CL - The Baddest Female
Song(s): HELLO BITCHES
I'm probably going to receive a lot of criticism for this one and most likely not because I listed CL on here. I know she gets criticism on her own. No, I expect some criticism for only including CL's performance and not the reunion of 2NE1. While I was excited to see the quartet united on the stage together performing one of their older songs, "Fire", I wasn't all that impressed with their unpolished presentation. I've seen better. But let's focus on their leader and how she can easily own the stage with a blase song. Yeah, I don't particularly care for "HELLO BITCHES" (or even "Dr. Pepper"). It's a trap mess that somehow I don't feel nauseous over like "It G Ma". Maybe it's the delivery, the attitude, the style, or just...y'know the fierce diverse female dancers slaying the stage. They work very well together and it makes the song bearable and even...as the kids say, lit.
Jessi - Tough Enough
While Jessi didn't have the fierce choreography as CL's stage, I didn't mind it. The problem I have with Korean rappers being on live shows on TV is that it seems like choreography is a requirement, which is annoying. This performance proves that the dancers could basically do whatever they want and still be synchronized. It's not strictly choreographed and it goes well with Jessi's casual, freestyle movements as she raps. She really owns the stage all on her own. Whether you believe she's as hardcore as she presents herself or not, I believed this fiercely passionate performance from her. The stage was really hers for the taking.
San E - Tough Enough
Song(s): Do It For Fun
Not one of my favorite San E songs from 2015, but he took a risk performing all alone and...I think he made the right choice. There were no back-up dancer distracting from the wild energy San E brings to the stage lyrically and physically through majority of the performance. He just seemed like a free spirit getting into his own music and losing himself in his own ego. I really wished the crowd and idols got more excited about this amazing, spitfire solo performance. There really should be more appreciation for hip-hop acts at the MAMAs, because they've had some outstanding performances on their stage and such little vocal appreciation from the audience.
Jolin Tsai - Queen of the Night
Much like Koda Kumi in 2011, I feel like the MAMAs needs more international Asian "queens" in the building. I was very much excited and surprised to see Jolin Tsai on the stage and while her performance wasn't the most hype, she delivered a satisfying performance with "Play". I loved that she had these beautiful men in high heels backing her up, while she tried to balance her singing and dancing in this great song. I wish she was able to do more on the level of Koda Kumi, but what we were given made me happy enough.
SHINee - Marvelous
Song(s): Savior & View
It's crazy how much this group has grown on me. It's so crazy that I should dedicate a whole post to it at some point, but let's focus on this performance. From the pre-recorded introduction, I knew something magical was going to happen on the stage. Whether I got into them more or not, I was confident in the stage presentation. SHINee is a reliable group when it comes to vocal and choreography skills in live settings. The performance starts with a Jonghyun solo: briefly on the piano and some dancing with floating light fixtures, then the rest of the members appear in idol cases. Since I'm still majorly behind on listening to music, this was my first listen of "Savior". Not their strongest song, but they tried their best to raise the energy and show off their vocal talents, despite bad audio management. I was happy to hear "View" live for the first time. I felt the same energy and maturity as I did when I watched the music video for the first 5 times. In short, another solid performance by SHINee.
MONSTA X & SEVENTEEN -The Boys
Song(s): Trespass & Mansae
I'm still surprised that I decided not to include GOT7 and BTS's collaboration stage. I enjoy both groups greatly, but it didn't pan out as I thought it would. Last year's BTS collaboration was on point and hopefully, I'll go back and make a post on 2014's MAMAs, which I have no idea why I didn't make a post at all. I think I'm more surprised how well this collaboration came together as both groups seem so opposite of one another concept wise. MONSTA X didn't hold back with their debut track, "Trespass". It was bombastic and full of energy. Not as smooth of a transition audibly, but worked with this sweet vs. bad concept they had for this stage, SEVENTEEN went with their latest release at the time, "Mansae". While I don't enjoy it as much as "Adore U", for some reason I enjoyed watching this live more than I did when I first watched the music video. Yes, school stages have been done hundreds of times, but they did a great job with it as well. It was a charming and energizing stage. The rap break after felt like a response to SEVENTEEN's cuteness and I loved every minute of it, flaws and all, but the best part was the choreography during and after it. SEVENTEEN killed it! Overall, they worked very well together and it was pleasantly unexpected.
Psy - 2015 Psy Returns
Song(s): Napal Baji, Daddy, & Gangnam Style
Surprise, surprise! Psy is on my list. No, I haven't jumped on the Psy bandwagon yet, but I have to admit that the man knows how to bring his world onto any stage he steps on...or at least the couple performances I've seen on the MAMAs. "Napal Baji" brings a fun disco Vegas feel to the stage with flashy lights and disco inspired dance which some kpop fans may recognize from the chorus of T-ara's "Roly Poly". Out of the two new releases, this one was my least favorite, but it was enjoyable enough for me to listen to it a couple times. The light effect dub step break between songs was pretty cool, even though it wasn't perfectly synchronized, but it brought both songs together nicely. "Daddy" was a song that's hard not to enjoy with its high energy and catchy beat. The dance is also a little infectious as well. Honestly, I could feel myself feel a little hype build inside when this song came up. Psy really works his body out during this song and I give him major kudos throughout the whole performance. Of course, he couldn't leave the stage without performing his viral hit "Gangnam Style", which manages to carry the same high energy and fun as it did when it was first released. It was nice to see the other idols and presenter let loose and enjoy the music together.
Big Bang - Truth + Dare
Song(s): LOSER, BAE BAE, & BANG BANG BANG
No matter how underwhelmed I felt about Big Bang's new material, I always seem to find a place for them on my MAMAs list. One thing they excel at is stage presence. They know how to bring the house down and the energy threw the roof. While I don't completely dislike the songs they released last year, it was fun watching them perform them for this "prestigious" award ceremony for the fans. "LOSER" presented a beautiful emotional performance that I rarely see from the group and I really enjoyed the set up with the lights and the members facing different directions toward the crowd. "BAE BAE" gave the crowd some sex appeal with a dash of fun in the chorus and of course, most people's favorite moment, Seungri sitting on EXO's Sehun's lap as he delivered his verse. Much like "Fantastic Baby", "BANG BANG BANG" was the grand finale of energy, making the stage their own personal party. The highlight of that performance were the female dancers during the intro. They were amazing and slayed the choreography harder than anyone else on the stage.
Zion.T x Kim Seol Jin - Bridge of Memories
Song(s): Yanghwa BRDG
Every year, I go blindly into MAMAs not knowing who's performing and after seeing this performance, I'll most likely keep it that way. Seeing Zion.T on stage, let alone in the building, was a huge surprise for me. I feel like the mainstream doesn't appreciate his artistry and I'm happy he stayed true to himself in this performance of "Yanghwa BRDG". It's a song that I might've listened to twice at most, not because I dislike it but because it's slower than his usual tracks and those I listen to less often. I did watch this whole performance, because it's Zion.T. I was happy that the crowd went crazy within the first few notes. Hearing Zion.T's soulful voice and the piano echo throughout the venue really hit my heart and soul. It was truly perfection and passion. I'm assuming Kim Seol Jin is the dancer and he really brought out the emotion and passion that Zion.T expressed in his voice through his body. I enjoyed the interactions between him and the onscreen illustrations. Truly, this was the best performance of the evening.