So, in case you’ve been living under a rock, the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) were recently held in Hong Kong. MAMA is known for being relatively fair and logical, however, this year, the level of bogusness was astounding. From the award winners, to the people attending (or not), to the performers, MAMA has left us in a state of confusion and irritation. Here’s our take on it all.
Generally , you can tell who is going to win an award by those who attend or perform at the awards show (like with MelOn). MAMA is a bit different. In between collaborations and random performances, it’s never certain as to who will win an award (such as the Busker Busker-EXO-BAP fiasco last year). This year was utterly ridiculous, in my opinion. First, there were NO male rookies in attendance. As if it wasn’t already bad enough that no male rookies performed. Seriously, MAMA couldn’t have had at least one male rookie, either group or solo, appear on the red carpet? I understand Roy Kim (who won–we’ll discuss that crap later) not attending, since he’s in the USA for school, but how about Jung Joon Young or BTS, who were the leading the online fan votes? It would have looked good, and added suspense, to have another nominee show up. I think may have seen Yoo Seung Woo in the audience, but who knows. Perhaps MAMA wanted to avoid chaos that would rain down when they select the third place vote getter, instead of the other two who were at the show. Best not to have any of them show up, I suppose (total BS if you ask me). Instead we get Paris Hilton (no longer relevant) and Ylvis (likely one-hit wonder due to an utterly stupid song that’s viral because it’s stupid). (HAHAHA) I would like to thank BIGBANG, 2NE1, A Pink, Hyoyeon, Seohyun, and EXO for being spirited audience participants.
Andy talked about there being no male rookie groups or solo act attending the MAMA, but it was the same case for female rookies, group or otherwise. Crayon Pop does not count, as they debuted in 2012 (but let me ask you this: why were they nominated -and WON- in the Best New Female category? MAMA makes no sense, whatsoever.). The general lack of rookies attending or performing at the MAMAs was such a bad move on the production team. Who wouldn’t have wanted to see the fresh new faces of Kpop? I sure would have loved to see Kim YeRim (Lim Kim), or Lee Hi, or even Yoo SungEun. Such a fail, MAMA.
All-in-all, the performances this year lacked oomph. Ignoring the obvious microphone/production issues, there were only a few standout points in the night. First, there was Troublemaker. Honestly, the performance wasn’t anything really special. Just a badly acted dramatic entrance with HyunA not knowing how to handle (or even pretend to know) a gun, and them oversexing the stage. Though I have to admit, EXO’s staring at HyunSeung touching HyunA’s behind was entertaining, ChaneYeol’s awkward smile and head bopping when he realised he was on camera, was adorable. The bright spot was Hoya of INFINITE assassinating Hyunseung. hahaha. Second, we had 2NE1’s performance. Okay, I understand “Lonely” and “Missing You” are sad songs, but did the stage have to be so boring? (you took the words right out of my thoughts) The stage could have been dramatic, or if they wanted to keep it simple, they could have done an acoustic version. The dullness was a bit of a let down. We also had a special stage from Icona Pop, with CL. It was okay, but nothing very memorable. (I found it boring) Third, we had the Ylvis/Crayon Pop stage. The best thing about it was Eunji of A Pink being so hyper in the audience. hahahaha. (I honestly did not understand the stage? But Crayon Pop’s popularity is beyond me)
Fourth, we had EXO. The opening of their performance was different and good. Although they lip-synced “Wolf,” I can give them a pass since they did sing live while dancing “Growl.” Fifth, we had the return of the KING: Rain. The audience went nuts when he came on stage, and rightfully so. It was like he had never left. Rain truly gave a great performance and the stage switch (including dancers flying into the hole for the trap door, and the raised platform), was impressive. Rain proved why he’s the king. (Man, the grease he was spreading, though…) (no complaints here, I loved every second of it) Sixth, we had the BIGBANG series: T.O.P, Taeyang, G-Dragon solo stages, plus the entire group. Essentially, they rocked the house. BIGBANG always puts on a show. First, you have T.O.P coming in on a throne, like the prince he is, and he even brought the weird baby with him. Then, Taeyang showed why he’s one of the best dancers in kpop. GD always gives a spirited performance. When the group joined, they got everyone on their feet and pretty much had a party, even getting Lee Hyori, Seohyun, and Hyoyeon to join in on the fun. Of course, there’s also the Kwon Twins getting camera time showing their skills. (the performance was great, just wished it had been a new song…hahaha)
Lastly, Stevie Wonder performed. The man is a legend. Although his collaborative performance with Hyorin and Aaron Kwak wasn’t that great (you mean it was boring and lacking and I stopped watching it halfway through), his solo stage was superb.
Goodness, gracious, talk about a “WHAT THE HECK?” moment. We can’t be the only ones shocked by most of the award winners. Who do we think should have won (and why)? Well, keep reading. (I’ve even supplied handy-dandy pics of the rankings at the close of voting, and selection criteria, courtesy of Mnet’s website.)
Best New Male Artist: Roy Kim
Why BTS? Because they are freaking awesome. They take part in the creation of their music, dance like professionals, have legitimate rappers, and have wonderful personalities. Their EPs peaked at #4 and #5 on the Gaon Album charts (and “O! U R L8, 2?” is still hovering around the Top 20, two months after its release). Also, the fact they still release random songs and videos is a sign of musicianship we don’t often see.
So, at closing, Jung Joon Young was leading in the voting by fans, with BTS second, and Roy Kim third. Someone care to explain to me why Roy Kim, who was 10% behind the second place vote getter, somehow wins? First, let me say that I don’t dislike Roy Kim. I enjoy his music and think he’s talented. I understand his songs did really well on the charts (even winning on Show! Music Core). However, doesn’t it seem like the clear fan favorites would be better choices? BTS had just won for MelOn Music Awards earlier in the week, and have built a large following. Jung Joon Young is a favorite due to his 4D image and appearance on We Got Married (and his music isn’t bad at all). It would make sense for one of them to win. I would never accuse Mnet of being bias (unlike KBS who is full of BS), but there is a semblance of impropriety. Last year’s Best New Male Artist, Busker Busker, and this year’s winner, Roy Kim, were both contestants (and in the final 2) during their respective seasons of the Mnet show, Superstar K.
Best New Female Artist: Crayon Pop
WHY, I repeat, WHY was Crayon Pop even in this category?? They debuted in June 2012. 2012!!! Everyone else debuted in 2013. It’s just ridiculously unfair and bogus to include Crayon Pop in this category, and then have them win. I get that the song “Bar Bar Bar” came out during the designated time period, but the group did not. You can’t push a group into the rookie category just because they had a semi-hit song come out. What standard is MAMA exactly using? Are artists nominated separate from a specific song (as it should be) or do they think that if the song comes out before a year from debut, it’s still a rookie (which is total BS.) Lee Hi is included because she ACTUALLY debuted after the dates MAMA uses for nominees. How about D-Unit instead of Crayon Pop? That would have made sense.
All that aside, “Bar Bar Bar” isn’t even a good, quality song. It’s a random, catchy track that went a bit viral, and not even “Gangnam Style” viral. Nor is the group vocal powerhouses, like all the other nominees. MAMA basically rewarded Crayon Pop for being “trendy,” and not based on quality. I’m not trying to insult Crayon Pop. They seem like nice girls, but from a talent standpoint in comparison to the other nominees, they fall short. Even Lee Hi had more success. She had an all-kill with her debut track, “126.96.36.199,” won a triple crown, won for her other releases on music shows, and topped the charts. All-in-all, the other nominees produced songs of better quality, shined with their talent, and should have been rewarded.
Best Male Artist: G-Dragon
We have no issues with this. He topped charts and his album was really good. That is all.
Best Female Artist: Lee Hyori
The QUEEN of Kpop. When Lee Hyori came back, she unleashed all the sexiness and power that earned her the title. Not only that, her songs carried a strong feminine message that could reach females of all ages. She did something different from what we are used to hearing from general Kpop, and that was great.
Best Male Group: INFINITE
Shinhwa is legendary, still making music, dancing, and sending fangirl hearts racing. Shinhwa has always been a group that other groups admire and respect. Their album, “The Classic,” was pretty dang good, and “This Love” was a major ear worm. The group even rose to the top 10 on the Gaon Charts.
Then, once again, there’s the fact MAMA basically ignored the voters. I mean, really, come on.
EXO came out with a really good album (way better than their debut music). “XOXO” featured both EXO-K and EXO-M united and came out in two versions, Mandarin “Hug” and Korean “Kiss”. While “Wolf” was an awful song (seriously), it still did well and even won a trophy on Show Champion. Their song single, “Growl,” was such an ear worm (and still is), and a total winner on all four major music programs in South Korea, and led them to win ten trophies in three consecutive weeks (EXOstans at it again). The album itself did really well, it reached #1 on the Billboard World Album Chart a week after its release (both versions did).
All the girl groups nominated fell flat this year. I’m a big 2NE1 fan, and simply wasn’t impressed with “Falling In Love” and “Do You Love Me.” I personally think After School, Nine Muses, Girls’ Day, Brown Eyed Girls, SPICA, or maybe even A Pink, would have been great nominees. I enjoyed the songs they put out this year and thought they were generally good quality. It seems this category was just a popularity contest or an attempt to cater to the large agencies. Shameful and stupid.
Best Dance Performance – Male Solo: G-Dragon
GD doesn’t even really dance. Seriously. If you are going to nominate someone, at least pick someone that dances as much as his back-up dancers. Or, maybe even choose a different dance, like “Who You?” How can Jay Park, an ACTUAL BBOY, lose to GD? “JOAH” had a great dance to go along with the song. Even Seungri deserved it more than GD. If you had to replace, how about Henry? He actually danced (and really well, I might add).
This award baffled me the most, I think.
Best Dance Performance – Female Solo: CL
Sun Mi’s dance for “24 Hours” was difficult, inventive, and unique. Combining multiple dance elements (ballroom, ballet, pop), and doing it all barefoot while singing, was super impressive. I mean, who in the entertainment industry (and out of it) didn’t try to cover this dance? While CL does do a good amount of dancing, it was nothing special and didn’t stand out. The best choreography was done by her backup dancers.
This award was just given to CL because she is more popular than SunMi, which is a shame. SunMi really deserved it.
Best Dance Performance – Male Group: SHINee
Okay, admittedly, dancing with those mic stands is dang difficult with all the actual trick moves SHINee does with them. However, “Growl” by EXO stood out for me this year. I mean, you try putting 12 people on a dance floor, while singing/rapping, and pulling off rather difficult moves (not including TOPP DOGG, who has 13 members dancing their butts off). EXO is not out there doing SuJu-like moves. The transitions between sets of 6 and the person currently vocalizing is smooth and include hat exchanges (though the hat exchanges were so…lacking). This helps the audience pay attention. Then there’s the dance circle and floor work. You know that was cool. So, bravo EXO, you should have won.
Best Dance Performance – Female Group: SISTAR
I honestly don’t know who should have won in this category, except Crayon Pop shouldn’t have even been considered. Just saying.
Did SISTAR win because they did a dance cover competition for their single?
Come on, it’s K-effing-Will. The dude can sing most people, including Lee Seung Gi, under the table.
Best Vocal Performance – Female: Ailee
We have no issues will Ailee winning. The girl can sing.
Best Band Performance: Busker Busker
BS….BS. What is with this stupid love obsession Korea has with Busker Busker?? I’m not saying they are bad, but come on. How the heck do they beat Nell and Jaurim? Those bands are veterans who consistently put out beautiful and moving songs. Not to mention they can rock out.
Best Rap Performance: Dynamic Duo
“Sweet Dream” was one of the best dang songs that came out this year. I feel like MFBTY is like Rodney Dangerfield: they can’t get no respect. The powers that be seem to ignore or simply not appreciate the genius of Tiger JK, Tasha, and Bizzy. Guess I’ll blame this on Dynamic Duo being more mainstream digestible.
I have nothing against Dynamic Duo, and I kind of get why they won? I mean, “BAAAM” was such a good song. (I agree.) But I do think that MFBTY should have won, their song made an impression in a lot of places, worldwide (they promoted the song in Europe, come on people) and was just a joy to listen to, so addictive.
“COUP D’ETAT” was an impressive, symbolic, work of art. So, the award is pretty well deserved.
Best Original Soundtrack: Yoon Mi Rae
Simply beautiful. The track truly deserved to be recognized.
Artist of the Year: G-Dragon
Not sure where I stand on this. I’m not completely against G-Dragon winning, but I sort of feel like EXO would have also been a great option. They both would have deserved to win based simply on charts.
I’m a YGStan, and I love GD. But EXO deserved to win it in my opinion. They were the hit album of the year.
BC – Union Pay Song of the Year: Cho Yong Pil – “Bounce”
Well, this came out of nowhere. But, congrats to EXO winning the votes, even though it means absolutely nothing.
This award makes no sense to me?
Album of the Year: EXO
I’m fine with this. “XOXO” was fantastic. Also, at least they walked away with an award, considering how MAMA was screwing them out of others.
SONY MDR World Wide Performer: INFINITE
…What is this category even about? hahahaha
It’s a money made category, obviously.
NEEDED CATEGORY: Co-Ed group!!
MAMA needs to get with it. How is it fair that groups like Sunny Hill are left out of the awards due to the fact they have male and female members? This year, perhaps they could have been under the female category, since Janghyun was serving his military service, but it’s still not fair for them.
The one thing we need to remember with MAMA, is that while there is fan voting, it only counts for 10-30% of the total for the artist to get the award. Honestly, I think that is just put out there to make the audience feel like they are interacting and have a say in who gets what award. Which is total BS. MAMA is run by money and agreements and that is it. Which sucks, because it should be done by fan voting, I think that would make more sense, than the complex graph they ‘use’. Oh well. MAMA is a fail, that is a known fact. Maybe it will be better next year.
EDITORS’ NOTE: First, we are not trying to say that Mnet is crooked, involved in collusion, or anyting of the sort. We are simply expressing our opinions regarding the outcome and appearance of the awards. Second, we are not EXOtics, therefore, this is not us being butt-hurt. Third, we probably could have done more research into the actual yearly sales numbers, but who wants to do that? hahaha