The 10 Best 2010 Gayo Daejun Performances

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I hope you all had enough partying to last the whole year, because it's back to business! This is another one of my "oh my god wouldn't it be great to write about this?" moments while watching videos. Ahhhh. But before we get to the post, may I direct you to my spankin' new About Page? ;D

Gayo Daejuns, or Song Festivals in English, are the highlight of a k-pop fan's, and singer's, year. They're held by MBC, SBS and KBS, Korea's "big 3" TV networks, for 3 consecutive days at the end of December - the 29th, 30th and 31st. Basically it's all of the year's biggest acts thrown together in one big show, performing some of the year's biggest hits. From what I've seen, these shows are by invitation.

I know I'm a few days late, but I honestly needed time to digest three consecutive hours-long shows! With special performances left and right as well as a lot of acts I've talked about on the blog last year (so not used to saying that!), it was rather overwhelming, even if this is my second year watching this. Gawd I remember that epic Davichi+2AM performance last year - epic. And who can forget SHINee doing Lady GaGa?
There were acts who only showed up for certain gayo daejuns, however the big acts showed up for all three. 2PM, SHINee, SNSD, KARA, Super Junior, After School, and a few others did all three shows.

Over the past few days there have been talks, both among bloggers and fans, of which show was the best this year - the consensus is that the SBS one was crap, and the MBC one was the best. But to be honest with you, all three gayo daejuns had their moments, and I'm slightly leaning towards the KBS one only because I watched it on an actual TV, and so I'm picking ten of the best performances, regardless of the network. Call it a very quick recap of the three shows.

I only watched the KBS one from start to finish on my TV, but I did watch majority of the other two shows. If I missed anything, it's probably because I didn't have time to digest it - just because it's good for you and it's not on the list doesn't mean I didn't see it. I watched the shows, thank you very much. And the list is in no particular order, just to clarify - no way I'm telling you my rankings for these. The fun starts under the cut!

SNSD's Hoot and Oh! (MBC)

Their vocals were all over the place in true SNSD fashion and the sound system wasn't helping one bit, but I liked Hoot's re-arrangement. A lot. It has class. But that's about the only thing I enjoyed. However, it was enough to land them on the list.

SHINee's Lucifer, with a bit of f(x)'s NU ABO (SBS)

Screw Jonghyun being injured and the sound sucking a hell of a lot during Onew's parts (something's telling me the SBS sound guy does NOT like Onew), and during Key's solo, but I still think this is the best Lucifer performance out of the three. The being chained and caged part reminded me a little too much of DBSK, and the music that went along with that part had Hey! Don't Bring Me Down ringing in my head after - but then again this is SM, when something works they use it over and over again. Jonghyun's cage will never match the throne on top of everyone that Jaejoong got during Rising Sun year-end festivals, but it was pretty cool. I like that they used a "band" arrangement too, the drums sounded real and the entire arrangement was well-done. When Luna literally came out of nowhere I was freaking out - it was the perfect time to come out, with the perfect addition to the song sung by the perfect person to sing it. I like the dance break too and how they sneaked NU ABO in. Clever.

BoA's Game (SBS)

I like all these nice re-arrangements, yes, but BoA doesn't need any of them - this performance of Game was spot-on. I like the concept, but what I like more is the fact that she's one of the few who can pull it off. I don't have to talk about crap vocals whenever BoA's concerned, because you can always hear her, regardless of the sound system. And, I believe that's one thing Japan teaches idol groups - it won't guarantee to make you better musicians or anything, but you will come back with strong vocals. You'll have the same voice, obviously, but the rigorous promotions in Japan demand that you develop consistently strong vocals - BoA, along with DBSK, is the prime example of that.

Medley with Onew, IU, Junsu 2PM, Luna, CN Blue and FT Island (MBC) Watch the brilliance here.

Basically anything with Onew, Luna and IU on the same stage is bound to show up on a list like this - I mean really, they're three of my favorite young voices. Throw in two bands in the form of CN Blue and FT Island then Junsu 2PM, who sucked but I'd rather it be him than anyone else in 2PM, and you're bound to have something close to brilliance. The song choices were spot-on - Onew showed off his vocals, Luna sounded fantastic and IU's starting to sound like a cross between Hwayobi and Younha, I can't even begin to imagine what she's gonna sound like in a few years. Junsu, uh yeah he was OK too. The last song with everyone together was rather sloppily done and you could tell that Yonghwa didn't know the lyrics, but the voices and the song choices made up for it somehow. If there's something MBC did spot-on this year, it's choosing the repertoire.

After School's Bang! (MBC)

I like the arrangement they used for the SBS show a hell of a lot better, to be honest, but this is more notable because the new girl shows up! And it's one of their strongest performances, both vocals and presence-wise. Yes, even the useless ones were somewhat decent, although I have no idea why Jung Ah's backing track was turned up higher. I like their costumes too - navy blue and gold always look good together. New girl has sparked my interest, and her entrance was rather.. different, but when I watch the 8 of them (I MISS BEKAH!) it's like she's not on the same wavelength as the rest of them. I don't know if she's trying too hard or she isn't trying hard enough, whatever it is she doesn't look like she belongs - I get the feeling that she doesn't have a sense of finesse when she performs. Yet. Pledis better do something about that before they make their comeback this year. Speaking of which, any word yet on a new single? I'M DYING HERE.

BEAST's Breath + Dance Break with 4Minute (KBS)

Call them "big 3 rejects", but I do think that Cube artists have become quite good at what they do. They lack in quite a few aspects, but they constantly try, really hard, and that shows, but more importantly they really do get better. I know nothing about dance, but the dance break was pretty decent, and the BEAST performance was spot-on. Thank you for giving some of them hand mics, BUT YOU SHOULD'VE GIVEN THEM ALL HAND MICS. BEAST may not be good at doing other people's songs and they're sloppy vocalists when they do so, but what they do, they do it well. And I'd take that over a band who can't do anything at all.

Secret's Madonna+Magic (KBS)

I'm surprised to see that Sunhwa (or whatever her name is), actually has a voice now! She was one of the weakest earlier this year, and now she sounds decent. So that leaves one useless girl in secret - the girl who sings second on the performance. Lead singer girl and Sunhwa can carry the band vocally, and rapper girl has the performing side in check. I love the subtle yet very noticeable re-arrangements to both songs, and the transitions were rather clever. Secret are proving to be one of the most promising bands I've seen in quite a while - they have my attention now, they just need to convince me, and I don't think that'll be hard for them, judging by how much they've improved this year. I'd have absolutely no problem watching this again.

CN Blue's I'm A Loner and LOVE (KBS)

Brilliance, that's all I have to say. Except for the part with Yonghwa's mic giving up on him, duh - I'm sorry KBS, that was just stupid. The beginning was cool, the performances were well-executed, Jonghyun sounded fantastic AND THE DRUMMER WAS WITH THEM FOR ONCE! YAYYYYY!! And the transition between songs was so good, I didn't even noticed they changed songs! Although that could mean that all their songs sound the same. But either way, it was a fantastic performance, and the four of them literally had the audience in the palm of their hands.

GD&TOP with 2NE1 doing OH YEAH (MBC)

Now THAT is what I call a show. Minzy and CL did the parts brilliantly, Sandara, although rather wild, put a smile to my face partially because she wasn't singing that much, and Bom just did her thing. I stand by the fact that YG songs are at their best live - they're tailor-made for performing. And I like how CL and Minzy didn't just sing Bom's parts how they were originally sung - it could be because they couldn't sing that many high parts, but even so they managed to make it sound new, in a good way. You see how much fun they have on stage and you really wanna go up and join them, but there's grace, sophistication and thought to the way they move - it's not like they just randomly got up on stage together.

Super Junior's Sorry Sorry+Bonamana (MBC)

I have a soft spot for Sorry Sorry, mainly because I still think it's the song that started it all - it practically led the generation, and it really fits SuJu. Bonamana was blegh, but seeing them perform Sorry Sorry again reminded me of why I even took a bit of interest in them and spent 2 months putting all their names to their faces - when you give Super Junior a song that really fits them and that song happens to be very good, brilliance happens. It had enough of a melody to be humanely sung well, but it had that infectious hook - the song is an institution in itself. Considering that it's practically impossible to sing Bonamana live without a backing track and sound like you're singing, they did a pretty good job.


  1. I think that the hand mics from BEAST are the ones they bring themselves, Yoseob and Jun Hyung rarely perform without them.

  2. Why did you think he sucked for?? He as referring to Junsu from 2PM. Can you please explain why?

    The 9th member doesn't seem that appealing to me apart from her guitar skills because her singing is average and I mean AVERAGE!!

    I think I preferred Minzy singing Bom's part for OH YEAH. People should feature her more in songs.

  3. Onew singing with a live band is always phenomenal. It's good for him to show his rocker side to the general public. Not everyone knows he's got the singing chops for it as proven by the critical success of Rock of Ages.


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