End of year Gayo performances

AKA, things that are awesome in theory, but in theory only.

Like how awesome is an SM Town Orchestra performance…in theory?

How awesome is a hip hop stage…in theory?

And a female idol cover of Run the World…in theory?

RUN THE WORLD – Female idol mashup

This is a perfect example of K-pop failing to deliver on explosive songs that require stage presence. Granted, this is an extremely difficult song to cover and really a song really only its originator can perform perfectly, but this is an example of a performance where the discipline and rigidities fail K-pop. Choreography is easy. Possessing stage presence and bravado are not. Every single person who performed this cover is capable of following choreography to a T, but that doesn’t do anything for this performance.

The only person who truly impressed me was Hyorin, ’cause damn, who knew that she had so much in her? And I was expecting a lot more from Fei because I’ve seen her and Jia cover this song during a showcase before but Fei is still really jittery on stage and it definitely shows in this cover. She hit all the moves but her expressions weren’t right and you can tell she was tense. And I guess Ga-in was okay, but there’s something about Ga-in as a performer that I dislike immensely and haven’t been able to pinpoint. As for Sunhwa, Jiyeon, G.na, and Hyunah…tragic.


So awesomein theory. Everything about this performance was me suffering nine different levels of secondhand embarrassment. The entire incorporation of an orchestra came off incredibly campy and as a viewer all the snippets of performances just filled me with disgust. They have a perfectly usable orchestra but they’re gonna make Tiffany fake-synch to a flute? We’re gonna have to watch SNSD cover Shinhwa again? We’re gonna use DBSK’s World Cup song as a symbol for Hallyu? We’re gonna reuse stuff from an SNSD concert? Maybe this is why people don’t ever take K-pop seriously.

I feel really strongly about this performance because people who produce these things have the right idea, but everything is executed so poorly and there’s no genuine emotion or sincerity behind the performances, yet everyone — producers and artists alike — want to come off like they have genuine faith and hope for hallyu and in their ability as artists leading the Hallyu wave.

HIP HOP SPECIAL STAGE – Real hip hop artists and fake “hip hop” “artists”

This is another performance that makes me SEETHE. Even if I don’t really like YG a lot as a company, at least when they did their Freedom and Soul stage four years ago, it felt legit and like these guys grew up around hip hop and for the most part are performers performing their own rendition of hip hop. However accurately you think their interpretation of hip hop is is another story, but at least it didn’t feel out of place.

See more legit hip hop performances at past Gayos:
2008 – G-Dragon, TOP, Dynamic Duo perform “What”
2009 – G-Dragon, TOP, Se7en perform “Passion”

This year’s performance makes me SO ANGRY. How dare SBS put m o t h e r f u c k i n g Taecyeon in a performance with Tasha. How DARE they put Mir in a performance with Leessang and Dynamic Duo. I’m barely a hip hop elitist so I’m not raging out of hip hop purity. This would make me less angry if K-pop didn’t have the bad habit of putting people of absolutely no talent whatsoever into performances and collaborations with actual artists and legitimate performers.

Thank the lord Tasha performed in this. The second she started rapping a surge of love bubbled up in my system and quashed down the jittery anger I felt at the fakest rappers performing in a hip hop special. I love you Tasha. *wipes tears*

TROUBLE MAKER – Jo Kwon, Ga-in

I really wanted to like this, and I did like it to a certain extent, but my overall impression is that this was awkward. Like I discuss on Seoulbeats, I don’t buy the Adam couple for a second and you have to have some sort of sexual chemistry with your partner to pull this song off, and Jo Kwon and Ga-in don’t. Ga-in sings this song infinitely better than Hyunah and I kinda want a Ga-in recording of this song, but I can deal with never watching Jo Kwon and Ga-in perform this again.

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Each year’s gayos are worse than the previous year’s, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that each year idols get more and more to do before they actually have to perform gayos. They should all be scheduled earlier in December, be a couple of days apart, and should get rid of all the regular performances of songs we could’ve watched any of the 52x MuBank, MuCore, and Inkigayo air the rest of the year.

Also, give idols vacation time before they puke their insides out on stage.

  • http://twitter.com/symphhh symphony chau

    i should’ve read your “run the world’ review AFTER i watched the video, but whatever. my thoughts would’ve been the same as yours. when i think of badass girls covering run the world, i immediately go to this video (
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p80pq_2iKCk) second to the original, haha. 

  • http://other-worldly.org Justine

    I haven’t watched any of the 2011 Gayos because of vacation but I have a feeling I’m gonna be in for a bumpy ride.

  • junkyard

    i could barely see hyorin in the video. all i can see are face close ups of jiyeon and more of jiyeon. what a waste.

  • Anonymous

    For the most part I agree your sentiments about all of the performances especially your comment about the hip hop stage. Frankly other than junhyung, I don’t think any of those guys should of been there with the likes of Gary, dynamic duo, and Tasha. If they had to have “idols” I would of preferred the likes of people like Zico from block b or other idols that have legit rapping ability and the performing skills to back up the charisma . But maybe this is just a difference of opinion but I wouldn’t say Mir has absolutely no talent, he is in no way a legit hip hop rapper by any means but I don’t think he is nearly as bad as you make him out to be. He has decent flow, which I know you consider is more talking fast than actually rapping, but like I said this is probably just a difference of opinion and preference. The SME stage was just awkward to watch, and maybe this is the inner fangirl in me (since I have been a fan of them since the late 90s), but I really wish SNSD would never perform a shinhwa song again, they neither have the talent, especially in rapping, nor charisma to do the song justice, they should just leave shinhwa songs to the boysor shinhwa themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/clazzigirl BoBGirl

    The SM Town Orchestra had me crying all along ! Seriously, I can’t with Henry ! He knows how to play the violin and yet he fakes sync it. No way I can believe he can sound like this while dancing/moving like he does ! As for the rest of the SM performers, no comment…  I feel bad for them to be honest.
    As for the Hip Hop special, they have tried doing again the 2008 Gayo Hip Hop special but failed. It’s not like it was the worst performance, but I can only see this group of “hip hop” idols like a bunch of kids who try really hard. I can’t really get how/why DD, Tasha and Leessang agreed to perform this with them. GD & TOP were okay because they were two, and, to some extent, they can own the stage and have enough charisma too pull it off (but let’s be honest, material wise, GD & TOP don’t have much hip hop songs which are at the same level as Tasha, DD or Leessang’s material). Maybe the SBS Gayo show has tried too hard putting at least one member of each company in this Hip Hop special because I think Junhyung and Mir alone would have been good.
    End of the rant ^^” ! But I’m glad I’m not alone…