a reply somewhere I would love it if there are more members reaching for the violin and failing but sadly it didn’t happened.
    For me the story line was quite understandable, if you are worthy they will lift you and not fight against you in the end.
    Not to mention I was so proud of Joochan. I know i know in live he just mimicked the violin but he practiced hard for the recording. I’m quite much in favor for Golden Child since the T.O.P performance, that song pulled me out from my art slump and I could write again for my book, and their harmony is no joke. I just hope they somehow managed to stay in but I don’t want to get my hopes too high.

    2/1: Verivery-The boyz: To be honest if I’m biased I would say The boyz got the first place but for me their stage started to be too grand. I found the picture frame uneccessary and they put it in just for the impact. The crown taking and ship crushing would just be right enough. I loved the storyline but first I couldn’t connect it with the last episode just at the end when the writing on the screen appeared again I was like “ah it’s like an another chapter from a book”
    And they took out “It’s time of dogs and wolves” and I’m just so angry for that. It would connect the crown thing quite well since many makes difference between dogs and wolves as ordinary ppl and kings.
    In the other hand Verivery amazed me. The concept made them the real lil brothers of Vixx, they pulled it out well and their dance route was great as usual. They just used one bed if I remember well and I loved it. They didn’t bringed many items but were able to use it wisely for their concept. But the music didn’t ringed in me. Like I liked it but it was forgettable quickly. Yet I still hear the T.O.P and the violin solo in my head or ONF’s Everybody. They were quite memorable.
    So I can’t decide on the first 2 place because I liked and disliked the same amount in their works.

    Everyone deserves to stay in in my opinion and I just hate the elimination system so much. Pentagon had to go through a survival, TOO just got out of it, is that really necessary? These boys have hardships already. I’m sad they have to make everything this cruel but once again, it attracts many ppl. I know it will be hard for me to watch if Golcha gets eliminated but still I’m curious of the performances the others will make because they are put me in awe every time.

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  11. 1. ONEUS – Lit // The first time I listened to Lit, I had no idea what I was listening to but I watched it live and it sold it for me. That fun kind of party parade reminds me of Topp Dogg’s Arario. The lives are really what makes this song for me. It’s a song MADE for performance and I love the excess of the RTK version. It reminded me of last week’s excessive performances from the Boyz and I feel that as performers, Oneus really sold the feeling of the song and played into their strengths by choosing such a boisterous song as “their song”.

    2. ONF – We Must Love // THANK U blesséd ONF for choosing their BEST song to perform. I had no clue that it was possible to love this song more than I already do and yet. Here I am. Honestly, this is the performance that spoke volumes to the Starlight in me. I loved so much about it: the colors, the illusion of the “strings” and how well danced they were, the use of props and masks… just everything. Moscow Moscow is a great b-side from Go Live but if I’m honest, I think that Ya Ya Ya would’ve suited this more as a song to combine with. And for personal favorite b-side, Ice & Fire would’ve about made me lose a limb.

    3. Golden Child – Wannabe // I really thought that musically, this was my favorites of the remixes. I enjoyed the orchestral elements and the strings were such a BEAUTIFUL addition with the dance break. I don’t really care if it was live or not because it sounded amazing. Performance-wise, there were a lot of sections that I loved. Examples being during the violin solo, the members coming in to dance around him closely was great, the opening of him stretching towards the white violin… imagery wise, I thought it was so beautiful. Also… can we agree that GolCha got robbed last week? They should’ve at LEAST placed third.

    4. Verivery // I really liked this performance. There was so many moments that I honestly just felt NAILED IT to me. Like Minchan “controlling” Kangin was such a great moment, and all of the moves where the members are interlocked with each other were so fun to watch. As a performance, I do feel it’s on par with Golden Child’s HOWEVER as a Verrer, I honestly do not like this song. It’s the equivalent of VIXX’s Light up the Darkness, aka a song that I have never really liked and probably never will, but that the group likes and therefore performs endlessly. All that said, I do think this was a great song to choose because their other songs have such complex choreo that I think it would be harder to remix them from a performance perspective.

    5. TOO – Magnolia // I’m surprised that this ranked so high for me, but what really made me love this is that they sold it. Especially after Chan(?)’s scream? That part’s dancing was ESPECIALLY solid, and while the song isn’t really my taste, I thought that it fit conceptually. Having the dark angels do the rapping and the light angels sing in the opening was such a nice way to clearly execute their concept. I felt bad that Mnet highlighted their time working on a move that didn’t happen live, but I thought they did MUCH better in this round. Also, the member who played as “justice” or balance or whatever, I LOVED the chaos scene where he just walks calmly through. I do wish, however, he played more of a role in this dance.

    6. The Boyz – Reveal // I couldn’t remember what this song sounded like so I relistened to it to check, and to be quite honest, the song itself and its remix… they’re just okay for me. Performance wise, I thought there was some cool imagery (the painting, and the crossed flags) but at the same time, if I watched this performance, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten “revolution” out of this just from watching. Ravi’s advice to VRVR really stuck with me when he talked about the point of the concept having to be understood right away.

    7. Pentagon – // I thought the blending of Shine and Spring Blossoms was honestly really incohesive, and during the performance, I found myself wishing they’d done . To me, this song had the weakness of last week’s performance. The members LOOK like they’re having fun but… I’m not having fun watching them. I wish the suitcase props had more use and that in general, their performance felt more purposeful but it was more of the same/last week. The emotional moment though definitely tugged at my heart strings and seeing Hui BAWL like that made me feel some kind of way.

    I know that the show is going to choose differently, but I REALLY hope GolCha isn’t eliminated.

    Like

  12. 1. The Boyz –
    Pros
    3 key points on their performance: a) Portrait scene; b) Flag-raising scene; c) Fire scene. I’m astonished by their creative team and musical arrangement team. They totally raised the bar from their previous performances (Personal ranking of their performances: 1. Reveal (Catching Fire); 2. 90-secs; 3. Danger).

    Cons
    Their dance synchronization needs work.

    2. Verivery
    Pros
    Yoo Kang-Min (seriously, their use of their visual maknae would go long strides for them; he’s actually a good actor; he made both their performances memorable). Biggest improvement from last weeks performance. Solid creative story line. Song choice is on point. Dance synchronization on point.

    Cons
    Yoo Kang-Min (they rely too heavily on his acting for their performances).

    3. Golden Child
    Pros
    Violin scene. It was the saving grace of their performance. Musical arrangement was the nearly the same. Without that violin scene, it would have been really bad for them. Dance synchronization was on point.

    Cons
    They should expound on their creativity and story telling.

    4. ONF
    Pros
    Marionette Scene. It was a breathtaking scene.

    Cons
    They should have expounded on the marionette scene. There should have been a scene where they were strapped like real marionettes; for instance, a ballroom scene where they were controlled by YooA. The clock scene was so out of context. Why was it even there? The musical arrangement should have been made into a classical vibe. It was too much the same as that of the original.

    5. ONEUS
    Pros
    Props and stage creativity. They ran away with it. It was as if they were thinking, “this could be our last performance, we should give our all” kind of moment. Dance performance was good.

    Cons
    Song Choice. I really didn’t like the song. Personally, I think they should have chosen “A Song Written Easily” or “Valkyrie”.

    6. TOO
    I personally think this competition theme was disadvantageous to them. They debuted just recently. They don’t have much song choices to choose from. Magnolia is a good song. Although, it was not too memorable and impactful. I think it would have been better if they had a good story line and concept. They should have rearranged the song as well.

    7. Pentagon
    I seriously couldn’t rank them higher. Their whole performance was inappropriate for me. In a way, it was cheating. I mean, to use a member to gain votes via sympathy? Obviously, the viewers would sympathize with them (additional votes). Solid fan base (additional votes). Their whole performance was great at first, until the stopping and crying and acting scene. It totally turned 180 degrees from great to cheeky. It wasn’t too bad of an idea to give a memorable depart from a member. But I personally think, they shouldn’t have swayed to a dramatic approach. It was SO CHEEKY. (I wouldn’t lie, I cried watching it). However, after all the tears. after regaining some thought, it was still TOO CHEEKY.

    Like

  13. I just want to start this by saying how happy I was when I found out that you were commenting on the road to kingdom episodes. There hasn’t been much talk abt rtk from what I can tell, at least compared to queendom which felt like a much bigger show. I’ve been on twitter but it’s hard to get objective conversations so reading your blog posts and the comments underneath have been a lot of fun.

    If I were to rank the performances (completely bias free) here’s how I would rank them, and I apologize ahead of time for the wall of text:

    7. TOO – Magnolia

    It wasn’t that their stage was bad. TOO did a good job with the only song they could choose from since they are a newly debuted group. My Song as a theme really does not work as well when you compare Pentagon – a three year old group – with TOO who debuted in April. However my only issue with TOO’s performance is that nothing stood out. It was loud and it kept going and it was nice while I was watching it but also very forgettable.

    6. VERIVERY – Photo

    This was difficult. I did enjoy the performance a lot but I think I just don’t like the original song very much and on top of that, I don’t really like halloween-horror inspired concepts? They always come off as tacky to me. Verivery did a (veri)very good job with the horror theme (one of the best I’ve seen, the clicking as he turned his head???) but at the end of the day it just isn’t my cup of tea.

    5. Golden Child – Wannabe

    When the violin came out, the performance really jumped to a completely different level. But that was also my issue with it – I just couldn’t get into the first half of the performance. The beginning was just very forgettable, similar to TOO’s performance. I want to rank them higher because of the ending but there were just other groups where I loved the entire performance making this a difficult but honest ranking for me.

    4. ONF – We Must Love / Moscow Moscow

    Look, I’m a sucker for orchestral performances. The choreography was creative with an interesting theme that I haven’t really seen before. I never listened to the original track but this performance makes me want to. Golden Child also incorporated a classical/violin theme but something about how ONF mixed the song felt more complete. However I do agree that the performance itself isn’t as dynamic as it could be.

    3. Pentagon – Shine/Spring Snow

    I know a lot of people don’t really like this performance because they felt that it was unfair in a competitive show but something about it really stuck with me. I actually cried watching it and very few performances have ever done that for me. Shine was the perfect song for the theme, it is Pentagon’s biggest hit, and I appreciate the fact they didn’t go for a darker concept with it since it just wouldn’t fit the song. I love fun, upbeat stages. The biggest downside to this performance for me was that if it wasn’t for the emotional story, I would consider it a relatively weak (but enjoyable) performance.

    2. ONEUS – Lit

    I swear even though I am a oneus bias this list was done with as little bias as possible. I love the song Lit. I love all their performances and this one was no exception. It was a party from start to finish and the little details made it entertaining. How Leedo seemingly appeared from a paper scroll at the beginning. How when Ravn stuck the talisman onto the backup dancers and they stopped moving and when he removed them they continued dancing. Seoho’s new rap? References to the Netflix kdrama Kingdom? There’s so much going on. My only issue with this performance is that I love the original song so much that I just can’t get used to the remixed version. The stage itself though was just pure fun and honestly I feel like kpop in 2020 needs more of that.

    1. The Boyz – Reveal / Catching Fire

    There’s not much to say. The song was good, the stage was good, the story was amazing. It was beautiful from start to finish. It crescendoed at just the right part. After watching the performance I had to search the original version because this was so well done.

    tl;dr – The Boyz > ONEUS > Pentagon > ONF > Golden Child > VeriVery > TOO

    sorry for the long comment. I look forward to your comments on the fifth episode if you end up watching.

    Like

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