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Kingdom: Legendary War – Episode Eight 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 // Episode Seven


LAST WEEK’S DANCE UNIT RESULTS

After watching both dance performances, I ranked the “It’s One” team over “Mayfly,” but they were essentially tied in my eyes. In the end, the judges voted for Team Mayfly. With their large configuration, I guess “more” really is “more” in the context of a show like this!


“NO LIMIT” ROUND THREE: VOCAL MATCH-UPS


Unit “It’s One” – Inseong x Jaeyoon x Jay x Ju-ne x Sangyeon x New – Spark

It’s nice to see this team invite more members this time. I think their configuration’s smallness was part of the reason they lost the first two matches. Still, is a vocal match-up the best place to have too many cooks in the kitchen?

For some reason, The Boyz’ New had a graphic put over his face during the recording process of their guide track, which of course just made me super curious. Was it a bad pimple? An unfortunate hair day? Inquiring (and restless) minds want to know…

Regardless, all the guys seem to be quite impressed with him, doting on his voice and urging him to add harmony to the track.

Taeyeon’s Spark is an odd song choice for this kind of mission, but I’m glad they opted for a more rhythmic sound. Sometimes, I think idol groups forget that you can show off your vocals on dance tracks just as well as ballads. And me being me, I tend to prefer the upbeat stuff.

Of course, the guys end up slowing down most of the track in the end. I thought this was a fine performance, with all the requisite drama I’d expect. There are some great voices here, and most got some time to shine. I would have probably brought in the percussion a little earlier, as the introduction went on a bit long.

The song’s climactic moments saw the guys come together, both vocally and physically (ie: they stood in a circle). This part was quite good, but lacked power. And though I appreciate Inseong’s ambition with his high note, it’s a shame he flubbed it. It made the ending super awkward. But, we all make mistakes. I hope he doesn’t dwell on it too long.

(Of course you know he will, especially after Mnet makes a big fuss and replays it several times even after the unit competition is over. Gotta keep that drama going…)


Unit “Mayfly” – Eunkwang x Seungmin x Jongho – Love Poem

This may be a smaller grouping than the prior team, but they pack a punch. Seriously, I would not want to be going against this trio if I were a vocalist.

These three also seemed to have a more natural chemistry than team “It’s One.” Maybe it’s because there are fewer personalities, or maybe it’s because they have an older member who can clearly take a leadership role. Honestly, at times this looked like a teacher/student relationship! I think Eunkwang needs to consider starting a vocal coach themed variety show. He’s got a knack for it.

I don’t know that I’ve ever written about it on the blog, but I adore IU’s Love Poem. It’s such a gorgeous ballad, and perfect for emotional showcases like this. The guys absolutely killed it.

There have been a lot of bombastic stages on Kingdom, but this was the first one that really made me feel something. Great vocal units have a connection, where the sum is greater than the parts. That really came through, here. The harmony, the expression, the power… everything was perfect. No gimmicks or elaborate set pieces — just a stone cold knockout that outclassed anything we’ve seen in the past seven episodes.

My vote goes to: Mayfly, and it’s not even close

The judges voted for: Mayfly

That’s a clean sweep for Mayfly, and well deserved on that last round. But, I would’ve flipped the votes on the first two.


“NO LIMIT” ROUND

Before we move onto those original songs we’re all curious about, we have part two of this third round. For this “No Limit” theme, the groups can do anything they want. In other words, the producers have officially run out of ideas.

Just kidding (I think).

Also, for some reason Stray Kids’ Han is wearing the most ridiculous hat I’ve ever seen. I need an explanation…


iKON – Pretty Savage (ft. Lisa from BLACKPINK)

If anything, Kingdom has revealed that I really enjoy watching iKON be iKON. There’s a looseness to their interplay that’s really refreshing compared to some of the more serious-minded groups.

As part of this behind the scenes footage, the edit cuts to old clips of G-Dragon performing Crooked, and I’m just reminded how much I miss his presence in K-pop. When is he making a comeback?? None of us are getting any younger, GD!

Speaking of the YG stable of artists, iKON decide to cover a track by label-mates BLACKPINK. In the process of choosing, they also toy with the idea of performing Brave Girls’ Rollin, which I would’ve been absolutely giddy about. Instead, they go for the b-side track Pretty Savage, which isn’t too far from their own sound. But, it gives them the opportunity to bring in BLACKPINK’s Lisa and garner all sorts of internet buzz from the collaboration. Even so, I’m not sure this was the most inspired choice for iKON.

The intro of this performance had so much unnecessary explanation from the peanut gallery. I know MNET likes to edit commentary into these performances, but I really didn’t need the other groups explaining every single thing that was happening as if I wasn’t watching it with my own eyes. Especially Han in that damn hat.

Speaking of items on people’s heads, Bobby rapped with a literal sack over his head during part of this performance. That was… a choice.

Costuming aside, I actually liked this mix of the song. I’ll admit I’m not super familiar with the original, having listened to it only a couple of times when the album was released last year. But, the beat had a great bounce.

I’m more than a little concerned with them tying the word “savage” to a jungle theme, which seems all sorts of problematic. But, simply looking at this as a series of set pieces, the staging was kind of cool. Lisa‘s introduction was suitably dramatic, with the camera zooming in to give a real cinematic effect. But, the guys missed an opportunity by placing her in her own room where she couldn’t interact with them. It was almost as if these two pieces were filmed separately, especially since she had disappeared when they finally entered her tomb-like lair. But, then she popped up again as they were leaving the stage after the performance. I’m very confused by the choices here…

Anyway, the fact that I spent more time wondering about the staging than gushing about the performance kind of says it all. This was fine, and entertaining and fits and spurts. But, they lost me somewhere in the middle. The best Kingdom stages tell a clear story, with building momentum and a memorable climax. I’m not sure this quite lived up to that tall order.


Stray Kids – Ddu-Du Ddu-Du x God’s Menu

Oh great, we’re covering all the annoying BLACKPINK songs now? Can’t we cover some of the good ones?

And to provide even more “du’s,” Stray Kids will be mashing up the song with their own God’s Menu. This seems like a recipe for a migraine. Maybe that’s why Han is wearing that comically large hat? Insulation against the surplus of du’s that’ll soon be swirling around him?

We join the group in the JYP practice room as they’re sorting out the choreography. They want to bring some wit to the dance, but seem to get stuck on gunplay as a theme. Please, no. We’ve seen it all before, guys.

At a certain point, the subtitles describe Changbin as a “pig rabbit.” I don’t know what that is, but I think that needs to be the theme for their next performance.

The behind-the-scenes footage is quite short this week. I thought MNET might be up to their old tricks and save the actual performance until next week. But, we rush through the fluff and get to the stage before the episode ends.

The concept turns out to be a little bit more interesting (witty?) than it first seemed. It involves a giant rice cooker, a subway car, a tank and Deadpool cosplay. Your guess is as good as mine.

And, after a shouty start, the mix of this track is actually okay. I love its more rock-inspired moments. I’m less enthused by the God’s Menu breakdown, and really turned off by the “dancing while brandishing guns” motif. I know Korea has a much different relationship with firearms than we do in the States, but the glamorization just doesn’t sit well with me.

I don’t know… this performance had its moments. But, it also felt like they were just vomiting up ideas. One set piece after another created a messy collage of visual madness. I think it would’ve been more striking to target one or two central ideas and give them time to breathe. A stage loses impact when there’s so much going on. I mean, think about that vocal performance from earlier. Simplicity can be powerful as hell.

Whatever. All anybody will probably be talking about after this is Felix’s abs, anyway.


RANKING

I’ll do a full ranking next week after we see the rest of the performances. Neither of the ones this week blew me away, but I’d probably put iKON’s on top for now.

33 thoughts on “Kingdom: Legendary War – Episode Eight Recap and Ranking

  1. Finally caught up on No limit performances.

    The vocal performance for mayfly really stood out for me. It was absolutely beautiful and so nice to listen to. The trio owned that song, especially with BTOB member at the head of it. Such a heart moving performance, and probably one of my favorites of the show thus far.

    As for the Stray kids versus Ikon performances for the most recent round- I would put SKZ on top by a small margin. Even though I felt like a lot of the parts of the song didn’t always flow together smoothly, I happened to like the final breakdown and LOVED the rap portions. It just oozed personality.

    Now would I listen to it outside of the performance? Probably not. That’s the one thing that bugs me about these Kingdom performances. I haven’t really gotten a lot of songs that I would listen to outside of the show. At least I got some of that with Road to Kingdom.

    Sighs. Oh well. I hope the next performances will be just as entertaining!

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  2. I feel like all of us went in with a bias for the Mayfly performance and deservedly so. It was obvious they’d put on a great show. I however really liked The One’s performance too. I mean, ignoring the high note error (which I hope he gets over soon), the harmonization and melody was really pretty to listen to. The guys also seemed to have fun BTS which is always a bonus.

    As for the individual rounds, after the initial Lisa hype died down, I think the only issue I had with the stage was the lack of cohesiveness in it. I wished they performed together. I loved iKON’s stage presence too.

    For the SKZ performance, the song choice was a little disturbing. I think both songs clash with each other too much. They’re loud. The aesthetics were good and the rap was great as always, but something stops me from putting it above iKON.

    Side note, but Nick, will you be doing a Buried Treasure for NCT Dream’s Hot Sauce? The b-sides were really great this time.

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    • Vocals: The One, them supporting each other behind the scenes really made a mark for me.

      No Limit: iKON. I LOVE the story line and since I love Jumanji, this is a no brainer. I actually like them not using Lisa for the whole segment so the focus went to iKON since this is their fight after all. With Bobby rapping with a sack on his head, its only for a few seconds and it ties with the story anyways so I don’t know why your criticizing it lol.

      Also, stray kids are such smart brats for using Blackpink’s biggest song while iKON literally have a BP member on the stage so the blink fandom are confused af on what to stream and I love and HATE it so much ( since the fandom is quite polarizing and a lot of them are solo stans, but not all blinks ! ) They could have used any song and I would still love it to pieces, but stray kids performing a Blackpink song is something I could never imagine sorry.

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    • I’m not planning on it. For me, the album is filled with a lot of “good” songs, but none of them really stick out as something I’d go back to on their own 😦

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  3. Vocals: The One, them supporting each other behind the scenes really made a mark for me.

    No Limit: iKON. I LOVE the story line and since I love Jumanji, this is a no brainer. I actually like them not using Lisa for the whole segment so the focus went to iKON since this is their fight after all. With Bobby rapping with a sack on his head, its only for a few seconds and it ties with the story anyways so I don’t know why your criticizing it lol.

    Also, stray kids are such smart brats for using Blackpink’s biggest song while iKON literally have a BP member on the stage so the blink fandom are confused af on what to stream and I love and HATE it so much ( since the fandom is quite polarizing and a lot of them are solo stans, but not all blinks ! ) They could have used any song and I would still love it to pieces, but stray kids performing a Blackpink song is something I could never imagine sorry.

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  4. I can see your taste with all your collab unit picks – common denominator being the simplicity of those stages. I didn’t say it on the last recap, but I thought you’d find the It’s One rap unit ~posturing~ (with the theming I guess of the set?) hence I was surprised with your pick there.
    The vocal unit broke the “more is more” principle that happened with the last units’ victory – and rightfully so. As Yunho said in the commentary (and we all agree here thus far): it’s a legendary stage. The behind package hit home for me; the teacher/student dynamic made me immersed more with their performance. I can see why you love the song, they did such a great job with it! I can see myself listening to it after the show.
    I guess, with my bias, I appreciate the SKZ’s 3rd round group performance more (their “let’s not get too serious with the competition” intent) though I can see why it would feel too overwhelming for some. With iKON, I can feel “iKON being iKON” vibe but they were able to put a theme to it but I agree with your point about it not being cohesive.
    -EP9 Spoiler time-
    How do you feel with SF9 doing Move (Taemin) and TBZ doing Monster (EXO)? There’s no solid spoiling with BTOB & ATEEZ yet but they seem to be doing their own songs.

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    • I’m a big SM fan, so excited for Move and Monster! Ateez are doing Answer, which is my favorite of their title tracks.
      Ballsiest move to me is Btob who are performing a b-side (Blue Moon) that’s jazzy and has very racy lyrics. It was written by MinHyuk. I like their confidence and I’m looking forward to seeing the decision making process on that one!

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  5. My votes from last week.
    Rap – Mayfly, solely on the colourful childishness of the stage. The other stage was great too, but I didn’t feel the same joy?
    Dance – The One, I’m sick of dark edgy group dances.

    This week
    The One’s vocal performance was cool, Spark is a great song and their harmony was good. I really loved Ikon’s Ju-ne, the huskiness to his tone is nice. One of my bugbears with Kpop vocals is the obsession with high notes = good singer. A well trained singer understands their range and plays to their strengths. A Tenor singing Soprano does not make him a better tenor. Not hating on SF9’s Inseong, his parts earlier in the song were good, but he was off key even before he tried that high note. It was a poor choice by whoever arranged the song to include that part.
    In comparison Mayfly’s performance was a masterclass. Eun-kwang from Btob is clearly well trained and thought carefully about the range for each singer. The simplicity of the performance was it’s strength, allowing each singer to shine. This stage was my favorite of all the Kingdom stages to date. Jongho from Ateez seemed competent from the earlier stages, but I was super impressed by Stray Kid’s Seungmin. I’ve always thought he seemed to have a weak and thin voice, but he really shined here. I think with proper coaching and guidance he could be a great vocalist. May favorite part of the was how Eun-kwang was guiding the younger performers in the harmonies on stage, the eye contact and proud smiles really showed great team work.
    My conclusion, Mayfly. Poor Inseong really doesn’t need to feel bad about his voice crack, they were outclassed from the beginning.

    The no limit stages:
    Ikon – Classy Savage
    Did I really just hear a kpop rapper refer to his team as f**ckboys?????????
    This stage really seemed to be YG telling Mnet that they don’t give a shit, they are great without them. Opening with Big Bang, Winner, and BlackPink was pretty much them flexing how great they are as an agency and I liked it.
    Apart from that, it took me about 3 watches to actually enjoy this stage, there was so much going on that it took some time for me to place every member. First watch I felt like they didn’t really perform much, but I picked out more things watching it in the actual show. I really like their group dancing, it was really fun.
    OMG Lisa killed it, her stage presence is impressive. Ikon would have been overshadowed if they shared the stage with her, I think they made a good call just featuring her.

    Stray Kids – DDdududududududududu (I give up on writing that correctly!)
    Felix makes a super cute Deadpool and I enjoyed the call out to the awkward English from ep 1, it was a nice touch to open the stage. Did I hear correctly from his rap “spitting fire like Gordon Ramsey”? Lol
    Changbin has 100% cemented himself as my favorite Kingdom rapper, he really did well here.
    The subway car scenes were cool and I enjoyed the energy and choreo, but I won’t be listening to this song any time soon. I hate both God’s Menu and BlackPink song, so they did well to get me to watch the full stage.

    These two are neck and neck for me. both were high impact, but I don’t see myself rewatching them just for fun… and I wrote an essay, lol, I just needed to debrief!

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    • Agree. Higher isn’t better, louder isn’t better.

      As for range, V is the poster child for this this generation as a baritone who never gets to sing in his natural range except for fleeting lines, yep, nope he gets to sing right alongside the tenors.

      Another example. My man Kyuhyun is a tenor. On occasion he pops out a falsetto line for the SuJu songs, but usually these days he sticks to a low C to high C range. Instead he has developed his quality and phrasing to such an extent that his career is just fine, his voice is doing well, he gets plenty of OST’s and plenty of musicals. His signature song “At Gwanghwamun” does just fine with a full solid belt no higher than an G#4. Its also why covering Gwanghwamun is hard, because it isn’t about hitting the notes but the phrasing. That slow crescendo up through the first half of the chorus, hold that build through the middle of the chorus, then the slow decrescendo down the second half of the chorus.

      Among my favorites from Kyuie is this etude “Baram” (“Wind”)
      ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6heX48K1IE

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      • I agree that Kyuhyun is probably the best idol vocalist active right now!
        Although I praised Eunkwang for playing to their strengths here, but he doesn’t always do that in his own music. I was impressed by his solo debut after the military though, his tone in No One Knows is really nice. In a lot of Btob songs he get’s given lines that are outside his supported range, like the chorus of Movie, but I feel like for pop music it’s okay to not be perfect, it just needs to be catchy, pleasant, and engaging.
        With non-idol vocalists I love Lee Seunggi, he has some bad habits, but gosh he is talented.

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  6. I am back to comment on performances without having watched even a second of the show!

    It is very difficult for me to enjoy ballads, but Mayfly knocked it out of the park with that performance. Beautiful harmonising, really solid standalone vocal performances – no straining or whisper-singing. I know nothing about the individual members, but what a classy and beautiful performance.

    On the contrary, It’s One left me cold and I got distracted very quickly.

    “Oh great, we’re covering all the annoying BLACKPINK songs now? Can’t we cover some of the good ones?” I was too afraid to say it, so I’m glad you did.

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  7. Don’t really have much to say for the position match, too bad for for the vocal match tho. A literal stomp where the other candidates get 0 score is harsh. We would probably see a cry or two if they publicly announced the results. I prefer the arrangement to spark too.

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  8. im back with my votes hahaa

    im not surprised mayfly won the vocal round, all three are power vocalists and complemented each other’s voices very well

    as for the no limit round, my vote right now definitely goes to stray kids. as a stay i understood the concept alot better than a non-stay would probably, especially since they included little easter eggs for stays like 0325 on the rice cooker. overall, i found this performance very enjoyable, more so than the ikon performance, which was even more messy than the skz performance in my opinion

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  9. I was really excited for Kingdom, having watched & enjoyed Queendom and RtK, but I give up watching this round TT.

    Save for a few (BTOB’s Back Door), the sameness of the performances has been really uninspiring :/

    Thank you for this blog, it’s a space to read thoughts on the performances without watching them haha

    (at least imitation doesn’t seem to be terrible so far!)

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  10. BY A MILE, or even a whole continent, Love Poem – Mayfly – Well, yes, of course, QED, my point everytime about how you don’t need all that noise and vigorous arm waving to have an effective stage. This is also the classic maneuver known as “reframe the question”. The performance resembles an Immortal Songs-style of performance, so for those of us sick of this Kingdom format, this style transports us out of the foghorn world. (That foghorn raised my blood pressure every single time.)

    I love how generous Eunkwang is with his hoobaes. He starts the verse, sets the tone, gets them off to a good start, and then hands the rest of the verse, the first chorus and most of the second verse over to the other boys, and sings the supporting harmony here and there. There is this little part I thought was so cute, right at 2:12 subconsciously EK lifts his hands to the sides like, here, look at these kids. I also love how starting at about 3:21, they hit a high C# three different ways in that passage.

    The other guys: First of all, I am surprised Mnet didn’t autotune this, sure the quality is as off as well as the pitch, but in a show that has canned just about everything else, they didn’t do anything here. Also for me, the rest of the song was OK enough. The classic pass-the-parts around and sort of sing together but not really except for fleeting harmonies. Usually you can identify this style of sing-a-long as when the group is sitting in a line of chairs. But as per the usual, the individuals are not quite supporting each other on the stage, they are in a mini competition who can be most awesome on their given two lines.

    And that crack: In the classic trade off between power and pitch, power won, pitch lost. He tried a triple whipple flippy dippy Yurchenko and had too much power coming off that beam. He tried to go 60 mph on the highway in third gear and got too close to the red line on the engine. He tried to pull a KWill, and didn’t have the will. As someone writes above, it actually wasn’t just that one note, it was the whole build up – starting at 3:44 he is already off. On the note he knew he was off, because as the note evolves you can watch and hear him try to muscle his way to the right note. He does get there, eventually.

    Well, live and learn. Yes, of course. A better choice going forward would be to tilt head to the side, hit the note in head voice or falsetto with a gently softer but perfectly pitched note.

    Now there is a way to hit those high notes with that full throated shaggy rock style, but you have to be like this guy and practice it for about another half a lifetime. His high passage starts about 3:27 on the first link, and again 3:58. But the very last note, same note, falsetto. I love this guy. Jeong Hong Il. Even in a baggy sweater, he just oozes sex appeal. Then he gets on his full rock star (second link), and I am a puddle.
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp8PDFVsvQ0
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZmQ2pBimSg

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    • Hi, can I ask you about your thoughts about dance unit from this round (previous episode)? I am a big fan of your comments !

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      • Yanno, there are times when I sound like an old cranky so-and-so when I critique hip hop style of dance. Vigorous arm waving. The constant reversion to the pyramid formation. The persistence of a deep second position plie. I may as throw lyrical dance in my rant too. It makes me sound like I am this that and the other thing, because I prefer dance genres that have a grammar to them. I find the hip hop style as a whole to be overplayed at this point some 25-30 years after its emergence, and I am eager for whatever style is the new thing.

        So instead, I usually pivot to the staging.

        The staging here for both is entirely meh. The show has multiple stages and multiple cuts with a decent size props and extras and staging budget. They almost have too much of a budget. In the end, the show as a whole tends to squander all of that. What is the story? Who are these characters and why should we care about them? What is the emotional impact they wat to convey? Where is the Art?

        So let me pick on one. In theory, the Deadpool-subway-giant rice cooker might have worked if there was a story in there. Deadpool gets on the subway to go attack the giant rice cooker, stops it by flinging that giant hat. There are zanier story lines out there, believe me my kids watch these cartoons. A few years back it was Teen Titans Go, these days it Gravity Falls, and GF can get pretty weird and yet have a story. So instead in the middle, they pull out handguns, and regulars will know that for me, boys playing with guns is instant nope nope nope for me. I live in the south, this is not a good subject matter for kpop to do. I don’t care how big that giant rice cooker is, its an instant thumbs down.

        The other one. For the boys’ half, all heat and no light, So much pointless noise. The non-boy part gets and instant demerit comes when Lisa, who is supposed to be this Egyptian goddess princess-like character, when Lisa’s first move she makes is to flash her crotch. The creative way the choreographer chose in her very first move to show that Lisa is a strong, impowered woman is to show off her crotch. In a seated deep second position plie. Lisa who is a great dancer and who can dance to just about anything, yeah lets have her do a move like that. Lisa, who could be this generation’s Cyd Charisse instead gets this kind of material to work with.

        I’ll stop now.

        One of Cyd Charisse’s more famous duets with Gene Kelly
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5j0_ZYjk7M

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  11. finally vocals! personally i wasnt too interested in the dance and rap performances so i skipped watching them until this episode came out. thank you for the great review as always!

    this is my first time commenting here but if i may share a few opinions. it’s the love poem team by a landslide, of course. i love how eunkwang is like the mother duck to seungmin and jongho aka the ducklings. HAHAH. even their meetups and practices remind me so much of my personal experiences singing in vocal groups.. and the parts that he divided, it really showed everyone’s tones to its best. like how there was a section where EK and SM adlibbed, while JH takes the main melody. it feels fitting to me, since JH has the more powerful voice between the three so he didn’t get overshadowed by the adlibs. the way it’s arranged is also pretty classic, and while i’m not a sucker for casually listening to ballads, as a performance this really takes your breath away.

    agreeing with the two comments earlier regarding the note crack in it’s one team’s spark rendition though. the member who sang the high note looked like he was forcing himself already during the recording to sing it without breathing in the middle. it’s understandable since it’s hard, but i feel like as a performer you should also know and account for the times where things go less than ideal. i don’t know, personally i felt like they could’ve really just gone for a safer high note. instead they just come off as greedy. that aside, the arrangment being upbeat is greatly appreciated, agreeing too with what you said about idols thinking vocals can only be showcased through ballads. i think june especially shines through here. but ultimately, having so many members in a vocal team is more hindrance than benefit as the lines distribution leave most of them unable to truly showcase their abilities, in my opinion.

    haven’t watched the part 2 stages of everyone covering blackpink. will do when the rest of the performances come out! but might as well get mnet to give the no limit part 2 a blackpink theme instead…

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  12. I’m somewhat surprised to see the sensitivity to the gun imagery on here. I mean, I’m American too and very anti-gun myself, it just never occurred to me. I’m an ARMY after all, so if I worried about that stuff I’d probably have stress ulcers by now. Especially in BTS’s early career, gunshots were ubiquitous… so, I enjoyed that element of skz’s performance, and actually thought the bit with them all pointing finger-guns at Minho was funny/cute lol.

    I really enjoyed their performance a lot overall. They blow me away every time at this point, and if nothing else this show has solidified my already extent bias for stray kids. They’ve even made me enjoy a terrible song like Ddu-Duu Ddu-Ddu. They can do anything!

    Ikon’s performance also lost me part of the way through… moreso than skz’s, I felt that the different parts of it didn’t connect. Moreso than that, I thought that Lisa actually upstaged them, which is a shame. I personally don’t see the point of having a featured guest if they’re not going to interact with the performers onstage. It just seems like a weird flex saying “hey, look who we could get on the show,” which is good for racking up youtube views i guess, but doesn’t say anything at all about your actual performance ability.

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    • Oh by the way Nick, I wanted to let you know that the “pig-rabbit” is, in fact, Changbin’s official “representative animal.” JYP is leaning into this, they recently released a bunch of “SKZOO” merch based on animal characters for each member, a la BTS + BT21.

      So… yeah….

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    • The guns here kind of triggered me too. Im sure bts have probably used gun props at some point in the past, even though I can’t actually think of any times specifically. But usually they are actually the ones getting shot at… Cause you know the bulletproof thing. Idk if its better? Some of their dances definitely have a gun motion, but that doesn’t bother me as much as an actual prop gun.

      I think it can be somewhat excused here because of the Deadpool theme. Grotesque violence is part of deadpool humor. So is being offensive. I’m not sure that makes ok, but at least it makes sense?
      I agree with Nick about the savage/jungle theme though- not cool. Also the abs. Its all I remember

      Liked by 3 people

      • Right, the inclusion of Deadpool fits into their whole “rascal” theme of irreverence. I don’t think they were trying to be offensive, though, so much as to be funny and over the top. And it was so silly and cartoonish– I mean, with the literal comic book theme– that I really enjoyed it and it didn’t make me think of actual gun violence. I think that the idea of having a bunch of guns pointed at you and turning to the camera like “Aw shucks, who, me?” is extremely funny lol. Maybe skz and I share a sick sense of gallows humor, that’s fine….

        I didn’t make the connection myself between “savage” and the jungle theme (mostly because I wasn’t paying too much attention to ikon’s stage in general I guess) but it certainly is there and might not play so well internationally… whoops.

        Felix’s abs will certainly be remembered. I was not aware that he was built like that, either. Little man is full of surprises.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. I do love seeing groups covering songs by the opposite gender, but I wish the choices were a bit more unconventional. Aside from not even really being standout tracks in BP’s own discography (D4 could have been if it was a one off and wasn’t repeated ad nauseam), D4 and Pretty Savage are both about as close to boy group songs as you can find in girl group discography.

    Until they showed the same room at the end, I honestly thought Lisa’s stage was prerecorded (and it still might have been… who knows). Big missed opportunity by not including her in the group scenes and doing some choreography with the guys. The way she was shoehorned in just made it seem like clickbait (which is probably the intention, but it doesn’t need to be that obvious!) I personally would have preferred it if they went for something a bit more melodic since it feels like their choices for performances are all starting to blend together into standard aggressive boy group rap fare… maybe something like Love Scenario with GFriend’s Mago?

    Also, was anyone else waiting for a sword fight for SKZ stage after seeing the two back sheaths? I think this worked better musically than ikon’s stage just because D4 is such a well known song but they managed to change it enough that it sounded about as fresh as you can get and they really made it their own. It’s a shame that the stage was the umpteenth use of guns on the show. Even taking away the whole glamorization factor, gun props generally just make choreography feel kind of sloppy and predictable. Selfish wish here… but I kind of would have liked to see (or hear) Hellevator remixed with something like Dreamcatcher’s Scream or 2NE1’s I Love You.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s One actually kind of surprised me with Spark–I guess I never really thought of any of the groups from that team as having any particular noteworthy vocalists, so it was nice to hear them sing. Other than the. very unfortunate flubbed note that wouldn’t have been an issue if they had simply recognized that pop tenors were simply not meant to be singing soprano notes. That being said, Love Poem was incomparable. Based on the roster alone (I imagine Eunkwang’s lungs count for about ten of a regular idol’s) I didn’t see It’s One realistically eking it out before I heard the performances but when it came to the actual performances… Yeah. It is what it is. Best performance on this show by a country mile.

    As a side note though, Eunkwang and BTOB as a whole have really been the personal highlight of the show for me. I came into this not really having any horse in the race to cheer for (other than the MCs I guess), but BTOB have consistently been such funny and supportive seniors and I think I’ll probably come away from Kingdom as a melody. Eunkwang especially really came through as a mentor for the two younger vocalists, and I really admire him for arranging the song in such a way to allow them the spotlight+sing parts that fit their voices. Hard agree on needing to see him on some vocal coaching variety show.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I neglected to mention it in my comment above (blinded by my love and enthusiasm for skz lol) but I also think BTOB and lately Eunkwang in particular have played such a nice role on this show. Their inclusion was odd to me at first as it was to many others, I’d imagine. (They’re not stunt queens like so many of the frontrunners.) But they’ve been such nice and supportive mentors in a show that didn’t really have that kind of dynamic otherwise. It was so nice to see Eunkwang supporting the younger artists and helping them shine in this past episode.

      (Special shout out to Ikon’s Bobby too, who is bringing an entirely different but also much-needed laid back energy!)

      Liked by 1 person

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