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.
This episode continues the head to head matches. Although MNET tries to ramp up the drama, it’s fairly predictable. Approximately ten out of twelve groups have one member with one problem, but ultimately it never affects any the performances. It’s still pretty entertaining though, because we finally get to see all of the trainees in action instead of a select favored few.
Well, as per usual I’m about a month behind. I’m fairly up to date on actually watching the episodes. It’s just that the process of typing and editing my notes is a little more involved than I anticipated. But I have notes done for Episodes 3 through 6, so hopefully I can zoom through these pretty quickly and catch up. In this episode, all of the trainees get their final rankings and the first real evaluation begins. And the timing couldn’t be better, because I’m starting to want to learn more about these trainees and see who has what it takes to be Top 11.
April was one of those months where everyone and their mother had a comeback. There was so much music that it was definitely hard to keep up! For someone so multifandom as I am, it got pretty overwhelming. But the good part was that there was a lot of variety and that there was something for everyone. Though I stuck to the same few groups this month in terms of favorites, the ones that I chose had very different concepts and styles.
Is there anything K.A.R.D. can’t do? They’ve got an international following most K-pop groups would kill to have, and they haven’t even officially debuted yet! Who’d have thought six months ago that they’d be popular enough to tour the Americas? I was already on board with them back when they came out with “Oh Na Na,” but I find myself liking them more and more with every comeback. Personally, I think “Rumor” is their best track yet.
I’ve mentioned before that my main focus with SF9 is (or was) their dancing, because they’ve been pushed as FNC’s first male dance group. As long as their choreography is great, I was satisfied – I didn’t mind if other elements weren’t as interesting. But SF9 is pushing themselves, and “Easy Love” shows that they’re capable of much more than snazzy synchronized moves. In fact, this comeback has convinced me that they’re probably a group to watch out for.