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Kingdom: Legendary War – Episode Seven Recap and Ranking

Kingdom - Legendary WarWarning: This recap is not spoiler-free. Proceed at your own risk!


Other Recaps: Episode One // Episode Two // Episode Three // Episode Four // Episode Five // Episode Six


MORE RANKINGS THAN YOU EVER ASKED FOR

Episode seven opens with about twelve minutes of rankings. We get round one, round two (minus online views?) and the sum of both so far. Here’s what the competition looks like at this point.

Final rankings for round one:

1. Stray Kids
2. ATEEZ
3. The Boyz
4. BTOB
5. iKON
6. SF9

Final rankings for round two:

1. SF9
2. BTOB
3. ATEEZ
4. iKON
5. Stray Kids
6. The Boyz

The sum of both rounds:

1. Stray Kids
2. ATEEZ
3. BTOB
4. iKON
5. SF9
6. The Boyz

So yeah… there you go! Now that that’s out of the way, we can move onto the aspect of Kingdom that actually matters: the performances.


“NO LIMIT” ROUND ONE: UNIT MATCH-UPS

The twist for this round is that there will be 33 special judges that watch the performances. I’m super impressed by the roster MNET has compiled here. There are idols from groups like Super Junior, Weeekly and Mirae. There are well-known choreographers and critics, too. They even brought in producers, including my personal MVP: Hwang Hyun of Monotree! Honestly, I’d watch a show with these judges as the stars.


RAP UNIT MATCH-UP

Unit “One” – Bobby x Sunwoo x Hwiyoung – Full Dash

Bobby and Sunwoo are probably my two favorite personalities in this whole show, so seeing them paired together is a real treat. This is the kind of fun collaboration I’ve been hoping for from Kingdom.

I don’t know as much about SF9’s Hwiyoung, but his tone seems to complement the others. Honestly, it’s a blast just seeing the two younger members totally starstruck by Bobby. I love when performers are fans of other performers, and feel comfortable showing that outwardly rather than pretending it’s no big deal.

From their initial meeting to the big YG Entertainment visit, this was my favorite behind-the-scenes package of the series yet. The three seem to get along really well and had great chemistry. I think Bobby’s devil-may-care attitude was a much-needed influence on these younger idols. Sunwoo and The Boyz, in particular, seem saddled with too much pressure in this competition. I’m glad he got to enjoy himself here.

As far as the performance goes, it’s hard for me to be objective. I’m just not a big fan of this aggressive style of hip-hop, complete with autotune effect. There’s no doubt these three are incredibly talented, and their energy was explosive. I thought Sunwoo was the clear standout, bringing a more diverse and dynamic style than the other two. Bobby did his crazy, shouty thing, which we all know he’s good at.

It was a fun performance to watch. I don’t know that I would ever want to listen to the audio of this song on its own, but I could say that about a lot of the Kingdom stages. The trio’s chemistry made the stage pop, and that’s an important factor you can’t really fake.


Unit “Mayfly” – Minhyuk x Hongjoong x Bang Chan x Han x Changbin – Colours

It’s interesting how much larger this unit is than the previous one. I’m kind of surprised Kingdom didn’t impose rules capping the number of members that could participate. Mayfly also seems to have an instant upper-hand, given that Stray Kids’ 3RACHA are well-known composers.

The guys decide to go for a painting/racial justice theme, using a track Bang Chan had already been working on. They were really psyching themselves up in the studio at JYP, shouting and laughing in equal measure. I’m not sure I saw what all the hype was about, as the instrumental sounded pretty basic to me. I guess you had to be there…

The behind-the-scenes package makes sure to include the requisite shots of JYP’s famous cafeteria. I’ve seen it on so many different shows that I practically feel I’ve eaten there myself.

Now, for the song. At the risk of sounding repetitive, this kind of overly shouty rap just isn’t my thing. Sometimes, I feel like it’s the only style K-pop boy groups think rap can occupy. As with the prior unit, this performance could do with a greater variety of tone and energy.

As an actual song, I probably liked Colours a tad better than Full Dash. But, I didn’t think the performance was quite as engaging. I appreciate the concept and message, and the guys clearly displayed their talent and charisma. But, switching between different scenes and solo parts didn’t allow them to have as much of the fun interplay that made One’s performance so exciting.

Regardless, me not being a Korean speaker and not understanding the lyrics really makes my opinion on Korean hip-hop pretty pointless. In the end, I’ve just got to go with how a performance makes me feel.

My vote goes to: One

The judges voted for: Mayfly


DANCE UNIT MATCH-UP

Unit “One” – Juyeon x Taeyang x DK – King & Queen

Ooh, the start of this was awkward… the kind of awkward I love in variety shows. Seriously, just give me two hours of awkward and I’m entertained.

This is a really interesting mix of performers, though. I feel like DK’s style is more powerful, while the others are more elegant.

They’ve decided to take Kingdom’s moniker quite literally and theme their performance around a famous Korean king and his descent into madness. This may actually turn out to be therapeutic for them, given the pressure this show piles on its contestants!

This was a striking performance, with great staging and vibrant pops of color. Both the dancing and acting was incredibly expressive, with some neat set pieces as the three each got a moment of their own to shine. I don’t know that it’s the kind of performance I’m going to remember in a year, but it was certainly enjoyable in the moment. I liked how they had a clear storyline that leant itself to climactic moments.


Unit “Mayfly” – Wooyoung x Yunho x Seonghwa x San x Yeosang x Felix x Lee Know x Peniel x I.N – Wolf

Again, Mayfly’s numbers completely overwhelm their competition. Over half of ATEEZ joined in, making this feel like a giant army of performers. Quantity can definitely be an asset, especially when it comes to choreography, but it also threatens to take some of the personality out of the performance. There’s just so much to look at. It’s almost overwhelming.

Fortunately, the guys choose to do a dance performance of EXO’s Wolf — one of the most unfairly maligned K-pop tracks of the past decade. I absolutely love it, cheesy wolf howls and all.

Seeing Peniel as the leader of this unwieldy unit is quite funny. He strikes me as quite the laid-back leader — more of a cool RA than a demanding taskmaster.

It turns out, having so many members perform together was the right move in this case. It allowed for some cool configurations. I totally bought the guys as some sort of post-apocalyptic wolfpack. It was all deeply weird, especially when Peniel came out with the dancers on leashes. But, Wolf is inherently weird, so I guess it works.

However, I’m not sure the performance as a whole really went anywhere. There were moments that were great (Felix jumping onto the tower of dancers!), but it lacked the clear through-line that might tie it all together. The energy and staging became repetitive a few times, which held the overall performance back. They get an A+ for song choice, though. And even if this wasn’t as consistently great as I hoped it would be, it was still a lot of fun.

My vote goes to: One (by the smallest of margins)

The judges voted for: ?? (we’ll find out next week)


ANOTHER RANKING

As I approached the two-hour (!) mark on this episode, I think I missed what this last ranking was for. I’m sure someone in the comments will know! Whatever it was, it was brushed aside very quickly.

1. Stray Kids
2. ATEEZ
3. BTOB
4. iKON
5. The Boyz
6. SF9

21 thoughts on “Kingdom: Legendary War – Episode Seven Recap and Ranking

  1. I can’t believe the judges de used for “Mayfly”! “One” was really good. I’m not really a rap fan, but the song was good and the performance was really enjoyable to watch.
    For the dance unit, I liked both, but there was nothing extraordinary about either, so whoever wins it’s fine by me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ICYMI – Last ranking: sum of the two rounds with Round 2’s streaming views!
    My rap unit pick: Mayfly because the props enhance my viewing experience and it’s a brighter type of hiphop which appeals to me more.
    My dance unit pick: It’s One because of how simple yet the story is there, it’s all tied in together. And oriental theme gets plus points from me!
    Let me ask, which vocal unit configuration excites more? And which of their songs, which are – spoiler alert – IU’s Love Poem and Taeyeon’s Spark, excites more?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. also i don’t think it’s fair to say mayfly had the immediate upper hand bc they had 3racha considering one also had Bobby who is quite an accomplished producer as well

    that being said, my rap pick was one (only bc sunwoo really shined there lol im a biased pod) and my dance pick was mayfly (I found myself just much more engaged)

    for the upcoming vocal units, I can already feel myself leaning towards mayfly, not just bc of the song choice but also the performers, they’ve got 3 of my favourite vocalists. i already know they’ll only win if the judges pick one for the dance unit though, which now that I think about it is probably how it’ll go anyway haha

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  4. Performance-wise, this episode wasn’t as memorable as some previous performances, but the filler/behind scenes were a lot of fun. It’s One team are more introverted members so it was great seeing the connection and spark between the rap members (this has got to be the best filler we’ve gotten in this show) and the awkwardness with the dance members. It was also great seeing the Mayfly’s connection and they way they hype up Minhyuk/Peniel and IN. Overall, this episode just gave such good vibes (until you know, scores and judging).

    For the rap round, I like “It’s One” more personally. I felt there energy (they were just having the time of their lives!), I loved the chorus, and the verses were impactful. Mayfly’s was good, but IDK why I just couldn’t connect with some parts of it. Maybe I’m just not used to such a visual and rainbow stage for rap.

    For dance round, I like “It’s One” more again. I personally felt as if nine members on Mayfly was unnecessary and at times, their angles/energy didn’t match. There were some members that stood out but sometimes when they were together, the synchronization and energy just didn’t click for me. But I enjoyed their duo moments and Peniel finally got some recognition! It’s One has its flaws and wasn’t quite as memorable in some parts, but I enjoyed the storyline and choreography. I felt like the three match and balance well.

    I wonder how they will set up the next episode… The next half of the round looks exciting. 🙂

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  5. Rap : One – no props just pure talent and raw fun.
    Dance : One – love the story line, got me very inspired as an artist.

    ** What’s with the amount of members in the dance unit of mayfly ? It made them look like they were scared or smthing so they just throw other members there. Srlsy just pick the best ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t say they’re scared, more like they wanted all their members to be part of something. Pretty sure they could have done better if they only chose the best dancers but they wanted to be friends instead. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      • I dare say they’ll get more return from the more of them getting closer to each other than having the most pared down units possible. Those kinds of connections will pay off in other ways long term.

        I also really think iKon/SF9/The Boyz will come off worse for having been so conservative with who they chose to send. They have more people total than BtoB/Skz/Atz by a good amount (25 without Rowoon vs 18) and it looks like they’re not using even half of their numbers…do the others have nothing to show? I can get not sending everyone given how big tbz and sf9 especially are but…I just have questions. Why not send Q and Haknyeon who are both great dancers? Why didn’t SF9 send their actual main rapper? They’re confusing choices imo.

        Mayfly were smart to use everyone in a unit (though I would have switched Minhyuk and Peniel’s units lol). They were able to do more with their rap and dance stages and just fill those stages up.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I personally disagree with you, but I think I understand your point of view. I felt like it was a smart choice to only send three for the dance and rap units. For rap, having so many rappers just feels crowded. Raps are best when they are focused. I personally feel like Hwiyoung’s vibe matches better with Bobby and Sunwoo’s; I feel like his rap was great too so I think it worked out not sending Zuho. I also felt like for dance, they sent one from each team to balance it out. It would be weird to send 2 from some teams and then 1 from others. I really wanted to see more Q/Haknyeon/Chani/Youngbin but at the end, I think that having less helps those members that are present stand out and express more as individuals. Having more members allows for cool formation but it would be harder to balance energy, angels, facial expression, and stuff like that. I felt like Juyeon/Taeyang/DK all matched really well and balanced it out well and I don’t think that having more members would have made it better. But this is just how I see things. Lol, maybe I’m thinking too much and it was as simple as a “rock, paper, scissors”.

          Liked by 1 person

    • you have to show synchronization in performing, not just individuality. and I believe that Mayfly both have synchronization and individuality among all of them

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoa my thoughts on this episode are so different from the post/comments XD I loved this episode and all of the performances; the latter especially is a first. I didn’t find either of the rap unit tracks shouty…like Bobby’s U MAD? was definitely shout rap but almost none of the delivery in either track sounded like that. High energy yes.

    This was the first episode that I was impressed performances from The Boyz or SF9. I think it was so valuable for Bobby to push Sunwoo and Hwiyoung towards having fun on stage and saying what they wanted to say, because both groups have struck me so far as being too workhorse-minded in how they’re approaching the show, making for dour and joyless stages. This is the first time it’s seemed to me like they were enjoying themselves on stage and it was really refreshing to see.

    I loved Sunwoo’s verse—whew, he’s good—Hwiyoung surprised me too. The track Bobby produced was fire. I want it on my playlist right now. I always love Bobby’s performance style and am enjoying his ease and natural gestures on stage, but I think it’s clear at this point that the industry voting audience for the show isn’t too impressed by iKon/Bobby’s “let’s just have fun” stage philosophy. It’s unfortunate, I think. There’s a place for that kind of performance style and it’s actually hard to pull off convincingly and get the audience into it at the same time.

    One thing I do wish had been different is the message of the track—it’s time for Bobby to think outside the box of what he’s saying. You can only do “I’m cool, you’re a loser” for so many rounds before it gets old and also seems like protesting too much. I also think they should have but just a little more thought to the stage direction. Bobby was off-mic for several seconds getting his raincoat or whatever on—that really didn’t have to happen? He could have put his coat on by himself while Sunwoo or Hwiyoung held the mic for him. It’s a little thing, but it completely disrupted the flow and feel of the performance for me.

    I have a feeling the It’s One teams are going to regret how they decided to divide up members between units. It seems like SF9 chose to have several members sit out this round altogether, which was…a choice.

    I have more thoughts but I wrote a novel so I’ll wrap this up, lol. For rap It’s One was more of an exciting performance, its issues aside, so that won for me. For dance both were great and so different it’s hard to compare, but the Wolf stage just…blew me away. I don’t think it needed a through-line; the point was to embody animality in their movements, expressions, and formations and they absolutely nailed it. Even more so than the original did (went back and watched a few exo Wolf stages). Mayfly’s rendition was much more raw and all-out.

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    • Meant to also say—I would guess Mayfly rap unit won on the strength of their lyricism (witty lyrics, cohesive and meaningful message) and the stage production.

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  7. I have got to say my opinions here. I vote for Mayfly on both the rap and dance unit. As I am very fond of KPOP, rap with extreme music are the best since it brings out the hip-hop vibes that the artists are looking for. Some fans may not be fond of this type of genre since they mostly focus on choreography, visuals, etc. Also, the message it implies is very meaningful, powerful and cohesive. The way they portrayed visually what they want to imply through their lyrics are great, and the talent they showed are raw. As for the dance, honestly I was not very surprised by the One’s performance since they just include 3 members out of all the members they have through all 3 groups, because I agree at the thought that when they focus on the choreographies, it is better to have many dancers to show the synchronization.

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  8. um respectfully and as a stay myself- how is stray kids #1. Although their performances were great, compared to the other groups, they just did not shine as much. It’s sad that this is show completely biased towards bigger fan groups.

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  9. A fan of all groups, but I’d honestly biased more to the One team. They may be wasting the other members of the groups by sending only a few to represent each unit, but I think it’s also a wise choice. Not to mention how their performances look so relaxing and they understand the tasks given too. When the task ask for rap? They send the rap-only stage. You want dancing? they gave us dance art stage which is so mesmerizing and very memorable to me. I enjoy Mayfly’s performances too but their concept is just mediocre and doesn’t give much impact in my opinion. Anyway, the winners are still not One team, but honestly, the show is not the last stage for them to be judged.

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    • The rankings here are a stand-in for actual points that were added up. What happened was (1) the second round was a lot closer than the first, so Stray Kids maintained a pretty significant lead from round one and (2) the 1000 bonus points from the early round were added. If it wasn’t for (2), ATEEZ would indeed be first.

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