Following last week’s much-improved episode, ‘Queendom‘ finishes with a flurry, highlighting original songs that were released as a part of the competition.
To start, they gave the rankings going into this finale.
1 – Oh My Girl
2 – MAMAMOO
3 – (G)I-DLE
4 – Lovelyz
5 – AOA
6 – Park Bom
In terms of actual impact they’ve made through this show, it definitely seems like AOA is comically underrated here, but it just goes to show that the rankings aren’t all that meaningful compared to being able to showcase their stuff for the public.
AOA – “Sorry”
The Yee Haw Agenda is truly in effect for Korea, and “Sorry” gets off to a great start with that unique intro and the cowbell as percussion. However, that seems to hide how trendy the core of this because it’s not all that Western at all but rather has a synthpop center. I feel like this could’ve been a knockout if it went for something more dynamic instead of moody, but it’s still a quality effort and one that could grow over time.
That said, if the song gets credit for the performance, then Chanmi’s martial arts/pro wrestling dance break deserves a ton of credit for what was probably the best moment of the episode. Rankings aside, AOA has really had a resurgence by starring on ‘Queendom’.
Lovelyz – “Moonlight”
‘Queendom’ has been useful for being able to highlight the versatility of groups, but for me the show has kinda proved that Lovelyz‘s at their best is Lovelyz’s current sound. Don’t feel like that’s an insult at all, but “Moonlight” does less to make them standout and more to make them sound like a generic tropical pop girl group, and their usual fare is frequently far more interesting to me.
Similarly, their stage was done fine enough but without much to grasp onto. As a fan of the genre, it’s quite a fine listen despite being something we’ve heard many times before, I just don’t find it jumping at me as much as fading in the background.
Park Bom – “Wanna Go Back”
Park Bom really holds her own here with something in the production that gives her something to let her unique vocals shine along with an interesting stage.
Still massively handicapped in terms of what a vocalist can do compared to groups, but for perhaps the first time on ‘Queendom’ I thought this showcased what she was capable of and why so many loved her during the 2NE1 days. It’s good to see her do it like this again, honestly.
Oh My Girl – “Guerilla”
From what I’ve seen, Oh My Girl hasn’t gotten as big of a boost from ‘Queendom’ as like AOA despite their rankings. That’s likely due to show stuff unrelated to performance, but to me they’ve proven just as much in terms of their diverse talent. While most groups thrive due to having a signature sound, I’m not sure I could tell you what an Oh My Girl song should sound like. However, they consistently churn out quality either with singles or b-sides and so ‘Queendom’ has really allowed them to showcase that adaptability to the best of their ability.
The combination of orchestral strings and electronic beats of the chorus provides likely the best hook of all the songs here. The verses are a bit empty but they do allow for a quality build and the road to the climax is worth it. “Guerilla” sounds something like a comeback, which is not a bad quality to have for what I assumed would be a bit of a throwaway for a reality show.
(G)I-DLE – “Lion”
The band percussion intro reminded me of After School, which is never gonna be a negative. “Lion” itself doesn’t really carry that over into the production, which is a bit of a shame, but it continues to have similar energy and rides a tribal percussion core to success.
After an almost jazzy/R&B start, the verses keep things propelling forward, and the chorus is addictive and catchy, though it was a bit repetitive and could’ve switched things up a bit. While none of this is gonna do a damn thing to dispel the Ethnic Hip memes, this could easily be a comeback and it seems like they agreed.
Thematically it also fits the show perfectly and makes the desired statement, and unless the chorus ages worse than I anticipate (or even if it does, the rest of the elements are quality enough to carry it) this might be one of their best singles outside of “Latata” and “Hann“.
MAMAMOO – “Destiny”
It feels like in every evaluation of a MAMAMOO performance on this show I’ve said some variant of “well it was fine because MAMAMOO is talented, but the material itself wasn’t anything special”. Perhaps they were just biding their time until the finale to make their move, because the bluesy intro to “Destiny” is gold and the mellow country feel is very evocative and powerful.
That segues nicely into something a lot more upbeat before dropping the back down to a more staggered sound for the rap and then down again for the vocal pre-chorus. The payoff went against expectations, as some kind of vocal showcase that would blow everybody away seemed where it was headed. Instead it had a Teddy-esque drop except primarily using their vocals. If that works for you, then this absolutely pops as the song meshes cohesively despite all the genre and tempo mashing.
For me though I really wanted that vocal climax, as the rest of the song had enough twists and turns to subvert expectations. But nevertheless, this was still bold as hell and works to showcase MAMAMOO’s immense potential.
The rankings of the songs were not especially surprising.
1 – MAMAMOO
2 – Oh My Girl
3 – (G)I-DLE
4 – AOA
5 – Lovelyz
6 – Park Bom
It essentially goes around how they usually perform digitally, perhaps with just Oh My Girl leapfrogging a couple spots.
So that makes my ranking a lot more exciting, right? Right.
1 – (G)I-DLE
2 – Oh My Girl
3 – MAMAMOO
4 – AOA
5 – Park Bom
6 – Lovelyz
Based on what I’ve been seeing, the rankings of this are all over the fucking place, so have at it in the comments. Overall, the songs ended up a lot better than I thought, and there were borderline year-end candidates here, whereas I assumed most of the releases would be safe and generic fodder.
If we’re including the stage performance, I’ll move AOA up a spot in the rankings, but things pretty much remain the same for me since the original songs take precedence.
At the end of the show, it was revealed that first place would come down to MAMAMOO and Oh My Girl, with MAMAMOO coming out on top.
Yeah yeah yeah, that’s basically what everybody expected at the start of this, but the way in which we got there was what made this show. Because the rankings weren’t really that important, it was more about the interactions between the groups, the girls showcasing of different sides of themselves, and the impressive stages that created worthwhile viewing.
Yeah, this was such a nice change of pace from the cutthroat mess that a lot of Mnet shows are. A bunch of girl groups (and the return of Park Bom) interacting and performing with Mnet’s bullshit kept to a minimum. Wow, what a concept.
The producer of the show seemed to believe Mnet appreciated it as well.
“I’ve heard people say that ‘Queendom’ gave people the opportunity to see idols in a different light, which made me very happy,” he continued. “Up until now, people hadn’t had much of a chance to see the participants taking the initiative in creating something, so I’m happy that we were able to show those kinds of things [through ‘Queendom’].” During its run, “Queendom” and several of its artists dominated the Good Data Corporation’s weekly rankings of the most buzzworthy non-drama TV shows for six consecutive weeks. Jo Wook Hyung commented, “Because we achieved good results in terms of buzz, I think the company looked favorably upon the show.”
I definitely hope it gets another season, and the producer addresses that as well.
Before the premiere of “Queendom,” Jo Wook Hyung mentioned that if the show was a success, there was potential for a second season featuring male artists—which he referred to as “Kingdom” at the time. When asked about the possibility of a second season, the PD shared optimistically, “There have been discussions of a Season 2 within the company.” However, he went on to reveal that a second season of “Queendom” might look very different from the first. “First, we need to take the time to look for artists who would be able to appear on the next season,” said the PD. “Nothing has been officially decided. We may still go in a different direction in terms of [planning and casting].”
That’s … a bit concerning for somebody that was a fan of the way they formatted it. Also, personally I’m not sure I’d have the same interest in boy groups, though in terms of ratings I bet that would make sense for Mnet.