Warning: This recap is not spoiler-free. Proceed at your own risk!
EPISODE ONE RECAP // EPISODE TWO RECAP // EPISODE THREE RECAP // EPISODE FOUR RECAP // EPISODE FIVE RECAP
Before we get into the main content, this episode kicks off with a cute (but completely skippable) vote on popularity categories (ie: best visual, etc). It’s over eighteen minutes long, so use that information as you will…
Then, we move into the dance units deciding their group names and starting to work together in preparation of the competition. These segments give me major Produce 101 flashbacks, where deciding on a center and leader and main vocal seemed to take forty-five minutes each episode. I really think most K-pop variety/survival shows could be vastly improved by capping their running time at one hour sharp. Show us the best bits. You don’t have to show us every little decision.
These behind-the-scenes moments are largely structured to introduce the ladies from the Street Woman Fighter series, who act as mentors/coaches for the dance units. Way to get that cross-promotion, MNET!
Seriously, though… by the time we get to the dance units previewing their choreo for the “interim assessment” (not even the main performance), we’re already about forty-five minutes into the episode. The producers are draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagging this out to the nth degree. I definitely wouldn’t blame anyone whose finger may hover over their fast forward button. Mine certainly was!
After these interim assessments, we had the preliminary voting from the contestants. The winning teams were allowed to choose the order of performances. On a purely biased note, I was happy to see Brave Girls’ teams winning both of the votes. I don’t think it’s that consequential, but they needed the boost of confidence after a few disappointing weeks.
Now, after an hour of spinning our wheels, the episode finally kicks into gear with the unit competitions.
UNIT BATTLE: VOCAL
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.
3. Team Sun & Moon – Don’t Go (EXO)
We’ve got members of Kep1er and LOONA together for this one, and I can’t say I’m too familiar with the vocal talents of either group. But, they picked my favorite song of the three units. I’m a big fan of female acts covering male songs, and vice versa. This switch-up automatically ensures the performance won’t simply be copy-and-paste.
This unit’s behind-the-scenes package highlights harmony, but we don’t hear much of it during the actual performance. It comes in brief jolts, and they’re beautiful but oh-so-short. I wish the arrangement felt more daring because the girls sound great together. They switched things up a bit toward the end, but this was a pretty faithful, safe rendition that was never ambitious enough to result in the kind of show-stopping moments Queendom thrives on.
1. (TIE) Team 33 – To My Youth (BOL4)
We’ve got Hyolyn and Brave Girls’ Minyoung on this one – easily my most-anticipated pairing. Poor Brave Girls keep getting the pity edit from the producers, with Minyoung’s cough kicking off this behind-the-scenes package, followed by a focus on her struggles with self-confidence. It’s also a much shorter video than the other teams. I guess Queendom realizes Hyolyn doesn’t need any extra promo time to do well.
“Sincerity” seems to be the keyword for this performance. My jaded self is less-apt to be pulled in by these kind of emotive performances, but dang Hyolyn can sell a song. Minyoung is no slouch in this department either, and it’s great hearing her sing in a more unguarded style. I love the contrast between these two vocal tones. They’re quite different, yet complimentary in an unexpected way. The simple staging drove home the emotion and I can see how this would be many viewers’ favorite of the three performances. I think it’ll end up winning the round, and deservedly so.
I’m actually going to have a tie this week, because objectively I think this is the best stage but it’s probably not the one I would go back and watch again for pure entertainment.
1. (TIE) Team Galaxy Embracing the Universe – Hold My Hand (IU)
This unit is a combination of members from WJSN and VIVIZ. These two groups seem so well-matched, and they’ve got Yeonjung whose voice I really like. Their behind-the-scenes package emphasizes the song’s killing point — a vital element to any memorable Queendom performance. This part ends up going to VIVIZ’s Eunha, who’s getting some good opportunities to stand out during this series.
The team was wise to choose a more upbeat track, which helped them differentiate themselves from their competitors. The staging was great – especially when they brought it out to the audience. You don’t always get much movement from vocal-heavy performances, but this one really delivered momentum.
I also liked how powerful the vocals were. There wasn’t a ton of interplay between the three voices, but they each got a chance to stand out. And, of course, we had that trademark Yeonjung power note. She was always going to deliver the most explosive moments, but Eunha and Soobin more than held their own, making this a very consistent and engaging stage. It was a joy to watch. Very uplifting.
AND… THAT’S IT!
I mean… come on! A 130-minutes long episode and we don’t even get to the dance units?
The Avengers have saved the whole universe in the space of that running time. We get three vocal performances and call it a day? You’re receiving major side-eye from me, MNET…
Who were the special judges for ep 6 ?
I don’t know if they ever said. From what I remember, they just said “they will be revealed.”
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EXO song – Pleasant. The heavy backing harmonies help. There are a few sung harmonies too which are a nice touch.
IU song – Yeon Jung does something very interesting here for kpop: she goes sharp. Uncorrected sharp in post-production, no less. Every single time the high note of the song hits the E5, she is a semitone sharp at F5. Then when the song changes key up a half step, and she screams out A Big Note, loudly, that note is also a semitone sharp. Well, at least she is consistent. The rest of it is a bit mismatched for a trio, but with all the flowerly stuff going on, who can tell.
Bol4 song: So the song is basic, but perform the shit out of it and it seems holy cow wow. A bit mismatched as well, because Hyolyn sings in that breathy affected style that is shorthand in kpop for an emotional song, while the other girl has to carry the rest of the song in a regular singing voice and she goes flat often enough.
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“the other girl”… c’mon he literally wrote it in the post
Apologies, I really don’t know most group members names. I would be hard pressed to name even, say, all members of EXO. I’d get half, then maybe another one, and … yeah that’s about it.
But since you mentioned it. (rant rant rant) I feel like Hyolyn could have been more supportive with Minyoung on the actual performance. Hyolyn was there on the floor getting all emotive and only half-singing half-breathing, and with all the lighting and the white shirt, it was staged to look like the more important part of the performance when it was the easy part. And there was Minyoung who is not as experienced being up there alone on a stage with only herself and a microphone and carrying the Actual Song. Singing her heart out. Hyolyn finally gets up off the floor, stands next to her and sings one high note ending it messily, and gets the glory.
Then I think back to my best moment of Kingdom was watching Eunkwang with the two kids who are nervous because they do not often have to stand alone on a stage with nothing but a microphone. And how generous Eunkwang was with the performance, how much he supported the boys. He starts it off nice and easy, knocks the early nerves off, they sing together, they look at each other so its not just a microphone and big stage. The boys were never alone. And it was gorgeous.
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I still really enjoyed the performance. However, that’s an interesting point you’re bringing up. In the behind-the-scenes stuff we did see a ton of Hyolyn supporting Minyoung, but in the performance they were far apart from one another and Minyoung hasn’t had many solo opportunities. I guess they could’ve made it less isolating, but maybe that approach was for supporting the lyrics? I don’t know; My korean isn’t good enough. Really interesting point though.
Also thank you for reminding me to watch the kingdom performances. I keep putting that off
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Love Poem is an interesting point of contrast and it’s so nice to revisit that stage after a year! Especially since I wasn’t a fan of Stray Kids back then, and now I am 🙂
The harmonies are so lovely, and Eunkwang is a lovely hyung. SKZ Seungmin was clearly so happy and proud to perform like that, it’s so nice to watch 🙂
Whoever officially wins Queendom 2, it seems Hyolyn will be the real winner by the end, her fandom has gotten a real push from the show.
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My biased Orbit self would definitely have Kep1er and LOONA as my favourite performance here. I love how their voices sound together, and this is the cover I see myself going back to most often and definitely my favourite original song pick too.
Objectively though I have no issue admitting this isn’t the best performance. It’s a good stage, hell that Youngeun tear.. she was selling it! And it would make a great end-of-year show collab stage or something… but I’m not convinced that this is dazzling enough for Queendom. For a round that completely focuses on vocals rather than show-stopping stage trickery, this played it far too safe. Not that I blame any of the girls for this, but I would’ve liked to see how LOONA faired with a different team with some more mature vocalists – Kep1er bring a fresh youthful sound vocally, which is all very pretty to the ear, but not quite outstanding enough (yet!) to go up against powerhouses like Minyoung and Hyolyn on a competition show. And whilst I’m not familiar with Kep1er’s vocalists on a technical level, I’m more than certain that the strong unit LOONA presented could’ve definitely amped it up a few notches and properly shown off their respective skills if paired with another team.
Hyolyn and Minyoung are the clear winners here without a doubt.
My predictions for next weeks episode is a LOONA & Brave Girls win for dance unit, giving Brave Girls that 5k points. Of course there’s the second part of round 3 that could change things, which we then have to week ANOTHER week for.. and that will probably be split across 2 episodes too. MNET sure are dragging the hell out of this and its not even the wait where you anticipate the next episode, considering it takes an hour and a half to get to the performances with all the filler shite they pack in to run the view time up.. -__-
Personally, I like EX-IT team the most, but I think LOONA and Brave girls’ have the best dance
I actually watched the episode this time lol
Quickly remembered why I don’t do that…
This was by far the easiest round to rank so far
3. Sun and moon (Loona &kep1er)
Boring, I wasn’t moved at all
2.Galaxy that embraces the universe (viviz &WJSN)
I liked the staging and the song, but it’s a vocal battle. Those harmonies should’ve
been done live. It’s still my speed in style though
1. 33(Hyolyn & Minyoung)
If you disagree, you’re a liar. Just kidding! like what you like. However, I was moved
by their performance and loved hearing their vocals like this. Minyoung singing so
richly was new for me, I associate her voice with high note and belting. Same with
Hyolyn, I can’t recall hearing her sound so vulnerable. Loved this duo!
If I’m honest it was hard to tell what was sung live and what wasn’t
It was hard to tell. I decided after a few listens to not bother.
That said, my guess would be live live, as there were enough bum notes here and there on everyone’s performances. Usually if it is prerecorded, those notes get pitch corrected, and none of them did. Even live live often get pitch-corrected in post-production, so it was shocking to not hear any at all.
That said, someone on youtube did a complete rundown of all the Queendom 1 stages, and out of some 20 or so stages, only one Mamamoo stage, once, was live live. The rest were all lipsynced over the studio recording or prerecorded on stage mics with occasional sung live phrases. Someone will probably do the same for Q2 eventually.
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I watched the same Queendom 1 analysis video, was very informative. I’m also guessing this round was fairly live, which is much appreciated.
is the only live live performance of mamamoo the one when solar slipped? when they did a cover of AOA?
because if it isn’t then hands down to kpop hahaha for being able to pre-plan/ lipsync even stage accidents. or maybe they only added the accident sound post-production.
I’ve that same video, I just never clicked on it. I’ll check it out. I hope to see that analysis for Q2 aswell
Hyolyn and Minyoung take this by far for me. Their vocals paired with the emotional lyrics…I cried with them. It reminds me of the Eunkwang/Seungmin/Jongho performance of Love Poem from Kingdom…beautiful and my favourite performance from the show.
I would put Yeonjung/Soobin/Eunha at 2nd, I really enjoyed the song choice and staging, very uplifting performance as Nick said. The Kep1er/Loona performance was enjoyable, but very safe and did not compare to the other two unfortunately.
Dance units…I’m hoping Brave Girls/Loona take it. Not just because I really want Brave Girls to take as many points as they can get at this point but also because I’m already really impressed from what I’ve seen so far. I don’t know why it was the song + choreo that all the groups wanted to avoid, I liked it the most. I’m also really liking Monika’s mentoring – she’s strict on them but she really really wants them to win, and I’m hoping they do.
As a side note, I’m not too upset about the pacing of the performances. Sure I would have liked to see the dance units this episode, but we still have 3 episodes to go before the finale and so 3 performances an episode seems reasonable enough to me (ep 7 – 3 dance units, ep 8 – 3 fan-picked performances, ep 9 – other 3 fan-picked performances, ep 10 – finale). Though I guess if they had picked up the pace more we would have enough time for another round even, or just less episodes. Ah well.
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I also didn’t get why they avoided desire. Maybe it was the difficulty, or it’s an image they aren’t too fond of showing
this is the one time i actually don’t know what to comment…
had a long ass comment for last round’s performances but in this one everyone just disappointed me so much i am just sitting. the performances aren’t that good in general.. i know that sounds harsh and maybe i had too high expectations though, i really liked both of kingdom’s performances last season (especially eunkwang’s, jongho’s and seungmin’s). everyone in queendom 2’s vocal teams seems just very not-one-team and they seem like they’re trying so hard to stand out on their own.. like girl… this isn’t produce 101.. even loona and kep1er who promised us some harmonies only did it sparsely. i think the one that’s least of a disappointment is wjsn and viviz team for me, possibly because the songs they sang in the interim assessment and in the actual performance are different and i didn’t expect them to choose a more upbeat song.
regardless, i’m sure they all worked hard for their performances and i appreciate it. hoping the dance teams are gonna be more exciting than this!
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I think it’s normal for vocal performances to be a bit of a snooze compared to dance performances. And this was an all-vocal episode… I don’t think they split them up like that in Kingdom. Plus, there was no failed high note to give us all jitters like with SF9 last season lol….
Was worried that this round would be disappointing but was pleasantly surprised. imo the “galaxy embracing the universe” team had the best performance, followed by team 33.
I wish that they would release the studio versions of these songs. Especially Hold my hand, which has such an amazing arrangement