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// EPISODE SIX RECAP // EPISODE SEVEN RECAP
We begin this week with a seven (!) minute recap of the last round. Trust me, MNET, those of us who have committed to this show have already seen these results in excruciating detail. A thirty-second reminder would suffice.
Speaking of over-long introductions, the actual kick-off of this round doesn’t emerge until (checks notes)… forty-three minutes into the episode. I mean…
some product placement a shopping spree with fashion brand “Nerdy,” endless behind-the-scenes fan meet filler and the most comprehensive rehashing of rankings and scores you could imagine, Queendom finally moves back to full-group performances. It’s not a moment too soon. The series lost a ton of momentum over the past two-and-a-half episodes and the unit stages were largely forgettable.
FANtastic Queendom Round
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. Kep1er – The Boys
I’m not sure we can expect a hyper-edited, bombastic series like Queendom to be a pillar of fairness, but it’s definitely sketchy that Kep1er got to perform a song by another artist this round. The Boys is a stone cold classic from a legendary group, far from the b-side or CF track some of their competitors have been tasked with. I mean, if you’re going to bend the rules and come on Queendom with literally two original songs to your name, I think it’s realistic to choose from those two songs.
Those gripes aside, this was a pretty cool mix of the track. At times, it threatened to strip away most of the personality of the original, but I appreciated the energy. Kep1er did a fine job with the material, though nothing about their performance stood out as quintessentially them. The aggressive percussion of the finale made for a nice touch. They definitely have potential. However, I had hoped Queendom would be an opportunity to see what makes them unique. So far, most of their stages feel solidly performed but highly derivative.
2. VIVIZ – Bop Bop
See Kep1er? VIVIZ only have a couple tracks to their name as well, but they picked one of their own to rearrange. I like Bop Bop just fine, though there’s not a ton you can do with it when it comes to remixes. This version kept the energy of the original and beefed it up a bit. I liked the addition of brass and the percussion had a nice kick to it.
We’ve seen this kind of school concept many times already — both in Queendom and Kingdom. It’s always fun, but this performance could have done with more innovative staging. The drumline aspects had potential and the dance breaks were the strongest moments. But overall, this was a little busy, with lots of things going on at once that seemed tangentially related. On a pure enjoyment level, it’s probably tied with Kep1er’s stage. But, I’ll give VIVIZ a small bump for performing their own song.
1. WJSN – Pantomime
WJSN have a wealth of great b-sides to choose from, and Pantomime is one of their standouts. Good job, fans! You chose well. This is member Bona’s first Queendom performance with the group, and they’ve made it a memorable one. This was easily the best stage of the night, and the only one that had a specific vision. I mean, they brought a light show, aerial stunts and a chair dance.
I’m usually not a fan of these jazzy reinventions, but WJSN really pulled it off. The arrangement and staging fused together elements of Broadway, burlesque and Vegas to create a highly entertaining show. The actual song got a little lost in all the sonic switch-ups, but for once I didn’t mind too much. I don’t think this quite lives up to LOONA’s excellent Shake It cover, but the girls were definitely giving that stage a run for its money. It feels like they’ve become real dark horses in this competition.
AND… THAT’S IT!
You know the drill. Next week’s performances will combine with this week’s for my final ranking. Stay tuned! I certainly hope the remaining groups have more exciting ideas up their sleeves.
Kepl1er “The Boys”: Meh
An extremely recognizable song given the “oomph” treatment to give it some extra stage presence, but (with the exception of a couple of members) still ended up feeling like I was watching a high school talent show. The group singing was pitchy and unharmonious. The dancing was fine, there was still some unevenness when the camera zoomed out. They should’ve went with a less iconic song because they were punching above their weight class on this challenge. I could see them nailing something like RVs “Dumb, Dumb”, KARA “Step Up”, or (if they wanted to stick with SNSD) “Catch Me If You Can” or a slightly sped up version of “You Think”. I don’t know. I’m spit ballin’ at this point.
NOTE: Speaking of which, can MNet please stop filming these stages like they’re shooting a music video? This is a group competition so we need to see.. ..you know.. ..the group. Go to any concert, theater production, or other staged gathering and the audience gets to soak up the entire experience. We get closeups and instant replays galore.
VIVIZ “Bop Bop”: Eh
Whenever I see a drumline, I instantly recall “BANG!”, and for good reason; After School really leaned into it. This performance, I found myself asking why they chose to involve the drums at all. I get they were going with a general high school atmosphere, but.. ..eh, never mind. Anyways, there was more personality in this stage from the girls than what Kep1er brought, and I enjoyed watching it more, so it gets rated higher.
WJSN “Pantomime”: Yeah!
I’ve been harsh on these girls until now. Part of that is because I was really looking forward to them being on this season and up until now they’ve been trying to cram how mature they’ve become down my throat rather than lavish me with the magic that made me fall for them in the first place. This stage makes up for a lot of that. Yes, Pantomime is from their modern arsenal, but the performance utilized a light curtain presentation of all of the magic from “Secret”, a few jazz brushstrokes, some glitz, and a little Cirque du Soleil; with some creative choreo. So.. ..bravo, girls, bravo.
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Ummm i think there was no rule that they should only perform their own songs in this round since its fan’s choice ……?
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Yeah, that’s correct! The only rule was that each group had to consult with their fans about what song to perform. There was no rule saying that you had to perform your own song. Though I agree that “The Boys” while a legendary song, was a poor song choice for Kep1er. Not sure why their fans wanted them to perform an SNSD song in particular when there are so many other songs by other artists that would have fit them better.
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Just because there’s no rule for it doesn’t make it any less distasteful and unfair
There’s no “Unfairness” when every other group could’ve grabbed other songs too lmao, and if MNET or the audiences truly thinks that it’s unfair they could’ve explicitly stated it after Bom sang Taeyang’s Eyes, Nose, Lips, back in S1 or that Bom and AOA brought special guests on their Fandora’s. Let’s be real here, realistically speaking I can’t see any way for Kep1er to get anything but 6th if they’re forced to take any GP999 or Kep1er songs (GP999’s version of Snake is already good) this round.
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That last part clearly shows the unfairness. Them having so little songs isn’t a good reason for them to pick a legendary one from an iconic group. They went on the show with everyone involved knowing how small their discography is. It’s unfair, perform your own song. Bom using Taeyang’s song was also unfair but at least it was someone from her old company (the one she got recognition with). Special guests are a different story entirely. If kep1er gets a low placement, then that’ll be a lesson for everyone in this round for future seasons. (Bom and AOA got 5th and 6th….)
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I think it’s good they ask them to sing live but the result is pretty disapointing. Eun-Ha is the lead vocal in VIVIZ but sounded the worse. The background music was too minimalist and the choreo too strong for her. This show put forward how some members are protected by the talent of the some members who, alone are pretty weak.
Bona should have been there from the first episode, she’s one of the strongest performer of her group for me. But I’m not fan of the rap parts of their songs.
For Kep1er, it was just one of the performance in a Mnet show. They don’t really have an identity. They’re kinda a cover song group for now.
Yeah eunha has a good voice but I don’t know what’s going on with her on queendom. What you said about kep1er is the problem with every group formed from a survival show, lack of identity. You nailed it on the head.
Last place for the audio quality. The audio sounded like it was recorded on a 5 year old cell phone set to low blips because, yanno, old phone.
The winner again is the Broadway – Vaudeville – Movie musicale concept. Every time a girl or boy group does this, it always turns out well. Or well enough.
I agree whatever kind of edition they are doing is awful.
I really not sure of what to think about the vocal quality of the whole show, till this moment only Hyolyn and Brave Girls have delivered stable vocals all the time.
Maybe WJSN too but I hated their Navillera rendition and I can not go over it yet and Loona has not managed to catch me.
Viviz I know they can pull it off, they have done it before in Gfriend so I give them the benefit of the doubt. Still I hope they are geting more vocal lessons for they to keep developing as singers.
Kep1er… They are improving and it is all I am going to say about them.
Stable vocals mean nothing. Hyolin regressed and whenever she tries to hit notes it’s a screech and strain. Brave girls strain as well, they got benefited from mnet because the original audio of their performances is horrible, out of key and full of strain.
What I wanted to say, but got lazy to correct, was that their songs were the ones that sounded better delivered.
I know nothing about music so I can only give the point of view of a casual listener but I noticed Mnet id editing things according to an agenda so I belive you.
I don’t think any of the groups have given great vocal performances on this show. Though some of it might be the girls themselves with lack of experience singing live live while dancing, for this whole show I just don’t think Mnet has as good audio engineers as other broadcast companies. KBS in particular does a great job of helping great singers sound even better on Immortal Songs and Yu Huiyeol’s. MBC also does a good job on King of Masked Singer.
All Korean music shows have some amount of post-production polish including pitch correction. To hear a truly live vocal, you have to go to the radio shows or Knowing Brothers. This show here, it sounds like they are doing minimal post-production polish. The obvious bum notes are tweaked, though somehow not EunHa’s sharp notes on the IU song. (I guess most people can only hear flat notes?) But also, the fundamental audio recording is just not good. Whatever mics they have, however the audio board is set-up, it just isn’t good quality.
Hyolyn follows the performing tradition known as “if it is louder, it must be better”. For the middle of her range which is just about all the verses and most of the chorus it works out great! It sounds powerful with full lungs. Then the higher notes in a chorus come around and she just yells it out, and it is loud, so it must be good, right? No, not really, it is just yelled out, sometimes in tune, usually not, sometimes corrected, sometimes not. It gets glossed over by the average viewer because she is following that other performing tradition known as “selling the shit out of the song”, at which she truly excels.
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Eh, think I like kep1er’s performance the most from this episode. Maybe the bar for them is too damn low for me? Wjsn performance is great, but I’m not the biggest fan of the song choice. Viviz, oh my dear! There is not a single performance from them on queendom ever satisfy me. It was a disappointment after disappointment after disappointment again. I blame the amount of members they currently have, and partly blame the fact that Yuju is not there to save their lack of power vocal.
Just watched the clips on YouTube
They have my favorite song of the round, and the original is already so epic you’d think they’d have a leg up. This was just disappointing. I actually liked lovelyz’s performance of “sixth sense” so I knew it was just kep1er and not “well it’s not the original so it’s bad”. How live this was is very questionable (all of them were but this was the only one in which I thought “girl, you ain’t singin'”). The girls hardly move their mouths at some parts. Didn’t like the arrangement at all, so generic. Also, the original choreography was so good because SNSD aren’t going at 100 the entire time. It results in them being cooler and more charming. Newer kpop groups are always trying to outdo each other by doing more which actually makes the performances less engaging and more samey (as the style of dance doesn’t change much either). I think Kepler did too much with the choreography. They also don’t have the vocal arsenal of SNSD. This is the problem with doing such a great song, you can’t escape comparisons to the original so you have to make it different or make it better. Kep1er is still talented but even with 9 members they’re no SNSD.
I really liked the choreography for this stage and the school concept, while a bit tired, was fun. I feel like viviz kinda proved my point regarding leaving breathing room so the charm can shine through. Eunha still wasn’t giving me enough. All that said a fun song like bopbop should have a fun stage and I really enjoyed this whole thing even sinb’s sassy ponytail dance break.
Honestly, it’s really the beginning that gets them first place. It fits their concept and the song (maybe not the outfits though). I’m not really familiar with “pantomime”. I only listened to it because someone in the comments before seemed excited about it last recap. It’s a good song, I just don’t have a connection to it. I loved the spectacle that the girls presented and I feel like I was really enjoying them as performers for the first time in the competition. If there’s one thing I could see as a negative is that breakdown where they become dolls, killed the momentum. Also, the Performance is hella chaotic, but I liked it that way.
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Haha, that was me that was excited about Pantomime. I was particularly excited because I was just very happy to see that the fans actually voted for a B-side, a great B-side at that which I really love. It’s nice to see that WJSN fans all agree on how good it is!
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I thought it was you Pikachu but I wasn’t sure lol. It’s definitely a good song and it’s impressive that they had such a grand performance with a b side. In the future, it’d be cool if everyone had to do b sides
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I think I enjoyed all 3 of the performances this time, but my ranking is the same as yours, WJSN > Viviz > Kep1er.
I don’t really mind Kep1er picking The Boys, as I think its both an advantage to have a legendary song and also a disadvantage with all the comparisons. For context, they’ve performed a cover of it before (I think), so that’s why its this song seemingly randomly instead of some other song. And of course, any competitor could go with a cover this round, so it’s not like they were being given special treatment – it just happens that their discography is so small that the fans ran out of stuff to choose from 😂.
Anyways, performance wise, it was fine, but it just didn’t really stand out. Seems like a standard cover stage, not something on Queendom. I found Viviz’s performance quite fun, and it had some standout moments, which I didn’t find the Kep1er performance to have. But WJSN’s stage was definitely the highlight, loved the light show at the beginning, the stunts…quite the spectacle. I love Pantomime, so I was so happy to see that the fans chose it – a B-side at that too! It’s rare to see such a good B-side actually being loved by fans quite universally too. Unfortunately, while I always enjoy the sort of Broadway/musical concept, I didn’t like how the song got lost in the new arrangement – this might just be me loving the original though.
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i’m probably biased when i say this, but wjsn’s performance was undoubtedly the best, the first two minutes of it in particular were amazing. however, while i liked the song, i wasn’t looking forward to their performance of it because i didn’t think that it was suited for this show, but either way this performance was flawless so I’m pleasantly surprised.
regarding viviz’s performance, while it was a pretty overused concept i actually really liked it and thought it was cute. my only gripe is that the dance break kind of clashed with the rest of the song, but i still enjoyed the entire thing.
for kep1er, though, imo it’s their best one so far but it’s similar in quality to wjsn’s “navillera” performance (which i don’t think was necessarily bad, just…not the best). i don’t really have any complaints about it but it’s not very memorable to me and they could’ve rearranged it better.
I agree with nick’s ranking. None of these performances were bad, but I have to say that kep1 came off as weak vocally, and that’s even with whatever tweaking and editing was done. So that’s too bad.
WJSN pantomime was fabulous and I think it was the first time I’d seen them enjoy themselves on Queendom, which is hugely important! I hope they only go up from here.