Kingdom Episode 9 Recap (Spoilers!)

This episode saw the rest of the Round 3 Part 2 “No Limit” stages- with BTOB, Ateez, SF9, and The Boyz gracing us with even more legendary stages before the last and final round. At the end of the episode, the expert names, expert evaluation, group evaluation and combined score for the third round was released.

Before we move on to the details of what exactly happened during the episode, fair warning, from here on out, there will be spoilers!

Episode 9

Round 3 Part 2- NO LIMIT Con’t.

BTOB- Blue Moon (Cinema Ver.)

While they were choosing a song to perform, the members of BTOB mentioned that it was harder to choose for this round as it was no limit. Changsub mentioned that they should perform a song that their fans, Melody, want to see them perform, which gave Eunkwang the idea that they should perform “Blue Moon”. It’s a song that they have been seeing fans request online, and it’s a different type of song as it is a jazz song that Minhyuk helped in creating. They then decided to use a live band (Changsub’s military friends), and casted Miyeon of (G)-IDLE to act in their performance. They also decided to use “Lalaland” and a jazz club as their pegs for the performance.

I love how BTOB always plays up to their strengths- you can always rely on them to give a great performance with live vocals! Also, I love how the participants mentioned how Eunkwang was sexy by just rolling up his sleeves and just singing his heart out on stage. The camera work was dynamic, and I was also very drawn in by the story- that Miyeon is a rising starlet, but it’s becoming a bit tough on her relationship with Minhyuk, who is only a staff member. However, the biggest twist was that in the end, the entire storyline with Minhyuk was part of the actual movie, so it was a movie within a movie! And I love that in the end credits, Melody was credited as “investment”. It was a flawlessly smooth performance that really felt at part with the movie “Lalaland” itself. What makes it stand out as well as that the song was a jazz song and the performance wasn’t strong, but smooth and clean, making it stand out amidst more powerful stages. It really showcased the group’s colors and reminded us once again that they are legends in their own right.

ATEEZ- The Answer: Ode to Joy

It seems to be a common theme that at this point, the groups now are choosing songs and creating performances that are catered more towards their fans as compared to before which were both for the fans and the judges of the show, as Ateez decided to choose the fan-favorite “Answer” for their song for this round. Not only is the song epic in scale and very much suited for a big stage, it’s a very meaningful song for them as it was the last song that they performed in person in front of their fans, Atiny, before lockdowns and social distancing happened. They also decided to leave in some fun Easter Eggs in the performance such as the glass prison chamber from the “Answer” music video, and the staircase from the “Wonderland” music video.

The performance itself was technically good and clean. Ateez has been mashing up their songs with classical music for this competition, and this one was no exception as they mashed up “Answer” with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. And instead of just hearing it mixed in with “Ode to Joy’s” chords, they went a step further and decided to have the classical group La Poem be a guest in their performance. I loved how that part of the performance was paired up with an action sequence, and it worked well! It seems like the performance encapsulated their journey throughout Kingdom, and in this song, they are looking for the right answer that could inform their journey. In the end, they were able to fight the obstacles in their way, and came out of it realizing that they are all worthy of being kings, as signified by Jongho throwing away the crown and the rest of the members standing with him on the staircase together. I also love how it ended not on a very powerful note, but a nostalgic one. However, one thing that I did notice was that despite them having good energy throughout the performance, it felt a little bit lacking, which I’ll now boil down to tiredness, which is expected being on such a grueling show like this.

SF9-Move

While choosing their song for the next round, they mentioned that they realized that their unique charm is that they express things a lot through acting. As they were talking about showing off their manly and sexy side, Taeyang suggested that they show a different kind of sexiness by using Taemin’s legendary song “Move”, which highlights a subtle kind of sensuous sexiness. While this discussion was going on, Chani tried to make corny abbreviations which annoyed Dawon to no end. They then each recorded the song their own way, and practiced hard on the dance. Chani, however, ran into a little bit of trouble as he was put in charge of the intro part, which would set the mood for things. His biggest problem was that his image is so far away from being “manly and sexy” because of his baby face. In fact, MC Changmin mentioned it, and told him that he’s a good dancer and to try going for a more manly image. As he was hitting a mental roadblock, he decided to call Taemin himself to ask for advice. Taemin was shocked that they were going to use that song but told Chani that the song is all about getting the mood right in your mind first, and then the performance will follow. Chani also mentioned that he felt like he had been in his comfort zone, and now he’s going to try and do something new. Before they entered the stage, iKON knocked on their door and encouraged them to do well.

Hands down the entire performance felt like an art installation and an art piece. It was slick, sophisticated and was subtly sensuously sexy without going over the top. Instead of it just being a pure performance piece, like I’m so used to seeing with “Move” covers, this one had the message of being true to one’s colors and to perform with one’s own individual colors, no matter what. Chani did really well, and this shows that he can pull off sexy if he wants to. I loved the whole transition from monochrome colors to each of the members having colors of their own, then after Chani fired the confetti gun, it was just an explosion of color. I also loved the ending in which Dawon joined the other members in the rain in front of an LED screen with that had words such as Be You Move. The other participants felt like it was an art piece and that last bit was definitely very out of the box. It was truly a performance that only SF9 can do, and they pulled it off perfectly.

The Boyz- Monster (Stormborn)

Before The Boyz decided on their song, they first decided to hang out and eat together by the Han River. It was a nice change of pace for them after going through everything in Round 1 & 2. While eating, they talked about how they have been showcasing their emotions and beautiful dance lines, but now they need to change it up a bit to something more powerful and performance based to showcase their energy and their in synch choreography. In order to do this, they decided to choose EXO’s “Monster”, which is a legendary song in its own right. They took care of every tiny detail while practicing the choreography, and Sunwoo and Eric once again wrote their one rap lines. They also mentioned that they want to be able to perform like they did on “Road to Kingdom” in which they really did cheer for each other after every performance, and they hope that this one would be that performance. Aside from that they committed to really giving this performance their all, and decided to have fun during this performance. Unfortunately, Younghoon had to sit this one out as he is recovering from a surgery involving his 2019 clavicle injury and was advised against doing any powerful dancing.

This was an insanely perfect performance, from the arrangement, to the powerful in sync choreography. As the participants on “Kingdom” said, this performance was The Boyz competing against their own choreography. Everything was in sync, and I absolutely loved Eric doing that front flip. Can we also talk about Ju Haknyeon hitting those notes and New’s beautiful voice coming in at the end? Those choices were perfection. Everyone was shocked when Sunwoo came out of the snake’s mouth, but what I even loved more was that Eric got to rap just as hard as Sunwoo does for this performance. I also found it very interesting that based on the sun on the LED screen, it was a continuation of “O Sole Mio”, and at the end, half of the sun was covered in ice. After the performance, the boys cheered, and Sang Yeon cried tears of overwhelm and satisfaction as he is just so proud of how far his members have come.

Rankings for Round 3:

Expert RankingGroup Ranking
1. Stray Kids 1. SF9
2. SF92. BTOB
3. The Boyz3. Stray Kids
4. BTOB4. The Boyz
5. iKON5.iKON
5. Ateez 6. Ateez

This was probably the most difficult ranking I’ve ever done because they all brought their a-game to the party. While all the performances were very memorable My top 4 are basically the performances that I really couldn’t stop thinking about at all. So my ranking has a little bit of preference as well in terms of the styles that I like. Also, I noticed that for the group ranking, iKON, The Boyz and Stray Kids both got 1041.667 points each; while BTOB and SF9 got 1562.500 each for the group ranking.

Combined Ranking My Ranking
1. SF91. The Boyz
2. Stray Kids2. SF9
3. BTOB 3. BTOB
4. The Boyz 4. Ateez
5. iKON5. Stray Kids
6. Ateez6. iKON

My Overall Ranking:

Intro Round 1Round 2Round 3Overall
1. The Boyz1. Ateez1. The Boyz1. The Boyz1. The Boyz
2. Stray Kids2. The Boyz2. iKON 2. SF92. SF9
3. BTOB3. SF93. SF93. BTOB3. Ateez
4. SF94. BTOB4. Ateez4. Ateez4. BTOB
5. Ateez 5. iKON5. BTOB5. Stray Kids5. iKON
6. iKON6. Stray Kids6. Stray Kids6. iKON5. Stray Kids

What did you think of the third round? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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