How To Improve Produce 101 (?)

With recent vote-rigging scandals on Produce series, some weak points are being revealed. In this essay, we will attempt to present improvements on these shows. Side comments also included.


Overview

IZ*ONE recently suspended their comeback, which was supposed to be on November 11. X1, on the other hand, had to shy away from some engagements. Reunions of Wanna One and I.O.I are being halted.

These are happening amidst vote manipulations in Produce series, led by PD Ahn Joon Young. Producers picked talents even before actual vote began. Worse, appearances and scenes are edited to make other talents look good (which even GFRIEND’s SinB noticed when she appeared there, and Produce took her words out of context).

It led to trainees’ parents and fans to clamor for improvements, or them pressing charges against producers. While we see some fans now taking proactive approach, this revelation is definitely one of the worst events in K-Pop for this year.

To disband IZ*ONE and X1 or not, the author is strictly neutral on this. What matters for us is on how to improve these kinds of programs.

Produce series are intended to “produce” talents for K-Pop, and give fresh blood to the genre. Winning trainees are debuted for a limited time, and afterwards go back to their respective agencies.

Improvements

TheBiasList made some good points on how Produce is stifling the K-Pop industry. From that point, the author will supply the blogger’s write-up with some matters to be considered.

From the title itself, the meaning is pretty obvious. At least in theory. But if the new group turns out to be so popular, it has to be given a permanent place. Not one year or five years contract. If they are intending to debut groups for a limited time, it must be given to other shows, not for Produce.

It’s unwise to “produce” groups if they are only given short lives. More than supposed profits that might be foregone if the project group disbanded, many fans will get hurt and dismayed.

As to the nature of Produce focusing more on popularity, it must develop mechanisms to emphasize talent. This must not be overlooked. Especially that we reviewers are sensing some downturn on quality of performances unlike in the past.

Finally, voting results must be vouched by a third-party, preferably auditing firms (like EY, KPMG, Grant Thornton). Aside from vouching for truthfulness of results, it verifies integrity of voting process.

It’s already apparent that Produce lacks internal control, with overrides like vote puffing, cooking show, and “nightlife” to manipulate votes.

Final Words

Prospects for Produce series point to its ultimate demise. Nevertheless, these points are very helpful for networks and agencies who want to replicate the show’s format.

It is sincerely hoped that future shows which follow Produce will learn lessons from latter. Repeating mistakes like that today is very costly and damaging.


Featured Image Credit: Soompi

Dawn (Money) and HyunA (Flower Shower): MV Reviews

This is the first time we featured combined reviews of work done by couples. We are referring to Hyuna and Dawn, who made comebacks this season.

While reviewers tend to give separate assessments, the author decided to put them in a single article. Not only because they are in a relationship. Moreso, this is because their storylines are interconnected, noticed in the flower shower commonly seen in them. Let’s start!

Storyline as whole

Money tells of Dawn’s story after being kicked out from Cube. With him being broke in money, he searched for work. He reflected, did introspection, and woke up with shower of flowers.

As a whole, I am not getting used to Dawn’s way, as I only knew of him as part of Pentagon. For comparison’s sake, his strong personality radiated throughout in Shine, while in this MV he portrayed himself as the opposite. That lack of luster proves to be very fatal, noting that he is starting a new journey.

The tunes used were reminiscent of dramatic tunes in Korean dramas, but is rendered in a fast pace.

The story of Flower Shower revolves is split into two: a girl waking up in the middle of the night, being surrounded by petals and butterflies. Second story revolves on her in a palace, trying to travel to various places.

Hyuna’s moves are very daring. Not surprising, as she did it during a college party. Instrumentals combine various techniques like echoing, bumping tunes on choruses, and drumbeats on pre-chorus. While these instrumentals are simple, this complements the low vocals Hyuna employed. Taken as whole, the music is exciting and mild, which relies on echoing voices.

Given the nature of her MV, it’s something that is relegated primarily to calm playlists.

A YouTube commenter interpreted Money (and latter’s song) as follows:

Hyuna’s song is called Flower Shower and she says she is a flower and wants to paint the sky with her own colors.

DAWN says that he paints flowers so they don’t die. It’s a reference to the struggles they had when people knew about their relation, Dawn is trying to say that he helped Hyuna and Hyuna helped him. It’s so beautiful how they kinda connected their songs, really goals

Joketime

Honestly, I thought Dawn will borrow some lines from Bangtan’s BST:

Want the money, money? Yeah!
Money, money? Yeah!

Review by others

KPopReviewed did not really enjoyed Money, as it was “boring” and not captivating. It would’ve been better if he continued with Pentagon vibe he had. But piece by piece, vocals show his potential, and the song was more dynamic. The visuals remind him of G-Dragon’s fiercer side, albeit improved a bit.

As for Hyuna, she takes on completely different sound, compared with her previous tracks. Her music is simplified and has a playful vibe. This song tends to give highlight to her best aspects (vocals and raps).

TheBiasList made some similar observations on Dawn’s aspects like music and concept borrowing from YG. On the other hand, he pointed out the nature of it as fusion between “melodic pop” and hip-hop. The groove is present, and moderately satisfying.

Flower Shower presents a missed chance for the girl to take the lead. The chorus instrumentals got a dose of deadly points, and its centerpiece takes on wrong path doing repetitive loops. He likes the way vocals are arranged, and how she performs with ease. A stronger material is needed for artists like Hyuna.

To sum up, the blogger got disappointed over minimal releases from PNation, pushing artists to senseless directions.

Final Words

With Hyuna and Dawn getting over the dating scandal, we might see exciting prospects for other artists. Given that the society treats it negatively, let’s see if this will force them to change their attitude on stars dating. (We’ll do ratings on CUBE and PNation with regards to these sometime.)

This is a good start, considering that TWICE’s Jihyo is now receiving so much hate for being in love with Kang Daniel. (And don’t forget Momoland’s Daisy and JooE too.)

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: (Separate)
Money: 86.32%
Flower Shower: 83.16%

Grade: B-/C+
Assessment: Satisfactory/Improving

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 84.74% (Consolidated)
Grade: C+
Assessment: Improving

Scoreboard

Aspect   Criterion Money Flower Shower
Storyline 1 Storyline 5 3
Storyline 2 Consistent theme 5 5
Appearance 3 Colorful/color fits emotions 5 5
Appearance 4 Good taste 5 5
Appearance 5 No Halloween, Easter, etc. 5 5
Appearance 6 No astrology featured 5 5
Appearance 7 Less horror featured 5 5
Appearance 8 Not too revealing outfits 5 3
Music 9 Exciting/Expresses emotions 5 4
Music 10 Not too deafening 5 5
Dance 11 Learned easily even by beginners 4 5
Dance 12 Not too sensual 5 4
Lessons 13 Moral lesson clearly stated 4 3
Lessons 14 Impart something beneficial for viewers 2 5
Other Matters 15 Sense of humor/expresses emotions 7 6
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 1 2
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 4 4
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 5 5
Other Matters 19      

TXT (투모로우바이투게더) – Run Away: MV Review

For the third time, we will review again TXT (Tomorrow x Together) in their song Run Away.

With so many endless Run Aways that we hear in K-Pop, we might wonder which K-Pop group might use this title next. But for now, we will focus on the group, who are gaining popularity as rookies. Let’s start!

Storyline

The story starts with boys aiming endlessly as they are entering the school, like kicking a ball, scribbling something, or doing something at the book. There they are describing how they are doing during their high school days. Bored on usual studying, they are trying to sneak on swimming during the night.

As they are going underwater, they discovered an opening which led them to the forest, the fields, and eventually, to the burning door. The story ends with a member remaining, discovering a lion doll.

They featured how to burn a paper using the sun and glasses. I suppose this is rarely being done, out of danger viewing this experiment. It features a member also putting fires out using fire extinguisher, thereby teaching viewers how to put out small fires on their own.

At 2:24 – 2:28, they are featuring students in a library, while one is reading. Hope this sparks interest to rediscover their own libraries.

Review as whole

The way how TXT plays the music is worth noting. It uses strutting tune at the start of the video, which guides them throughout. Sparkling tune is added next at start of video and the first verse, only to hide throughout the second verse. On the other hand, the rock tune is visible in the chorus. The first verse and interlude jumps into a different tune, as if telling a fairytale story.

Dances were simple on the chorus, except on the moving of shoulders and on jumping, which they have to improve later on. Special effects are used when a member shoots colorful lights using a fire extinguisher.

The setting where they first dance share striking similarities with Lim Jimin’s Loveholic, which I find it very amusing:

Lim Jimin
TXT

Review by others

TheBiasList noted that TXT was being branded as the lighter version of BTS, and is worth waiting for. Good points include the “rock-infused” arrangement retaining elements that made them successful. Vocals are refined, strong, bright, and upbeat. Most of all, the “true star” is its chorus. The only thing that was pull-down is on the breakdown at the second verse, which he deems unnecessary.

KPopReviewed gradually liked the song as being “catchy and vibrant,” with melody as its advantage. Added energy is on the instrumentals. The weak point is on the bridge which did not pick up the intensity. He gone way beyond to interpret the confusing storyline, which is what BigHit usually does.

Joketime

Let me share the joke again, this time including mainstream tracks:

The Corrs: Runaway
Sebastian Yatra: Runaway (Ft. Jonas Brothers)
AURORA: Runaway
Bon Jovi: Runaway
Kanye West: Runaway
Sasha Sloan: Runaway
Maroon5: Runaway
PENTAGON: Runaway
Bobby: Runaway
Super Junior: Runaway
Tiffany Young: Runaway (Ft. Babyface)
Royal Pirates: Runaway
Eric Nam: Runaway
Teen Top: Run Away
IN2IT: Run Away
TXT: Run Away

Am I that ugly?

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating: 88.00%
Grade: B+
Assessment: Good

Scoreboard

Aspect   Criterion Points
Storyline 1 Storyline 4
Storyline 2 Consistent theme 5
Appearance 3 Colorful/color fits emotions 5
Appearance 4 Good taste 5
Appearance 5 No Halloween, Easter, etc. 5
Appearance 6 No astrology featured 5
Appearance 7 Less horror featured 5
Appearance 8 Not too revealing outfits 5
Music 9 Exciting/Expresses emotions 4
Music 10 Not too deafening 5
Dance 11 Learned easily even by beginners 4
Dance 12 Not too sensual 5
Lessons 13 Moral lesson clearly stated 4
Lessons 14 Impart something beneficial for viewers 5
Other Matters 15 Sense of humor/expresses emotions 6
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 1
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 5
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 5
Other Matters 19 Shares concept from other groups 5
       

Brown Eyed Girls – Abandoned and Wonder Woman: MV Reviews

This year, we witnessed several comebacks from K-Pop pioneers like Super Junior, Fin.K.L, and this time, Brown Eyed Girls. It’s pleasing that after four years of hiatus, they are resuming activities. And to wit, they doubled their comebacks. Let’s review them in this article, referring to Abandoned as first, and Wonder Woman as second:

Storyline

Wonder Woman starts with a man who finds a grave marker, only to find a girl in a room. As he searches, he sees mirrors, some of them broken. He sits only to hide from the blinding light. Later on, the wind blows building up the tenseness in the final chorus. The video ends with the man abandoning the house, never to return.

In the case of the second song, they made the storyline simple. It tells of the girls in a wedding party, but this turned out to be wild. Even the banquet table had been wild too with their way of eating.

0:20 features old-fashioned rooms, which might arouse interest in historical rooms used. Now, look at 0:29, where Gain is surprised with her guests. Her reactions are kinda very funny. Also, the guests provided funny scenes by how they react.

Review as whole

Abandoned is essentially a sad song. The music builds up in the second chorus, and then goes more intense in the final chorus. While I find the tunes as not as outstanding, I find it very ideal for any OST in any Korean drama. However, I disliked some of the creepy portraits hung in the wall, at the final chorus.

For the second song, the first verse was taken as cool, calm, and mild. This is the consistency I want also in the MV. The slender tunes can be heard some of the time, which adds beauty to the song.

Some things are noticed here. First, it can be noticed that girls are only present in the scene. Essentially they barred the boys from attending a “wedding” party, turning it into all-girls one.

For both tracks, I hate to see another pumpkin being featured at every end of video.

Review by others

KPopReviewed described the first song as a fantastic ballad, haunting and giving chills at the same time. These are due to their layering vocals and instrumentals, plus their nice progression. As for Wonder Woman, the retro tunes were a bit catchy and appealing. The only holdback was on not giving clear-cut definition of their chorus.

TheBiasList gave separate assessments on the two songs. He summed it up first as drawing from songs before K-Pop, only to be infused with modern styles. The blogger likes stars who steps out of the boundaries, something the group forgot in these.

The first song borrows theatrical concepts, which gives a steady buildup till the end. Downside is on lack of factor that will let viewers understand the MV. For the second song, they converted the bossa nova original track into a disco one, making it bubbly, appealing, and addictive. By the nature of the song, it limits greater potential for the group despite having right ingredients.

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating (Separate):

Abandoned: 74.74%
Wonder Woman: 87.62%
Grade: F/B-
Assessment: Failed/Satisfactory

TweetNewscaster’s Overall Rating (Consolidated): 81.50%
Grade: C-
Assessment: Needs Improvement

Scoreboard

Aspect   Criterion Abandoned Wonder Woman
Storyline 1 Storyline 5 5
Storyline 2 Consistent theme 5 5
Appearance 3 Colorful/color fits emotions 4 5
Appearance 4 Good taste 2 4
Appearance 5 No Halloween, Easter, etc. 1 0
Appearance 6 No astrology featured 5 1
Appearance 7 Less horror featured 1 4
Appearance 8 Not too revealing outfits 5 5
Music 9 Exciting/Expresses emotions 5 5
Music 10 Not too deafening 5 5
Dance 11 Learned easily even by beginners   5
Dance 12 Not too sensual   5
Lessons 13 Moral lesson clearly stated 1 3
Lessons 14 Impart something beneficial for viewers 1 5
Other Matters 15 Sense of humor/expresses emotions 7 10
Other Matters 16 Make it to mainstream media 1 2
Other Matters 17 Review by other sites 5 4
Other Matters 18 Review of MV as a whole 3 4
Other Matters 19 Uploads video to 1theK 10 10
    Features 1theK logo (Bonus)    
    Prominently features 1theK vid (Bonus) 5 5