This episode saw the continuation of the collaboration stages, with the Vocal Battle and the release of the final results as to which team won overall. Afterwards, the second part of Round Three started, with the theme of No Limit, meaning that sky was the limit in conceptualizing each group’s performance. For this round, both iKON and Stray Kids took the stage, while the other groups’ performances will be shown in the next episode.
Before we move on to the details of what exactly happened during the episode, fair warning, from here on out, there will be spoilers!
It’s One- Spark
It’s One’s Vocal team was comprised of The Boyz’s Sangyeon and New, iKON’s Junhoe and Jinwhan, and SF9’s Inseong and Jaeyoon. This team was introduced as “charming” with a good harmony. Everyone first met each other at FNC Entertainment. The members from iKON came first, much to the excitement of Inseong and Jaeyoon. Inseong mentioned that he had been wanting to talk to Jinwhan when they filmed the previous episodes but never got a chance to, and Jaeyoon served them FNC’s famous coffee as a welcome drink. After The Boyz’s New and Sangyeon entered, Jinwhan began to think that their voices would suit each other well. The group decided to choose Taeyeon’s “Spark”, with their six voices coming together with harmony. They recorded their voices individually at first, but when put together, they really liked what they heard, and praised Inseong’s high notes. Junhoe did some extra recording for ad libs, and Jinwhan asked New to go an octave higher to blend with Junhoe. Jinwhan also mentioned that he wanted New’s voice to stand out in particular points as well. They then tried singing the song all together and practiced the parts with blending, where Jinwhan seemed to have a little trouble with.
The performance itself was great! I liked how the song arrangement highlighted everyone’s unique vocal abilities, but when they came together to sing in harmony, it blended well together. I also noticed that each team had one vocal that was unique and another that could blend well, which made their concept really work- New’s unique emotional and great vocals, Junhoe’s slightly rock-ish vocals, Jinwhan’s clear voice, Sangyeon’s clear voice that can also handle some vocal cartwheels, Jaeyoon’s wonderful middle tone, and Inseong’s smooth voice which is capable of power ballads. It is a little unfortunate that Inseong’s voice got strained during his high notes, however, I love how much of a trooper he was, and finished it until the end. Jinwhan really stood out as the leader of the group for this one, and I loved how New’s parts really punctuated the performance as well.
Team Mayfly- IU’s Love Poem
This team consisted of Stray Kids’ Seungmin, BTOB’s Eunkwang, and Ateez’s Jongho. The three met at Cube Entertainment, where they kept on calling Eunkwang “Director Seo”. After talking about what songs they wanted to perform, they decided to go with IU’s “Love Poem” as both Seungmin and Eunkwang had that song as their number one choice. Right after they picked the song, they went to work right away, with Eunkwang at the keyboard, and asking the other two to try to sing it with him. They immediately harmonized well with each other, which amused and excited the three. Seungmin was over the moon the entire time as he was able to not only collaborate with an artist he admired, but was also able to sing one of his favorite songs on stage as well. Eunkwang divided the parts between the three, and in the subsequent practices, he encouraged the younger two to ask questions and clarify things with him, which they readily did, especially Jongho.
The performance itself was really good and technically clean! Jongho’s ability to reach those power belting high notes is really great, Eunkwang’s superior singing techniques and superb control were really showcased here, and it was wonderful to see Seungmin really showcase his abilities as a great vocalist here. I am really proud of Seungmin because he doesn’t really get the spotlight that often, nor do his vocal abilities get to shine as much as it shone here. He really reminded me as to what a great vocalist he is!
With all things said and done, for me, it was a really close battle as both performances have very different vibes, but technically speaking, I’d go with Team Mayfly. However, if you ask me, I think that Team It’s One should have won the Rap and Dance rounds, and Mayfly for the Vocal battle.
Afterwards, MC Changmin announced that Team Mayfly won for the Vocal Battle, giving Team Mayfly their third win.
Afterwards, it was shown that Inseong felt really bad about what happened, but his teammates reassured him in the interviews, and Hwiyoung comforted his teammate in the waiting room.
NO LIMIT- GROUP BATTLE
Right after the announcement, the episode switched gears into the second part of round three- No Limit. MC Changmin also explained that a total of 25,000 points would be at stake for this part of the competition. For this episode, only iKON’s and Stray Kids’ performances were shown.
Before iKON went about choosing the song that they wanted to perform for this round, Jinwhan first invited them to a samgyeopsal place that they often went to as trainees and when they first started out. They talked about old fond memories and talked about how fans have named them “Step”kon or “Turtle”kon as they keep on advancing step by step. In fact, it seems like Song is able to predict their next rank, for some reason. Afterwards, back at YG, they decided to use a Blackpink B-side instead of a title track, so they ended up choosing “Pretty Savage”, which they later changed into “Classy Savage”. They also decided to make it a jungle concept where they would be able to show themselves as troublemakers. Aside from this, it was done in such a way that each member had their own individual part as well.
The performance started with them in a living room set, with them watching YG music videos, and when the music started, they stepped out into a jungle, where the performance started. The entire performance was very energetic, and it felt more like an iKON song rather than a Blackpink song. Aside from their “Inception” performance, this is one of their strongest performances yet for a round on Kingdom. Of course everyone was delighted when Blackpink’s Lisa showed up, but what I liked about it is that she didn’t overshadow iKON or the performance, and it served a bigger purpose- while Lisa was performing, the boys changed into gold jackets for an even more pumped up second half! I really loved the touch with the flags as well. It was definitely a very fun iKON stage!
Stray Kids- God’s DDU-DU DDU-DU
For this round, Changbin began conceptualizing their performance by mentioning that he wanted to figure out how they could mash up God’s Menu with Blackpink’s DDU-DU DDU-DU, as they both have those syllables in their songs, although at a different tempo and way of saying it. They decided to really make the performance showcasing their unique rascal like spirit and wit. After 3RACHA arranged the song, Lee Know kicked off conceptualizing the performance by making sure that the Blackpink dance moves are done more in their style.
Finally, this is the performance that I’ve been waiting for from Stray Kids- a performance that is uniquely Stray Kids, from their ideas (having a giant rice cooker in the beginning), to using pop culture such as Deadpool in their performance, to Lee Know’s facial expression while surrounded by guns, to using neon colored strings to mimic laser beams! Plus, the way that they mashed up the two songs was really good. This is what I’ve really been waiting for from them and they didn’t disappoint. I feel that Stray Kids is really good when they are really working with base material that they know inside out like these two songs, and at least one of them has to be their own song; and if they really highlight that unique Stray Kids spirit. “Side Effects” was their own song, but that didn’t work because they went over the top with their set. Here, every little piece of prop and set that they had really served a greater purpose and didn’t drown out the song at all. This is their sweet spot and I hope they keep this up for the finale.
What did you think of the vocal team battle? Which performance did you like best? What did you think of iKON’s and Stray Kids’ No Limit performances? Let me know what you think in the comments below!