The First Week: 저주인형

I know I seem to be posting on a semimonthly basis but school has my butt completely whooped and when it comes to fandom these days, I can’t seem to concern myself with anything other than VIXX. I reluctantly (and slightly ashamedly) admit that I now eat, sleep and breathe VIXX. This comeback is everything I ever wanted and more and I have little qualms in deeming it as The Era. It’s really their best yet, and how appropriate too that it happens with their first full-length album. I have so much hopes for this promotion cycle and I know Jelpi does too since it obviously invested a ton of money into this comeback. Just the wirework in the MV, the makeup and special effects, the (now deflated) giant voodoo doll that hangs outside their company building, and let’s not forget all the new merch that was sold at the Milky Way finale. Jelpi is small, we all know that, so it’s heart-warming to know how much the CEO believes in the six of them.

I didn’t plan on writing about VIXX since I can’t exactly afford the time to but I feel like if I don’t talk about their comeback somewhere, I might actually explode. So I decided to do a short round-up, now that first week’s stages are done with. Sadly, there was no M! Countdown this week due to MAMA (and next week too, I think).

1. Show Champion (13.11.20)

This is my favourite stage so far! It’s also the first time they perform ‘Voodoo Doll’ live (Milky Way doesn’t count for me and the shots were terrible anyway). It’s far from a perfect stage but it was definitely perfect in my eyes. This is also the only performance we get before they revised the choreography because it’s supposedly too violent and will influence kids to go around stabbing each other…or something. It’s pretty bullshit and I felt personally affronted when I first heard the news but after seeing the subsequent stages, it isn’t….as bad as I thought.

Show Champion‘s camerawork and editing are usually really straightforward and simple but I don’t mind it here because you get to see the full extent of the choreography and they’ve not only managed to strike the perfect balance of close-ups and long shots, they’ve also got the timing down pat so that the camera cuts to a close-up of the member just as he starts his line. Best of all, the part where Leo falls dramatically to his knees was captured perfectly. I won’t go too much into the choreography and the whole tie-in with their previous concepts because this will just turn into an essay so I’ll probably link to the article I wrote for Dinoseoul once that’s up.

2. Music Bank (13.11.22)

Ah, Music Bank, you never fail to disappoint with your shoddy camerawork. I always believe the Mubank cameramen sleep on the job because they always cut to a close-up a few seconds too late. I will always remember how during Ravi’s rap in one of the ‘G.R.8.U’ stages, the camera actually cut to Hyuk instead (probably because they’re both blonde) so the part where Ravi did his bunny ears intro was completely missed. Tsk.

Even though they completely missed Leo’s fall to the ground here, this stage was still pretty damn decent for a Mubank one. The boys are killing it each time with their energy but if the camerawork sucks like hell, it can still take the experience away from the viewer. I, for one, usually get quite affected by this because when all the key points of a performance isn’t captured as it should be, it just makes me very frustrated watching it. It’s like, the performance is perfect, but why are you only capturing a mere fraction of that????? ¿¿ I have to say though that I’m really really glad Mubank gave VIXX time to also do ‘Only U’ since the subsequent two major stations didn’t.

3. Music Core (13.11.23)

This was my second favourite stage after Show Champ‘s only because we don’t get the original choreo (yeah yeah I’m getting over it). Music Core seems to really love showing off their fancy slow-mo editing and well, I’m not complaining. It makes the stage look super cool and their timing was spot-on, I’m so happy!!! With this stage, it feels like the cameramen actually know the choreography like the back of their hands so they’re able to anticipate and cut to the right member on time. I don’t know what the significance is of having N be the only member who has his suit buttoned up but given the vigour of the moves, I can’t say I’m surprised the back of his jacket ripped right open midway through the performance. Still doesn’t take anything away from what a great stage this was though.

4. Inkigayo (13.11.24)

[No video link for the Inki stage at the moment because SBS is a shit]

There seems to be some sort of general consensus that this Inki stage was The Best Yet but while it was awesome, largely due to the amazing set (pyrotechnics, feathers and sheet ghost thingies at the back? uh hell yeah) and K-ST☆RLIGHTs generally being 짱, the shots weren’t all that great. What I’ve noticed about Inki is their extreme love for close-ups and while I have a lot of love for Inki stages normally, today’s fell a little short for me. There were odd close-ups of hands and feet that just didn’t make sense to me and it was just a bit off, overall. But as I mentioned, the fanchants were incredibly amazing and loud today (it seems to get louder with each stage) and I just feel so so so proud to be a part of this fandom, I really do. You can tell that the boys were strengthened too by the cheers because their energy was even better than usual.

I still plan on doing a post about KL/TMW as well since the pictures from the trip have to go somewhere but I’ll probably do it once my exams are over in early December. The ‘VOODOO’ album release is tomorrow at 11am and I can’t wait to hear the eight other new tracks. Particularly excited to hear Ravi’s self-composed track! This week is so important so let’s gather all our 별빛파워☆ and bring our boys to the top (I don’t know about you but I’m particularly dying for some chicken…….. ;)

And because someone needs to share my pain, please have a lovelorn puppy in the form of Lee Jaehwan.

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Where have my clothes gone?

THIS IS NOT A COHERENT POST BECAUSE HOW TO WORDS WITH VIXX ASKLDJASLFLKSJDAFLKJ /breathes deeply/ Okay. So. In short, Leo, Ken and Ravi recently performed ‘On and On’, ‘대.다.나.다.너’ and ‘CHAOS’ on MBC Picnic Live Sound Landscape but that’s not the main point, because the main point is they did acapella!!!! versions!!!! and I just— /takes another deep breath/ SORRY BUT I!!! AM!!!! NOT!!! CALM!!!!

Everytime Leo opens his mouth I imagine the sky opening up and bathing us in white light and a chorus of angels singing from up above because how does one do that with his voice I don’t understand????? I’m always torn between whether I prefer Ken’s or Leo’s voice but usually give up and settle on just loving them both. But I’ll admit that certain songs allow a certain member to shine and in these two performances, Leo is completely knocking it out of the park. He’s hitting all the notes flawlessly and singing in a way that sounds like he’s caressing every single note tenderly and you can tell he’s completely in his element because he. can’t. stop. smiling. ಥ‿ಥ The adlibs are absolutely beautiful too and he sounds so insanely sexy I don’t even know what to do with myself.

Just—listen.

Midnight fangirling

I should really be working on my LC9/Bangtan article for Dinoseoul, but I’m so distracted because (1) B.A.P is finally coming back with not one, not two, but THREE title tracks!!!!! IS THIS REAL LIFE OR IS THIS JUST FANTASY and (2) VIXX performed ‘Light Up the Darkness’ live at their Lotte World event earlier today and oh god, I can’t believe this song has actual choreo and it is glorious asdasldkjfldk there are barely any fancams but I did find two good ones:

Ravi and N are the two best dancers in VIXX without a doubt (probably followed by Hyuk) so I’m not surprised at all that he rocked this choreo. There’s a huge disparity in the way they move compared with the rest and it’s especially apparent during the freestyle parts where they just move to the music and I’m not just making presumptions here because there is a fancam of Hongbin just awkwardly bobbing to the song during Ken‘s lines (here).

I just die a little each time the “work ya body” part comes on because just- the way Ravi moves, it’s like he’s really feeling the music and not gonna lie, it’s kinda hypnotising. He’s so comfortable with his body and he moves so effortlessly, I’m a little envious. Hongbin could learn a thing or two from his BFF…

Leo took out his extensions and he got a haircut and just… F E E L S. This is the best he’s looked since ‘hyde’ promotions started and I really love how he turns into a completely different person on stage, it’s so nice to watch. I like that even though he’s not technically amazing at dancing, he still puts in a ton of effort into the performance itself and there’s so much attitude and confidence to it. My bias, on the other hand…….. it’s a Leo-focused fancam but I crack up each time Ken gets into the frame because BB DID YOU EVEN TRY he’s just flicking his shoulder back each time, I swear to god. The only redeeming factor is how much I love his voice in this song because it’s the first time I’ve heard him go really really low and it just sounds so good.

Ending this short post with their Simply Kpop selcas because um, gorgeous.

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(Picture credits: Simply Kpop twitter)

Just follow

VIXX has wrapped up their first week of comeback stages for ‘hyde’ and while the title track and concept are blowing my mind in every way, the live stages seem to be a little… lacking. It’s mostly the vocals that I have an issue with because Ken and Leo sound so out of breath half of the time but I’m 99% sure that can be attributed to the intensity of the choreography because in every shot you can really see the sweat pouring down their faces.

M! Countdown

Okay… this one was pretty perfect. I love how it’s dark and ominous at the start and the lights are flashing to coincide with the rumbling of the thunder. The all-black outfits look so good on them and the boys do sound pretty on-point, with Ken and Leo reaching most of their high notes, even if the backing track is loud enough to drown out all of Hyuk‘s and Hongbin’s lines.

The angles were good too with nice shots of everyone and sufficient long shots during the group choreography. But the fanchants were the best part, they were so loud!!! And I didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out, but Ravi actually dropped his bodypack (I think that’s what they’re called?) after the move where he drops to the floor and you can see him trying to put it back into his back pocket all the while still keeping up with choreography.

Music Bank

The backing track was so loud on here, and it was especially distracting during Ravi’s rap. And oh my god, that black lipstick and the all-white outfits were a terrible combination (Leo and N worked it the best, I have to say). Also, I’m beginning to feel like Ken has to work doubly hard because he’s not the best dancer (and apparently doesn’t have very good stamina) and yet he’s given a substantial amount of lines as a main vocalist, so he always ends up panting through his lines.

That ending shot of Leo is gorgeous though. But other than that, I feel like the person who’s doing the live cutting or whatever you call it (switching???), isn’t really doing his job well because the close-ups on whoever is singing always comes a few seconds too late… and really, they completely missed the opportunity to get a good shot of the fierce glare that N shoots into the camera when Ken is singing the line ‘겁을 먹어버린 그 눈빛 이러지마’.

Music Core

Not a huge fan of the red outfits, and especially so on N since it clashes with his fluorescent hair. And what is Ken even wearing??? The cut-out looks like the top part of a dress. Okay, I know it sounds like I’m picking on him a lot but he’s really most of what I notice when I watch these stages anyway. And by now, I’ve pretty much given up on trying to make out Hyuk and Hongbin’s singing because it’s impossible. Even though it’s apparent that Leo and Ken are struggling with their high notes amidst the choreography, they’ve still kinda hit them here so I’m glad.

Inkigayo

This was such a good stage. I looooove how it finally occurred to the stylists to split the guys into white and black outfits to symbolise good versus evil. It’s pretty genius. And midway, where there’s a sudden halt in the music and you can just feel the tension onstage – so good. And don’t even get me started on that little lip curl that N does… He’s so into character, I just absolutely love it.

I’ll admit the cameraman went a little overboard with the close-ups but there are some interesting angles and shots here and there, and of course, the pan up Leo’s arm was completely necessary. The good thing about the extreme amount of close-ups during this stage is that we’re more able to capture their facial expressions and I do feel like they’re really feeling this particular performance because they’re just smouldering all over the place. Daebak. Can’t wait for next week’s!

Getting to know VIXX: This is real fantasy

As usual, I’m procrastinating from doing actual work and even though I have a major paper on Tuesday, here I am writing up my long overdue post about VIXX, one of my current favourite rookie groups. I guess this serves to be some sort of introductory post for whoever’s just getting into the group and like me, you’re thirsty for any and all information regarding these six boys.

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Standing for Voice, Visual, Value in Excelsis (whatever the hell that means), VIXX debuted end May last year and even though I saw them making allkpop headlines occasionally, I never cared to check them out until sometime in March this year after seeing everyone and their mothers fangirling over some guy with red hair called Leo.

I figured if I was going to properly assess a group, I might as well start from the start, and so I ended up marathoning all eight episodes of MyDol one fine day. (For those who don’t know, it’s a reality show that documented the formation of the group and how Jellyfish Ent‘s CEO narrowed the trainees from ten to the final six who made the cut.) I was strangely still quite indifferent after this and none of them in particular really caught my eye. Hmm… was I missing something here?

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And then I actually checked out their music and I don’t know exactly when it happened and how it happened, but these guys somehow crept into my heart and now I can’t get over how much I adore them. MTV Diary and VIXX TV are a must-watch if you’re just getting into the group because these showcase the boys’ personalities the best I think.

Just to give you a rundown of their personalities from what I have gathered… and they’re just my opinions, of course, and mostly based on what I’ve seen of them in interviews and shows, etc.:

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N/Hakyeon‘s the leader and he’s the naggy, motherly figure of the group who’s always teased about his tanned skin and his height (he wears insoles all the time). He takes really good care of his skin and has a cabinet full of beauty products and I guess he’s sort of vain? Also, a little bit prissy and a scaredy cat, and doesn’t like getting dirty. Loves to talk though, and is probably one of the best dancers in the group. Takes the most selcas out of the group. Oh, and looks like Seo In Guk.

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Leo/Taekwoon‘s the soft-spoken, stoic one with an angelic voice. He always, always covers his face when he laughs (which isn’t all that often) and he’s pretty camera shy. Except he turns into a smouldering god during photoshoots. Personally, I feel he has the best dress sense out of the group. He’s a little quirky and also usually tunes out when the rest of the members are talking in the car by plugging into his mp3. His weaknesses are children, cute animals and food.

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Ken/Jaehwan‘s in charge of the funny in the group, and is the best at variety. He’s known for his Kenjumma character which he often brings out at random, appropriate moments and his catchphrase is ‘ottokaji’. He’s good at aegyo and can draw, kinda rap, beatbox, and sing (he’s one of the two main vocals). His key facial feature is his nose and last it was measured, its length was 4cm. Also rocks bangs like nobody’s business (but that could just be me).

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Ravi/Wonsik always has awesome hair and has the best abs in the group, which he works hard to maintain by regularly gymming. He kinda has a dopey face and a dopey voice, and is known for liking to sleep and eat. He looks older than his age (1993-liner), he talks a lot generally and usually hosts VIXX TV, alongside N. Also has a cute side and a pretty distint loud laugh.

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Hongbin‘s nickname is geurim, which means artwork, because his face is… well, a work of art. He’s the visual and honestly doesn’t get that many lines in the songs, but the boy can actually carry a tune. He started out with long hair but has since chopped off his locks, which really just brings more attention to those dimples. Was into basketball but a health condition led him back to his dream of being a singer. Also has a good body and looks really good in glasses.

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Hyuk/Sanghyuk‘s the maknae and also the last to join the company as a trainee. He’s still constantly improving in singing and dancing, and likes Justin Bieber a lot. He’s the tallest of all the members and has said that his eyes are his best facial feature.

Wow, that was fun to write. I really tried to condense as best as I could so I wouldn’t start rambling. Hope that was helpful to anyone who wanted to know a little more about VIXX, or maybe it wasn’t, I don’t know. And in case anyone’s interested, Ken’s my favourite, closely followed by Leo and Ravi.

I ordered all three of their singles from kpopmart sometime in March and they finally came two days ago and I couldn’t be happier. The photobooks are gorgeous beyond belief but the ‘Rock Ur Body’ album is my absolute fave because it’s my favourite VIXX era by far (also the era where all six looked their best and it really brought out all their individual personalities), and ‘Love Hurts (uuuuu)’ is pretty much my favourite song by them

The album itself is so colourful and bright, I love it so much. This reminds me of how in one of the episodes of Plan V Diary, the members were supposed to adhere to a pink dress code and everyone was looking at Leo like, “Why are you not in pink???” and he whipped out the bright pink album from his pocket and his deadpan expression was all, “…You were saying?”

The other two albums are great too of course, and the photobook for ‘On and On’ is like… sex everywhere? You’ve got Leo wearing a super revealing shirt, Ken lifting up his sweater and showing off his pelvic line and then you’ve got two members of the maknae line shoving their abs in your face. Like, whoa Hyuk, where did that even come from?

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I do like this era quite a bit because it’s so bold and something that hasn’t been done before in K-pop and even though the members themselves felt like the black nails and the coloured lenses would be too much, I love that they actually went there. Ah, I’ll miss this era and I’ll also really miss Leo’s red hair. And I can’t count the number of times I’ve actually watched the dance practice video for ‘On and On’. It’s just so so good and I think they hid the weaker members pretty well in the choreography (and by that I mean shoving Ken to the back as much as possible/giving him separate choreo).

‘SUPER HERO’ is probably their weakest title track, even if it is still pretty catchy. I also just can’t seem to get into ‘Starlight’, but I do enjoy Ravi’s rapping on there. Actually, I just really enjoy Ravi’s rapping in general.

SUPER HERO-era Ken

Sadly, VIXX still isn’t all that known in the K-pop scene but I’m glad they’re beginning to gain some recognition thanks to ‘On and On’, so I’m hoping that with their next comeback (which is slated for May, it seems), they’ll become even more popular. I don’t know how they’ll top their vampire concept, but I feel that they have this versatility to them that allows them to embody whatever concept they’re going for, super well. And with Plan V Diary currently airing, I also hope this means MTV has taken a liking to them and will continue to feature the boys in other reality shows.

VIXX, fighting!

(On a sidenote, I am so proud of myself for keeping the fangirling to a minimum in this post when in all actuality, thinking or talking about anything VIXX usually gets me flailing and screaming all over the place as my feels threaten to overwhelm my entire body until all that’s left of me is a crying, slobbering mess on the floor.)

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(Photo credits: realvixx)