Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
The K-pop industry continued to mesmerize not just South Korea but the world in 2023. From November to January, major K-pop award shows showcased the versatility of K-pop musicians. We bring to you a curated playlist of standout performances from the 2023 end-of-year K-pop award shows.
BSS (SEVENTEEN) ‘Fighting’ at AAA
At the 2023 Asia Artist Awards IN THE PHILIPPINES held at the Philippine Arena in Manila, SEVENTEEN won Performance of the Year and Album of the Year. Representing the group, the unit group BSS took the stage for the finale. Their performance began with “Turn It on at 7 O’clock (Feat. Peder Elias)” from the album Second Wind, reminiscent of a relaxed night at a Korean Izakaya. The atmosphere heated up with the album’s title track, “Fighting (Feat. Lee Young Ji).” BSS’s signature positive energy culminated in “Unstoppable,” with fellow musicians and the audience standing up to dance and sing along. The 12-minute live stage of witty and energetic performance wrapped up the long event with a festive vibe.
Jeon Somi ‘Fast Forward’ at MAMA
Jeon Somi, a former member of I.O.I and a solo artist since 2019, hit her stride in 2023, marking her unrivaled presence in the music scene. The 2023 MAMA AWARDS at Tokyo Dome drew about 80,000 spectators over two days, emphasizing the harmony between artists and dancers. Her first performance of “The Way” included a dramatic act of throwing off her shoes, then in “Fast Forward,” featuring about 100 dancers on stage, she embodied the vibrant energy of Tecktonik. The large screen measuring 75 meters and light-controlled gloves worn by dancers created a harmonious spectacle in sync with the song’s rhythm, blending 2000s retro dance styles with modern technology. Besides her performance, Jeon Somi also served as a global host at MAMA 2023.
SHINee ‘SHINee’s Selection’ at MMA
For SHINee and their fans, 2023 was busier than ever, with all members having completed their military service. Following their 15th-anniversary concert “SHINEE WORLD VI: PERFECT ILLUMINATION” in the summer, SHINee presented a special 15th-anniversary stage at the MELON MUSIC AWARDS. Notably, it was their first joint awards show appearance in 10 years since winning Artist of the Year at the 2013 MMA. Their setlist included hits like “Sherlock,” “View,” “Dream Girl,” and “Everybody,” uniting the audience in celebration. The performance showcased 15 years of experience and sophistication.
RIIZE ‘Get A Guitar’ & ‘Endless Rain’ at MMA
Among the many boy and girl groups that debuted in 2023, SM Entertainment’s RIIZE took home the Rookie of the Year at MMA 2023. The group, known for releasing only singles since their debut, opted for a performance highlighting their instrumental prowess and musicality, especially for those yet to discover their full potential. Their set included “Get A Guitar,” with Wonbin impressively playing the electric guitar, and the noteworthy “Endless Rain,” which features Anton’s cello performance alongside X Japan’s Yoshiki on the piano. This particular pairing on stage notably stirred considerable buzz. Additionally, Anton and his father, musician Yoon Sang, will appear together at the 2023 MBC Gayo Daejejeon on December 31st, drawing attention from music lovers eager to see their cross-generational performance.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.