[Review] The View – Stray Kids

As flagged on Sunday, I will be posting reviews for the side tracks from Stray Kids’ second studio album, NOEASY, that we have music video for, in preparation for their upcoming album review this weekend. This include two group tracks and three unit tracks. First up is The View. It was promoted alongside Thunderous as a secondary promotional track and its music video was released in early September.

To me, The View was a standout track on the album. It went in a different direction to their other singles on the NOEASY album despite it being in the same boundaries of EDM. It was relatively light and quite atmospheric to listen to, and I find such qualities make The View fitting for the Summer season (in which it was released). I also appreciate the simplicity of the song’s melodies, which gave the song an overall sing-song approach that was flowy, breezy and just easy to get into. Thus, the vocals flourished effortlessly in this song. The View also was a great platform for the rappers. Felix (with his infamous deep voice) took things slow, making his voice more approachable than his usual harsh delivery. Jisung went with a much faster approach, throwing energy behind his delivery but still keeping it in line with the rest of the song. My favourite bit has to be Changbin’s section in the song. His section (in the second half of the bridge) was like a curveball, changing the momentum of the song ever so briefly with the heavier trap sequence and adding a bit of a ‘growl’ to The View. It changed things up, but doesn’t go overboard. His section just stuck out at me and really added a bit of a wow factor (for me) into The View. Overall, simplicity is sometimes key and I think The View is a prime example of this.

To match the breezy feel of the song, the music video was shot in the fields. It was very fitting and the closeup concept felt appropriate. I also quite enjoyed the scenic views throughout the video. However, I did want choreography scenes in this music video. As much as I find the ‘formula of closeup and choreography’ to be unoriginal and generic, I think it would have been a good inclusion for this music video. I also liked the tie in with the other videos at the end (i.e. the scene with Felix blowing out the candle and the other members are surrounding him). It is like a continuation of the events of Mixtape: OH, where he wished for the members to reunite.

I liked the performance, as it was light-hearted. I thought this was very appropriate for the song and match the vibes of the song that I mentioned above. The chorus had a nice bounce and the members looked like they were having fun on stage throughout.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10

[Special] Celebrating 10 Years of KPOPREVIEWED

Excuse the mushiness of this post and cringy feature image I created. I have the creativity of a log. 🙂

Yikes! 10 years ago, I started KPOPREVIEWED. The date was 3rd October 2011 (on WordPress). To be honest, that is the date that I have on hand as the start of this particular blog. KPOPREVIEWED actually started earlier elsewhere by a few days, but I have deleted that blog and don’t have any of that information on hand anymore.

Over the few days, I have been in this nostalgic mindset thanks to writing this particular thank you post. Hence, I thought it was nice to look back at the very reason why we are all here and so interested in the KPOP industry – the songs, albums, artists, music videos and performances. If you had a keen eye, you would have noticed that I stopped ‘Looking Back’ past 10 years (though I did throw a few extra artists, videos, choreographies in for pre-2011 releases). It pained me to stop at an odd number, but I thought it would be a nice subtle hint at what the end of the special series would entail. it was also a great reflection over the last 10 years. So many releases were sifted through, and so many binges were carried out.

10 years is a long time. 3653 days to be precise (because Korea and mothers with new born babies have this weird obsession with celebrating a certain number of days). Just to put into perspective:

  • approx. 2406 song reviews written to date (in some capacity, however this number does not includes any songs that I have reviewed in an album review format)
  • 430 album reviews written to date
  • 632 followers (a much higher number than what I had ever expected)
  • over 1,300,000 views
  • over 620,000 unique visitors
  • over 850 comments (most of which is me, but still a bunch of comments over the years)
  • over 2380 likes

I am sure other similar blogs have much higher numbers than mine (I see a lot more traffic on my fellow peers blogs). But if you were to ask me 10 years ago that I would have over 1,300,000 views to something, I would laugh and ask if you are joking.

To be honest, I never thought I would reach 10 years. For those who don’t know, KPOPREVIEWED was started as an escape from my studies (I was in high school then). Fast forward 10 years, I have graduated both high school and university, and even moved out to live independently. It was only a few years ago that I thought to even try harder at blogging (as I didn’t have much of a part time job while studying at university and researched ways I could develop skills for a job – blogging was one of them), and I think it paid off. Since then, it has helped land me my full time job (interestingly, this blog and my work have nothing to do with one another) and has been an interesting ice-breaker with some people.

But the biggest reason to why the blog has lasted so long is YOU! The views on my blog have grown exponentially of the last few years. I presume this growing number of views each year tells me that there is an appetite for what I post and it drives me to continue posting. So my biggest thanks to everyone out there, no matter if you have been following the blog since day one or have just discovered the blog today. As cliché as it sounds, I could not have done this without your support, and for that I am grateful for you. 🙂

So what does this post mean for me? Is this reflective and thanking post the end of KPOPREVIEWED? Nope. I think I bit more in me. Whether I will last another 10 years, that’s a different story. However, I will promise (and I truly mean this one – I know I don’t have the best track record of promises because of this year) that once I work out when my time is up, I will let you know and bid you all a proper farewell. I think it is the right thing for me to do and it would help give me some closure before I officially move on. But in the meanwhile, I am sticking around and have a lot of catching up to do. And a lot more posting to do. (A lot of still coming up, such as the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards, new and returning segments that I really want to do etc.)

I leave you with my personal favourite releases below – one of each from the 10 years I have been around (plus 2021, since the blog has been active in 2021). (I honestly have no idea to celebrate 10 years – though I am baking cookies later today :D).

Massive thanks again and see you tomorrow (for the start of another decade)!

2011 – Sixth Sense (Brown Eyed Girls)

2012 – Poison (Secret)

2013 – Female President (Girl’s Day)

2014 – Sugar Free (T-ARA)

2015 – Ah Yeah (EXID)

2016 – Very Nice (SEVENTEEN)

2017 – Hwi Hwi (Laboum)

2018 – I Love You (EXID)

2019 – Time Of Our Life (DAY6)

2020 – Back Door (Stray Kids)

2021 – Beautiful Beautiful (ONF) (at this point in time – may change)

[Special] Looking Back: Best and Notable Artists

As part of a super special series, I will be doing rewinding the clock and reflecting on the years that have passed by focusing on certain aspects that have defined KPOP. All will make sense once I reach the end of this series.

It is without a doubt that KPOP would not be what it is currently without its artists. After all, they are the main attraction of the industry. Over the years, we have seen a lot of artists come and go. Some have truly succeeded and their careers have broken boundaries. Others have disappeared from the industry, following scandals, early disbandments or contract curses. Some have stayed the long haul and have enjoyed long term careers in the industry. Some have even gone into acting and other lines of work, following their careers on our screens.

Today, I will be going through the best and notable artists of each year that has passed. From 2017 – 2020, the artists in the bold text were voted by you through the annual KPOPREVIEWED Awards to be the Best Artists (male group, female group, male solo and female solo) of the respective year, while those underneath the bolded header text are those who I thought were the notable artists of the respective year. For 2013 – 2016, all artists listed (regardless of bolded text and normal text) are those who I thought were the Best Artists of those years. For 2011 and 2012, I have only listed the groups and solo act that I thought would be considered Best Artists for those years in a retrospective point of view.

Also linked are playlist containing one track from each of the artists listed for each year.

2020



Other notable artists

Golden Child
Lovelyz
Baekhyun (EXO)
IU

BTS & Stray Kids
EVERGLOW & BLACKPINK
Taemin (SHINee)
Hwasa (Mamamoo)

2019



Other notable artists

TWICE
EXO
Taemin (SHINee)
IU

BTS & ATEEZ
Mamamoo & Red Velvet
Zico
CHUNGHA

2018



Other notable artists

BTS
Red Velvet
Seungri (ex-Big Bang)
Taeyeon (SNSD)

SHINee
BLACKPINK
Eric Nam
Sunmi

2017



Other notable artists

Red Velvet
EXO & B.A.P (tie)
IU & Sunmi (tie)
G-DRAGON (Big Bang)

Seventeen
Bobby (iKON)

2016



Other notable artists

Seventeen
Mamamoo
Zico
Taeyeon (SNSD)

GOT7
Oh My Girl
Eric Nam
Hyosung (ex-Secret)

2015



Other notable artists:

EXID
GOT7
Tayeon (SNSD)
Kim Sung Kyu (Infinite)

Red Velvet
BTS
Amber (F(x))
Lee Hong Ki (FT Island)

2014



Other notable artists:

VIXX
Girl’s Day
Crush
Song Ji Eun (ex-Secret)

BEAST
APINK
JungGiGo
Sunmi

2013


Other notable artists

Girl’s Day
SHINee
Ailee

Infinite & VIXX
Miss A & Rainbow
K.Will & IU

2012


U-KISS
Secret
IU

2011

Big Bang
2NE1
IU

[Special] Looking Back: Best and Notable Albums

As part of a super special series, I will be doing rewinding the clock and reflecting on the years that have passed by focusing on certain aspects that have defined KPOP. All will make sense once I reach the end of this series.

In today’s ‘Looking Back’ post, I turn my attention to albums in the KPOP industry. Albums offer a lot of insight into an artist, as it gives the artist more opportunities to express themselves. We (the listeners) find ourselves delving into the albums of artists we like, and finding that ‘hidden gem’ or an alternative track that should have been the title track of the album. Other times, we give an album of a less familiar group a go to discover their music and potentially becomes fans of them! This is the power of the album, and it has definitely been an effective tool in the industry.

Nowadays, album sales are a very indicative parameter of how successful a KPOP artist is. Selling the most albums to date is BTS (no surprises there), with their 2020 release being the most sold album in KPOP. And more artists are joining BTS on the upper end of the most sold list, including NCT, Seventeen, TXT, EXO and Stray Kids. It is very interesting to note that physical albums, for the most part, were on the downtrend in the ’00s, with digital charts being the new way to listen to music. But I guess posters, photocards, photobooks and other merchandise included in KPOP albums have given them new life.

Below, I have listed the best and most notable albums of the year. For years 2018 – 2020, the album in the bolded text is the album that you all voted as being the best album of the respective year. In 2014 – 2016, the album stated in the bolded header text is the album that I chose to be the best album of the respective year. In 2011 – 2013 and 2017, I have retrospectively chosen two albums for Best Album and most notable album as there was not Best Album categories in those years. For each ‘Best Album’, I have also provided the Spotify playlist (sorry to WordPress app users, I don’t think you can see the Spotify playlists).

2020: -77.82*-78.29 (2nd Mini Album) – EVERGLOW

Other notable albums:

The Book of Us: The Demon (6th Mini Album) – DAY6
24 Part 1 (1st Studio Album) – Jeong Sewoon

2019: Love Poem (5th Mini Album) – IU

Other notable album:

The Book of Us: Gravity (3rd Studio Album) – DAY6

2018: The Story of Light (6th Studio Album) – SHINee

Other notable album:

Love Yourself: Answer (3rd Compilation Album) – BTS

2017: Palette (4th Studio Album) – IU

Other notable album:

White Night (3rd Studio Album) – Taeyang (Big Bang)

2016: Wings (2nd Studio Album) -BTS

Other notable album:

Carnival (5th Mini Album) – B.A.P

2015: 4Walls (4th Studio Album) – F(x)

Other notable album:

Basic (6th Studio Album) – DAY6

2014: Red Light (3rd Studio Album) – F(x)

Other notable album:

PLAY (1st Studio Album) – DAY6

2013: Pink Tape (2nd Studio Album) – F(x)

Other notable album:

Everybody (5th Mini Album) – SHINee

2012: Alive/Still Alive (5th Studio Album/5th Studio Album Repackaged) – Big Bang

Other notable album:

One Of A Kind (1st Mini Album) – G-Dragon (Big Bang)

2011: Wonder World (2nd Studio Album) – Wonder Girls

Other notable album:

Neverland (2nd Studio Album) – U-KISS

[Special] Looking Back: Non-Korean Songs

As part of a super special series, I will be doing rewinding the clock and reflecting on the years that have passed by focusing on certain aspects that have defined KPOP. All will make sense once I reach the end of this series.

Over the years, KPOP have expanded into other music industries. It started with just the Korean market. Soon, KPOP artists entered the nearby Japanese pop music market, which was a very successful move for some groups, who thrived and ended up focusing more on Japanese promotions. Historically, a number of Korean acts failed to make it big in the Western pop music industry, But that all changed very recently with the success of BTS and other groups who have a big international fanbase in the Western pop music scene. Today, I will be looking back at the Best and Notable non-Korean tracks released by Korean artists.

From 2017 to 2020, the songs listed in the bold text are those who were voted in as Best International Song/Best Non-Korean Song by a Korean Artist/Best Japanese Song for those years. I have also listed an additional song as a notable song where there is one available. From 2016 and earlier, the song in the bold text are those that I have selected to be the Best Japanese Song for those years.

2020 – Dynamite (BTS)

Other notable non-Korean song: Fallin’ Flower (Seventeen)

2019 – Breakthrough (TWICE)

Other notable non-Korean song: Moonwalk (WAYV)

2018 – Electric Kiss (EXO)

Other notable non-Korean song: Call Call Call (Seventeen)

2017 – One More Time (TWICE)

2016 – Sayonara Hitori (Taemin (SHINee))

2015 – Can’t Wait To Love You (BEAST/HIGHLIGHT)

2014 – F.F.Y (MYNAME)

2013 – Bunny Style (T-ARA)

2012 – Dazzling Girl (SHINee)

2011 – TICK TACK (UKISS)

[Special] Looking Back: Best and Notable Choreographies

As part of a super special series, I will be doing rewinding the clock and reflecting on the years that have passed by focusing on certain aspects that have defined KPOP. All will make sense once I reach the end of this series.

Another visual aspect of the comebacks in KPOP are the choreographies. To me, this makes KPOP very unique. As far as I am aware, Korea is one of the few countries in which artists can promote on stage for 6 days a week, and promotional periods range between 1 to 4 weeks. That is a crazy amount of stage performances that KPOP idols need to do. But it is exposure that a lot of groups need to make it to the top. And there is a vast variety of performances out there, as you can tell from the list below, which contains the best and notable choreographies in KPOP.

For the past how many years, you and I have selected the best choreographies. In the more recent years (2017 – 2020), I have opened up the floor to allow you to vote in the annual KPOPRVIEWED Awards. Those who you have selected to be the best choreographies of that year are in the bolded header text, while those that I noted in normal text for those relevant years as what I considered to be the best choreographies. For 2016 and eelier, the bolded text is what I decided to the Best Choreographies, and the normal text was my second pick.

I have also compiled a playlist of the listed choreographies for each year.

2020


Other notable choreographies:

ONE (LUCID DREAM) – Golden Child
DUN DUN – EVERGLOW
Criminal – Taemin (SHINee)
NUNU NANA – JESSI

Back Door – Stray Kids
Naughty – Red Velvet Irene & Selugi
Open Mind – Wonho
Stay Tonight – Chungha

2019


Other Notable Choreographies

Butterfly – LOONA
Love Shot – EXO
Want – Taemin (SHINee)

HIP – Mamamoo
Side Effects – Stray Kids
LALALAY – Sunmi

2018

Other notable choreographies:

Thanks – Seventeen
Woman – BoA

Lullaby – GOT7
I Love You – EXID

2017

Other notable choreography:

Don’t Wanna Cry – SEVENTEEN

Gashina – Sunmi

2016

Other notable choreography:

Hard Carry – GOT7

The Eye – Infinite

2015

Other Notable Choreography:

DOPE – BTS

If You Do – GOT7

2014

Other notable choreography:

Sugar Free – T-ARA

Back – Infinite

2013

Other notable choreographies:

Everybody – SHINee
Growl – EXO

Expectation – Girl’s Day
Very Good – BLOCK B

2012

Other notable choreographies:

Sherlock – SHINee

Alone – Sistar
The Chaser – Infinite

2011

Other notable choreography:

Neverland – UKISS

The Boys – SNSD

Pre-2011

Sorry Sorry – Super Junior
Gee – SNSD
Lucifer – SHINee
Nobody – Wonder Girls
Heartbeat – SHINee

[Special] Looking Back: Best and Notable Music Videos

As part of a super special series, I will be doing rewinding the clock and reflecting on the years that have passed by focusing on certain aspects that have defined KPOP. All will make sense once I reach the end of this series.

One of the most visual aspects of KPOP is the music video. Over the years, we have seen a lot of amazing music videos, with a lot of them featuring amazing sets, vivid concepts and cinematic quality storylines. When you look at a lot of videos (especially some of the ones featured below), you can tell that a lot of effort and planning has been put into such videos. Sometimes budgets can exceed millions of dollars in some cases and complex stories covered by multiple videos and comebacks. In this post, I look over the music videos that you and I have picked as the best music videos.

Between 2017 to 2020, the music video in the header text were selected as the Best Music Video by you through the yearly KPOPREVIEWED Awards, while the music videos in the header text from 2016 and earlier were chosen by me (as back then, only I determined the winners of Best Music Video categories). Under each header, I have also listed one or two extra music videos that were also considered notable, as this was also determined by you or me in relevant years.

2020 – LADIDA (EVERGLOW)

Other notable music video: Back Door (Stray Kids)

2019 – Obsession (EXO)

Other notable music videos: Feel Special (TWICE) & HIT (SEVENTEEN)

2018 – Fake Love (BTS)

Other notable music videos: DDU-DU DDU-DU (BLACKPINK)

2017 – Peek-A-Boo (Red Velvet)

Other notable music videos: You In Me (KARD)

2016 – Skydive (B.A.P)

Other notable music videos: Blood Sweat & Tears (BTS)

2015 – You (G.Soul)

Other notable music videos: Pray (FT Island)

2014 – The Story of our Lives (G.O.D ft. Megan Lee)

Other notable music videos: Red Light (f(x))

2013 – G.R.8.U (VIXX)

Other notable music videos: ONE SHOT (B.A.P) & Growl (EXO)

2012 – Fantastic Baby (Big Bang)

Other notable music videos: Sherlock (SHINee) & This Is War (MBLAQ)

2011 – Cleansing Cream (Brown Eyed Girls)

Other notable music videos: Love Song (Big Bang) & Going Crazy (Song Ji Eun ft. Bang Yong Guk

Pre-2011 – Haru Haru (BIG BANG), Gee (SNSD), Mirotic (TVXQ)

[Special] Looking Back: Best and Notable Debuts

As part of a super special series, I will be doing rewinding the clock and reflecting on the years that have passed by focusing on certain aspects that have defined KPOP. All will make sense once I reach the end of this series.

Each year there are new groups and solo acts starting out in the industry. Many of the groups and soloists on this list have literally defined and shaped KPOP in remarkable and iconic way. Other groups or soloists unfortunately did not have much of a chance to do so, while some others are just starting out and could become the next big thing in the industry. In this post, I look back at the debuts that you picked as the best and my personal favourite debuts over the years.

From 2017 to 2020, the debuts listed in the bold header texts are based on the winners of the KPOPREVIEWED Awards of the respective year, which were chosen by you. Underneath the headings for 2017 – 2020 (in the plain text), I listed my personal favourite debuts from these years. For the other years, the bold header texts are my personal favourites (I didn’t open voting up to you all during these years) and included other notable debuts in that respective year there as well. There is also an accompanying playlist for the debut singles for each of the groups/soloists listed.

PS. This post might take a while to load as there is a playlist for each year.

2020 – DRIPPIN, aespa, WOODZ, Ryu Sujeong (Lovelyz)

Personal favourites – TREASURE, Weeekly, WOODZ, YooA (Oh My Girl)

2019 – ITZY, TXT, Hwasa (Mamamoo), Baekhyun (EXO)

Personal Favourites – EVERGLOW, AB6IX, Hwasa (Mamamoo), HUTA (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB)

2018 – Stray Kids, (G)I-DLE, Yuri (SNSD)

Personal Favourites – The Boyz, fromis_9, Kim Dong Han

2017 – Dream Catcher, Wanna One, Kim Chungha

Personal Favourite – Dream Catcher, Wanna One, Jeong Sewoon

2016 – ASTRO, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

2015 – GFriend, Seventeen, Jonghyun (SHINee), G.Soul

2014 – GOT7, Mamamoo, HA:TFELT, Jung Hyosung (former member of Secret)

2013 – BESTie, Sunmi, HISTORY

2012 – B.A.P, GLAM, Ailee

2011 – APINK, B1A4

Pre-2011 Notable Debuts – BEAST (now known as HIGHLIGHT), MISS A, Infinite, CN BLUE, 4MINUTE, T-ARA, 2NE1, 2PM, SHINee, SNSD

[Special] K-Pop Songs of the Summer Review: Hot Summer – f(x)

Over time, the K-Pop Review community has grown from a few individuals into a full subset of the internet. Now, TheBiasList, Kbopped, 10/10 – Music, Hallyureviews, Jei’s Kulture Notes, Deforested Music, A Floating Realm in the Corner, 8.5 Music, and Kpopreviewed are working together, to create a series, where we review our favorite K-Pop summer song.

Be sure to check out everyone’s posts in the links below!

10/10 – Music (Blog / Hi Ya Ya – TVXQ Review)
Blueraspberrysyrup (Blog / Summer 127 – NCT 127 Review)
Kbopped (Blog / The Star of Stars – SNUPER)
Jei’s Kulture Notes (Blog / Boogie Up – WJSN Review)
Hallyureviews (Blog – / Power – EXO Review)
8.5 Music (Blog / View – SHINee Review)
Kpopreviewed (This Blog!! / Hot Summer – f(x))
Deforested Music (Blog / Wave – ATEEZ)
The Bias List (Blog / Loving U – Sistar)


There are so many artists and songs that are synonymous with Summer released over the years. But since I have been around for a while now (I won’t put a number on it – that can be the subject for a later post), I have reviewed a large bulk of them already. So, when I found a song that I haven’t reviewed yet that also suited the theme of this collaboration, I actually felt like the stars align. My chosen song is F(x)’s Hot Summer, which was released way back in June 2011. This particular decade young track was released as the title track for the repackaged version of their first studio album, Pinocchio, and was a massive hit in Summer of that year.

I vaguely remember not enjoying Hot Summer when it was first released for some reason (don’t remember what exactly – it has been 10 years). But like many songs that I have expressed dislike for or criticised, Hot Summer has become an iconic track to have on my Summer playlist. But how so? Well, Hot Summer continually repeats its title throughout the song, especially in the chorus. It is pretty much in your face and there is no escaping it. A bit of an extreme tactic, but it got keyed into my memory. Now, there isn’t summer where my mind don’t gravitate towards the song, especially when the temperatures are unbearable (a bit of song and dance may ensue). Throw that over an synth-heavy (pretty much the norm for back then) and bright instrumentation that comes off as refreshing, and you pretty much have a strong catchy track. What I also liked about Hot Summer now is how it just keeps on going. There was virtually no breaks throughout the song, so the energy is very consistent and just continually pumps. But I think the textures that come from the synths and the vocals do a good job of distracting you from that consistency, and hence I don’t see it as a problem. We do get a bit of reprieve following in the chorus, with the whispery-like delivery of the song’s title (repetition, once again), which was really cool and a nice change in momentum. I would have liked to hear transitional effects between various parts of the song, just so the various sections could be more easily identified and defined. When it comes to the vocals and rapping, Hot Summer is a solid number. The vocals, which bring an undeniable pop influence to the song, stood out over an already loud and texturally heavy instrumentation. I also really liked how edgy they sounded in the first verse. Amber’s rap, although brief, was a nice intense moment that worked well with the rest of the song and allowed Amber to show her style off more. The interesting part is the high-pitch whiny ‘Hot Summer‘ we get in the last iteration of the chorus that blends into the instrumentation. It feels pretty much ahead of its time. Hot Summer is a song that I keep going back to, especially when the temperatures start heating up where I live, and it is one of my many recommended KPOP Songs of the Summer.

Not too sure what the premise for this music video is. A pink tank rolls down the street doesn’t seem that summery to me. But it was an epic entrance for the group and definitely feels like a F(x) thing to do. Aside from the questionable background, I thought the music video was pretty decent and rather simple (which you know I like). The brightness reminds you of a really hot summers day. They outfits provided that pop of colour (alongside the pink tank) in such a barren city landscape. Even the red outfits in their studio sets managed to show Summer in a simple dual colour fashion.

The iconic choreography for this comeback was pretty much self explanatory. Too hot, fan yourself. It is also simple, so people like me who have two left feet and look really awkward dancing (like those dancers we see in the background at the end of the video) can pull it off reasonably well. That being said, there is a bit of complexity with the rest of the performance (i.e. formations and other parts of the routines) that results in the choreography for this release being quite balanced and looking good.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

[Special] Number 1 Songs from July 2020 to June 2021

As we have already wrapped up another July to June period, it is time for me to recap a full year’s worth of Weekly KPOP Charts winners! These are the song that topped the Weekly KPOP Charts segment between July 2020 and June 2021. As a quick recap, I personally decide on these charts. Songs that I prefer rank higher as I tend to gravitate towards them more. You will see the same artists return to the top of the charts throughout the year. But I also tend to surprise myself when an unexpected artist top of the charts for a particular week. So let’s have this walk down memory lane and see who topped the Weekly KPOP Charts between July 2020 and June 2021.


Left & Right – Seventeen
(1st Week of July 2020)
(2nd Week of July 2020)

Apple – GFriend
(3rd Week of July 2020)

Naughty – Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi
(4th Week of July 2020)

Waves – Kang Daniel ft. Jamie Park & Simon Dominic
(5th Week of July 2020)

Now or Never – April
(1st Week of August 2020)

DUMDI DUMDI – (G)I-DLE
(2nd Week of August 2020)

Gotta Go – Soyou
(3rd Week of August 2020)

GUNSHOT – KARD
(4th Week of August 2020)

HELICOPTER – CLC
(1st Week of September 2020)

TO BE OR NOT TO BE – ONEUS
(2nd Week of September 2020)

Back Door – Stray Kids*#
(3rd Week of September 2020)
(4th Week of September 2020)
(1st Week of October 2020)
*Stray Kids was awarded Song with Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins in 2020 with Back Door.
#Stray Kids was awarded Artist with Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins in 2020 with God’s Menu and Back Door.

Pump It Up – Golden Child
(2nd Week of October 2020)

Daisy – Pentagon*
(3rd Week of October 2020)
(4th Week of October 2020)
(1st Week of November 2020)
*Pentagon was awarded Song with Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins in 2002 with Daisy.

HOME;RUN – SEVENTEEN
(5th Week of October 2020)

MAGO – GFRIEND
(2nd Week of November 2020)

Happening – AKMU
(3rd Week of November 2020)

Life Goes On – BTS
(4th Week of November 2020)

LAST PIECE – GOT7
(1st Week of December 2020)
(3rd Week of December 2020)

Panorama – IZ*ONE
(2nd Week of December 2020)

Better – BoA
(4th Week of December 2020)

Bump Bump – WOODZ
(5th Week of December 2020)


Cry For Me – TWICE
(1st Week of January 2021)

HWAA – (G)I-DLE
(2nd Week of January 2021)

Love So Sweet – Cherry Bullet
(3rd Week of January 2021)

Celebrity – IU
(4th Week of January 2021)
(3rd Week of February 2021)

Burn It – Golden Child
(1st Week of February 2021)

U MAD – Bobby (iKON)
(2nd Week of February 2021)

Beautiful Beautiful – ONF**/##
(4th Week of February 2021)
(1st Week of March 2021)
(2nd Week of March 2021)
**Currently the Artist with Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins in 2021
##Currently the Song with Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins in 2021

DO or NOT – Pentagon
(3rd Week of March 2021)
(4th Week of March 2021)

LILAC – IU
(5th Week of March 2021)

Unnatural – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
(1st Week of April 2021)

I Wouldn’t Look For You – Kim Jae Hwan
(2nd Week of April 2021)

Antidote – Kang Daniel
(3rd Week of April 2021)

Drunk-Dazed – ENHYPEN
(4th Week of April 2021)

Ugly Dance – ONF**
(1st Week of May 2021)
**Currently the Artist with Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins in 2021

Dun Dun Dance – Oh My Girl
(2nd Week of May 2021)
(3rd Week of May 2021)

Hurt – Baekhyun (EXO) & Seomoon Tak
(4th Week of May 2021)

Where Are We Now – Mamamoo
(1st Week of June 2021)

Sneakers – Ha Sung Woon
(2nd Week of June 2021)

Chi Mat Ba Ram – Brave Girls
(3rd Week of June 2021)
(4th Week of June 2021)

Ready To Love – Seventeen
(5th Week of June 2021)

[Special] Personal Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2021

Within a blink of an eye, another 6 months have passed. 2021 was still an awful year with lockdowns, isolation and the pandemic still dominating news headlines. I feel that these events, amongst other things, has really slowed me down this year. But at least, KPOP was on the pleasures that I still had to get me through these last 6 months.

A lot of albums and a lot of songs were released, per usual, in the span of the first 6 months of 2021. And I am still playing catch up with some to write reviews for! I will get there eventually! But in the meanwhile, I thought I share with you 10 KPOP songs that are my personal favourites from the last 6 months (in no particular order). Why 10? Well, it is an even number and I just couldn’t decide on a few, so I went with a couple :D. (Please note that this is irrespective of my reviews – songs can grow on you over time!)

Let me know if we shared similar taste in 2021 so far? And if we don’t, then comment below what your favourite songs of the year are! I would love to see what you all have been enjoying.

[Special] Kingdom: Legendary War Review – WHO IS THE KING (Final Round)

Earlier this month, Kingdom: Legendary War began its run, pitting six well known and high performing male groups against one another for the throne. The Boyz, winner of the prequel season Road To Kingdom last year, is featured as one of these male groups. During the 2020 MAMA Awards, it was confirmed that Stray Kids and ATEEZ will be participating. And in January 2021, it was also confirmed that iKON, BTOB and SF9 will be joining the lineup. It was also confirmed that TVXQ (a name in the industry worthy of the Kingdom title without a doubt) will be hosting, but this was later reduced to just Max Changmin, as Yunho was involved in a scandal and was edited out as much as possible (and will not make an appearance in future rounds).

As I have reviewed part of Queendom and all of Road To Kingdom, I will also be reviewing the stages of Kingdom: Legendary War, 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 – WHO IS THE KING?

After two months of performances, we have finally reached the final round. WHO IS THE KING? started a week prior to the episode airing, with the final songs released to see which group would garner more attention on the music charts. This attention (and their ranking on the music charts) would determine the first set of points the group’s would get, thus contributing to their final score.

When the episode starting airing, fans were given the opportunity to live vote for their favourite groups, thus creating a second set of points the groups were able to get in the final round.

At the conclusion of the performances, the live votes were tallied and added to all the points which the groups have accumulated throughout the competition. The group with the most points would be crowned the King!

For this review/rundown, I will be having a deeper listen to the songs released by each of the groups and a closer watch of the performances. I will also be giving a final rating based on these aspects, allowing me to determine a rank for the final round.

Then I will look at all my rankings I have done since the start of the show to determine who I thin should have been crowned the King! See you at the end.


The Real (멋) – ATEEZ

Going first up in the final round is always a daunting task and that task was assigned to ATEEZ. But knowing ATEEZ’s style, this task was going to be a piece of cake for the group. The Real taps into the hip-hop genre, combining it with a really dynamic and upbeat instrumentation filled with abrasive synths that has a sense of familiarity for me. I am sure somewhere on the blog, I have heard these same synths somewhere. But despite that, I really like that ATEEZ took those synths and really made it their own hype song. ATEEZ’s rappers kept the song dynamic, especially in the verses, and helped moved the song along. The vocalists really help give The Real some definition, and kept the song grounded and still for a brief moment. I think this was needed to prevent the song from being too overwhelming with the synths and energy. It also made the chorus that followed become more impactful. But what really sold me with this song is the energy that comes off it. I love the relentless energy that just doesn’t stop coming at you. And I also really liked how the energy just kept on piling up, especially towards the end. It was an exciting and stimulating opener to the round. It even got the crowd (i.e. other participants) hyped up. Definitely a style I would like ATEEZ to continue with in the future.

I feel the stage for this performance was a bit weak. While the choreography and energy was undeniable, I felt the performance could have had more of a wow factor to it. It might have been a stylistic choice to not include a wowing moment in the performance, but I felt that is where this performance fell short. I really like how the markings on the locker and the way the microphones were positioned to make the hangul of the song’s title appear at the right angles. That would have taken a while to set up and to ensure the camera work was on point (we all know how sometimes camera people like to not capture the right moments). I also feel the other stage props and setups had a fun vibe to them, which also matches the song (i.e. the puppet box and the chickens). As for the choreography, it definitely had that hype energy that felt on par with the song. I also felt their stage presence and personality made the choreography more energetic.

Final Rating – 7.9/10


WOLFGANG – Stray Kids

With WOLFGANG, Stray Kids relies heavily on momentum and intensity to get through their performance. There is also a showcase display of vocals and rapping from the members throughout the song. But I feel that comes second in WOLFGANG. I feels the members could have been a bit more angsty at certain parts (like in some of their other performances), which would have made for a more intense and thrilling performance. This would have made the dynamic performance even more dynamic and powerful, and give them more room to experiment with performance strategies on stage. I also find it interesting that none of the members really stood out to me in this WOLFGANG. Each member brought their individual style to the song, but the limelight was shared between members. Instrumentally, I liked the choir-like background to this song. It gives of a suspenseful atmosphere and does a good job of contrasting with the vocal/rapping delivery that we did get in the song. It also felt like something was simmering away in the background, concentrating as the song progressed along. Glad to hear in the end that energy was released in a relentless and concentrated manner that makes for a really thrilling ender to the performance. It started with the EDM instrumental break before leading into a dramatic increase in strings for the final sequence. It definitely showed Stray Kid’s powerful potential and it gave what I thought the performance definitely needed.

I really like the idea of the members turning into werewolves for this performance. The members started out as humans, before they start donning fur to show their transition from human to werewolf. But I think they are new to this transition, with some of dance moves starting off small (i.e. when they jump off the dancers back the first time). But as we get towards the end, the members become used to this change and exert more dominance, leading them to leaping off the dancers’ back the second time around. The choreography for the ending sequence also looked really powerful, matching the energy they exuded in the song. The show-stopping moment of the performance has to be Bangchan putting on the wolf attire showing some skin in the process, which I assume has thrown the STAY fandom into disarray.

Final Ranking – 8.1/10


KINGDOM COME – THE BOYZ

The Boyz rounded out their Kingdom journey (Road To Kingdom & Kingdom: Legendary War) with KINGDOM COME. I liked that their song reminded me of their winning song from Road To Kingdom (CHECKMATE). This one sounds more intense, especially thanks to the powerful orchestral influence the producers of the song infused into the chorus. To compliment the chorus, KINGDOM COME teases us with less intense strings in the verses. Their vocals and rapping also fits in really neatly. The second half of the second verse brings in a really stylish and cool electronic-based instrumental break to facilitate a dance break on stage (more on that in a bit). It led to Juyeon’s dance break, which retained the dynamic thumping but opted for strings rather than EDM. The chorus returns, before transitioning with a really cool rough textured electronic sequence to the bridge song, which showcased nice vocals from New, a bit of deep rapping from Sunwoo and a spectacular elongated high note from Sangyeon. This marked an entrance to the final chorus, which I am sure had the same energy levels as the previous chorus. But until this point, KINGDOM COME has been snowballing all its energy to release it during the final chorus to give off an ‘edge of your seat’ vibe. I really like the autotuned ‘Until Kingdom Come‘ line that repeats. I didn’t notice it at first, but I think it added to the suspense that contributed to a really strong ender from The Boyz.

What I really liked about this stage is the pre-recorded footages featured in the performance. As mentioned at the start, this performance wraps up their time on the Kingdom series. In the first pre-recorded footage, we see each individual member wearing a different stage outfit from each of their RTK and Kingdom performances. The second pre-recorded footage we see features Younghoon, who couldn’t physically dance in this performance due to an injury. And the third pre-recorded footage features the members dance in white shirts and black pants while it is raining in the background. These pre-recorded footages were interlaced throughout the stage performance, allowing for different visuals to be in play, similar to how a music video switches between solo shots and choreography scenes. A unique concept and idea. On stage, The Boyz pulled off really both intense and graceful dance breaks (the latter being in a shallow pool of water) and powerful choreography that was captivating to watch. I liked fiery red colour of the stage at the end that showed us their passion.

Final Ranking – 8.7/10


Show And Prove (피날레) – BTOB

What I really like about Show and Prove is how uplifting it sounds. And because of this, it has a very different sound to all the songs by the other participants of Kingdom: Legendary War. I really like the dramatic rock-influence instrumental sequence that kicked off the song, which lead into Peniel’s opening narration to enjoy their stage, Changsub and Eunkwang’s vocal pairing and Minhyuk’s rap sequence. Up until this point, it appears that BTOB had opted for a rock styled instrumental for the song. But what keeps Show and Prove exciting is that they changed up the style for the chorus, opting for a much brighter and warmer melody. The rock influence remains, but it clear the vocals do most of the speaking during the song’s central parts. And while we are on the topic of vocals, the members’ smoothness really sell me this song. You can also feel the passion and energy through their vocals, which makes a really great song to finish their journey on Kingdom with. I particularly commend Changsub, who seems to employ a bit of a musical flair with his vocals in this song. The same structure of rock-dominance in the verses and the warm melodies for the chorus repeats again, repeating the same level of captivation from the first time they did it. The entire bridge and final chorus sequence, consisting of Minhyuk’s vocals, high notes from the members, harmonies between the members in a choir like manner and more of Peniel’s speech, gave me goosebumps and was a really polished finish Show and Prove.

For the final stage, the members of BTOB keep true to themselves and focus on what they know best. They don’t dance or participate in the accompanying choreography. Instead, they showcase their vocals. Despite opting this arrangement in terms of the stage performance, it doesn’t mean it is any less dynamic or impactful. I am sure I have mentioned this somewhere on my blog, but their vocals speak volumes. That being said, the dancers did a lot to give a bit of a wow factor to the stage and I liked how BTOB used the stage for this performance. If I were to nitpick at one aspect, it has to be how the stage was set up for the final sequence. I think some of the dancers should have been in front of the members (who were already on high blocks). I think the stage would have looked better and potentially warmer, as a result to fit the song’s vibes. But overall, a really strong performance by BTOB, who were clever and played with their strengths.

Final Ranking – 9.1/10


At Ease (열중쉬어) – iKON

There was no surprise when I heard At Ease for the first time. It taps into hip-hop, which is iKON’s preferred genre of music whenever they release something. Like most of their songs, the rap is dominant in At Ease, which definitely plays towards their strengths. But based on what I heard, the rapping in At Ease was pretty standard for iKON. Nothing special in that department. Similar comments can be said about the vocals that make up the pre-chorus, though I was glad for some melodic flair in the song. It the last few seconds of the chorus when the song gears up for the chorus drop that starts pulling my attention towards the song. The repetition of the ‘Play Play Play‘, paired with the drumming instrumentation, was a really cool and intense buildup. Then came the chorus, which brought all the energy down. While I do wonder where all that energy those last few seconds had brought to the song, the militaristic vibes and bombastic creates a very powerful atmosphere that I feel iKON could only create. I do think it pairs well with the rapping we get in the verses, even though I did mention they felt standard. Their anthem ending sequence was expected, as it tends to appear in all iKON songs (and have been appearing in their Kingdom stages). And while I do groan at the unoriginality of how they approached the ending, I do find the energy that comes off this sequence to be fitting for this song. It felt like a last hurrah, following all the seriousness that the chorus felt, infusing a bit of freestyle and fun into the song. Personally, At Ease isn’t my preferred song of the bunch. But they definitely infused their roots into the song.

As for the stage, I did like the way they used the fences. From the mini ‘rooms’ created by the fences (like how the cameraman was trapped in at the end of the performance), to how the cameraman shot through the fence to create an edgy effect. I did think they could have taken the stage a step further and made it more interesting. Aside from the fences, there wasn’t much to really talk about. As for the choreography, it was good. Though like the stage, I think more could have been done. I do find their outfits interesting. I would have thought they would have gone something to compliment the militaristic style of the song. But I guess that would have been cliché.

Final Rating – 7/10


Believer (숨) – SF9

SF9 finishes up the final round with Believer. The song comes off as smooth and showcases the charm that SF9 was most successful with during the earlier rounds of Kingdom: Legendary War (i.e. sensual). What I find interesting about Believer is that it is the least bold song out of the bunch. But that might be a good thing on one hand. All the other performances rely on dramatic flair and powerful instrumentation. Believer differentiated itself as a result from the pack, allowing it to become an ‘easy on the ears’ listen, which is definitely appreciable after so many powerful and intense sounds. But on the flip side, it might not be able to standout and become forgotten within the mix of powerful songs. For me, I feel the former (it being a good thing) to be the case here. Though, I do think there is room for the song to be bolder with its instrumentation. The synths in this song are quite stylish and sound like they have never been done before in KPOP. It is almost trippy and hypnotic in a way (combined with the percussion we get in the instrumentation). I find the vocal work to be quite sleek, while the rapping infuse a bit of edge to the song. As for the chorus, the melodies were memorable and catchy. The ‘Tuk Tuk Tuk‘ at the end of each line in the chorus was very addictive.

Of all the six stages, I think SF9’s was the stylish. And that is thanks to that hexagonal mirror structure present, which reflects the stage’s lighting and imagery from the screen. As a result it gives off a really cool effect that takes me back to a few music videos from KPOP’s past. I also like how it wasn’t just a tube, but rather segments that SF9 used really well to reveal members and have them quickly disappear. As for the choreography, SF9’s stage was also pretty cool. I really like the idea of mirroring that was employed in the routine (seen during the start with Hwiyoung and Yoo Taeyang and then again between Chani and Youngbin after first chorus). I am not entirely sure what the story behind the choreography, but it seems like there is a struggle between light and darkness based on the imagery we see on stage. I did wish they brought more of a sensual vibe to the choreography, though. The best part of the stage has be Zuho’s stage presence during his rap sequence, where we saw the light and dark come together in a moment of peace. His outfit was split between the two sides and the contacts he was wearing was quite scary, but at the same time, very memorable.

Final Rating – 8.6/10


And the winner of this round is…

Formal results for the final performances were not provided, with the crowning of the king taking precedence once the performances wrapped up. We did get to see digital results for the final round, but these are based on their rankings on music charts since the release of the songs a week prior to the final episode. The ranking for the digital music points were The Boyz (1st), Stray Kids (2nd), BTOB (3rd), ATEEZ (4th), iKON (5th) and SF9 (6th).

As a result, I have decided to ranking the final performances amongst each other. The table below shows the ranking for the final round only. Keep on scrolling down if you want to find out how I ranked each group’s performance throughout the entire Kingdom: Legendary War series.

Do you agree with my ranking of this round? Comment below if you agree/disagree. Plus include what you think the ranking would have been like!

RankKPOPREVIEWED’s Final Round Ranking
1stBTOB
2ndThe Boyz
3rdSF9
4thStray Kids
5thATEEZ
6thiKON

And the winner of Kingdom: Legendary War is…

And it is the moment you have been waiting for! I will be sure not to going into dramatic pauses, like what Changmin did on Thursday. I did laugh at how quick MNET decided to flash the final results on our screen on Thursday at the very end.

For the most part, I agree with the crowned winner, which was ultimately Stray Kids! But it the rest of the rankings which I for the most part did not agree with, considering how I ranked the performances and stages from all the rounds. You can see the results below!

Do you agree with the shows’ ranking? Or do you agree with mine? Or do you disagree with both and have a different ranking in mind? Let me know in the comments section below!

RankingFinal Kingdom: Legendary War ResultsFinal KPOPREVIEWED Ranking
1stStray KidsStray Kids
2ndThe BoyzBTOB
3rdATEEZATEEZ
4thBTOBThe Boyz
5thiKONSF9
6thSF9iKON

And that’s it! Thank you once again for sticking around for my review and thoughts for Kingdom: Legendary War! While I do have negative thoughts on how MNET operates, I do hope that we get to see more Queendom and Kingdom seasons in the future. Congratulations to all the groups for their amazing performances. Mad respect to all of them and I can’t wait to see all of their future comebacks and works! (Now to get back on track with the reviews…)

Preliminary Round – 100 Second Rundown/Review
1st Round – To The World
2nd Round – RE-BORN
3rd Round – Part A – Collaboration
3rd Round – Part B – NO LIMIT
Final Round – WHO IS THE KING?

[Special] Kingdom: Legendary War Review – NO LIMIT (EP 8 & 9)

Apologies regarding how long this post has taken. The finale rundown should be published by Sunday!

Earlier this month, Kingdom: Legendary War began its run, pitting six well known and high performing male groups against one another for the throne. The Boyz, winner of the prequel season Road To Kingdom last year, is featured as one of these male groups. During the 2020 MAMA Awards, it was confirmed that Stray Kids and ATEEZ will be participating. And in January 2021, it was also confirmed that iKON, BTOB and SF9 will be joining the lineup. It was also confirmed that TVXQ (a name in the industry worthy of the Kingdom title without a doubt) will be hosting, but this was later reduced to just Max Changmin, as Yunho was involved in a scandal and was edited out as much as possible (and will not make an appearance in future rounds).

As I have reviewed part of Queendom and all of Road To Kingdom, I will also be reviewing the stages of Kingdom: Legendary War, 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 3B – NO LIMIT

Round 3 was broadcast over three episodes (Episodes 7, 8 and 9). It was also spilt into two sections. For this post, I will be focusing on the NO LIMIT segment of Round 3. You can see the performance rundown, comparison and results for Round 3A ‘Collaboration’ here.

In this part of the round, each individual group was given the freedom to cover any song they wish. As we are back with six individual performances for each group, I will revert back to the original format of this Special segment.

For this rundown/review of each stage, I will be looking at their song arrangement, concept and overall performance.


Classy Savage – iKON
Original Song/Artist: Pretty Savage – BLACKPINK

There were some slight modifications to the start of iKON’s version of Pretty Savage. You will notice that the instrumentation in iKON’s version has a deeper tone. And some of the lyrics and delivery of lines were changed to fit in with each member’s abilities. I really liked it how they sneakily slipped a swear word into the pre-chorus (in case you didn’t noticed). Expect iKON to do that! The chorus is where the song changes up. I really like the robustness and dynamic percussion alongside the ‘BUM BUM BUM‘ and the new-found intensity the members brought to the ‘You better run run run‘ line in the chorus. The jungle sound inserts (at the start of the song), tribal drumming and cult-like choir we get leading up to the epic featuring of Lisa herself actually worked well with the concept and stage design. I also liked it for the fact it gave a bit of an interesting colour to their version. They maintained their version’s deeper tone when Lisa started her rap sequence, and it made me think that this should have been the tone of BLACKPINK’s version of Pretty Savage to begin with. I think I would have enjoyed the original song more if they had this deep tone to the instrumentation. Following Lisa’s featuring, everything becomes very lively and energetic. I really like the hype feel from the final bit of their stage, which really exuded a lot of energy and made the entire stage more appealing in a last minute pitch.

For the concept, I am not exactly sure how to describe it in one word, so I will split it up. The performance starts with the members watching previous YG performances. (In addition to Winner, BLACKPINK and iKON themselves, we also get some Big Bang – just another hint that these KPOP Kings are working in the background for an upcoming and long awaited comeback). A portal opens up, leading them to this foreign jungle land, before being captured by the people who live there. During the performance, we see the people call upon their Goddess (i.e. Lisa) and the members convert to following this Goddess (hence why their outfits change from casual to golden). I liked the concept and thought it was fun. It is nice to have a less serious concept once in a while.

For the choreography, I didn’t really see anything that new or unfamiliar. They took a number of moves from BLACKPINK’s version and made it look more intense, which fits in with the music. To me, the best bit of the performance has to be Ju-ne’s kick at the end. Other than that, the members relied heavily on stage design and Lisa’s featuring.


God’s DDU-DU DDU-DU – Stray Kids
Original Song/Artist: DDU-DU DDU-DU – BLACKPINK / God’s Menu – Stray Kids

Another BLACKPINK cover, this time Stray Kids is covering BLACKPINK’s debut single, DDU-DU DDU-DU with a surprise. More on that in a bit. Following Felix’s narration and BLACKPINK’s song’s chorus, Changbin comes swinging with his lines. It was an impressive display of his rapping skillset that really sets the bar high for the rest of the performance. The rest of the performance falls into line and continues the momentum that Changbin and the first chorus had set up. I really like the edgy rock feel of the instrumentation that fits so well with BLACKPINK, Stray Kids and the song(s). The next chorus comes along, with a bit of God’s Menu infused into the chorus. How did this occur? Well, God’s Menu has ‘DU DU DU‘ in its chorus, so it was an easy fit. I am glad they didn’t overuse this technique, obviously to preserve BLACKPINK’s song. In addition to the just mentioned, we also get really powerful and dramatic drums, which makes it the cover’s most iconic sequence. I shamelessly rewatch the performance to hear this exact chorus again as it had it all. Felix also brings in some more God’s Menu in his rap sequence, however indirectly, as he threatens mentions Gordan Ramsay who happens to be a Michelin Star Chef (and this latter term is referred to God’s Menu). For the cover’s final sequence, Stray Kids take it to the next level, coming at you with all of this intense and powerful energy that we have yet to see in the competition. They also managed to integrate their tag line ‘Stray Kids all around the world‘, ending a performance that cleverly reminds you of the group and BLACKPINK as well.

For Stray Kids’ stage, I really like the idea of Deadpool and breaking the fourth wall, which Deadpool is notorious for doing in his movies. Felix starts off the performance by narrating the introduction, while Bangchan introduces the final segment of the performance (really like the humour in Bangchan’s segment, pushing down the JYP speech bubble). Not entirely sure of the massive rice cooker that Felix sits on at the start, but I guess that is reference to God’s Menu. I also really like the use of the camera angles to unveil the van, which Felix had stole the smaller version of earlier in the performance.

Breaking the fourth wall also made it into the performance, with Lee Know smiling in a cute fashion whilst all the guns were pointed at him. As for the rest of the performance, it was a powerful routine combining the likes of DDU-DU DDU-DU and God’s Menu. There were also a bunch of other cool moments, such as Felix’s navigating his way through the red laser lines and the ending sequence which saw the members stomping their way to leave a lasting impression.


Blue Moon (Cinema Ver.) – BTOB
Original Song/Artist: Blue Moon – BTOB

Based on commentary from the MC, BTOB would be competing in this round with their own song and it would be a song that has never been performed on stage before. The song in question is Blue Moon, a single written by Minhyuk from their 11th mini-album, This Is Us. When I compare the two versions, it doesn’t seem like much as changed. The jazzy instrumental was retained. If anything, it does sound like it was amplified for the stage. But I think there was a bit a vocal rearrangement to accommodate for the stage performance and the fact that BTOB has been reduced to four members for the competition. I know for a fact that the raps have been changed, while some of the vocal bits have been altered to allow for harmonies and high notes to come through. To me, standout members for this performance was Minhyuk and Eunkwang. Minhyuk’s rapping in this version has a lot of emotional heft, which reflect well with the story they are telling on stage. His singing was so good, as well. As for Eunkwang, his high notes in the final chorus and ending made me go wow and I shared similar reaction to the other participants of the show. It was a solid performance from the group, with a strong showing of skills from each of the members.

For the concept of the performance, it appears BTOB’s stage is influenced by La La Land. Minhyuk, who is only a staff member on the production, is in love with Miyeon (from (G)I-DLE), who has been enlisted to play the actress in this stage. While the feeling is mutual, I think Minhyuk believes that Miyeon has moved on from him and no longer wants to be with him. Changsub plays the actor in this performance and I loved how his character added a bit of comedic relief to the stage based on the way he looks. Peniel is the director, who is extremely passionate, while Eunkwang is a singer in the production. Fast-forwarding through the stage, Minhyuk makes his thoughts apparent, while Miyeon assures him that she still loves him. They make up and hug (for a moment there, they looked like they were going to kiss) to end the performance. A happy ending for the main characters.

As for the performance aspect, I thought the performance was quite pleasant. Nothing that amazing in terms of choreography, but it was still worth watching. BTOB allowed their vocals and rapping to be the main star, once again emphasising that different dynamic the group was bringing along to the competition from the very start. I liked how the ending came together to be a big song and dance. It is a bit cliché, but it was a nice way to end the performance and bring everything together.


Answer: Ode To Joy – ATEEZ
Original Song/Artist: Answer – ATEEZ

Out of all the stages we saw in this episode, I have to admit that ATEEZ was the most epic and powerful. The energy they brought to the stage in just the music alone for this version of Answer blew me away. They also really knew how to amplify Answer and upgrade it a whole new level. The logical answer to this was a rock instrumentation, given that we all had the feeling that Answer was the perfect vessel for this sound. The post-chorus hook was definitely the original’s best bit and I was grateful that while also intensifying it, they retained the appeal of this section. What was really interesting about this version of Answer was despite the thrilling momentum of the rock sound, they cut it completely to make way for a bit of classical opera. La Poem was featured to deliver this opera. It was a brief interlude before an intense drumming to bring back and rock influences with the opera together. It was the best bit of the performance. Like all the performances of ATEEZ we have seen thus far, Jongho brings in a really cool high note. Not to put pressure on him, however, but I felt it should have been followed up with another high note as the music felt somewhat empty afterwards. I think that would have been this performance’s ‘icing on the cake’ if it had happened. Hongjoong’s rap sequence while blindfolded was the next iconic part of this performance. This performance of Answer hit the mark and showed us that there was no limits in creating this version of this song.

I think the concept was the weakest point of the performance. I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. My best guess, based from the start, is that the white-masked dancers captured one of the members, so ATEEZ and the hat-wearing counterparts went to rescue him from these white-masked bandits. Fighting ensues, but the rescue was successful and the enemies were defeated. I really like how the opera singers were unveiled on stage.

The epicness carried over into their performance. It was super intense, especially in the rock instrumented sequences. I also like the choreographed fight scene in the final moments. I did think it could have been a bit more convincing. I also wished the performance did end on bland feel. We had all this amazing energy preceding it, just to see the member walk up the steps and stare back all serious into the camera.


Move – SF9
Original Song/Artist: Move – Taemin (SHINee)

The most surprising stage of the round was SF9’s take on Move. It is sexy sounding song and I feel that SF9 really encapsulated this, whilst also creating a sound of their own in this performance. Chani’s deep voice begins the performance with a brief yet sharp instrumental piece. Dawon and Jaeyoon then brings sultry vocals to the mix, before we are taken to the chorus which is lead by Yoo Taeyang and Inseong. The slow but sensual pace of Taemin’s original version of Move features here. The rappers (Hwiyoung, Youngbin and Zuho) of the group start bringing more upbeat and metrosexual vibes in their sections through the instrumentation and delivery, whilst also maintaining the sensual atmosphere that the other members had created. After Zuho’s part (which was also my favourite), an electronic based instrumental interlude gave the performance/version some intensity that can only be passed through a dance break, before we are provided an upbeat version of the Move‘s chorus that fits into what SF9’s version has built towards. I really enjoyed SF9’s take on such an iconic KPOP song, so much that I have returned to listen and rewatch the stage so many times after the show’s broadcast.

For the concept of this performance, I believe the setting is a factory that produced robots that wore white and very generic. But the SF9 members were incorrectly made, wearing black and were completely different to the robots the factory originally manufacturing. I also like how the settings were bland and monotone. But with SF9 present, colour started to come through. It was gradual, but made for a really great stage. I really like the rain of coloured confetti during the final dance sequence, and the rain room they had created off the stage to further highlight the group’s sexiness. This was a really unique performance and one that shows off a different charm of the members.

We all know Move for its sexy moves, but I feel that SF9 took it further with their outfits and sensual moves on those steps. It was definitely a breathtaking performance to watch. Chani’s entrance was so smooth. I would have liked to see more references to Taemin’s original choreography, but I think they did fantastic with creating their own, especially to match the upbeat moments of the final chorus. And when they are not dancing, the members are strutting their stuff on the stage as you could see during Hwiyoung and Zuho’s parts.


Monster (Stormborn) – The Boyz
Original Song/Artist: Monster – EXO

The final performance was The Boyz’s take on EXO’s Monster. While the melodies for the vocals parts remained the same between version, the instrumentals for The Boyz’s version was remixed to enable the 11-member male group to perform the song to the calibre of the Kingdom’s stage. And while I do like the performance, I am not a major fan of the shrilly-like synth they had in the chorus. It wasn’t off-putting, but it just didn’t sit right for me. But everything else in their version was good. I really like the rapping, which gave the song a more edgy and powerful touch (which I felt was needed – more on this in a bit). The EDM used for the dance break really showed performance flair and their ability to intensify an pre-existing intense track. I really like the guitar and the melodic drumming (at the end of the instrumental piece) they used in the dance break, which gave the instrumental break an interesting centre-piece. I think if I were to nitpick at one thing, it would be the intensification. I felt the producers of this version could have taken it a step further and made the music bolder and more defined. This would have brought it up to the same energy levels as other performances in this round and would have made The Boyz sound and look more powerful on stage.

Once again, the performance references an episode from Games Of Throne. Once again, I am not entirely sure what Game of Thrones reference I am seeing in the performance (as I have yet to see it). It is probably an obvious reference, like the massive serpent that they brought to life. But even not knowing the Games of Throne reference, I have to commend The Boyz for another performance that can still be appreciated by itself. Like how amazing was the second dance break of the performance, with the members dancing in front of that projected imagery, which is followed by the massive serpent on stage. Definitely a memorable performance.

The choreography also had a memorable feel. Even while I think the performance could have been intensified on the music front, you could tell the members put their all into the choreography to ensure that they make up for that additional intensity. Each dance break we saw in this performance saw the members go above and beyond, showcasing their performance abilities (without the dearly missed stunts) that stole our attention back during the Road To Kingdom days.


And the winner for this round is…

This was a really hard episode to rank because each stage was amazing in their own right. If I had the ability to, I would have given each stage the top rank. But as there are six groups, I had to rank them from 1st to 6th (hey, I don’t make the rules :P), based on what I saw. This is shown on the right hand side of the table below.

As the show have yet to finalise the official rankings of the round (as global voting and YouTube views were still being determined), the show has only released the rankings per the expert (left hand side of the table) and the self-evaluation (middle columns).

Do you agree with my ranking, the participants’ ranking of the performances or the expert panel’s ranking of the performances? Let me know in the comments below.

RankingKingdom: Legendary War Ranking from Expert PanelRankingKingdom: Legendary War Ranking from Self-EvaluationRankingKPOPREVIEWED’s Ranking
1stStray Kids1st (TIE)SF91stSF9
2ndSF91st (TIE)BTOB2ndStray Kids
3rdThe Boyz2nd (TIE)iKON3rdATEEZ
4thBTOB2nd (TIE)Stray Kids4thThe Boyz
5th (TIE)iKON2nd (TIE)The Boyz5thiKON
5th (TIE)ATEEZ3rdATEEZ6thBTOB

Previously: Kingdom: Legendary War Review – Round 3A – Collaboration
Next up: Kingdom: Legendary War Review – FINALE – Who Is The King?

[Special] Kingdom: Legendary War – Round 3A – Collaboration – EP 7 & 8

Apologies regarding how long this post has taken. The second part of the next round’s rundown should be out tomorrow!

Earlier this month, Kingdom: Legendary War began its run, pitting six well known and high performing male groups against one another for the throne. The Boyz, winner of the prequel season Road To Kingdom last year, is featured as one of these male groups. During the 2020 MAMA Awards, it was confirmed that Stray Kids and ATEEZ will be participating. And in January 2021, it was also confirmed that iKON, BTOB and SF9 will be joining the lineup. It was also confirmed that TVXQ (a name in the industry worthy of the Kingdom title without a doubt) will be hosting, but this was later reduced to just Max Changmin, as Yunho was involved in a scandal and was edited out as much as possible (and will not make an appearance in future rounds).

As I have reviewed part of Queendom and all of Road To Kingdom, I will also be reviewing the stages of Kingdom: Legendary War, 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 3A – Collaboration

Round 3 was broadcast over three episodes (Episodes 7, 8 and 9). It was also spilt into two sections. For this post, I will be focusing on Collaboration segment of Round 3.

In Round 3A, three groups were pitted against the other three groups in various battles such as rap, dance and vocals. The teams of groups as follows:

  • Stray Kids, BTOB, ATEEZ (named themselves Mayfly)
  • The Boyz, iKON, SF9 (named themselves It’s One)

For this particular post, things will be a little different. I won’t focusing on the six performance individually. Instead, I will be comparing each performance in their respective battles, as there are only two performances (i.e. Mayflys vs. Its One). As a result, this post will be shorter than usual.

I will also summarise the final rankings for each battle decided by the experts who watch the performances, whilst also give out my own personal ranking to who should have won each battle in my opinion.


Rap Battle

Colours (물감놀이) – Mayfly

Members: Han Jisung, Changbin, Bangchan (Stray Kids), Minhyuk (BTOB), Hongjoong (ATEEZ)

Full DaSH – It’s One

Members: Sunwoo (The Boyz), Bobby (iKON), Hwiyoung (SF9)

Going into this round, I had a hard time predict who would succeed. On one hand, you had Bobby. For those who don’t know Bobby, he is probably the most well known rapper out of the bunch. Then, we have 3RACHA from Stray Kids, who have put out really strong and powerful rap songs as a unit before. And then, we have Minhyuk, who is an all-rounder but started off as a powerful rapper in BTOB. For Sunwoo, Hwiyoung and Hongjoong, I am not familar with their solo work to really influence my prediciton.

For the performances, both was quite lively. Colours was vibrant and colourful, while Full DaSH was edgy and stylish. Colours felt like a performance, based on their ending pose, stage set ups and the presence of choreography. I like the inclusion of the traditional instrumentation in the background. There was a bit of a free spirit to the performance, but it wasn’t as prevalent as Full DaSH. On the other hand, Full DaSH was relied on a heap of freestyling. There was some choreography and stage set up, but all was minimal in comparison to the other performance. I really like the paint gun sequence at the end of the Full DaSH performance. It was an element of fun and really showed how unconstrained the performance was. In terms of execution, I feel both are on par with each other. The five members in Colours helped give the track a catchy ring. I also find Minhyuk’s exclamation “We all bleed the same colour” to be very deep. For Full DaSH, I felt the energy behind the trio’s delivery to be very powerful and memorable.

In the end, I lean towards Colours as my favourite performance out of the two. It is more aligned to what I like and enjoy in general. That being said, Full DaSH was terrific in its own way.

RankKingdom RankingKPOPREVIEWED’s Ranking
1stColours – Mayfly Colours – Mayfly
2ndFull DaSH – It’s One Full DaSH – It’s One

Dance Battle

Wolf – Mayfly

Members: Lee Know, I.N, Felix (Stray Kids), Peniel (BTOB), San, Seonghwa, Yeosang, Wooyoung, Yunho
(ATEEZ)

King and Queen – It’s One

Members: Juyeon (The Boyz), Donghyuk (iKON), Yoo Taeyang (SF9)

Wolf was an unexpected surprise. I thought that the members of ATEEZ, BTOB and Stray Kids would come together to form their own routine to a unique song for themselves. I would have appreciated the innovation and creativity a lot more, but Wolf was still an amazing performance. I really like how they took to EXO’s version of Wolf and made it even more animinalistic and wilder. It show cases the edgy and dangerous side of the members. It was also great to see stunts reappear in the competition. There hasn’t been many so far. When Felix did the run up and jumped onto San, I was floored by how he kept his exposure despite the landing being slightly rocky and committed to the part. I also really like Peniel’s solo part, showcasing some of his dance skills – something we don’t see too much of.

King and Queen was an instrumental piece, and as far as I am concerned, it was made for this performance. I liked the innovation and creativity of this performance. It starts off as the three members on their chairs, before jumping off and giving us a solo performance each over some electrifying guitar instrumentals. We then see a really graceful performance from the trio together, before we see in the distance the queen is assasinated. Throughout the performance, you could see the emotions in their moves or on their faces. If you know me, emotions make up a very large part of the stage presence. And while each of the three members had a different way of showcasing emotions, they all made sure it was there. Yoo Taeyang had a really cool sword fight solo scene, but I personally could not get over how we caught the sword without any dramas. Juyeon’s table flip was very impressive as well. Donghyuk also had an awesome solo scene, though nothing memorable pinged from it. I also liked how they used stage tricks to reintroduce the other two members to end the performance.

I liked both performances. But I felt that It’s One had the edge in this battle. They showed many sides of themselves and a wider range of moves, such as from powerful to graceful. Wolf was great in itself, but I felt like more could have been done to captivate us, as did King and Queen.

RankKingdom RankingKPOPREVIEWED’s Ranking
1stWolf – MayflyKing & Queen – It’s One
2ndKing & Queen – It’s One Wolf – Mayfly

Dance Battle

Love Poem – Mayfly
Original Artist: IU

Members: Seungmin (Stray Kids), Eunkwang (BTOB), Jongho (ATEEZ)

Spark – It’s One
Original Artist: Taeyeon

Members: New, Sangyeon (The Boyz), Ju-ne, Jinhwan (iKON), Inseong, Jaeyoon (SF9)

Spark (by It’s One) was a good cover of Taeyeon’s song. Personally, I feel like Spark was an unexpected choice for a cover, especially for this battle. I can’t really pinpoint an exact reason to why I feel this way. It just felt odd. Song choice aside, I really like it when the members came together to sing together for its climax. It made the cover more captivating. Per usual, I wanted more of that. And harmonies, as well. If the harmonies were more prevalent and present, then I feel like Its One cover of Spark would have been more memorable. There was also a good amount of huskiness and raspiness behind some of their vocals. While we got to hear their voices very clearly (especially since none of the members have really had a solo platform yet) and they all sounded great as a team, no one really stood out for me. That might be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Good in the sense that no one member took over the song and outshone in the rest. Bad in the sense that it felt too neutral. In this case, I feel like the latter seems to be the case. It is a pity that Inseong couldn’t pull off his high note. I feel like it would have lifted the performance to a whole new level if it was successful.

The Love Poem cover was stunning and grand, featuring the balance of the three groups that make up of Mayfly (with the exception of Changsub, who sat out due to being unwell). I don’t have much to say about this cover, aside from expressing how good it was. While I can’t really comment on show-stopping melodies of IU’s Love Poem (as the original had already them), what made this cover so great is that it had the harmonies that I wanted to hear. Those harmonies and high notes just made the entire performance captivating and blissful to listen to. I felt as if I was floating while listening to the song, which is an impressive feat to achieve, especially since I really enjoys my ballads. If I were to be critical, I would have liked to see Jongho shine a bit more. We know he has an impressive set of lungs based on the performances on the show thus far. I just felt he didn’t really have his moment to really shine in this cover, compared to Seungmin and Eunkwang.

Based on the language I had used to describe each of the performances, I think it is clear that I lean towards Mayfly’s cover of Love Poem.

RankKingdom RankingKPOPREVIEWED’s Ranking
1stLove Poem – MayflyLove Poem – Mayfly
2ndSpark – It’s OneSpark – It’s One

Previously: Kingdom: Legendary War Review – Round 2 – To The World
Next up: Kingdom: Legendary War Review – Round 3B – NO LIMIT

[Special] Kingdom: Legendary War Review – RE-BORN (EP 4 and 5)

Apologies regarding how long this post has taken. The first part of the next round’s rundown should be out shortly!

Earlier this month, Kingdom: Legendary War began its run, pitting six well known and high performing male groups against one another for the throne. The Boyz, winner of the prequel season Road To Kingdom last year, is featured as one of these male groups. During the 2020 MAMA Awards, it was confirmed that Stray Kids and ATEEZ will be participating. And in January 2021, it was also confirmed that iKON, BTOB and SF9 will be joining the lineup. It was also confirmed that TVXQ (a name in the industry worthy of the Kingdom title without a doubt) will be hosting, but this was later reduced to just Max Changmin, as Yunho was involved in a scandal and was edited out as much as possible (and will not make an appearance in future rounds).

As I have reviewed part of Queendom and all of Road To Kingdom, I will also be reviewing the stages of Kingdom: Legendary War, 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 2 – RE-BORN

Round 2 was broadcast over episode 4 and 5 of the new season, occuring on the 22nd and 29th of April. The brief of Round 2 was titled ‘RE-BORN’, which each group got the opportunity to cover a song released by a fellow participant. Each group had the opportunity to not only recreate a fellow group’s song as their own, but also perform it on stage.

Per usual, live voting opened after the 5th episode to allows for fans to vote for their favourite stages. YouTube views, epert ranking and self-evaluation were taken into account 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.


The Stealer (The Scene) – SF9
Original artist: The Boyz

I really like how SF9 transformed The Stealer. The new instrumental is made of distinct sounding pieces that all piece together to bring you a suspenseful performance. The performance may be influencing my perception of this, however I think it was well executed. The new instrumentation starts off with Rowoon (welcome back to Rowoon, who has been absent from the performances due to an injury) and Dawon with a really slow and sensual introduction, brought to life with their smooth vocals. Jaeyoon, Youngbin, Yoo Taeyang and Inseong follows up with the first verse of the original song, over an instrumentation that feels like like subtly suspense moments before an unexpected action season in movies. The chorus comes into play and we get an R&B influenced dance instrumentation here. Zuho starts off the second verse, rapping in an angsty way to match his fight scene on stage. The instrumentation kicks up a notch here, becoming more upbeat. Chani follows up briefly, before an instrumental break comes into play featuring funky guitars. Inseong and Hwiyoung’s solo parts brings some stillness to the song and unnerving energy, which is ultimately followed up with an electrifying dance sequence and a final chorus sequence that brings everything together into one. All the vocal work and the rapping reflected well with the different sequences. And while SF9’s style was definitely featured throughout this performance, the original essence of The Stealer was not lost.

Concept-wise, SF9’s visual take on The Stealer was one of the best of the round. The members are all working together as part of a gang to steal the crown that was locked away at the start. And as part of the storyline of stealing that crown, fighting is invovled to get that crown in their hands. Regarding staging, you can tell that FNC Entertainment and SF9 are no longer bound by any financial constraints. You can tell that they really went all out with this performance. I really like the shipping container set-up they had in the background, giving the stage that edgy persona. Their outfits (and in the case of Daewon and Jaeyoon – lack thereof), the props and some of the special effects (tourching someone on fire and shooting at one of the stage structures to make it fall down) all created a really cool and intense atmosphere.

And you cannot talk about this stage without talking about the choreography. I really liked how they creatively choreographed the fight scenes into the routine, especially when it came to Zuho’s solo. That was an amazing sequence. So was the dance break, which saw flips from Chani, Youngbin and Yoo Taeyang. We also saw more cool fight scenes invovling Jaeyoon and Zuho afterwards, topping everything we saw previously in this performance.


O Sole Mio (The Red Wedding) – The Boyz
Original Artist: SF9

We all probably know O Sole Mio for being a Latin influenced song in SF9’s discography. So it was interesting to see how The Boyz would transform it. What I really liked about this version is that it didn’t stray away from its original style. Instead, it seems to concentrate it, tapping into the world of tango. This was a fresh take on the song without it going into any foreign territory or lose the aesthetic of the original version. While the first verse and chorus felt the same as the original, Sunwoo’s rapping is where this version started to have it own appeal. His rap sequence was so clean and well-executed, giving The Boyz’s version an edgy vibe. From then on, the song became The Boyz’s. I really like how they substituted the second chorus for an instrumental piece to fit in a dance break. This is followed by another dance break featuring Juyeon and the female dancer that brings together some tango and the theme of Games of Thrones. The final chorus comes soon after, bringing everything to a climatic ending. Personally, I wished each member got more lines. I noticed a lot of members had a one-liner in this performance. But obviously to fit everything in, some lines probably had to be sacrificed. But aside from that, it was a solid cover.

For the concept, obviously The Red Wedding was the main attraction. I don’t know if there were any Game of Throne references on stage, as I haven’t watched the series at all yet (and probably will never watch it, given my track record of starting TV shows that are big in mainstream pop culture). The emphasis on the colour red and the sun/fire made this a really cool stage to watch. I also really like the idea of the cage, which was a stunning setting for the many dance sequences we saw in this performance.

Performance wise, this is The Boyz’s best one so far on the Kingdom: Legendary War. There were so many cool moments. Firstly, Juyeon and the female dancer’s tango moments I found it so epic when he started to climb the cage. Secondly, the passing of the rod during what was supposed to be the second chorus. Thirdly, the final chorus, with all the members. I really liked how the closeness of the setssurrounding them, lighting and confetti all made the stage look and feel climatic, like the song. Hyunjae’s bow catching at the very end was very sleek as well.


Inception (iKON ver.) – iKON
Original artist: ATEEZ

It isn’t iKON if there wasn’t hip-hop infused into a song, regardless of it being their own or a cover. For iKON’s version of Inception, they really took the round’s rules and transformed Inception into something they would have released. I liked how they kept the first verse as the constant between the original and their version, along with the bridge of the song. Usually, it is the chorus or hook that you would keep intact if you were to make the song your own, as that is what fans and listeners would recongise. But based on how perform this version, you can tell they are confident that fans and listeners (especially ATINYs) would recognise it. For me, I am actually glad that they kept the bridge of the song intact, as it a memorable part of the original that I now recongise and it also builds really well towards the final chorus. Moving along, it is the final seconds of the pre-chorus that iKON’s style peeks through, hyping us towards a hypnotic and different style chorus that is fitting with their stage concept. It also twists the song into something that you would not expect. It doesn’t really capitalise on any of the iconic nature of the original’s chorus, but you must admit that it has its charm. As expected, the song ends with a hype style outro, which is very YG and iKON. It definitely ends the song on an upbeat note. I also like how the final chorus slows down completely at first, emphasising that hypnotic factor that they began with. My only peeve with the performance came during Bobby’s rap sequence. He was out of time and ended up skipping a few lines. I know he was very into the performance and looked like he was enjoying his time. But it is things like this that really stick out and could potentially make or break a performance.

iKON took the opportunity and went with it. Their stage was based on the movie Inception. Go figure! Wow was the reaction I gave when I watched this performance for the first time, especially as the buildings all moved and the road was raised, like in the movie. But if that wasn’t obvious, then spinning top at the end should have been the last clue to give it away. Aside from really cool stage design and technology, I really liked the trippy camera effect that appeared during Bobby’s verse.

Obviously with a new chorus and unique stage design, the original choreography just couldn’t seem to be brought over. It is slightly disappointing. But as soon as iKON inserted their influence into the song, it seemed right that they departed from the original choreography. What iKON ended up doing looked really cool, especially when it came to that complete slow down at the start of the final chorus.


Rhythm Ta (The Awakening of Summer) – ATEEZ
Original artist: iKON

Kicking off ATEEZ’s Rhythm Ta performance is Seonghwa and Wooyoung’s whispering. It was barely audible, but it got me interested in the performance. When it came to the verses, I really liked the exciting energy that you could feel was building up in the background. This is all thanks to ATEEZ’s version having this upbeat and energerised kick to it which I find really appealing. Yeosang’s ‘We’re gon get it, pop it‘ just before the chorus was quite addicting, especially when it layered over dramatic and suspenseful violins. For the chorus, I am not a major fan of the metallic/shrilling synth they used. Though, I acknowledge that it gave a platform for them to show a great performance. I liked how they maintained Rhythm Ta‘s one-liner hook for the chorus, which also allowed to showcase an even more impressive set of moves. The chorus if then followed up with a bit of an instrumental interlude, featuring latin styled brass. This was carried through to Hongjoong’s rap sequence, before rock influences peeked through the vocals parts of the second verse. To me, the odd ball in the performance is the presence of the brass. While I thought it add a nice touch, I think it could have been swapped out for something more electrifying to fit in with the rest of the performance and instrumentation. Both the violins and rock influences returned a little later to followup Hongjoong’s speech (which gave me goosebumps) and complimented the energy and power Jongho was inserting into the song through his vocals and dramatic first high note. For the final chorus, ATEEZ really amped up the instrumentation giving us a chance to witness a really thrilling sequence and Jongho’s second high note. We all know that I am a sucker for high notes, and Jongho’s always are top notch!

For me, I didn’t pick up that this was based on or influenced by Money Heist. Mainly because I haven’t watched the series. But even without knowing it was based on Money Heist, you can tell that ATEEZ clearly portrayed the idea of a heist at the start, stealing back all the art and instruments that were taken away from them. By the end of the video, the group was starting a revolution, opening the eyes of the dancers who were once against the group to be with the group in the final moments, creating a really cool ending for the performance with everyone on board.

Performance wise, charisma from the members came through. Notable mention has to go to San, for his part at the start of the performance and the centre during the final chorus. I also really liked the twists and turns they managed to pull off in the choruses, and how they quickly moved between cameras (evident in the first chorus sequence). The ending, while it was chaotic, was also quite organised, but yet it still actually complimented the intense energy we got. It was a great performance.


Back Door – BTOB
Original artist: Stray Kids

In BTOB’s version of Back Door, I really liked how they mixed four different styles into their version. The song starts off with Changsub, whose sequence brought a bit of rock to the mix. This is followed up by Minhyuk’s sequence which featured a very sensual R&B sequence. Peniel brings in a bit of upbeat and energetic hip-hop flair, before Eunkwang brings in his power vocals during his more pop-ballad like approach to the song. While I like that each member got to show off their own indivdual colours, the performance is at its best when it all four members of BTOB join forces with one another. This occurs when the bridge of Back Door comes into play, combining the pop and rock sequences above to finish the song in a thrilling and exciting manner that iterates to me why Back Door is such a good song. Eunkwang and Changsub’s high notes and harmonies really gave the performance the peak it needed, while I was glad to hear Peniel got more lines than usual!

BTOB’s stage was quite clever. The main concept of the performance is that the four are stars (as they are) getting ready for a great performance. The first half of the stage is a ‘back stage’ setting, as we visit each member preparing for their upcoming stage. I really like how they kept the Back Door knocks in this part, which really keeps that nostalgic factor of Stray Kids song within BTOB’s version. The second half of the stage is when the members are finished getting ready and make their way onto the stage, where a big crowd is awaiting their performance. They proceed to perform like the superstars they are.

The first half of the peroformance didn’t have much choreography. They were committed to the concept of being back stage, and any choreography would have been a little too ‘staged’. The second half was were BTOB showed off their performance skills, bringing some of Stray Kid’s iconic moments within their Back Door routine to their stage (i.e. Minhyuk knocking on the door while Peniel stands in front him, the arches formed by the dancers for BTOB to knock and walk through). And at the very end, we see Minhyuk rip off his singlet, giving the stage its iconic moment in itself. Everything from stage, concept and performance was amazing to watch and it is the main reason why I continually return to this performance each week.


Pray (I’ll Be Your Man) – Stray Kids
Original artist: BTOB

Pray was one track I was hoping would be performed on the show, by BTOB or any of the other participants. It is such a great song, showing off vocals, rapping and performance skills in one succinct 3 minute hit. Stray Kids brings a mashed up dance and orchestral touch to their version, more so than the original version by BTOB. It isn’t a mind-blowing or innovative combination, but managed to hit the brief with the song. The song starts off with Seungmin’s vocals, who successfully pulls off the first impressive set of vocals. Han Jisung follows up with more vocals, surprising everyone with his vocal ability despite being a rapper of the group. A geniune surprise for those who may not be all too familiar with the rest of the group. Changbin follows with a very emotionally charged rap sequence that really steals your attention. The chorus comes into play and is brought to life by Han Jisung and Lee Know. For the second verse, the rappers (Jisung and Changbin) return and they captialise on Felix’s deep voice for this performance, who happens to also voice the Devil in this performance (I believe). A literal smashing instrumental break came upon us before we return to the actual song. Pray’s highlight is the rapping and vocal layering peak, and I am so glad that Stray Kids kept that in its original form. Like how BTOB slayed us back then, Stray Kids does the exact same. It is a pity that I.N voice broke, otherwise I am sure it would have been an amazing high note to end the performance on. I feel that the weakest point of the song arrangement had to be the second verse. I didn’t know what was really happening when Felix voiced the Devil and it felt detached from the rest of the performance. Likewise, I would have liked to see something with a little more energy and intensity for the dance break. Aside from the actual smashing we got, it felt somewhat plain.

For the stage, we are given a story about a young boy. I would have liked a bit more context, as I felt there are gaps in the story. Why was Felix getting dragged my angels? Were they trying to show him becoming possessed by the Devil? But anyway, Felix retrieves a heart and they place it into the young boy’s statue hand to bring the young boy back to life, after he saved Changbin from dying in the past. For what reason they plan on bringing him back for is unclear and hence a bit more context would have been nice.

The choreography was quite good. I liked how they included more to the original choreography. The first half of the performance was more so about the story, while the second half was the actual choreography. I liked the set up of the first chorus. And I like how the members who were not singing and rapping during the bridge were dancing with the dancers, unlike in the original where the BTOB members who were not part of that sequence were just kneeling and praying. The dance break was nice and I really like how they broke the set in their choreography.


And the winner was….

Because I waited around for so long, all the points (mentioned above) were calculated and tallied to give definite rankings for the second round. Below is a table with two columns. The left hand side of the table shows the ranking from the show once it was finalised, while the right hand side of the table shows the my personal ranking of teams.

Do you agree with my rankings, or the shows rankings? Comment below and let me know! If you disagree, comment your ranking below as well!

RankingKingdom: Legendary War Final Ranking for Round 2KPOPREVIEWED’s Ranking
1stATEEZBTOB
2ndBTOBSF9
3rdSF9The Boyz
4thStray KidsStray Kids
5thiKONATEEZ
6thThe BoyziKON

Previously: Kingdom: Legendary War Review – Round 1 – To The World
Next up: Kingdom: Legendary War Review – Round 3A – Collaboration