It is time we crown the next Queen of KPOP through the second season of Queendom. Following the success of Queendom Season 1 (which crowned Mamamoo as the winner), Road to Kingdom (which gave The Boyz a one way ticket to the next competition) and Kingdom: Legendary War (which crowned Stray Kids as the winner), Queendom is officially back with six new female participants. This season sees WJSN (Cosmic Girls), LOONA, Brave Girls, Kep1er, VVIZ and Hyolyn battle it out for the Queendom title, while Taeyeon (from SNSD) takes the helm as MC this time around.
As I have reviewed part of Queendom, all of Road To Kingdom and Kingdom: Legendary War, I will also be reviewing the stages of Queendom 2, recapping the high caliber performances from each round and also putting forward my thoughts on what the ranking should have been for that round.
Round 1 – Representative Song Battle
In this round, the groups are to perform a revamped version of one or two of their past hits. As part of these revamped versions of past hits, the groups also had the opportunity to bring them to life with never seen before stages.
In Queendom 2, the rankings were decided by three main criteria: audience votes, global fan votes and assessment from other Queendom 2 acts (i.e. their fellow competitors). These votes and assessments were tallied, and the act with the most points emerged as the winner of this round. The official results of that will be shown at the end of this post, along with my personal ranking from this round.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, LOONA was forced to rank sixth in this round as they could not perform with the other acts, and hence was not able to gain points from the audience or their fellow competitors. As a result, it was decided that the group would default to the last position for this round. However, as I am doing this review way after the airing date of this round, I will be including LOONA in my personal ranking for this round.
I will be reviewing the performances based on who went first, and will be looking at song arrangement, concept and choreography for this round.
Time For The Moon Night + Rough – GFriend
It is sad to just see only three members of VIVIZ perform Time of the Moon Night and Rough on stage. But at the same time, I am happy to see that the GFriend lives on. Especially when Rough came on, that was great nostalgia. I love the additional strings in both Time For the Moon Night and Rough, which helps transitions between the two songs, but also bring together the two halves of the performance. The intensity that came about from the mentioned transition was suspenseful and exciting. The electrical guitar in the bridge of the Rough section of the performance was just perfect, building off what was already present in the original song. Vocally, they didn’t stray from the original vocals. I did wish they did a bit more, just to give a fresh VIVIZ vibe to the performance. But instead, they rearrange who sang what since they are down three members. But nonetheless, VIVIZ did a good job with stable vocals. I also liked the slowed ending, dragging out the performance just for a little longer to make it a little more satisfying and to fit in with the concept of the stage.
For the stage concept, I liked how elegant and beautiful the trio looked on stage. They look like princesses on stage. Back when they debuted in 2015, they were schoolgirls. Then, they climbed to the top of the industry (i.e. the crown that Eunha dons), before that is thrown to the side and the group remerging as a new group (i.e. VIVIZ – no crown). Further evidence of them acknowledging their past is via the 09021601 we see at the end of the performance is a combination of their debut dates under GFriend and VIVIZ. A detailed analysis of their stage is in the comments section of the YouTube video, so give that a read. The actual choreography also adopted the beautiful and elegant nature I mentioned. They changed parts of the choreography to highlight this and freshen it up to make it their own, but also managed to maintain the same atmosphere as the original routines. I also enjoyed the electric guitar sequence in the choreography.
Touch My Body – Hyolyn
Hyolyn was the second act to perform in the round and I liked how she also went back in time to her Sistar’s day to pick one of group’s most successful tracks. But unlike VIVIZ’s performance, Hyolyn did change a lot of it. Her re-arrangement of Touch My Body is quite refreshing. She opens up the performance with waterfall and jungle sounds, before taking on a more tropical feel for the rest of the performance. Again, great nostalgia comes when Hyolyn begins sing Touch My Body, and I liked that she put her own twist on the lines and amps up at the end, showing her vocal prowess. I liked the dance break we got. The brass and the drum work fitted in with the vibrant colours that this version of Touch My Body was going for, and also helped build some momentum to the stage.
I like how she extends that jungle and tropical feel to the stage. From her green coloured outfit to the palm leaves held by the male dancers, the waterfall and tropical imagery on the screens, everything worked really well and cohesively with each other. My favourite bit of the stage has to be at the bridge of the song, where the flames come up, representing heat. In addition to the original Touch My Body routine, she definitely heated up the stage with the choreography for the dance break, which was energetic, sexy and extremely vibrant. I also have to commend Hyolyn on her charisma, which I think helped her stage dominate this round.
WA DA DA – Kep1er
Part of me wants to exclaim that this is how you do a remix. But when I think about the performance objectively, I feel like more could have been done to make this alternative version of WA DA DA more robust and dynamic. Let’s start off with the positives. Kep1er’s WA DA DA version on Queendom 2 had a much more powerful punch to it, which makes it so appealing. The dance break had a bombastic feel to it. I also liked how they transformed the chorus in something so much stronger. Sure, it still have that cutesy element as in the original that I still wish they get rid. But they did soften my dislike for that section with what they did on stage at this part (more on that later). Unfortunately, I feel like more could have been done with vocals and rapping. For this department, it felt too much like the original and I feel like this holds back this version of the stage. Just my opinion though.
I kind of like the race car concept they went with, though I do think the physical stage could have been a bit more engaging. It looked incredibly plain. I guess the other teams had more people or used more interesting backgrounds to ‘fill up the space’, whereas Kep1er’s stage felt empty and lackluster. The camera work was also a weak point. Some of it was awesome, but other parts looked a bit rubbish. The most positive aspect of the performance, however, was the choreography. I really like the first chorus, with the sharp side by side motions and circle motion they make with their arms (see video image below). The dance break was super intense and definitely showed a different side of Kep1er. Two things though – I wish there was a bit of refinement as it looked a bit messy (especially as the group get into their positions). And again, I wished the cutesy vibes were less prevalent to match the performance’s more powerful manner.
Chi Mat Ba Ram + Rollin’ – Brave Girls
Brave Girl’s stage started off powerful, going with a militaristic start. After all the members were introduced, they revamped Chi Mat Ba Ram with a sensual R&B vibe, before changing the chorus with a techno backing before back to the original version of Chi Mat Ba Ram. The militaristic start and then sensual R&B returns for the dance break, which I thought was dynamic and rather cool. And then the performance jumps into the tropical version of Rollin’. Personally, I wished they went with a different version of Rollin’, simply because this tropical version has been done so many times before. They should have delivered something a little more original during the Rollin’ part of this performance. Like Kep1er’s comment about vocals, I also wished the vocals were changed up a bit. This would have made the arrangement a little more robust and exciting.
As for the stage, I really liked the blue on black they had going on through their outfits and on the screens behind then. It looked stylish. When it came to Rollin’, the multicolour shards of light on the screen looked quite cool, as well. I do wish the props weren’t cheap looking (i.e. the pieces of fabric that transitioned the performance from Chi Mat Ba Ram to Rollin’, and those fluoro-rods.). It just cheapens the performance and doesn’t put them in a good light. The powdered drums were cool though. As for the choreography, I liked the mixture of new and old. There was a nice balance there. The dance break was my favourite part, though, especially when they kicked the male dancers to the side. The sensual parts were also really good to watch.
As You Wish – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
Out of all the performances, I feel that WJSN’s was the most captivating to watch. And this is equally shared throughout the three departments – music, stage concept and choreography. The stage started off in a dramatic and intense fashion, which is very opposite to both the original and this version of As You Wish. Then, the members started their performance of As You Wish, which was both elegant and atmospheric. The ramp up to the chorus was really well done in the arrangement, and I liked how explosive the chorus was for this version of As You Wish. They replicated a similar set up for the second verse. The second chorus was substituted out for a very powerful instrumental break that enables the group to showcase a much more powerful side in their performance. We are then treated to a bridge, and the final chorus/outro, which started off slightly distorted. The vocals and rapping, while were similar to the original, gave off different appeals due to the different backings, and I thought this was amazingly fine.
I personally do not know what the concept specifically is. But I guess stopping time might be a possibility, given the recuring hour glasses that was emptied. However, I have no clue what the context is. I quite like the aesthetic that the dancers brought to the stage. The various formations we find them in looked very intriguing. I also like how they were used to occupy the stage, while WJSN moved upstairs. As for WJSN’s choreography, the verses looked graceful, while the choruses featured the original. The dance break we got at the instrumental break is exactly how I described it above – powerful. But also refined, which matches with their style.
PTT (Paint The Town) – LOONA
It was a pity that LOONA was not counted for this round. Though, I am glad that LOONA still ended up performing their PTT stage though. For the most part, the song remains the same as the original. What I did like was the introduction and addition of Korean folk vocals and instruments. They definitely worked well with the original instrumentation, but also introduce a slightly different dynamic to the original version of PTT. I did like the instrumental break we got in the performance (i.e the dance break). The combination between the folk and synths created a very cool atmosphere. Like WJSN’s performance, the vocals work was pretty standard and like the original. But I think the music did enough to make it a different performance.
LOONA performed this version of PTT a week after Round 1 wrapped up. That is why the stage for this performance is different to the other contenders. I did think they made good use of what they had, though I wished we got to see a version on the Round 1 stage. I really liked their outfits (so bold) and the Korean folk elements they brought to the stage via the screen and props. For me the most riveting part has to be Olivia Hye pulled out the hair sticks to allow her hair to fall down. That looked really cool, and left a super strong impression on me that was memorable. The camera transition between Yeojin and Yves was really cool. Again, the choreography was very like the original. And once again, Olivia Hye’s solo part in the dance break was the best part of the stage.
And This Round’s Winner Is…
One round in and I can’t want to see the rest of what these groups/acts have in store for us! Each act bought a lot to the stage and their own charm, and so it was difficult to choose a winning performance. This is going to be one tough competition.
As mentioned twice already, I will be including LOONA in my personal rankings, which will ultimately help decide my pick for the winner of Queendom 2. I have also compared my personal ranking to the official Queendom 2 ranking below.
|Position||Official Queendom 2 Ranking||KPOPREVIEWED’s Personal Ranking|
|5||Brave Girls||Brave Girls|
Up next: Queendom 2 – Round 2 – Cover Song Battle – Ep. 3 & 4