The Top 8 qualifications on KBS survival show Top Band 2 after starting last week. The results of two missions more were shown in episode 12, that aired on July 21th. KBS offers VOD to anyone with a KBS account if you want to watch the full episode. Daum does not allow video embeds, but if you click the song titles below the full performances are available for viewing.
In addition to myself the Top Band 2 commentary panel consists of Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real, Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Sangha of strangeseasons and Fabien of Kimchi Popcorn, Ranya of K-Underground Sweden and Xtian aka drowningn00b. This week we found that some of our predictions ahead of the show as to who would make it and who wouldn’t were in the wrong.
“Englishman in New York” (Sting cover)
Anna: As far as Daybreak’s style of music goes with me this was unusually listenable, but I’m by far more familiar with Shinehead’s version of this song than the original so I can’t help but find Daybreak’s take on it extremely boring. What’s happened to them? You Young Suk looks anxious as he looks back to see if the audience approves.
Sangha: Extremely well polished performance! I like the arrangement, and Lee Won Suk sounds amazing. I enjoyed it, but I fear that it’s not enough to win over the audience, especially against upcoming crowd-pleasers like Pia and Transfixion.
Dahee: Daybreak is…being Daybreak. I actually like this song best out of the ones they’ve performed so far, and it’s obvious that they arranged it well…but it’s rather boring. It feels like they’re not trying very hard. Which pisses me off. You Young Suk told them during practice that if they don’t get first place this round, he will curse the world.
Xtian: For the number 2 band on the show, I had expected a stronger showing from Daybreak. I’m gonna bet that Lee Won Suk doesn’t know what the lyrics to the song mean because he just sang the entire time, without much performance to liven it up. The arrangement was fine, but like Mr. Lee, didn’t catch my attention.
Fabien: I still have much problem to see the relevance of Daybreak. I can not help thinking that this group is riding on the success of 10cm and Busker Busker. I thought the first place on this round would be already reserved for them, but after seeing the performance, I have huge doubts. Little energy, little conviction even in the singer’s voice, they seem to do the bare minimum. At least, they give a good funky interpretation of the arrangement, which is close to their usual sound. Still not my cup of tea, but I appreciate this attempt.
Anna: A low score considering that this is Daybreak we’re talking about. Seems You Young Suk did meet up at least with Daybreak for a bit of coaching.
Sangha: I think this was sort of expected… it’s a good performance but I feel like it failed to impress the crowd, seeing as it was neither super energetic nor particularly touching. And is Shin Dae Chul trying to be funny when he’s criticizing Daybreak’s pronunciation or?
Dahee: Not surprising. Shin Dae Chul, please don’t criticize their pronunciation when you obviously have no idea about pronunciation in the first place…
Xtian: Frankly, that’s a bit high.
Fabien: My biggest fear was that the public was composed only of fans of a few popular bands. But when compared the score of Daybreak next to Fellas’, it seems that the public is far less predictable.
Coaching from Shin Dae Chul
Anna: Yohan receives special coaching in English from Shin Dae Chul’s friend Jake. From what little I’ve heard I thought Yohan spoke fairly well, but I really like how Shin Dae Chul thought to consider pronunciation anyway.
Sangha: I think he actually has really good pronunciation. (The English version of “Black Fish Swim” on their Waterfalls album is pretty good!) The coaching on it is a nice touch though.
Dahee: Is this the reason Shin Dae Chul thought to criticize Daybreak’s pronunciation? Lol.
Fabien: It’s great that both You Young Suk and Shin Dae Chul gave so much focus on the pronunciation!
“Beat It” (Michael Jackson cover)
Anna: They’ve made a fairly straightforward adaptation and are not as heavy as I’d like them to be. This song could have worked out well for Pia even if they’d gone with their newer, sorta electro rock approach, but perhaps Shin Dae Chul too longs for Pia to go back to their roots but asked them not to change the song too much? Oh, but the ending makes things far more interesting! This is what I wanted all along.
Sangha: I love it! So full of energy! And this is by far the best performance from Ok Yohan. He’s been shaky on the show so far but he sounds fantastic here. I think the screaming was a nice touch. The whole band performed really well, as usual.
Dahee: Pia is back to doing what they’re great at, and it’s so nice to see. I’m still having issues with the vocalist, whose eyes keep darting back and forth and who seems to be concentrating on getting the pronunciation right over anything else. As a result I found myself not being able to concentrate on the performance, and my mind kept wandering. But it’s a great arrangement, and I love that switch at the end. They totally got the crowd fired up!
Xtian: Yes, yes, f*&%ing YEAH! Now that’s how you rock a crowd! Pia was on point, with great energy and just great to watch. Love the neon accents on the instruments and how he kept singing at the end “no one wants to be repeated”. Such fun :)
Fablin: And now this is what I call singing! Good thing that Yohan had to go through these difficulties, now I can enjoy again the Pia we knew before they experienced their new sound. All the instruments play well together, and the latter part of the song goes wild, exactly as I would expect from a rock band of such stature.
Anna: A fair score.
Xtian: Wish it was higher, but I’ll take it.
Coaching from Kim Do Kyun
Anna: Transfixion try out “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Over The Rainbow” before Kim Do Kyun approvingly nods his head for “La Bamba”.
Sangha: Kim Do Kyun seemed to have put so much work in coaching.
Dahee: I repeat: I want Kim Do Kyun to be my coach!
Fabien: I totally love how Kim Do Kyun suddenly stop them when the song I expected the less from Transfixion. But he’s so damn right! Transfixion are awesome on dynamic songs, they go last, so they HAD to do this kind of crazy songs that can appeal to every generation in the audience.
“La Bamba” (Los Lobos cover)
Anna: They’re really trying to bring it and manage much better than I’d expected. I particularly liked the “Oi! Oi! Oi! Oi!” part. The audience in front of the stage is going wild, and even Rose Motel are dancing backstage. Kim Do Kyun seems so satisfied.
Sangha: Yes yes yes! I’m glad they took a more upbeat approach. This is actually such a Transfixion arrangement, haha. And that guitar solo(s?)! Phenomenal, they were so in synch! I’m sort of disappointed that Haerang didn’t sing as much… I can only remember him saying “jump!” “clap!” and such… It would have been nice to have him sing just a little bit more.
Dahee: Great energy! This was a fun performance, and their energy made up for all the flaws in the arrangement, which was meh to say the least. (Or maybe I’m just not a fan of the song in general.) I wish they’d experimented more, but like I said, that energy made up for everything. I want to be in that audience!
Xtian: Dear Transfixion, Don’t get rid of the lead guitarist. He has more energy and rocks out better on stage than your vocalist. Also, hip thrusting isn’t a punk thing. Your anti-fan, Xtian
I didn’t like this performance. That vocalist sucks on stage! The rest of the band is great, but Mr. Too Much Eyeliner is one of the worst performers on this show. I thought coaching was a plus here. Guess not.
Fabien: Yes, yes, the singer did not give much trouble to sing, but what a performance! People who have made the trip up to Chungju must not have been disappointed with such a wild band. I spent a good part of the song laughing, “La Bamba” sung by Transfixion seems so out of place. This is my favorite for this mission.
Anna: The highest score so far! I can’t recall having heard Transfixion sound this good in recent days, so I’d say they definitely deserved it.
Sangha: Wow. The crowd must have loved it.
Dahee: A high score for a crowd-pleasing song and performance.
Xtian: For this? Really, TB2?
Fabien: They put the crowd on fire, the crowd is thanking them for this.
Saturday Night Movies Mission Result
Daybreak vs. Transfixion — Winner: Transfixion
Anna: The rumors were true! Considering how well Daybreak did in previous rounds and how popular they are outside of this show I thought for sure we’d get to see them at least make the Top 4. Good for Transfixion. I’m hoping we’ll get to see them get even better for the next round.
Sangha: Haha yeah, the rumours were true after all! To be honest, as much as I appreciate Daybreak’s music, I don’t mind how this worked out. I’m excited to see more of Transfixion… and Haerang’s leopard collection.
Dahee: Is it wrong to feel relieved? Any other result would have been a disgrace. Daybreak has obviously been punished for, well, not trying hard enough.
Xtian: Based on their performances, it makes sense.
Fabien: Maybe Daybreak had the strength to go further in the competition and to please the audience, but it wasn’t tonight. I’m personally glad not to have to listen to them anymore.
Fellas vs. Pia — Winner: Pia
Anna: I’ve been feeling so-so about having Fellas in this competition, but they did really well for this challenge. Even so it didn’t come as a shocker that Pia won this in spite of the lower score from the audience.
Sangha: Fellas really won me over with their performance last week and I’m actually sort of sad to see them go. But yes, Pia all the way.
Dahee: Nooooooo!! I like Pia, don’t get me wrong, but Fellas…T____T If it were up to me, I’d actually have chosen Fellas and Pia move on instead of Transfixion, a band I’ve never been all that fond of. Excuse me while I weep in my corner…
Xtian: Oh no! I loved Fellas. :’(
Fabien: I was also expecting Fellas to make the second big surprise of this round. I think they would have really deserved it and also needed this kind of coverage by the media, while Pia now has nothing to prove.
Pre-Music Bank Mission
Romantic Punch, Super Kidd and Siberian Husky have gathered for MT a day ahead of the show. Vocalist Son Seung Yeon from last year’s Top 8 band WMA is there together with guitarist Han Joon Hee of last year’s Top 16 band Blue Near Mother as game leaders.
1. The Koxx
2. Super Kidd
3. Romantic Punch
4. Siberian Husky
Anna: I wasn’t able to figure out how they picked the order. I’m assuming the other bands collectively decided to put The Koxx first since they weren’t there, but how did they decide amongst themselves? Seems like The Koxx had yet to finish their cover intro so that’s why they didn’t show up for the games.
Sangha: I’m glad they decided to go over this quickly after the rowing mess from last week. And The Koxx still doesn’t have the arrangement done and it’s the last night before the stage? Wow. This is really disappointing. I don’t know, but I’m liking them less and less on the show.
Dahee: They played a bunch of games and Siberian Husky ended up the winners, and they allotted everyone’s order of playing, giving themselves the coveted last spot. Cute camp footage, and it’s nice to see Son Seung Yeon (I had no idea she had competed in Top Band as well as The Voice Korea). But I would rather have seen them with their coaches…
Fabien: I think it’s very nice from Siberian Husky not only to give an advantage to themselves, but also to give the handicap of the two first spots to the two most famous bands of the round. It makes sense as the competition seems more equilibrated now.
“Trouble Maker” (Trouble Maker cover)
Anna: I very much approve of the song choice, a perfect fit for them. They’re doing ok, but there’s something about this that fails to engage me. Kim Do Kyun is bopping his head throughout, but I actually enjoyed the intro part the most.
Sangha: I actually found this performance almost offensive. This is basically their original song “Trouble Maker” with some words from the Hyuna & Hyunseung song added in. Incorporating your own song into the cover could have been a brilliant idea but it fails miserably in this case, since the only elements from the Hyuna & Hyunseung song that’s recognizable here are bits threw in carelessly here and there. And you can tell how little effort they put into “covering” the song, seeing how it sounds like they’re rushing through the parts of the song they’re supposed to be covering. Before the performance Hyunsong even mentions the famous hook from the song but they didn’t even include that in the arrangement. This is such a mess, I’m so, so disappointed. At one point I thought to myself, “hey, at least the band sounds good?” but then I realized that, oh wait, obviously they sound good, it’s basically their song….
Dahee: I’m…not impressed. This arrangement was very obviously done at the last minute. It’s messy, chaotic, and the inclusion of hooks from the original song seem like an afterthought more than anything else. Also, major vocal problems. I winced throughout this entire thing.
Xtian: I don’t understand what y’all are babbling about. The Koxx are famous for destroying kpop and making a mess of them. I thought this was awesome. The original was calmer and cleaner, and the way The Koxx made a raucous punk cover of it was great. And they rocked it, making the audience and myself eat out of the palm of their hands. Sure it was lacking in clever cover arrangements, but if that’s the criteria, then The Koxx should’ve left the show ages ago. They’re doing something right.
Fabien: I must agree with Sangha, as it doesn’t seem like they added their own song to the Kpop song, but insteed incorporated some bits of that song to their own “Trouble Makers”. “Trouble Makers” is my very favorite song of them, and I love the part when they go berserk, but many parts were just too messy, like most of their last performances.
Anna: I thought they’d get more, if only for being The Koxx, but it seems the producers made a good job picking the audience.
Sangha: Well deserved, to be honest…
Dahee: I would’ve given them an even lower score. Shin Dae Chul says it seems like they just did whatever they wanted to do, and that they weren’t coached at all. Kim Do Kyun responds that he’d coached them to do exactly that. Tee hee! And aww, apparently he worked with them until three in the morning the night before to help them. What a sweetie. Too bad that hard work didn’t pay off…
Xtian: Sounds about right.
Fabien: Since Shin Dae Chul was already saying shit about Achtung and their cover that felt like a new song, why doesn’t he say anything now that he has a reason to make harsh comments? Anyway, I’m glad the public is finally more critical than the coaches.
“Ugly” (2NE1 cover)
Anna: I’m liking that three of them are drumming in the beginning and there’s a really nice tranquil feeling to the arrangement, but Her Check’s vocals feel out of place where I’m used to hearing smooth voices. When it becomes more of a rock arrangement it sounds more put together.
Sangha: Love the drums, I have such a soft spot for drums and I love how everything builds up in the beginning! Her Check’s voice kinda bothered me though, it’s just not enough. Like Anna said, I feel like a smoother and stronger voice would have been better for this kind of arrangement. I couldn’t help thinking that Super Kidd’s other vocalist Jingo (unfortunately MIA due to mandatory military service) would have suited this song better.
Dahee: Wow, what an awesome arrangement! I am absolutely in love with it. Those drums, man, those drums! Best Super Kidd performance so far. If they show more of this side to them, I could definitely become a fan. They really hit the emotions of the song and sucked me into it. Wonderful!
Xtian: This was nice, but I wish they had a more dramatic sound. Those drums led me to think it was going to have a close to orchestral feeling, like an angst teenager with a composer’s leadership ability. Oh well.
Fabien: Ooooh man!!! Super Kidd, you’re firing right into my soft spots. This is one of the few Kpop songs that I really like, and it’s a perfect fit for a more punky interpretation (think of OK Punk’s version). And I love when drums are used like this. This sounds epic in its way, and the limited vocal capabilities of Her Check make it sound like a desperate shout out in the middle of the night, which is quite appropriate with the lyrics. I’m totally won over.
Sangha: I like how Kim Jong Seo says that they sang it ‘ugly’ and it suited the song well. I see his point there, I guess in that way Her Check suited the song? But I still feel like it could have done so much better with a stronger vocalist…
Anna: Agreed that with a stronger vocalist the score would likely have been higher. It should’ve been much higher even. There was a reason why Super Kidd used to have two, because they both did things the other cannot.
Dahee: It seems the audience wasn’t able to get into this softer side to them. Kim Do Kyun asks whether they had wanted to do this style of arrangement, or if it had been You Young Suk’s idea, and they reply that they chose it together. Kim appears to not be a fan of how much they’ve changed in such a short period of time, but I’m fine with it, mostly because I didn’t like their previous sound, haha. God, You Young Suk, calm down, will ya? The man’s just asking a simple question…
Fabien: Seems like the audience is different from the last round, as it’s more difficult to please.
“날 떠나지마” (JYP cover)
Sangha: Ah, my favourites. Bae In Hyuk really went full out with the performance aspect this time! I’m digging the arrangement too, but oh god I just can’t focus on anything except Bae In Hyuk here… I wish he’d toned down the vibrato in the beginning though, it’s a bit too much. But overall, I loved it!
Dahee: Awesome! I’m not a fan of the original song, but they made it much more palatable to me. And what great stage presence! I think this is my favourite of Romantic Punch’s performances so far. The way he tossed that mic stand reminded me of his coach, hehe.
Anna: I didn’t really like that they would be covering a song already covered by another band on the show, but Romantic Punch’s version is naturally very different from Achtung’s. They’re doing it very well and Bae In Hyuk is running around like crazy, but somehow I had expected even more from him. Maybe it’s the outdoor stage that’s so big it’s impossible to be all over the place like I’m used to seeing him.
Xtian: Had to pause and say that I want that hat! I knew In Hyuk had it in him to gay it up. Non sequitur, so back to the performance. How can they lose? I love them, that performance, their energy. That guitar solo was nuts, and Bae In Hyuk needs to relax every once in a while to let the band show their stuff, but they rocked it, man. I will say though, that this cover reminded of their “Right Now” single.
Fabien: I don’t like the original song (neither the original singer…) but this performance was really great! This time, compared to Transfixion, they come with both a good stage presence and good vocals. It would be VERY surprising and disappointing if they don’t make it to the next level.
Sangha: Aw, I expected it to be higher, since they seemed to work the crowd really well.
Dahee: Still, it’s far from being a bad score. Kim Jong Seo says that no other band comes close to matching their dynamism, and You Young Suk takes the chance to ask him what he thinks about how pitchy the vocals were. Kim replies that their dynamism was so strong that he didn’t even notice. HA!
Anna: I didn’t notice the vocals much. I‘d thought their score would be higher too, but as Dahee already pointed out it’s far from bad.
Xtian: No! That’s too low. Ugh!!!!
Fabien: Don’t worry, it’s still the best score of this round !
“총 맞은 것처럼” (Baek Ji Young cover)
Sangha: I love this song, but I feel like this was a boring arrangement. You Soo Yeon’s really good at emoting but the whole performance was too true to the original and didn’t really impress me much. It just made me want to go listen to the original song…
Dahee: Oh, this was beautiful! It really got to me in an emotional way, and I don’t even like the original song! She’s amazing. Okay, she was straining a little at times, but she has this power to her that’s quite separate from her voice…she seemed really sincere, and I responded to that sincerity. I love this!
Anna: Did she always sound like this while singing? I agree they’re not really doing anything different with the arrangement, and though this is an example of the Siberian Husky that I actually enjoy listening to I can’t help but think it’d been more fun if they’d gone with something more on the funk side of things.
Xtian: Her singing isn’t there. I love this song, and she’s nailing the emotion, but when the climax came, she didn’t reach the height she was going for. Sounded like her voice cracked just before the high note. Fellas had a vocals-band problem, and Siberian Husky, for this performance, had a band-vocalist problem.
Fabien: So they decided to take one of the song that stand for me as a representative cliché of the whole Korean ballads. Such a waste. If only they had tried something more punchy like “Roly-Poly”… Still, the vocals are impressive, on a level above of most of the singers seen so far, and I enjoyed the performance.
Sangha: the judges comment on You Soo Yeon’s shaky performance.
Dahee: You Young Suk says that she was flat and pitchy and wonders if she had a cold (she doesn’t). At least they seem genuinely concerned this time, instead of just vindictive.
Xtian: I have to agree with them.
Music Bank Mission Result
Romantic Punch vs. Siberian Husky — Winner: Romantic Punch
Sangha: As expected, my faves Romantic Punch moves on! I’m just hoping that they manage to improve in future performances… After that mind-blowing “Purple Rain” in the triple round, they’ve yet to do another performance that lives up to it.
Dahee: Noooo, not Siberian Husky!! I mean, it’s not surprising, but still…Nooooo! T_____T
Anna: It would’ve been nice for Siberian Husky to get some more exposure, but I think Romantic Punch stand to gain more from remaining in competition. Both have been around for a long time, but Romantic Punch have only (relatively) recently begun to gather traction and
Xtian: YAY! Don’t care who lost, as long as Romantic Punch moves on. :D
Fabien: The audience wants some rock, and only rock. Siberian Husky lost when they decided to go with that song.
The Koxx vs. Super Kidd — Winner: Super Kidd
Sangha: Is it bad if I say that I’m actually glad that The Koxx got eliminated? I feel like they have been so half-hearted on the show, and they don’t even seem that sad to be off now… I mean, I love their music, but compared to some of the other bands that really put their everything into their stages on the show, The Koxx came off as a bit disinterested in the show to me.
Dahee: A well-deserved win for Super Kidd! I agree, The Koxx have been half-hearted at best, and they didn’t deserve to move on. This is best for all of us, them included.
Anna: This was very fair. I had The Koxx down as the would be winner of Top Band, but their obvious lack of commitment left a sour taste. Suddenly I realize why variety shows are such a big part of K-pop fandom.
Fabien: Come on, Koxx. You missed that very nice gathering with the other bands the night before your performance, you trained yourselves until the very last moment, and for this result? Good for them, maybe they would eventually come down to earth. Super Kidd were far above them today.
Xtian: Funny how this elimination discussion is more about the The Koxx losing and not Super Kidd winning.
Sangha: note – Top Band 2 will not air for the next 3 weeks due to the London Olympics, just in case people didn’t know – although I feel like everyone knew this already, haha.
Dahee: Is that starting next week? They’re not even going to show us the last round before a three week break? Ugh. This is why I hate the Olympics…
Sangha: yyyuup, I think the PD put in the “next week…” caption in the previews by accident? But yeah, Olympics is serious business :)
Anna: I was hoping to see the end of this round before the Olympics as well. We were so close to catching up to all the rumors! When Top Band 2 starts airing again the Top 6 will already have been exposed at Pentaport and everybody will instead be talking about who made the Top 4…
Dahee: It must be torture for these bands to endure these rumours for weeks and not be able to tell anyone anything…and then, of course, we’ll get spoiled anyway with Pentaport. Stupid. Down with sports!! *hmph*
Xtian: :O What will I do with myself?
Fabien: I don’t know any of the these rumors, but I’ll just go with the thinking that my favorites will be eliminated. So, should we go on by commenting the Olympic Games too ? ^^