This episode saw the rest of the performances for Round Two- the Re-Born theme. I absolutely loved the first three performances so I was very much looking forward to seeing Ateez, BTOB and Stray Kids add their own unique colors to the songs that they chose from their given switched group.
Before we move on into the episode, I’ve been kind of confused on how to show you guys the rankings and my personal rankings as they usually just show the Expert and the Group Evaluation, and apparently the actual rankings for all four criteria for Rounds 1 & 2 will be shown next next week. So, I’ve decided to show you guys my own personal ranking for Round 2 here, and then when the actual rankings come out, I’ll show those rankings and my overall rankings so far as well.
Alright, now, without further ado, let’s get into the episode!
Before I get into the recap of what happened in Episode 5, here are my actual rankings for Round 1:
5: Stray Kids
I thought that Ateez made good use of the stage and the LED screen, and that didn’t take away from the performance at all. “Wonderland” is a great song, and they really were able to elevate it in a way that was very much them. I thought that The Boyz’s concept usage of the game kind of POV was really creative and it’s something that only they could have pulled off. The rearrangement of “No Air” wasn’t the best, but it was good. I also like the experimental theater dance Juyeon did in the middle of the song and that they really did achieve their goal of being more expressive. SF9’s rearrangement of “Now or Never” into “Jealous” was just amazing! It was very elegant, although the topic was about jealousy. They went out of their comfort zone and the usage of mirrors was great. BTOB’s vocals never cease to impress me, and Minhyuk’s dance break with the sword is making me excited of what other performances they might have in store for us. I did like how Stray Kids mixed “Side Effects “with “God’s Menu”, but I did feel that the set overpowered the performance. For iKON, I loved the rearrangement of “Love Scenario”, but felt that the energy dipped a little during “Killing Me”.
This episode featured the rest of the performance, namely Ateez’s, BTOB’s and Stray Kids’ performances, which rounded off the second round. Afterwards, the results based on the expert evaluations and group evaluations for this round were shown.
ATEEZ- Rhythm Ta (The Awakening of Summer)
During the behind the scenes segment, it was nice to see how Ateez were able to become successful fanboys of iKON. In fact, Wooyoung took the initiative to reach out to Jinwhan, and Jinwhan even cheered them on before they took the stage. Ateez decided to go with “Rhythm Ta” out of all of iKON’s songs as they felt that that was a song that they really could rearrange more to add their own distinct color. Hong Joong also explained that he decided to add a little more Latin flavor during the rap part and also took inspiration from “Money Heist”. He noted that there was a part in the drama in which the members of the crew were trying to justify their crimes, and that they wanted to use that part as inspiration to be able to come up with a performance to encourage people “who can’t get into the rhythm” go ahead an try it out. They also mentioned that this performance would serve as a prequel to their performance for “Wonderland” in the previous round. They also had some group bonding together as they went to what I think was an airsoft range and had fun there. However, that was also to help them get the feel for handling prop guns in their performance.
This performance also had some classical music in it as they put in some parts of Vivaldi’s “Summer” from the Four Seasons at the beginning of the performance.
The concept of “Money Heist” was immediately picked up on by the other groups, and they did have a big entrance with them being inside a van and coming out with guns and masks afterwards. Ateez seem to have this brand of being pirates and/or anarchists, and it really worked well with the concept of this performance! Aside from this, they really had their brand color in it as you could see “Hearts Awakened Hearts Alive” spray painted on the truck doors. San’s performance on the LED floor with the rope was ingenious; and that moment with Hong Joong encouraging the people from a podium to “get on the rhythm” was just one powerful key point in the performance. Jongho’s high notes slayed and San did very well considering that he mentioned that it was the first time that he ever tried b-boying on the stage. At first, I was confused at the hourglass bit at the end, but it makes sense considering that this is a prequel. So maybe they turned back time and became those pirates who are on a journey, but I think that this journey is not just through the sea, but maybe through time and space (how very Doctor Who) as well. It was a high energy performance which showcased their creativity, innovative thinking, and was a complete package while making sure to change the song to fit Ateez’s own color.
Q thought that the use of the truck was different, iKON praised how different the song was, Chani mentioned that each performance Ateez gives leaves an impression, and lastly, Felix noted that “there was a lot to see” in the performance.
BTOB- Back Door
Instead of gathering at Director Eunkwang’s place, this time around, the BTOB members met at CUBE Entertainment to discuss their choices for their song for the second round. Songs such as TOP, Slump, Hellevator, and Back Door were mentioned, but in the end, they went with Back Door. They also talked about how Mamamoo was able to have a performance that showcased each member’s individual charms and styles, and they thought that Back Door would help them achieve the same effect as well. They then asked each other what they would like to put into the performance, and suggestions included Eunkwang and Changsub’s ad libs, and of course the iconic door knocking sound in the song. In fact, during their solo cams, Eunkwang and one of the company’s music producers really spent time in looking for the right “knocking” sound that would fit their arrangement of the song.
There were some cute interactions between BTOB and Stray Kids that were shown. While they were picking a song, Peniel called Stray Kids, and Changsub asked them what they thought would be a good Stray Kids song for them to do, and happily enough, Stray Kids did say Back Door! However, when Stray Kids asked BTOB who their Stray Kids bias was, they happily hung up. Eunkwang and Peniel also met 3Racha during the first press conference, and each of them allowed the other to choose a particular minute in the song so that they could get a little taste of each other’s arrangements of the song. Stray Kids looked like they were really happy and honored that BTOB was covering their song!
I absolutely loved the main treatment of the performance and the arrangement of the song! I never thought they would make most of it rock, so that was a very pleasant surprise! I also loved how they decided to go with the literal meaning of Back Door, as the whole concept was them allowing the viewers backstage before their concert starts, and each of them singing their verses when someone knocks on their doors and it opens on the individual waiting rooms. Stray Kids absolutely went crazy when Peniel rapped the “This is a restricted area part!” After all the members had their turns, they all met up in the middle, and then went on the main stage. And I love that it was on that main stage area that the the rock vibes segued into the original arrangement of the song! All the groups were standing up while watching and it really did feel as if we were at a BTOB concert. My only gripe is that I wish they had a stronger finish.
Stray Kids- I’ll be Your Man (Stray Kids Ver.)
Stray Kids really had a blast in trying to choose a BTOB song, and even if they were trying to be shy with BTOB about their song choice, during the first press con, 3Racha told BTOB by letting them listen to a particular minute in their arrangement, that the song they chose was “I’ll be Your Man”. For this song, they really wanted to focus on the vocals and the rap, and for the storyline, they went with talking to a precious or cherished person. In line with this, the vocal and dance line had a ring making workshop in which they learned how to engrave their logo, STAY and their initials or names on the ring. They also made ones for 3Racha who weren’t there, and decided to give Changbin the one that had the initials MYH on it, which stood for “Mooyaho!”, which is a catch phrase/meme that’s going viral in Korea right now, but came from a variety show called “Infinite Challenge”.
They also showed that I.N. was really nervous and having a hard time with his lines as they sang the song in its original key, and it’s higher than the usual range that he sings. However, I didn’t like the fact, once again, that Mnet lingered a lot of his very minor mistake, and the fact that he cried afterwards as he felt that he ruined the performance, which wasn’t true at all. It was, however, very heartwarming hearing Bang Chan comfort I.N., away from any camera angles in their waiting room.
For the performance, I did like how it showcased the vocals, as we got some Lee Know lines, I.N. challenging himself vocally, and Han really showcased what an all rounder he is. Felix’s part and the dance break felt very Stray Kids for me, and the performance was great. However, I felt that it missed the mark in terms of the overall theme, which was to remake the song into something that would fit your group more, to make it your own. I was also looking for a different vibe to show the difference, so it ended up making me feel like they did a great cover of the song. (Now for vibe, for example, BTOB went for rock version; SF9 really made sure to showcase the noir feel to the song which contrasted The Boyz’s original performance which felt more like a slick heist ala “The Italian Job” or “Ocean’s 11”.)
In my opinion, I feel like Stray Kids hasn’t found their sweet spot yet in how to go about the performances in the competition. I love that their challenging themselves, but it isn’t quite there yet. I also think that they are putting a lot of pressure on themselves.
However, BTOB was proud and really happy with the performance, which, at the end of the day, is really what Stray Kids wanted as a result.
Afterwards, the evaluation and combined group evaluations were shown:
|Expert Evaluation||Group Evaluation|
|6.Stray Kids||6.The Boyz|
It was actually quite a shock to see The Boyz rank that low. But, as I’ve mentioned on Twitter, I believe that the Group Evaluation ranking is also conducted amongst themselves with a strategy in mind. So, to be honest, even though all these scores will be combined in the end, the “purest” evaluation for me that doesn’t really have any strategy put into it would be the expert evaluation.
I think after reading my take on the performances, my ranking won’t be much of a surprise to you dear readers. Actually, SF9 and Ateez are tied in my opinion, but I did have to choose a rank.
Thankfully, we’ll be taking a little bit of a break from the main competition as they’ll be airing the sports day that they did with all of the teams, which is a very refreshing breather, and will make me miss ISAC (Idol Star Athletics Championships) a lot!
What are your personal rankings for this round? What do you think of the show so far? What inter group interactions did you enjoy the most?
Let me know in the comments below!