Kingdom: Legendary War – Episode 1 Rundown

One of the most anticipated music reality shows of 2021 is here!

Finally, the time has come to witness the legendary war between popular K-pop groups. Kingdom: Legendary War episode 1 aired on 1 April 2021 and has left us all wanting for more. It failed short of nothing (except the live audience) as each group battled it out with a new rendition of their previous hit singles.

INTRODUCTION – Arrival, voting system & more

The Boyz were the first group to enter the arena and were feeling right at home given their familiarity with the Kingdom stage. Stray Kids were second to enter followed by Ateez. The three groups were awkward, to say the least at the beginning but were thankfully saved by BtoB’s warm presence that lightened up the atmosphere and put everyone at ease. Everyone was awestruck by SF9’s entry at how good they all looked in a suit. iKon was the last group to enter and was indeed very much in their element with no nervousness whatsoever.

MC TVXQ welcomed everybody and shed the light on the voting system. There will be a total of 4 contests including a live final competition, whoever accumulates the most points wins. Points will be derived from the following – Participants self-evaluation 25%, Expert evaluation 25%, Global fans 40%, and Video Score 10%.

The teams expressed their own goals via the interview segments of the show. The Boyz felt like they needed to take it up a notch higher than before and prove themselves that they are deserving of the stage. Ateez on the other hand feels like they aren’t known enough compared to their fellow contestants and wished to make an impression on everyone using this platform. SF9 conveyed their goal to be known as a K-pop boy band and not just independent artists or actors.

Following is a breakdown of the performances. (In order of performance, as decided by the participants)

ATEEZ

ATEEZ – WAVE: Overture

The group is usually known for its explosive on-stage energy and expressive performances. It was interesting to see them turn ‘Wave’ into this dark edgy version, so different from the original bright and chirpy vibe. Their concept was pretty cool from being stranded to making it out of the shipwreck. An apt beginning!

BtoB

BTOB – Beautiful Pain (Choir Ver.)

BtoB has been around in the industry for about 10 years now, known for their ballads and outstanding live performances, but this is their first time participating in a competitive show. The fact that two members of the group are in the army puts them at a little disadvantage, but from the looks of it, they will make do.

The group performed a choir version of their track ‘Beautiful Pain’. They left the audience with goosebumps and feeling mesmerized.

SF9

SF9 – Good Guy (The Glory)

SF9 kept their performance simple and chic with an alluring dance break at the beginning of their track ‘Good Guy’. They didn’t present the story in a new way and stuck with their original concept or edition of the song. Their costumes were way opposite of everyone they were all decked up in nice fitting suits so much less intense from others.

Stray Kids

Stray Kids – MIROH

Stray Kids delivered a power-packed performance of their hit single ‘MIROH’. They had a lot going on and they made great use of props, everything right from the tattoos, knife, Changbin pulling out a firework as he was rapping was all very impressive and well-executed.

The Boyz

The Boyz – The Stealer (Epic Ver.)

The Boyz were the winner of the preliminary round Road to Kingdom and their performance only proves that they deserve to be on the Kingdom stage. They performed a very dramatic and indeed the epic version of ‘The Stealer’. The choreography was stellar with elements that stood out and looked visually entrancing.

iKON

iKON – Rhythm Ta

This isn’t the first time iKON is participating in a survival show, in fact, it’s their 4th. iKon was seen reminiscing their debut years with ‘Rhythm Ta’. It must have been difficult choosing one hit single from their many hits. They approached the song with free-flowing hip hop based choreography and seemed to be having a lot of fun.

FINAL THOUGHTS

All the groups tried to showcase performances best to their abilities in 100 seconds of the introduction stage. Glad it wasn’t all dark & edgy concepts only (which is very much a trend), thanks to BtoB, SF9, and iKON. On the flip side The Boyz, Ateez, Stray Kids performed exemplary concepts. Also, it is fun to watch the inter-group friendship and interactions between the group.

The fate of the group will be largely determined via voting from fans, participants, and expert panelists. It is good to see that this season won’t be having elimination rounds, as that will allow each group to showcase their diversity to the fullest without missing any opportunity.

You can watch Kingdom: Legendary War every Thursday at 20:00 KST on Mnet and Viki

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