Oct 29, 2013

Winner is announced and sets off fangirl tears

Last Friday night, I had arrived home late from work and was beyond tired. But I forced myself to stay up long enough to cast my vote for WIN: Who Is Next's final battle. Soon after hitting send on my KakaoTalk account, I fell asleep.

At a little after midnight, I woke up with a start realizing I had not even had dinner yet. But my top priority was to find out who was announced the winner and YG's new boy group. Team A won.

I'd be lying to myself if I said it was the expected outcome. The thing is, it was and it wasn't. As I've mentioned before, I think the show was made in a way that Team A would be announced the "Winner" after the 3-month period. Although, fan-voting could've changed the flow of things.

Team B has a strong fanbase, both in Korea and internationally. Most of the people I know in real life who watched the show as religiously as I did were all Team B supporters. At one point, I had to teach them how to vote via KakaoTalk and I soon regretted that decision, knowing that they'd be voting for the other team when I wanted Team A to win.

When the criteria for the final battle was announced, I thought to myself, "This was made for Team A to win, how obvious." I mean, we have three fantastic songwriters and lyricists in Team A and the battle's categories were as follows: 1) original composition, 2) dance, 3) same song, different arrangement. That's basically giving the groups the mission to create two original songs - except in the third category, a track was already pre-produced by Teddy Park, YG's main internal producer. This was a game designed for the first team to rule. Their only weakness was the second category - dance.

However, even then, I could not have just sat back and relaxed, assured of a Team A win. The fight and the passion were strong in the younger team, and also in their fans. B.I and Bobby most especially. So despite being beyond happy that my boys won last Friday night, I was in tears as I watched the raw version of the final episode, and was again in tears when I had to re-watch it with English subtitles.

I was surprised, actually, that I liked Team A's dance routine more than Team B's. Team B, while technically gifted and just awesome overall, lacked a certain je ne sais quoi to make them stand out. Yes, they were awesome, but they weren't different. What I loved about Team A's performance was the fact that you knew they had come to terms with who they are and what they are limited to. It seemed as if they understood they couldn't out-swag Team B, so they went down a different route and turned to their creativity and ingenuity to compete in a field that wasn't exactly their forte. And it worked. Kudos to Lee Seung-hoon for that awesome choreography.

While I have nothing but praises to give Team A in terms of their songwriting capabilities, I was beyond impressed with the emotions that the boys of Team B poured into their original composition "Climax." Bobby's rap alone already had me in tears (the second time I watched it, with the subtitles, of course), and by the time B.I took to center stage with his own verse, I was ruined.

It doesn't help that Team A went first and their song was about, not just the hardships of their own group, but of all eleven trainees, and how they all had to "Go Up" no matter the outcome of the show - needless to say, I had feels up the wazoo. These boys are a family. All eleven of them. And while I can't blame YG for doing this and pitting them against each other, it is sad that in order for them to reach their dreams, they had to step on the dreams of their own brothers.

On the other hand, because of how the show was designed, YG now has a clear grasp of what their market wants way before the boys even debut. And the boys now have a solid fanbase, as was clear in episode 9 where the boys held a fanmeet at Times Square, where 3,000 fans showed up. That must have been a first, given that they were just trainees at the time.

The final episode ended with everyone crying. And I don't just mean the eleven boys. Their families were in tears. The fans in the audience were in tears. Even YG himself was in tears. And everyone watching from their homes were in tears. You're lying if you tell me you watched the entire thing without bawling every other minute, and especially at the end when the guys were trying to balance between controlling their own emotions and comforting each other. Although they didn't quite succeed in biting back their tears, Lee Seung-hoon especially.

With the finale of WIN, it seems like the future of YG is looking strong. For years, they've relied heavily on Big Bang. Although Psy is doing very well now, what with his international career, for the longest time YG's biggest moneymaker was Big Bang. Even with the addition of 2NE1 in 2009 and Epik High in 2011/12, no one could overtake the popularity of Big Bang and its individual members.

Now though, especially with their signing on of young talents off of survival programs like KPop Star and Superstar K, the future of YG is not hinged on the success of Big Bang anymore. Winner will do great. And when the time comes that Team B is given the opportunity to debut, and they will, we already know that there's a huge fanbase waiting for them. Add that to the fact that Lee Hi has been doing very well, and that everyone is waiting for the debuts of Akdong Musician and Bang Yedam, it's safe to say that YG will remain in the top tier of agencies in Korea.

Having said that, can we please all take a moment to appreciate the maknae line (KPop Star line) of YG? These kids are not only adorable, they are freaking talented.


  1. I wasn't quite crying but I was close. When B.I was rapping and he was almost in tears, that's when I almost lost it. Because up until then, B.I had been the strong one. Out of all of the members, B.I was the one I least expected to cry. And his rap (although I couldn't understand the lyrics at the time) was so emotional! You could see the desperation in his face, in his voice. It actually felt like they'd already lost by that stage, with their performance. It was like they were saying goodbye.

    I thought the same thing when they announced the three categories. I was like 'well, A have this in the bag". And when I was watching it live, I kept on thinking "Come on B, you've gotta at least get the dance, you've gotta beat them in the dance", and then they didn't. And I just thought "god damn you!" Because, I was a B supporter from the beginning, and even though I knew A would win, I wanted B to at least be on par with them (considering B were usually better than them anyway), but I do think A beat them overall on the night.

    Saddest show ever. Never again am I watching anything like it.

    1. To give credit to Team B, I thought their self-composed song and arrangement and lyrics to "Just Another Boy" showed more maturity as compared to round 2's "Winnin'." While they do have more to learn, they've shown progress. The dance though was disappointing. It's not that they didn't deliver because as usual, they were on point. But I felt like I've already seen that routine. They didn't give us anything new.

      The mood between the two teams shifted, I think. Comparing to how Team A started out in the competition (desperate and anxious), and how they were during the finale (confident and out to have fun no matter the outcome). I think for Team B, it's the total opposite. They started the competition blazing and then they hit a slump and never fully got over it.

      Either way, can't wait for B.I and Bobby to debut. And possibly also Jinhwan and Junhoe.

    2. Yeah exactly. It was perfect but nothing new. But they definitely improved in the composing, definitely.

      You're exactly right. I feel sorry for B because they were consistently better than A but still lost the battles, so it made them lose confidence in themselves even though they shouldn't have. They were clearly better then A in the first round but because they lost, they thought they weren't good enough, which wasn't true at all. Poor boys.

      There's a rumour that JYP might pick up some of Team B if YG decides to drop any of them. Should be interesting to see if that happens.

  2. Coming across this post has made me so happy, I became so obsessed with this show, I've practically forced everyone I know (even if they have no interest in Korean entertainment) to watch this.

    It won't have nearly as much drama (more fun hopefully), but apparently Winner TV is starting this Friday... I have way too many fangirl feels about this.

    It's funny that you say that you knew lots of people who favoured Team B (and I love them too, I do, especially Bobby), but Team A were definitely my favourite, they're just interesting- something different and fresh. Out of the people I've made watch, they've preferred Team A too. I wonder if age plays into this preference, because I've heard that international fans tend to favour Team B, but I'd also guess that international fans of K-Pop are statistically younger, or more accurately, the ones who are more technologically savvy/vocal on social media are younger, and therefore Team B would appeal to them more (even though the age differences between Team A & B members aren't that huge). Hmmm, this was a long comment.

    1. You're right though. The people I know who voted for Team B were mostly younger than me. My mom, on the other hand (yes, I forced her to watch several performances), preferred Team A. Age does seem to matter, taste-wise maybe.

      And yessss. WinnerTV excites me. Been waiting for this for so long. =^ㅅ^=