MAMA Smackdown!

Posted by Stephanie on November 21, 2013

Music
mama logoToday is the MAMAs! (Or actually, tomorrow in the weeee hours of the morning). If you don’t know what the MAMAs are, they are kind of like the Korean Grammy’s. There are nominations and live performances. Last year, great fun was had (by me) as I live blogged a lot of the performance. This year, we’ve added an extra layer of the fun! And to do this—I’ve asked my good friend Cherry Cordial to join us today. Say Hello Cherry!
So what we’ve done is watched every single freaking video for every single category (yes, this turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated when I said to Cherry, “Hey, I have a fun idea…” I’m sure it will be a while before she forgives me on that one.)
So we’ve each chosen our picks (and we did this independently, not peeking at each other’s papers) on who we think will win. At the end we’ll add up the correct answers and the person with the most correct guesses wins! Wins what? Ummm….the crown of…the best knower of Kpop?

We’ve tried, with various degrees of success to put all biases aside and vote our conscience rather than pulling the “I love them… they’re so pretty” card.
If you’d like to play along, put your nominations in the comments below and we’ll see who is the real BEST KNOWER OF KPOP!
Best New Male Artist
Roy Kim
Bumkey
BTS
Yoo Seung Woo
Jung Joon Young
Stephanie: Starting right off the bat, this is a hard one! I personally really love Roy Kim and have since the very first time I saw him when he performed at the MAMAs. His music is not as electric as I’d hoped from that performance, but it is just happy, feel-good music (kind of like Jack Johnson) but I’m going to have to go with Bumkey. His music, once I actually gave it a chance was, while not my cup of tea, very good, and he’s everywhere now.
Cherry: There are some good choices here. Not everything is my style, but there are several I like. I liked Yoo Seung Woo with his light, hummable songs. I wasn’t on board with Jung Joon Young until I listened to “Spotless Mind” (The Mystical Being of Unicorns, aka my niece, said it had much more muchiness than “The Sense of an Ending”). But in the end, I’m going wholeheartedly with BTS—they’ve got the whole shebang that I like, heavy beats, good singing, rapping, and dancing.
Best New Female Artist
Kim Ye Lim
LADIES’ CODE
Yoo Sung Eun
Lee Hi
Crayon Pop
Stephanie: Immediately cross off Ladies’ Code and Yoo Sung Eun. Lim Kim? I loved her first song with its unique sound, but the rest of it has kind of fizzled for me. Really it’s between Lee Hi and Crayon Pop. Musically, hands down, Lee Hi is better, she has put out some amazing music. But that was a long time ago and Kpop fans are fickle. Crayon Pop is hot right now and their song was cute. It was enough to get Psy nominated. Eh. This time I’m voting quality over who will probably win and will choose Lee Hi.
Cherry: There are a lot of good, catchy songs and singers in this category, but a lot of them don’t really stand out from the crowd or aren’t my style. The ones that stood out to me as unique were Kim Ye Lim and Lee Hi, and I had a little difficulty figuring which was my favorite, but in the end, I went with Lee Hi’s bluesy sound.
Best Male Artist
G-DRAGON
PSY
Lee Seung Gi
Lee Seung Chul
Cho Yong Pil
Stephanie: I put aside my G-Dragon and BigBang bias, listented to all the nominees with an open mind and went with… G-Dragon. Come on guys his CD was amaze-balls awesome and his videos were just the same. Sometimes you’ve just got to give the devil his due.
Cherry: Yes, I admit it, my bias here is G-Dragon, so I paid extra attention to the other nominees, since I wanted give a fair judgement. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of Psy’s “Gentleman” and Lee Seung Gi and Lee Seung Chul were too ballady for my tastes. I thought Cho Yong Pil’s song was catchy, but it still couldn’t compare to G-Dragon, so he wins in my book!
Best Female Artist
Baek Ji Young
Sun Mi
IU
Ailee
Lee Hyo Ri
Stephanie: For sheer entertainment value? I’d like to vote Lee Hyori, which is a feat in itself a I started out disliking her, but as entertaining as she is? She’s still not a super awesome singer. Surprisingly, just from these videos, I’m going to go with IU. The song was fun and the video was super cute.
Cherry: There were some good performers in this category, and at least one of them of them was a pleasant surprise (I’d seen IU acting and on variety shows, but I’d never heard her sing), but in the end Lee Hyori wins my vote. I’ll admit, I’m probably influenced a little bit by watching her take down Kang Ho Dong on Barefoot Friends, but she’s a pretty badass singer in her own right.
Best Male Group
EXO
SHINee
Shinhwa
INFINITE
TEEN TOP
Stephanie: Hard one! For me it comes down to EXO or Shinhwa. Both of these bands I loved one song from each (“This Love”, Shinhwa and “Growl”, EXO) and liked the other song. The kids will vote for EXO, but Shinhwa are really popular. Hrm. I’m going to give it to EXO, as the kids will be the ones voting…
Cherry: I like Exo’s Growl and Wolf alright, and SHINee keeps sneaking up on me on Pandora—I’ll hear a song, and be all “ooh, I like that sound”, and when I check, it surprises me that it’s SHINee. But I’m gonna have to go with Shinhwa on this one—it’s so amazing to me that they’ve been together for 15 years and they’re still going strong. And on top of that, their music is really good!
Best Female Group
2NE1
Girls’ Generation
SISTAR
f(x)
4Minute
Stephanie: 2NE1 all the way. Or a good part of the way. I like f(x)too.
Cherry: I’m really not big on girl groups in general. I’m not sure why, maybe that most of them don’t have the heavy beats I prefer in my Kpop. But one has consistently caught my attention enough to put it on heavy rotation—I even like their slow stuff, and that’s saying a lot. My vote goes to 2NE1!
Best Dance Performance – Male Solo
G-DRAGON – “Crooked”
Jay Park – “JOAH”
SeungRi – “Gotta Talk to U”
PSY – “GENTLEMAN”
Yang Yo Seob – “Caffeine”
Stephanie: This one was easier to pick than I’d anticipated—considering G-Dragon and Jay Park didn’t actually dance in either of these videos. I’m ruling out Psy, as the dance was just a rehash of Brown Eyed Girls, and “Caffeine” as, though it was the danciest of the videos I didn’t care for it. I chose Seungri. You can’t really see the dancing because of camera trickery, but it was sexy and awesome.
Cherry: I’ve already admitted that G-Dragon is my bias, so you can guess that my first instinct here was to vote for him by default, but then I looked at the category title again and did a double-take. Much as I like the “Crooked” video, there’s not a whole lot of actual dancing in there (I rewatched it three times, just to be sure). So I worked my way through the others and narrowed it down to Seungri and Yang Yo Seob, and while the dance in “Caffeine” was definitely good, in the end I prefer the casual elegance of Seungri’s moves in “Gotta Talk to U”.
Best Dance Performance – Female Solo
G.NA – “Oops!”
Seo In Young – “Please Love Me”
Sun Mi / 24 Hours
CL / The Baddest Female
Lee Hyo Ri / Bad Girls
Stephanie: This should probably go to Sun Mi and “24 Hours” as she was the one who did a full out dance video, but I had such a fun time with CL’s “The Baddest Female”, my vote has to go with her. I’m a sucker for a song which makes me go full on dance party.
Cherry: Several of the videos didn’t really have much, if any, dancing in them. I’m looking at you, Seo In Young—rocking your shoulders against a wall does not count as dancing. In my opinion, the two dance performances to watch were G.NA and Sun Mi. And, of those two, Sun Mi impressed me more with the complexity and variety of her dancing and how well it was integrated into the music video.
Best Dance Performance – Male Group
B1A4 – “What’s Going On”
EXO – “Growl”
Beast – “Shadow”
SHINee – “Dream Girl”
INFINITE – “Man In Love”
Stephanie: I’m not a huge knower of dance, but EXO’s “Growl” blew me away. Such a good song such an amazing dance. I’m pretty much awed out here.
Cherry: There’s a lot of very good dancing here, so at first glance, it was a difficult choice. But I’m finding that I have a preference for the dancing to be part of the story, and the Beast video for “Shadow” sucked me right in with that, so they get my vote.
Best Dance Performance – Female Group
Girl’s Day – “Expectation”
Girls’ Generation – “I GOT A BOY”
SISTAR – “Give It to Me”
Crayon Pop – “Bar Bar Bar”
4Minute – “What’s Your Name?”
Stephanie: Hands down, Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar” this is such  cute fun song you just can’t resist it. You shouldn’t even try!
Cherry: Girl groups tend to have stock sexy moves they pull out for their dances. Oh, of course they change them around from dance to dance, but there’s only so many times I can watch them before I’m tired of it. I almost went with Crayon Pop, since they had no sexy moves whatsoever, but while their moves were cute and all, they weren’t that great, either. There’s a reason Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy” won best YouTube video, and it’s showcased here. Yeah, they’ve got the sexy moves, but they’re mixed in with some all-around, good, fun dancing.
Best Vocal Performance – Male
2AM – “One Spring Day”
Lee Seung Gi – “Return”
Lee Seung Chul – “My Love”
Cho Yong Pil – “Bounce”
K.Will – “Love Blossom”
Stephanie: The songs in this category were a little boring–and Cho Yong Pil should probably not call his woman a trampoline because she makes him ‘bounce’ too many ways that could go badly… I’m going to choose Lee Seung Chul, as yes, I like the song but mainly I love the video so much it needs to win something.
Cherry: This is a tough one. They’re all pretty good singers—yeah some are better than others, but they’re not really my style. So I’m gonna choose the one that makes me grin and sing along every darn time I hear it—Cho Yong Pil singing “Bounce”.
Best Vocal Performance – Female
Davichi – “Turtle”
Lyn – “Breakable Heart”
IU – “The Red Shoes”
Ailee – “U&I”
Lee Hi – “1,2,3,4″
Stephanie: There are some good performances here, and for me it’s between IU, Ailee, and Lee Hi. I like the song, but I don’t think it is the best vocal performance so I’ll cross off IU. I think voting for Ailee, as she’s been embroiled in a scandal, would be like throwing away a vote, so I’m going withLee Hi, who I love the most anyway.
Cherry: These girls all have awesome voices, and I really like the variety of styles in this category. I was impressed again by IU, but Ailee and Lee Hi edged her out, in my opinion. It was hard to choose, but I’m gonna have to go with the Lee Hi’s bluesy sound in “1,2,3,4.”
Best Band Performance
CNBLUE – “I’m Sorry”
Nell – “Ocean Of Light”
Dick Punks – “VIVA PRIMAVERA”
Busker Busker – “First Love”
Jaurim – “Twenty Five, Twenty One”
Stephanie: Busker Busker won last year, so I should go with them, but nah… who am I kidding?NELL all the way. I love this band, I love this song, and if they don’t win, something is very wrong.
Cherry: You don’t even know how much I wanted to pick a band with the name Dick Punks, but even though I liked their sound, I have to go with CNBLUE’s “I’m Sorry”, since it made me want to get up and dance around the room when I heard it.
Best Rap Performance
MFBTY – “Sweet Dream”
Geeks – “Wash Away”
Dynamic Duo – “BAAAM”
BaeChiGi – “Shower of Tears”
Verbal Jint – “No Love (If it ain’t love)”
Stephanie: If I were playing to win I’d go Verbal Jint or Dynamic Duo—but to me there was no better song or video than MFBTY’s “Sweet Dream”.
Cherry: I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge rap fan, even when they’re speaking English, so I kinda need a hook to pull me into a rap performance, and I get that in spades with MFBTY. I love, love, love “Sweet Dream.” (In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I just saw them in concert last week, and they were AWESOME!)
NISSAN JUKE Best Music Video
G-Dragon – “Coup D’etat”
Busker Busker – “First Love”
PSY – “Gentleman”
Lee Seung Chul – “My Love”
Cho Yong Pil – “Bounce”
Stephanie: A battle of the big ones! G-Dragon, Busker Busker, vs PSY. I stand by my earlier G-Dragon vote. This video was on such a different level than the others.
Cherry: There were some interesting concepts here: Busker Busker telling a sad story, PSY being a jerk, Lee Seung Chul helping out a marriage proposal, and Cho Yong Pil… ummm… pretty much filming a stage performance? While I don’t love the song, “Coup D’etat,” G-Dragon always has great music videos, jam-packed with ambience and symbolism. Of course, most of the symbolism goes over my head, but G-Dragon gets my vote anyway.
Best Original Soundtrack
Iris 2 OST / Davichi – “Don’t You Know”
That Winter, the Wind Blows OST / The One – “Winter Love”
Gu Family Book OST / Suzy – “Don’t Forget Me”
Master’s Sun OST / Yoon Mi Rae – “Touch Love”
I Hear Your Voice OST / Jung Yup – “Why Did You Come Now?”
Stephanie: Good Lord, why are the OST songs so boring? Very easy listening. I’ll go with Yoon Mi Rae as she was the one who bored me the least.
Cherry: I’m not a ballad person, for the most part, and this category is so ballad-heavy I almost dozed off while listening. I perked up a little bit for Jung Yup’s “Why Did You Come Now?” from I Hear Your Voice, but I surprised even myself in the end by choosing a ballad—Yoon Mi Rae’s “Touch Love” from Master’s Sun. I just love her voice, and how the song flows, too much not to listen again and again.
So here they are—all our choices. As you can see, Cherry put serious thought and consideration into who was the better artist, and me and my unrepentant competitive streak tried to figure out who would win (with some unavoidable exceptions.) Now who will win between us? Who will be crowned the KNOWER of KPOP? Me? Or Cherry Cordial? Or do you want to take us on?
Feeling lucky today? Huh, punk? Are you?

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