Thank you to Asian Junkie for the title inspiration to this post.
This is another long time coming post that I have to apologize for the delay. Hopefully, no one is too upset with me for taking to long to write this post as I’m sure plenty of people were eagerly awaiting the tea I have on music programs like The Show, Mcountdown, maybe even Music Bank.
Well, I guess I could start with The Show.
Lately, this program has become notorious among Insomnias, Dreamcatcher’s fandom, for stealing their win for 3-4 weeks straight. The last week Dreamcatcher was to perform on The Show brought on a bit of a rivalry between them and ONEUS, a rookie group who had been pretty close but failed to take over Dreamcatcher in the Pre-voting of The Show.
I was luckily enough to be present in the audience during that week. I’ll be honest, I like ONEUS as well, but not as much as Dreamcatcher. Yet, I’m keeping up my guard. I don’t trust boy groups at all these days given recent events and the fact that I’ve become really cynical towards people in general these days, but especially men in the entertainment industry. Yet, being the sucker I am, I will still hope that not all men suck in this industry and some still have some good in them (like my mascot, though he recently made news again for getting into a car accident. Maybe I should rethink my mascot…).
Anyway, Dreamcatcher and ONEUS both lost. Hell, Dreamcatcher wasn’t even nominated for that week despite winning the popular vote apparently. Oh well, next time, I suppose. Instead, the award was given to this Broduce 101 guy, Jeong Sewoon.
I ain’t saying the dude’s nugu, but he’s nugu to me. Did he deserve the win? I dunno. I honestly don’t keep up with award show wins and don’t really care for them. It would have been nice to personally see Dreamcatcher get their first win, but though it didn’t happen, I wasn’t that torn about it. I was just happy to see them and even ONEUS live and in the flesh.
As for the overall experience on The Show, I suppose it was alright. This particular music program is seated but there are some lucky fans who get standing access right in front of the stage so that must be neato. I didn’t notice any pushing either from where I was from but that may be because the groups that go on The Show typically are small and thus have smaller, chiller fanbases. In some ways, I liked it better than Mcountdown due to this.
Moving on from that, I’m sure many of you may be asking how I got into The Show. So, I’ll clear that up by saying that if you have about 90,000 Korean won or about 77 US dollars, than you can go ahead to Trazy and pick up your ticket there. It’s quite costly so I’d only suggest it if you really have a fave or two showing up as part of the line up that week. Check The Show’s twitter page for the line up to see who will show up for that week’s Tuesday show.
As far as other music shows go, I’ve only been on one other music show which was Mcountdown. I was lucky enough to been on there twice now which is a feat, but the first time was definitely a miracle.
See, the first time I went was last year in May when I was doing my first stint of studying abroad here in Korea. That month, BTS had just came back so I was eager yet weary to get my hopes up to actually see them in person for the first time and for free.
Yes, you heard correctly. I managed to see BTS for free and I didn’t have to stalk their schedule and invade their privacy at airports or chase them down in sasaeng taxis or whatever the hell young crazed fans do these days to see their beloved oppars.
Nope, instead I went early in the wee hours of the morning to Digital Media City (girls and boys, look it up. This place is the hot bed for most music shows). Specifically, Mcountdown is housed in the CJ ENM Entertainment building. It’s also houses Mnet shows like Produce that are totally legit and you don’t have to question the final line-up of your fave groups from these shows AT ALL.
I had found out that there were two main ways to get into music shows in general. It was either through a fan club, which wasn’t possible for me because I’m not even a part of BTS’s official fanclub. I know, I know, I’m a fake fan. Go ahead and persecute me.
Or, my other option could be that I could go really early in the morning of the show and hope I get there in time to be one of the lucky few that get in. Problem with that method was that it was outdated apparently for Mcountdown since according to a newer Reddit post I had found from 2017 stated that there was now a list you had to put your name on in order to be considered for the show. Well, I wasn’t feeling too good about that since that was the only post I had read about a list and it was over a year old at the time that I had read it, but I still hoped my luck would hold and I planned to head out to Mcountdown pretty early in the morning NOT the day of, but on that Wednesday as I heard that’s better.
At the time, I didn’t know that there is a sort of partnership between Mcountdown and SM Travel where one can buy a package to attend the show for about $90. Again, a pretty penny but if your faves show up that week then it could definitely be worth it. Mcountdown, unlike The Show, plays hosts to groups big or small, so there’s a big chance you could see your faves perform even ones as big as BTS. Plus, SM Travel not only offers Mcountdown packages but also concerts and fanmeets of SM artists so I’d definitely check the site regular for updates and upcoming events if you’re an SM artist stan. Best of all, it is foreigner-friendly, so no worries in navigating the site in Korean. Actually all of the events are typically for foreigners only so you don’t have to be fighting for tickets with your more computer savvy Korean counterparts.
Though a word of warning, I know a few years back, the Mcountdown package was still fairly unknown and now as more and more people come to know of it, the package sells out in just a minute or so. I kid you not. I was trying to buy a ticket for the Halloween show but I input my information too slow and it sold out. I even clicked for the ticket on the exact time sells opened. If this happens to you, don’t lose hope and check the site regularly for a canceled ticket. It happened to me the second time I wanted to go onto Mcountdown, but missed the ticket opening announcement.
Anywho, onto my first and better Mcountdown experience!
I ended up searching for that list for a while and after some wandering around to the point of almost giving up and wondering if I was a fool, lo and behold –
It wasn’t even me that found it. It was another foreign girl who seemed to know right where the list was. I had missed it on a light pole some yards away from the main entrance. What can I say? I’m blind, but in my defense, the place was darker when I first arrived than what you see in that photo. Anyways, besides me there was a total of 3 other girls there- two French girls and one other girl who had a cousin , who’d join later, whose name she put on the list.
Technically, you weren’t allowed to write someone’s name who isn’t there, but then again, the rules on the sheet were in Korean and I doubt she could read it, so whatever. She was lucky since the one in charge of the list that week, a Korean girl with a posse of 4 of her own, wasn’t around at the time to notice.
You may notice that on the list that there are different dates and times. Well, my friends, that was the catch of the list. You couldn’t just put your name on the list and be like: Welp, I’m done here. Now I’m ready to see my beloved BTS oppars. Nah. It don’t work that way. Once you put your name on the list, you have to come back at multiple check-in times to make sure your name stays on the list. If you don’t come back at a designated check-in time, then your name is crossed off the list and honestly, you probably don’t have a chance of recovering your place…unless, you know, something unfortunate happened to the competition.
Seriously though, try your best to make the check-in times; however, it can be quite hard especially if you’re a student like I was. Mcountdown broadcasts on a Thursday and if you do end up making it to see the live show at 6 pm, then you’d have to come back around 3:30-4:00 pm at the latest to line up to go inside. Yet, the check-in times weren’t that awful for me at least. There was a good space between a few ranging from 3 hours to the godawful 4 hours between the 2 am and 6 am check-in times though thankfully those were the last ones.
I practically lived at McDonald’s that night, starting from the 11 pm check-in time. At the least I wasn’t alone. McDonald’s is the only place open for 24 hours over at the DMC, I believe, so pretty much everyone from fan clubs to people like me were camping out there.
I ended up watching Guardians of the Galaxy II to keep from sleeping. At this point, I hadn’t slept for at least 24 hours. Why? Because I was an idiot and didn’t sleep Tuesday night and once I had to keep up with these check-in times, I didn’t dare sleep for fear I’d oversleep any alarm I set. I made some nice acquaintances during my Mcountdown stint and sat with them at McDonald’s, but I didn’t trust them. Though I’m sure they probably would’ve woken me up since they even offered to do so without me asking and they were friendly but maybe my distrust came from the fact that they were further down the list and I was within the top 10.
Surprisingly, despite thinking that less people would show up for the 2 am check-in time, more people than ever seemed to showed up when we went out to the list. Mind you, a lot of the peeps out there were SHINee fans prepping themselves to go in for the groups pre-recording. I was even surprised that SHINee was part of the line-up given that they had just came back a few days ago. Oh, how naive I was.
Anyways, to make a long story short, I ended up seeing Mcountdown live that Thursday, May 31st, if anyone cares for the exact date. Though you should if you want to look up pictures and videos from the performances because I can’t offer you any except one very grainy low quality video that I now regret taking the way I did. But please understand, I was still quite a naive young’un then and didn’t know better to try harder to shoot a better quality video. I had been thinking of doing a project focused on fandom behavior so I mainly taped the fans and not BTS, but they’re there in like the last couple seconds of the video, haha…ha.
Still, the main reason why I was in a rush and that we have this low quality video over nothing at all is that at music shows, you’re not allowed to record or take pictures of the show at all. I only took out my phone to record because I saw others doing it and they weren’t being tackled to the ground by security or staff so I risked it.
Here’s the video. To explain, this is of BTS encore for Fake Love, so it ain’t obviously gonna be the best quality in terms of performance so at this point a few of the boys are kinda half-assing it because they just want to get off the stage and sleep. Oh, but wait, they can’t because they have another schedule to go and prepare for (Music Bank, another music show is on Fridays).
Jesus, when BTS first came out, I was in the middle of the middle of the crowd, but the fans instantly started to push each other. For what? Oppar ain’t gonna find that attractive and some of the members looked kinda done before they even started their set. Still, I somehow persevered until about midway through the performance of their first song, Airplane Pt. 2, then some fan by me got accused of videotaping them. Two other fans, who acted as the ARMY police or something, did their best to reach this fan and take away her phone accusing her all the while. However, they also were being pretty handsy with me too and after a few moments of this, I couldn’t take it and moved to the back because I had had enough and I was this close to facing some sort of trauma. I’d never experienced a pit before and don’t want to again.
And you know what? For me, it was honestly more entertaining to watch BTS from the back. I was still able to see the boys really clearly to the point that I was able to witness a small smirk form on Jungkook’s lips the two times he lifted his stupid shirt to flash his abs at these girls during Fake Love. Most of the girls screamed their approval which obviously pleased him. The pushing had even died down by then but his abs started a whole other pushing war and I had to thank God I was standing at the back at this point. I don’t even know what his abs even looked like even minutes after seeing them. I say this because a friend of mine was impressed that I had gotten to see his abs in person when I told her about seeing BTS on Mcountdown. Alright then…though to be fair, I’m not really an ab kind of person. Actually, I’m not really a person who likes muscular guys in general though I can appreciate their attractiveness, I guess.
Putting BTS aside, of course, there were other groups there I was interested in. I haven’t said until now, but besides wanting to see them, I was also eager to see SHINee as well especially considering this was the boys’ first comeback since Jonghyun had died in late 2017. They didn’t come on for their first song, All Day All Night, since the show just played the prerecorded version of the song. They came out for their title song, Good Evening and despite the hardships and difficult endeavors they pulled through for this comeback, seeing them jump wildly on stage cheered me up quite a bit and made me hope that they were slowly managing living life with their loss in their own ways.
Another group I was eager to see was Dreamcatcher, of course! I was really new to Dreamcatcher at this time, so I didn’t even know their names and I wasn’t used to their faces yet, unfortunately. I was still able to enjoy their performance of You and I, and still was not able to figure out where Dami hid that magic pole of hers despite seeing it happen right in front of me.
Another group I had an interest in was Bolbbalgan4. Poor girls were pitted up against BTS the following week for the music show award. Never stood a chance, but these awards don’t even matter that much anyway. Honestly, for a small group that had somewhat indie origins, I was really surprised to see BOL4, but I like their music so I wasn’t complaining. Actually, the week I was there, it was a rookie group that was up against BTS for the win – (G)I-DLE, whose performance I honestly can’t remember, but I definitely know a bit more about them now and their chic “ethnic hip” concept.
Other groups I thought I was lucky to see were: AOA and N Flying. A group that has since disbanded over a scandal involving physical abuse, The East Light, was another group I saw as well. I thought it was pretty neat for younger group to have a band concept but I don’t do groups younger than myself and as it turned out, they were going through a lot of shit that was honestly sad to read about so I’m glad they aren’t around anymore.
Though, a lot of backstage bad stuff happens all the time in this industry, including in music shows. I was intending to write about the darker side of music shows in this post but because I was taking so long to get this post out, I decided against it because I couldn’t figure a good way to do it without making this post sooooo long. Plus, I got some reading and video watching to do on the subject for a refresher.
So, that’s the end of the post! I hope that this was enough to fulfill that gap between my last post and this one. I wanted this post to be a bit more lighthearted anyway compared to my last post on the black fans in K-pop series which I’m still figuring out how to do properly.
I will end this post with a video instead of the usual ending meme where I try to be witty and fail. This video was from the Music Bank concert in Gangneung this year and shows TWICE doing their encore of Feel Special. Please enjoy the grainy quality but this time, I did my bestest to tape just the idols and not us plebeian fans that no ones cares about. Ciao for now~