We are SO close to the end of Kingdom, my fellow K-pop fans!! This past week, all the members reunited with their own groups and took to the stage to face off yet again. The theme was ’No Limit’ and each team brought out some big surprises to make their stage even more impactful! With the finish line (and the Kingdom crown) in our sights, let’s check out these spectacular stages together, shall we?!
As always, there will be spoilers!
Since all limitations were lifted, it was very interesting to see which direction each team took to make their performance the most memorable of this round. Covers of crowd favorite songs and special guest appearances graced each stage. With everyone offering up solid performances, it was hard to guess who most impressed the professionals and won the hearts of their peers!
Dubbing themselves ‘turtleKon’, iKon have slowly but surely been working their way up in the rankings! After a disappointing loss during the collaboration round, the team rallied for their next stage. Picking a fan-favorite song from fellow label-mates Black Pink, they rearranged the song ‘Pretty Savage’ to fit their own laid-back and confident styling. AND they brought surprise guest, Black Pink’s Lisa, to rock out on stage with them for their no-limits performance of ‘CLASSY SAVAGE’!
Black Pink was on the minds of another group as well. . . Stray Kids’ 3Racha put together a most excellent mash-up incorporating their own song ‘God’s Menu’ and the iconic ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’. For the first time, they also decided to incorporate a comic book hero into the theme for their stage. Combining all their usual larger-than-life energy and wit, plus a dash of Deadpool, they brought a knock-out performance of ‘GOD’S DDU-DU DDU-DU’.
Throughout Kingdom, BtoB’s fans took to social media and mass requested a performance of their favorite song ‘Blue Moon’. With such overwhelming support from Melody, the group excitedly declared they would bring this song to the stage for the first time! The movie La-La Land provided source of inspiration for this more jazzed-up version of the original. Add in a live band comprised of ChangSub’s military buddies plus a special guest appearance by G-Idle’s MiYeon, and you have the dynamic, musical stage of ‘Blue Moon (Cinema Ver.)’!
As the 2-year old maknae group, ATEEZ have been using their opportunity on Kingdom to show the world just who they are up until the very end. Sticking with their own song ‘Answer’, this stage was first and foremost a gift to their fans, ATINY. It’s also holds a special place in ATEEZ’s heart, as it was the encore song for their first and last solo concert in Seoul – the Covid pandemic halted their scheduled second world tour. Capturing their unique worldview and combining the amazing vocals of their guests, La Poem, they stayed true to themselves with their performance of ‘Answer: Ode to Joy’.
SF9’s pre-show meeting was focused on one thing: how to leave the viewers breathless at the end of their stage. First step? Plan to perform a cover of Taemin’s well-known song ‘Move’! The members all worked carefully to bring out the best in their vocals. And Chani even phoned Taemin directly for tips on how best execute the famed, smooth choreo from his song. Set on a minimal, modern-art-like stage, they definitely met their goals for this performance with ‘SF9 – Move’!
Last but not least, The Boyz! Encouraged by the praises they received from the professional judges after round two, they excitedly got to work preparing an EXO cover for the No Limit round. Full of passion and energy, they diligently practiced the signature choreography, seeking ultimate precision in their steps and movements on stage. Their goal? To bring their most powerful stage yet! Waking their inner monster that rises with the moon, The Boyz finished the night strong with their performance of ‘Monster (Stormborn)’.
Following the evening’s performances, the combined results of the professional judging and peer voting was revealed. In a surprise turn of events, ATEEZ found themselves at the bottom of the leader board, while SF9 earned the most points, catapulting them to first place! Stray Kids, BtoB, The Boyz and iKon settled into the 2nd-5th ranks for the first half of the score. It’s anyone’s guess how the fan votes and streams will affect this final ranking for this round!
Can I Fangirl Now?!?!
I once again LOVED ALL the stages!!! There were elements of each that stood out and made me want to go back for repeated viewings of all of them.
With iKon’s stage, I was ready and waiting for their signature dance party moment at the end of the song – they always make me want to get up and join them in celebration! During The Boyz’s performance, the part of the choreography where they played with the light and shadows against the wall was very captivating! I also might have wanted to give SangYeon a big hug when he teared up with joy at the end of their stage. And SF9 certainly surprised with their ending in the rain!
Maybe it’s just my lingering feelings from the collaborations last week, but my favorite performances of the night were from the groups that comprised Team Mayfly! Stray Kids are ridiculously talented and I loved listening to them spit fire during their stage! I also thought it was very cool that Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool actor) even saw their performance following its airing – he complimented them all and even suggested they exchange autographs! BtoB gives a mini-musical every time they perform and I am THIS close to declaring myself a Melody, because a) I adore musicals, and b) Eunkwang’s vocals are just A-MAAAAZ-ING!!! Singin’ in the Rain is one of my most favorite movies, and BtoB’s stage, being a movie within a movie within a movie, was so much fun and is such a delightful re-watch!!
As an ATINY, my heart was moved most by ATEEZ’s performance. If you are a new or a non-fan, you will likely have missed the many details and nuances that were a nod to ATEEZ and ATINY’s journey together thus far. However, I think we can ALL appreciate the amazing vocal collaboration at the end – I get goosebumps and chills every time I rewatch the stage. I really do love how ATEEZ incorporated classical music pieces into every one of their stages – just fantastic!
Well, the Kingdom finale is upon us and I’m fairly certain I know who’s going to walk away with the crown, but maybe there will be a last-minute upset?! Either way, this show has given us so many memorable stages that we can rewatch and enjoy for years to come – the viewers are the ultimate winners!!
While you’re waiting for that last episode to air, the song tracks for each group’s final stage were released early – you can check them all out here!
And as always, I love to hear your thoughts on the stages – don’t be shy and drop down to the comments below!
Until the King is crowned-
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi