Warning: This recap is not spoiler-free. Proceed at your own risk!
Well, I’m back. I debated whether I wanted to cover season two of Queendom. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed this franchise less and less with each season, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to invest the time and energy it takes to watch and recap these episodes every week. Because of this, these write-ups may end up being a bit of a hodgepodge. I’ll plan to cover (and rank) all the performances, but I don’t know that I’ll go as in-depth when it comes to the behind-the-scenes stuff. We’ll see!
Regardless, I’m excited for the line-up this season. Some of my favorites are participating.
Speaking of favorites, I thought I’d start with something a little different this time. Since this is The Bias List, I’m going to rank Queendom’s participating artists by how excited I am about them and their music at this moment. This is a snapshot in time, and obviously changes depending on the quality of comebacks. But, I’m interested to see if this list changes after Queendom has ended. I plan to revisit it after the finale.
Personal Bias Ranking (as of this moment)
1. Brave Girls
Their past four singles have all topped my monthly round-up. I can’t say that about many other acts. As far as I’m concerned, they are right in the middle of their imperial phase.
Though they haven’t been as active of late, WJSN’s discography is so strong. I always look forward to new music from them.
I just adore her vocals. And being part of Sistar makes her a forever bias in my book.
GFriend will always be one of my favorite K-pop groups. I don’t know what to think of VIVIZ yet.
I know they’re immensely popular. I’ve got nothing against them, but I can’t say I’ve connected to a huge chunk of their discography thus far.
I didn’t watch the series they were formed on, so I have absolutely no opinion of the group. Their debut was fine.
This first meeting of all the acts is always a highlight. It’s just good fun, before the series’ dull competitive elements kick in. My hope for this season is that we get more of these funny, lighthearted moments and less manufactured drama. After all, that’s what made the first season of Queendom so much fun.
Although I’ll be ranking performances each week for my own entertainment, I’m going to try to tune out the scoring aspects of the show as much as possible. I’m certainly not interested in fan wars.
After arriving, the acts each pick a main “rival” for the series, which is the sort of time-filling fluff I wish they’d just cut from the show. I’d prefer a lean, mean hour-long episode to a bloated two-hour affair. The most interesting thing to come out of this was Brave Girls’ yearning perspective on GFriend’s 2015/16-era success.
SIGNATURE SONG BATTLE
This round is pretty self-explanatory. Poor LOONA had to drop out to recover from Covid-19, but they’ll be back for round two. Only the first two acts performed this episode, so my full ranking will be completed next week.
Also: live audience! I’m so glad to see this (even if it might not have been the safest choice given Korea’s Covid surge during the time of filming…).
Disclaimer: I’m watching the full show, not just clips on YouTube. So, the editing of each performances may inadvertently factor into my rankings. But, I’ll be embedding the full YouTube performances in these posts.
2. VIVIZ – Time For The Moon Night + Rough
VIVIZ chose to perform first, meaning they can relax and watch all the other performances when they’re finished. And, they (rightfully) chose a GFriend song for their signature. Mixing Time For The Moon Night and Rough into a medley was a great choice, though I’d consider the latter their true “signature” song. I like how they turned up the orchestral elements, particularly during Rough. The transition into that track was definitely a moment. It’s hard to separate just how legendary that song is from the performance itself. If I’m being honest, I think they could have done more with the staging (and even the arrangement), but there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy this. Agh! I miss this style of K-pop so much.
1. Hyolyn – Touch My Body
Sistar’s discography is so stacked, making it difficult to pick a real signature song. When I think Sistar, I think summer, so picking Touch My Body was a great choice (even if Loving U will always be my MVP). I’m giving her the edge over VIVIZ this week because I think she did more with the song. The dance break was all kinds of epic, and her charisma is off the charts. I love that she twisted the arrangement a bit but didn’t subtract from what makes the song so great in the first place. I have a feeling she’s going to be hard to beat this season, and being the only soloist makes her stand out all the more.
And like I said about Rough, I also miss this style of K-pop so much!
We’ll see the rest of the performances next week! The only thing I think we can be certain of is that Kep1er will be performing Wa Da Da (and Brave Girls will probably do Rollin)
I watched both of the performances by Hyolin/VIVIZ prior to seeing the episode. In doing so, I was able to watch them without the add-in breakaways to the other artists/audience. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that blown away.
Then, I watched the episode and as the performances queued up, I thought to myself, “I already know this is going to underwhelm me.”, but then.. ..neither did. I always thought those videos where they constantly break off to the other artists’ reactions (and then reply those few seconds over and over) was a break in emersion and thus, a detriment. But on this occasion it wasn’t. I think seeing the content leading up to the performance (prep and anxiety), and the way the other artists were absorbing it (empathy and envy), changed the way I took the stage performances in. In both cases, I was impressed with the end result. Weird.
I feel like a lab rat; or a dog waiting for a bell to ring. GET OUT OF MY HEAD, MNET!
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* ..and then “replay” those few seconds over and over..
They do have a full video up though. Without the breakaway scenes in between. I don’t like those either and always wait for the full version! 🙂
It wasn’t so bad this time with the reaction but perosnally didn’t really like the camera direction for Viviz performance. They posted a full stage stationary cam as well and it really made the performance even better for me.
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Yeah, nothing worse than a cameraman that thinks he’s.. ..an artist! All those dials and switches on the camera.. ..what could they possibly do? What wonderous ways can I swoop and sway, zoom and pan, shake and stir? I will bring life to this boring stage performance with my magnificent camera mastery!!!
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The transition moment is Viviz’s performance was PERFECT!! I love both these songs and I was super excited Gfriend songs are open to them because that opens up a whole UNIVERSE!! ❤ And the Time for the Moon Night first half was so classy and beautiful and I kept wondering HOW?! HOW WILL IT GET TO ROUGH?!
And bam! The orchestra like transition was just epic! 😭 There were so many ways the transition could have gone wrong but this was beautiful! And they even did the bridge and their “dance breaks” were all beautiful instrumental breaks without any weird breakdowns…. This performance was art and I enjoyed every bit of it! ❤
And on Hyolyn’s performance – the stage was impressive. I don’t really know the song but wow her charisma was everything! Every single moment was oozing with confidence and charm, so it was a good stage!
Viviz checked my “blow me into an ethereal space” checkbox, so they would be my pick here though 😉
i’ve written paragraphs on the first episode on reddit but i mostly agree with the points covered here. Glad to read one more perspective on board!
I’ll be watching this ep tonight probably but I am looking forward to Hyolyn’s perf as I’ve heard nothing but great praise for it.
Viviz was really disappointing. The strength of yuju’s vocals weren’t there, nor the strong choreography. I don’t know how anyone ended up crying after watching them. It just made me want to listen to original. I like the live strings though
Hyolyn had a great performance. I wish she had done the second verse since it has my favorite lines from the song, but she killed it. Her dance break was so bad ass, she’s going to be really hard to beat. I respect her for doing so well solo.
I’m really interested to know what song cosmic girls are going to do, since they did secret and save me save you for the opening.
The strength of Yuju’s vocals have been gone since around 2019 though anyway so…
Finally got around to watching the episode! This is kinda a big dump of my thoughts, sorry about that ^-^;
I’m also hoping for a season with minimal drama and instead full of lighthearted moments and funny interactions – I did not watch Queendom 1 but I heard near universally that most people were happy to see that the camaraderie between the acts basically rendered all the dramatic editing useless. That whole sunbae-or-not moment between SinB and Yeoreum was hilarious because they both seemed like they were trying to not to laugh as she was scolding her, all while Mnet pulled out the Viviz flashback and dramatic music.
Loona seems to be getting a pity edit (all those performance cuts interrupted by sad headlines swooshing in, paired with dramatic music and grayscale filtering) which honestly, good for them, pull in those sympathy votes haha. Brave Girls are endearingly awkward – they keep saying they have no friends, which I hope will change as the show progresses. I’m looking forward to seeing if Hyolyn will play a similar role to how BTOB’s presence on Kingdom as the relaxed, friendly senior act made all the other groups more relaxed as well. I don’t really care much for Kep1er either, but I found their utter awe at being in the presence of all the other senior acts was pretty cute. The rivals shtick also didn’t really interest me, besides Brave Girls’ thoughts on GFriend’s early success.
As for the performances, I’m also glad to see a return of a live audience, the feel is just completely different to the entirety of the Kingdom stuff. I hope we get to see perhaps a clip of Loona’s 1st round performance that they filmed afterwards, it’s so unfortunate that they had to miss out. I would definitely rank Hyolyn’s performance over Viviz’s as well. It’s almost unfair for her to be here, the way she owned the stage with her charisma and killed both her vocals and the dance break. I was also very impressed watching the behind-the-scenes footage, seeing just how much work she did herself planning the performance. I hope her insane talent will attract votes from fans of the other acts on the show to make up for the lack of the hardcore dedicated fandoms that the newer groups have.
I did enjoy Viviz’s performance, but like you it’s hard to separate whether that’s just because I liked the songs. The live strings were a great touch, and the obvious emotional aspect of the performance was a little heart-wrenching (but again, it’s hard to discern whether that was due to the quality of the performance or just the nature of the nostalgia of them performing GFriend songs again). Definitely agree that they could have done more with the arrangement and staging, I found some of the Time for the Moon Night section a little boring.
Looking forward to the next episode and performances, as well as your recap! I’m glad to see that you’ll be writing them, I enjoyed reading your Kingdom ones a lot!
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“This is kinda a big dump of my thoughts, sorry about that ^-^”
As someone that believes that posts should be kept as brief as possible so as not to bog the blog with walls of text, I forgive you.
P.S. Just kidding.. ..you do you! Loved the post, btw! 😀
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Ahaha thanks :)) glad you enjoyed reading my wall of text
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[BREAKING] The entire K-pop industry found dead and bald after Hyolyn’s legendary performance in Queendom 2