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I-LAND: Episode Eleven Recap

Episode One Recap // Episode Two Recap // Episode Three Recap // Episode Four Recap // Episode Five Recap // Episode Six Recap // Episode Seven Recap // Episode Eight Recap // Episode Nine Recap // Episode Ten Recap


Part One: The judges (and Sunoo) take control

This episode’s introduction makes it clear that the producers are in charge of this next elimination. I personally don’t mind this, as I rarely vote in these kind of shows anyways. But, I wonder how it makes fans feel? I honestly prefer survival series that are completely driven by mentors or judges. But, I get why that would be frustrating for other viewers.

Ranking first in the votes is a double edge sword, as Sunoo gets to pull one trainee over to his team so that numbers are even after Taki’s elimination. Obviously, that’s beneficial to him, but also kind of a burden. When all is said and done, Sunghoon ends up being his choice for new recruit, which means the poor guy’s gotta step up his practice to catch up. In fact, he was the leader of his old “Flame On” group. Now he has to join the cute/refreshing team, which is a concept we all know he finds difficult.

As much as Sunoo may want to play innocent, you’ve got to wonder if this choice was strategic on his part. I mean, it’s quite a jab to handicap the opposing team by stealing their leader…


Part Two: Prancing and fretting (but mostly fretting)

We follow this drama with the aftermath of Jay’s letter writing from last episode. Apparently, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, as this is the second segment that’s focused on it. I must say, his scratched-out letters and messy handwriting were pretty charming (and relatable). And, somewhere in this behind the scenes filler segment, we got this golden subtitle from Heeseung:

“Eek! Pork slices!”

Seriously, I want that on a T-shirt.


Meanwhile, on team Flame On, K becomes leader once again, after switching with Sunghoon who is now prancing around the kitchen table trying to be cute. As far as I’m concerned, the more prancing we have in this show, the better. I’d much rather see that than Jungwon beating himself up over falling to position number eight in the latest ranking.

Niki is another trainee who’s fretting after constantly being ranked in the lower half each episode. I still don’t completely know why I’m pulling for this kid so much, but I do really want him in the group. He and Sunghoon are probably my two favorite trainees at this point.


Part Three: The mid-point check-up

We move into a midpoint check-up, which includes a lot of “being cute with props” for the “Chamber 5” team. They’ve progressed pretty nicely given the fact they have a completely new member in their ranks. The song itself still sounds pretty lukewarm.

The trainer berates them for thinking too much about their smiles and other facial expressions. I swear, being “refreshing” is a lot harder than it looks. All that stuff is totally planned, but only works if it looks natural.

Next is the “Flame On” team, which seems more focused on technique than expression. They’ve got some of I-LAND’s heavy hitters when it comes to dance, so it’s no surprise that they’re already doing quite well.

This song doesn’t sound all that great either, but the trainer is impressed with their progress and amount of practice. He also compliments K on his new role as leader. After individual performances, the guys give each other feedback, which leads to a funny segment where Jay claims his position as “master feedback-giver.” This guy’s quirky personality is just getting more charming by the episode. He’s one of the few here that seems tailor-made for variety, which should not be undervalued when it comes to idol groups.


Part Four: Half cleaning, half choreography

In an odd filler segment, the guys decide to clean their I-LAND facility, though really it’s half cleaning and half choreography. Honestly, I kind of wanted to see more of this. I think they needed to film an entire music video.

Instead, they moved onto an “image game,” where they talked about their first impressions of each other while eating pizza. As much as I’d like the producers to streamline these episodes a bit more, this is the kind of content that the first half of the series was missing. I-LAND has improved quite a bit by having less people to focus on.

To finish off these good vibes, last week’s top three ranking trainees get their reward of calling home to family and friends. It’s mostly what you think it will be, except we quickly learn that Jay’s mom is as quirky as he is.


Part Five: The performances

After nearly an hour, we finally hit the main point of this episode: the performances.

Chamber 5

Now, if you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I like bright concepts. But, this is the kind of forced bright that I don’t find all that appealing. Few groups can really pull it off convincingly. This unit did a fine job, but it was clear that this was all a carefully-practiced act for most of them.

The song itself sounds like a TXT reject, down to the vocal affectations. The whole thing was fine, but nothing to write home about. Of course, this has been a constant issue with I-LAND. The performances, which should be the natural climaxes of any episode, are often the most forgettable part of the show. I could definitely do without the pillow choreography on this one, too. WAY too over the top.

Flame On

Right off the bat, the set and lighting is much cooler for this track. Unfortunately, the song itself is basic “boy group 101.” The guys seem more immersed in it, probably because it’s closer to what they’re used to doing. The dancers shine here, which has been the case for most of I-LAND. While watching, the judges and opposing team members seemed to think the guys had gone “wild” or “hell-bent.” I think this is a *bit* of an overstatement. But, they did fine. It’s just a shame this song is so awful. All the guys get effusive praise from the judges, except for Hanbin, which is… awkward.

If I were judging this round purely based on performance, “Flame On” team would win. But, neither song was good and neither performance was something I’ll be re-watching. So, there’s that.


Part Six: Elimination

Final Judge’s Ranking
1. K
2. Niki (finally!)
3. Sunoo
4. Heeseung
5. Sunghoon
6. Jay
7. Jake
8. Daniel
9. Jungwon
10. Hanbin (eliminated)

So, Hanbin stumbles right before the finale, while still managing to be given hardly any screen-time by the producers. He should take solace in the fact that his global votes were always pretty high despite the series giving viewers little to latch onto. Best of luck to him!

10 thoughts on “I-LAND: Episode Eleven Recap

  1. The way that Hanbin was getting so much screen time this episode, I had a feeling that he was going to be eliminated. Since he’s so popular, they had to finally give a bit of screen time to explain why they axed him. I never saw enough of him to really care about him staying or to become a fan, but I imagine his fans are not too happy about it. I still managed to be super nervous that they might cut Jungwon at the end though, despite my correct prediction.

    I get that you can’t have two identical performances, but it seems weird to rank the guys based on such different styles of performance. Flame On is a song that is designed to have more of a wow-factor in the performance, although honestly, with the way they edited it, I didn’t really get why the producers were freaking out and overly impressed. I wish they hadn’t jumped around with the camera cuts so much and had just shown us a front view of the performance so we could have seen what they saw, which was apparently more impressive than the camera-switching-every-2-seconds version I saw. I couldn’t decide if they were singing live or not. Hanbin’s parts sounded a tad off whenever he sang them, but everyone else sounded too perfect to be live…? Maybe they also purposefully left his lines a bit off since they used that as a reason for his elimination? Am I becoming too much of a conspiracy theorist?

    Chamber 5 was, well, fine, I guess. The chorus was a tad catchier than I expected it to be, which isn’t saying much, although I swear it sounded just like a BTS song that I couldn’t place. Or maybe it’s what you’d get if you smashed together all of BigHit’s recent releases. Thankfully the voice modulation wasn’t overly heavy like it was last time for Fake Love ft. Taki. But as for the actual performance… yeah, making the pillows and blankets a weird shade of metallic purple isn’t going to make me like that childish, ridiculous choreography any more. Thankfully the pillows were only a minor part of the choreography.

    It’s little unclear to me how the rest of this show is going to play out. I think they only have one mission left? But 2 more people to eliminate..? I think the next mission is decided by global vote.. will the global voters be responsible for eliminating 2 people or will the producers have one more final elimination?

    My wish list for the final seven remains the same (and still only has 5 people on it): Sunoo, Sunghoon, Heeseung, Jay, and probably Jungwon. I’m still not totally sure about Jungwon, but judging by my offended reaction when they almost eliminated him, I guess I like him more than I thought haha. The new, improved K is growing on me more and more, and Niki.. sure, why not, I guess. He’s a great performer, despite his lack of a personality. I guess he’s still young and has time to grow into his camera presence.

    As always, I’m curious to see how the global votes play out. Last time, I was pleasantly surprised that the members that the producers ranked low also ended up low (mostly) in the global voting ranking. Will that happen again, or will there be a plot twist?

    P.S. Was I the only one rolling my eyes when Heeseung kept saying he thought he’d be eliminated? Honey, you’re regarded as the golden child by both your fellow members and most viewers. You and your pearly whites are safe. Maybe it was his first time receiving negative feedback in his life. Must be nice.

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    • Yoooo, we have the same final picks! (Jungwon is a lock-in for me though, I’ve really liked him for a long time although I think it’s mainly because I like his face hahaha. His eyes are so pretty.) I have a top 5 and then I can give or take anyone for the final two. I think it’s likely going to be Jake and K, which is fine, but I’d prefer Jake and Niki. I think Niki can pretty much fill the role that K has in a pinch.

      (K is also growing on me in the context of the show as he is working to be kinder to his teammates, but in the real world, the dirt that’s come up is spoiling him for me a bit, so I’m kind of hoping he gets the boot for that reason.)

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      • Jake is fine, but he just doesn’t stand out to me for some reason. Honestly, at this point, I don’t think I’ll care regardless of who the other 2 people are.

        I don’t follow I-LAND drama outside of the show, so I don’t know about any dirt/scandals. What happened with K?

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  2. Wow, I knew there’s TXT and the second and final two appearances of BTS in next and final live episode of I-Land. I hope it will be better ratings at the end of this reality show.

    BTW, I need to see and I’m excited if Sunghoon will be in the final member lineup if he will be voted right.

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  3. Now that there are few enough, I can actually try to follow individuals, I actually followed some individuals! I have to say that although there are many people who think Hanbin wuz robbed, my humble opinion is that his singing was very subpar. This version is canned, they are not even singing live, so on this recorded version half of his lines are sharp or flat or sometimes both in the same line. And then when he gets one or two syllable little adlibs, the timbre is more like squawking than singing. It just doesn’t meld with the others.

    Or was it the vocal edit, giving Hanbin the bad edit. Conspiracy theory here. In theory I could go back to prior performances, if I were motivated enough (I’m not). I am going to go with a mix of both: Hanbin inherent vocal abilities plus the producers giving him a bad vocal edit. Both, in some proportion.

    Both songs are just meh. I can imagine how “Flame” would get over produced to the hilt, and this version just sounds like a demo version, but even after that it would be just another boy band dark concept song.

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  4. I kind of liked the “over-the-top” blanket/pillow choreography. Far from being unheard of, it actually reminded me of an old BTS b-side choreo (“Blanket Kick”/”Embarrassed” from Dark & Wild) which was probably its inspiration…

    Also one of my favorite BTS b-sides incidentally! So because of that, I was biased towards that performance I guess :). But I agree, in general, that the songs for this show have been nothing to write home about. I wonder if, in the tradition of the Produce series and especially because BTS + TXT are going to guest in the final episode, maybe we can get a special guest producer to give the finale song(s) some extra spice? I mean, imagine RM and/or Suga as guest producers….? It would be awesome.

    I am fully with you rooting for Jay (his variety potential is truly unlimited– and let’s appreciate all that he’s brought us so far– R.A.S Leader Jay, guzzling honey onscreen for some reason, dramatic letter writing, king of constructive criticism, ugly crying face, in general just constantly being made a fool of on [inter]national television and taking it all in stride, I love it). Right now my final lineup is Heeseung, Sunoo, Sunghoon, Jay, Jungwon, and pretty much I could give or take anyone else. I think the odds are looking like I’ll get my top 5, so I’m happy with that.

    I always had trouble picturing Hanbin in the final lineup mainly because his singing always seemed strained to me. I also think the language barrier would have presented difficulties for him (his pronunciation was noticeably different to me even though I speak zero Korean). But as you said, he’s clearly amassed a huge international fanbase and hopefully he’ll go far after this. 🙂

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      • Perhaps global voting didn’t place him at 8 last week? Considering Jake had double votes?

        Anyways, good luck to Heeseung, Sunoo, Sunghoon, Jay, Jungwon. The additional two should be the highest contributors to the team: K & Niki.

        Jake and Daniel can debut in a couple of years.

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