Just Bananas About: Week of 8/29/16

Hit the Stage is a new dance competition show on Mnet.  We are about 5 episodes in but people’s interest in the show began even before the first episode had aired.  Though the show does have a competition aspect to it, its format is not like other competition shows where you are eliminated.

Each competition has one theme in which 8 idol members and their dance crews compete in over two episodes.  Each dance crew can do whatever they want with that theme, whether they choose to dance street style, classical or even theatrical, and then they are judged by the guest judges and the audience members.

What’s fun is that every other episode they determine the order the dancers will hit the stage and it’s become a something that’s made the dancers quite nervous.  Whether it’s who can resist getting scared or who can cry the fastest or who can jump the furthest.  It’s important because there is a good chance if you perform first, you are not going to win as the audience will have a hard time remembering your dance by the time they make it through all 8 teams.  However, that’s what makes the variety element of this show exciting.

The first two episodes started off with quite a strong theme as the theme was “Devil”.  As a relative idol newbie and the first one to perform, I thought NCT’s Ten was a great dancer and the exorcism concept of this dance was powerful.  Sistar’s Bora was also quite fierce as a witch and I liked that it was just her and her dance partner.

Monsta X’s Shownu’s performance startled everyone.  First, the LED glass flooring shattered during his rehearsal and then he unexpectedly falls to the floor during the actual performance.  He catches himself just in time so he didn’t get injured but there were a number of people who were concerned.

As for Infinite’s Hoya and Block B’s U-Kwon, their “Devil” concept overlapped as they both decided to do a Joker themed performance.  I think the good thing was that I didn’t see both of these performances back to back because there were a lot of similarities even in the way they danced and the performance aspect of it.

To be honest, I loved the concept of SNSD’s Hyoyeon’s “Cell Block Tango” number.  However, I was a bit remiss at the fact that she didn’t take that performance as far as she could.  While all the other teams incorporated a cartoonish or fantasy element, there was something human about this Chicago number as its about women who were wronged by men and then the women taking back the power into their own deadly hands.  Theatrically, I wished that Hyoyeon would have eliminated her male partners on the stage one by one as I don’t think the impact of the number was strong enough.

In the end, Taemin won with his inner demons concept dancing to his own song, “Goodbye”.

Personally, I think I liked the 2nd theme a lot more.  “This Love” brought not only a lot of interesting performances but also took the love theme from different angles.  NCT’s Ten was adorable cute with his jazzy performance.  Block B’s U-Kwon can’t seem to get away from doing theatrical-like performance as he and Oh My Girl’s YooA perform as a playful cat and dog.

I have to admit that I was quite taken with TWICE’s Momo and fellow teammate Mina for their depiction of obsessive love.  The song is from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love (Remix)”.  It was such a surprising but great performance.

However, my favorite performance regarding this theme was Jang Hyun Seung and Stephanie’s.  It was just hot and sexy and… it’s just hard to keep your mouth closed while watching them.

The winner of this theme ended up being Hoya and his childhood friend and professional dancer, Choi Hyo Jin.  I’ll admit that it’s probably because they’ve known each for so long, that they were able to give such a sensual performance.  If they didn’t trust each other, they wouldn’t have been able to pull off this dance.

The current theme is all about “Uniform”.  Astro’s Rocky is newest idol member to join the show but I have to admit that I wasn’t all that into his Jim Carrey’s Mask performance.  He’s a great dancer but the concept of his dance compared to the current mission was a bit lost on me.  I was also not very much into Jang Hyun Seung’s footballer routine as I felt that the song he chose didn’t fit the costumes.  I was intrigued that Sistar’s Bora decided to do a tap dance routine.  I get that she couldn’t really use the full stage as the floor was made of glass but her routine felt so confined to the wooden boards that had to be placed on the floor, not only so that we could hear the tapping but so that she and her partner didn’t slip.  However, I loved that their routine started off without any music so that all you heard was the sound of tapping which made it very unique.

Monsta X’s Shownu started the night off with his dance crew, Animation Crew.  I have to admit that I loved their dance even though their pink satin suits made me laugh a bit.  The concept of their dance featured mannequins coming alive at the store and I love that their moves were so smooth and that the concept of their dance was a lot of fun.

However, my favorite dance of this first half happened to be Big Star’s Feeldog’s prison break dance with the Cube Sound dance crew.  The performance was just so tight and the theme of “Uniform” was reflected so well in the dance.  I really don’t have any words to express why I loved it so much.  I guess we’ll have to see if he’ll be able to retain the number one spot by the end of the 2nd episode this week.

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