Warning: This recap is not spoiler-free. Proceed at your own risk!
We’re back with the remaining performances of the Cover Song Battle. Apart from one big standout, last week’s stages were a bit underwhelming. Let’s see if this week can turn the tables, or if LOONA have already secured the top spot on my ranking.
ROUND TWO: COVER SONG BATTLE
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.
6. Brave Girls – MVSK
5. WJSN – Navillera
4. Kep1er – Pool Party + Rollin
Kep1er have a lot of great songs to choose from, but were concerned many of them were too “adult.” I would have predicted a High Heels performance this round (Brave Girls thought so too!), but they decided on a mash-up of Pool Party and Rollin. Both great songs, of course. Covering great songs almost carries more risk than covering mediocre ones. There’s a bigger chance of screwing it up.
This was a cute performance and some of the added elements worked very well. The rap was a nice touch, melding seamlessly with the existing arrangement. I’m not sure the Rollin mash-up was as successful. Those pieces needed to be more celebratory and less fragmented. Ditto for the tempo-changing dance breakdown (though the electric guitar was awesome). In fact, I think they should have streamlined their concept and given the entire stage a guitar-fueled power pop makeover.
(Of course, MNET’s drama-hungry editing hyper-focused on all the tiny mistakes and slip-ups in the choreography – complete with slo-mo footage and digital spotlights.)
3. Hyolyn – So What
From what I can recall, Hyolyn’s behind-the-scenes package was the only one to really focus on the song’s musical production and recording. This is the kind of stuff I geek out on, and I really respect her multi-faceted talent. From what MNET is showing us, it seems she is very much in the driver’s seat of her own Queendom journey. That sense of artistic vision is so exciting. There’s a confidence and clarity that comes from over a decade in the industry. I can’t help but think this is the real power the much-lauded “girl crush” concept seeks to replicate.
As for the song itself, Hyolyn chose So What. I remember the song being somewhat divisive upon release, but I think it’s one of the stronger LOONA titles. Emerging on an airborne hoop, Hyolyn owned the stage before she had even descended upon it. As expected, she performed the hell out of the track, armed with infectious confidence. I didn’t care for the song arrangement, so that’s knocking her down a few pegs. But, she’s captivating to watch and probably deserves to be top-ranked on skill level alone.
2. VIVIZ – Unnatural
WJSN have so many great songs to choose from. VIVIZ ended up picking one I’m not too thrilled with, but Unnatural apparently carries a spirit of “reinvention.” Reinvention seems like such a prized concept these days. Have K-pop groups always been so obsessed with the idea? Few idols (or more accurately, few agencies) simply lean into and explore the strengths they already possess. But, I guess Queendom is all about pushing yourself.
Anyway… VIVIZ reinterpret Unnatural as a tango. Despite being a totally different genre, the original version has that driving tango energy so the choice makes sense. And, I think this arrangement worked quite well. I’m not always a huge fan of tempo shifts, but the transitions here were purposeful and effective. The dance breaks were great (they had a gazillion backup dancers) and the chorus really popped with the extra percussion. Overall, it was quite an exciting spectacle – the kind of dynamic stage I’d expect from shows like this.
1. LOONA – Shake It
VOTING & FINAL THOUGHTS
I’m not covering the “who voted for who” thing that Queendom insists on doing because I think it’s nonsense, but… wow my “personal bias” ranking from week one is being flipped all over the place! I feel kind of bad ranking Brave Girls at the bottom this week because I don’t think they deserve it. They just had a number of factors working against them. None were in their control, either.
Anyway, we’ve got some final rankings this week — decided by a combination of audience, global and self-assessment votes.
6. Brave Girls
Hmmm… obviously there are some things I’d switch up about this ranking, but it’s not awful. Hyolyn is basically a wall when it comes to the audience vote. This makes sense because she’s the only one trying to actively engage the studio audience. I’m sure she’s electric in that space.
Poor Brave Girls are flailing with the global vote. But, they’ve never really been marketed as a “global” group (which is one of the reasons I love them). I’ll still be waving the BG flag with pride, despite my complete and utter betrayal this week! I’ll do penance. I promise.