I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers for the final episode before I can watch a subbed version, so suffice it to say this weekend was hard. In an effort to curb my curiosity, I’m committing myself to finishing all my recaps. And for those of you who are catching up, there’s still plenty of drama to come. The first eliminations were fairly predictable, but the second ones have a lot of surprises. It’s not that hard to figure out who survives (for the most part), but determining the actual rankings is a real guessing game.
I’m not exaggerating: six out of seven groups we see tonight will discuss who is center to some degree. And almost half of them will have much more than a talk. I certainly understand why everyone wants to be center, but I forgot how vicious it gets sometimes. Drama aside, this episode has some really interesting moments. A lot of trainees really start to separate themselves from the rest, and there are some really moving performances.
The position evaluation is probably my favorite part of the competition. It’s the point where many potential favorites start to shine. We start to have a sense of who these trainees are and who we want in the final group. Up until now, I haven’t had my own version of the Top 11. I had about four trainees I definitely wanted in the group, but that was it. After watching the position evaluation, I have a much clearer idea about who I think – and hope – will make the cut.
A few short months ago, many people (myself included) were a little skeptical of this new season of Produce 101. But now the male version is popular beyond a doubt: 24,690,000 votes were counted for this first round of eliminations! You know it’s trendy when the votes total half the population of South Korea. Now I imagine a lot of those are the same people voting at every interval they can, but that’s still a very impressive number. I thought that the results were going to be pretty predictable – after all, a 3,000 vote benefit is a significant difference. But the rankings aren’t as easy to guess as you’d think!
Sometimes I feel like I have a love-hate relationship with Twice. I really like them, but I get frustrated because I think JYP isn’t using them to their full potential (the agency, not the person). They have catchy songs, appealing personalities, and stunning visuals – but we all know that by now. I wanted to see them try something new, and it seemed like JYP was more and more determined to stick to what works. “Signal” isn’t exactly the radical change I was hoping for, but it’s different enough from their previous hits that I’ll take it. It’s not their best song so far, but it’s super cute and pretty darn fun.
Concepts are very big in K-pop, but they can also be very tricky. Rookie groups often struggle to find one that works, and veteran groups might consider them limiting. Vixx, however, has turned concepts into their greatest asset. Part of their popularity comes from their ability to bring their ideas to life. The concept is the foundation of their comeback, and because of that everything else falls perfectly into place. I always look forward to Vixx’s comebacks, and “Shangri-la” definitely doesn’t disappoint. It’s lush and gorgeous, showing off their stellar sense of aesthetics and penchant for visual storytelling.