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, VIVIZ 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.
Final Round – Live Comeback Stages
Every stage and performance over the past three rounds was working up towards the final episode, where the competitors of Queendom 2 were able to perform never heard before singles for the time to a live audience. These singles were released a week prior to the final episode in preparation for the final round.
Scores were still be calculated from the songs’ release and from the actual live stages to help determine the winner of the second season of Queendom. From its release digitally, the songs were already in competition with one another to see who could get the most streams on domestic music charts and globally through Spotify. YouTube views from their past performances from Queendom 2, votes from fans and audience votes from the night of the live performances were also calculated. These, in addition to the points the competitors had picked up from the three preliminary rounds, were into determining the final winner.
At the end of the final round, the winner was crowned. You can find out who won the Queendom 2 title at the end of this post.
Per usual, as part of my recap/review of the final stages, I will be looking at the song, concept and choreography of the final stages. You can find out who I thought should have won (or if I agree with who was crowned as the winner) at the end of this post, as well.
Waka Boom (My Way) – Hyolyn ft. Lee Young Ji
First up is Hyolyn, and Waka Boom, which begins with a fierce militaristic and bold introduction. It isn’t exactly original, but it definitely does get the adrenaline pumping. The rest of the song continues a similar reliance on percussion which was very ‘in your face’ and actually felt overwhelming at times. As for vocals, we get a few different styles of delivery from the soloist, such as a rap-spoken style at the start where her tone felt like she was teasing us slightly, powerful vocals in the verse, and a more standard and blander tone for the chorus. However, Hyolyn shines the best during the pop melody centric parts that form part of the pre-chorus and during her high notes (her high note just before Lee Young Ji’s sequence was my favourite for its clean and sharp execution). On the topic of Lee Young Ji, her deeper tone rapping matched up well with this fierce style and I like the colour she brought to Waka Boom. The hooks weren’t great, not as memorable, and I think they didn’t get an opportunity to shine due to the instrumentation. Overall, a powerful start. But not really my cup of tea.
Hyolyn starts the performance with a bold entrance fitting for royalty and fittingly begins performing Waka Boom on the throne. She subsequently delivers a powerful stage with a very large emphasis on the gold colour (also fitting). The rest of the performance was quite fierce, with the dancers hyping up the performance as well as performing the choreography. Lee Young Ji also features on stage, and I liked her idea of having her travel from the other competitors to the stage. Her participation in the choreography also helped add fierceness to the stage. I like that Hyolyn also finishes up with cool crown (though less horns would have been appreciated) and a waterfall on the screen, which throws us back to the first round during Touch My Body. This performance’s wow moment was when Hyolyn dropped from the platform. It was no low drop, as she as raised quite high. My only complaint is that the male dancers could have worn something that didn’t give off the impression that the budget ran out.
AURA – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
AURA begins with an atmospheric and scenic narration. I didn’t find it add much to the audio, but it clearly helps out on stage. Anyhow, I felt the song was a bit weak in that it instrumentally felt lacking and doesn’t deliver much impact when I turn my attention to the other aspects of the song. I wished that the producers of AURA did something a little different to what WJSN usually does (given that it is for Queendom), but do enough with it to allow the song to be recognisable as a WJSN title track. What I did like in the song were the whistles, which acted as a memorable hook to the song and was quite stilling, and Yeonjung’s piercing vocals in the chorus and her soaring vocals in the bridge. I felt they added some much needed oomph to the stage, but more still needed. The weakest moment would have to be the rapping. Sorry Exy, but I didn’t like the start stop part of the sequence.
WJSN put their wow factor at the start of the performance with their use of drones. I always wondered when this day would come, given that we see it use to form spectacular display. WJSN’s drone start is by no means spectacular, but it was original. I also enjoyed the performance sequence following the narration/drone start. The harps made it super beautiful, while the rest of the music made it theatrical and cinematic. I like that the images behind the group, as they perform, appear to pay homage to their fantastical and mystical era of concepts. I also like the laser light display when the stage was displayed. As for the choreography, WJSN has a real knack for making their choreography graceful and elegant, yet powerful enough to be cool and trendy. I also really like their hand movements during the whistles.
THE GIRLS (Can’t Turn Me Down) – Kep1er
In the last round, Kep1er performed The Boys (a cover of SNSD’s hit). For the final round, they perform their original song, THE GIRLS (Can’t Turn Me Down). For the most part, THE GIRLS was a decent song. There was a lot of potential behind the verses, pre-choruses and bridge of the song. But the biggest let down of THE GIRLS was the choruses, which felt more like of a sad fizzle for me. There is no impact or memorable factor whatsoever with this chorus, which is usually the most prevalent part of a song and is known for being memorable. The instrumental break helped delivery some impact, but that was more so for the performance aspect rather than audio-wise. I would love to hear more of those brass in the first verse or the flowy melodies of the pre-chorus, as both could have really helped make THE GIRLS better for me. What caught my attention was that the lesser heard members of the group (i.e. Bahiyyh and Mashiro) had larger parts than usual in this song, which makes my soft spot for members who are overshadowed and overlooked happy.
If the performance nailed one thing, it has to be the introduction. When the members fanned out at the start and that fire appeared out of nowhere, it blew my socks off and I loved every second of it. I liked the simplicity of their outfits and wonder if their yellow soled shoes was a bit of a spoiler for their upcoming comeback. I also liked the part where they used the audience as the background of the performance. Choreography-wise, I thought the routine was decent. I liked the energy the rappers shared during the second verse and the dance break was expectedly bombastic. I also enjoyed the overall aesthetic when all the members were on top of the bleachers/steps and the dancers below them.
Red Sun! – VIVIZ
From what I have heard, Red Sun! was actually supposed to be a GFriend song in the past. But it was released under VIVIZ for Queendom 2 instead. I like that VIVIZ kept things original, moving away from the final stages reliance on synths and electronic elements. Instead, Red Sun! opts for jazzy and classically instrumented background which sets them apart from the competition for obvious reasons. I can see how the song could have been released under GFriend, but I feel some moments reminded me of IU’s Red Shoes (which I personally felt was cool, and potentially a nice nostalgic throwback) for the group. I did like how pleasant the vocals were and how they kept to the style of the song. The jazzy melodies were the best! However, since it is a competition, I did want some more powerful vocals in Red Sun!. A stunning and well rounded high note would have been appreciated, just to give Red Sun! that peak it needed. But overall, a very strong effort from VIVIZ!
VIVIZ’s stage takes on an Alice in Wonderland musical look, which I thought was really cool. But instead of Alice, the VIVIZ members were (obviously) the main characters for this adventure. I liked at the start, when they walked into the this alternative world, they emerged in colourful dresses, met some very tall men and had some playful interactions with some tea cups. I kind of wished there was more of these elements, just to continually bring the idea of a fairytale to the front of the performance. As it progressed, I felt this was unique and magical touch was lost and it turned the performance into an ordinary one. I also felt the producers for this stage could have added a wow factor the performance. Maybe some costume changes for the members (they were colourful, but they were painfully plain dresses). Or maybe a large drop of shiny confetti during the ‘rain’ scenes on the stage, just to give that illusion. As for the choreography for this stage, I felt it was elegant and graceful. And I quite liked how they moved about the stage, resembling a musical, which helps deliver the concept.
POSE – LOONA
When I first heard POSE in the snippet teaser that the show uploaded, POSE attracted my attention the most. But when I listen to POSE as a whole piece, that attraction seems to have been lost. I feel that POSE is similar to Kep1er’s THE GIRLS. Both songs had verses that had potential. In POSE, the verses had a sleek feel to it, which I think the group could have taken better advantage of when it comes to the performance (more on that later). But the choruses was the disappointing element. There is no impact to the chorus, and it was super weak here. However, POSE does take the edge a bit, simply because I think the chorus was consistent with the verses. Even during the final chorus and during the bridge, the song stayed consistent. Some points for that, but I wanted more. I think POSE could have been better had it changed momentum and kicked the energy by many notches. I was waiting for that kick to happen, but that never became fruitful. The rapping in POSE added a nice dynamic flavour to the song, while the vocals didn’t have much to it.
I think the ‘red carpet’ start of the performance could have been extended and been a more substantial component of the performance. Though I wished they modernised it to be more of a model’s catwalk, and then have LOONA crash the catwalk. I think this would have tied to the song’s sleeker profile to the performance a bit better than the five second of ‘red carpet’ that we did get. I did like how they used the red carpet set they had on stage as a walkway for the other members during the pre-choruses, though. I liked the hip-hop direction that the stage took with the outfits the members donned. But I think they could have sleeker with the outfits, just to work with the music a bit better. Also with the hip-hop in mind, I wished they had more b-boying and similar going on stage. They did hint towards it, but I wanted to see more substantial b-boying. Interestingly, the stage did incorporate some more energy as I had wanted in the song, via the dance break and in the ending. Why this was left out of the actual official audio? I don’t know, but I am glad the performance managed to incorporated it in.
Whistle – Brave Girls
Out of all the six songs, Brave Girls’ Whistle was catchiest and has what it takes to be a comeback track for the group. It is a summery and refreshing track, especially after all the synths from the other stages (aside from VIVIZ’s stage). The subtle guitar in the background gives off a beachy feel, while the whistles that featured in the instrumental made sense given the song’s title. I liked how solid the vocals were, and how good ‘Whistle, Whistle, Whi‘ hook was. I did think the formula/structure that formed Whistle was a bit ordinary (i.e. verse, chorus, rap verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, final outro), though that is why I think the song would make a good comeback track (or a side track, at least). I did think Whistle could have been more dynamic. Some more interesting vocal work or a touch more dynamic in the instrumental would not have hurt and helped take Whistle to the next level.
The beach theme that the stage had made a lot of sense, given the summery and beachy vibes that the song had. I like how it started with the end of their previous performance (i.e. last round’s rendition of Red Sun). I also thought it was clever for the members and dancers all had their hair hidden away in those straw hats. Them taking their hats off and allowing their hair to come down was actually a bit of a wow factor and seems like an original idea. Again, like in the previous performance, I would have loved to have heard the Latin influence as a second round of the post-chorus following the second chorus in the official audio. It had exactly what I wanted in terms of adding a bit more to the performance. Even the cringy ‘Oh My God‘ could have been added in, and I would have been happy. As for the choreography, I really liked their commitment with their bare feet. It just adds more value to the concept. In addition, I liked the added energy they had for the chorus, which helps makes this a more exciting song.
And This Round’s Winner Is…
As the saying goes, ‘leaving the best until last’. And I felt that was what was done on the night the finale aired. Whistle is my favourite track from the six competitors. Aside from VIVIZ’s song/stage and WJSN’s stage, I think the rest of the competition for this final round was fairly weak (and hence, disappointing) and didn’t live up to the standard that Queendom (season 1) or any of the Kingdom’s finale stages/songs had set. More excitement and original ideas were needed and I think the finale stages were the best time to pull out those aspects.
Below are the official rankings based on the scores from the final stages ONLY including YouTube views, streaming points and audience points, but not including any preliminary round points (that’s the next table). Next to them is who I thought should have won the round, had it been another round in the Queendom 2 competition (and not the final).
|Position||Official Queendom 2 Ranking||KPOPREVIEWED’s Personal Ranking|
And the overall winner of Queendom 2 is…
WJSN was crowned the winners of Queendom 2!! Congratulations to WJSN!
It was a bit of a shock, given the official rankings from the first two round clearly showed Hyolyn was the front runner for the title of Queendom 2. But things did take a turn in Round 3 when Brave Girls took the win overall, and in this final, where Hyolyn shockingly dropped to the bottom. LOONA perhaps could have taken the win this competition had their first round performance counted. But WJSN was fairly consistent in terms of ranking throughout the competition, never placing below 3rd place for the entire season.
Per usual, however, I have used my rankings from each episode (including EP.0) to calculate I think should have won. See if I agree below with the official rankings, or if I shake my final results with my personal rankings. And let me know if you agree with the show, my personal rankings or if you have a different order altogether of who should have won!
|Position||Official Queendom 2 Ranking||KPOPREVIEWED’s Personal Ranking|
Thank you for reading through my Queendom 2 posts. You can find a whole list of them down below (and at the end of each post). Unfortunately, time got away from me this time, so I could not keep up with the episodes as they aired. But I hope you enjoyed these recaps and reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them!
Up next: Each participant’s impending comeback!!!
Queendom 2 – Opening Show Performance Rankings EP.0
Queendom 2 – Round 1 – Representative Song Battle – EP.1&2
Queendom 2 – Round 2 – Cover Song Battle – EP.3&4
Queendom 2 – Round 3 (Part 1) – Position Unit Battle – EP.6&7
Queendom 2 – Round 3 (Part 2) – FANtastic Queendom – EP.8&9
Queendom 2 – Final Round – Live Comeback Stages – EP.10
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