I wouldn’t be much of a Kpop fan if I didn’t stay up and watch the Mnet Asian Music Awards, would I? The MAMA began at 8:00 Korean Standard Time (I watched it at 2 a.m. Central Time, in America, during the live streaming). The first MAMA was held way back in 2000, and has since then been one of the epicenters of the Hallyu wave every year. I must say that I was super excited, even if my body regrets it extremely now, staying up all night and seeing my favorite groups preform on a ‘world’ stage was so fulfilling and exciting.
All of the awards were well received; there wasn’t a group present who didn’t deserve to be there, I was especially proud of B.A.P, who won the Mnet PD’s choice award (they’ve only debuted this year in January!), Ailee who won best new artist, and SISTAR, who beat out 2NE1 as the best girl group. I was really confused at first, but this certainly was a shining year for SISTAR, and they pushed their way up to the forefront of the Wave.
One of the really enlightening parts of the show was the performances from acts outside of Korea, such as Wang Lee Hom. I had heard of him before, but I had never listened to his music, and I was pleasantly surprised when his live song was soothing and his vocal ability was much more than I expected it to be (as with most pop idols). I also really enjoyed the rap performance, where rappers from Korea took the stage and owned it, especially Zico, who certainly held his own against his sunbaes. His energy was contagious!
Representatives of the big three labels were there (Super Junior, F(x), Exo, Shinee (SM), JY Park, Jang Wooyoung (JYP), Big Bang, PSY, Epik High, Lee Hi (YG), but I feel like it was really YG’s time to shine. There’s all this nonsense about YG being too small, not enough artists, but it’s because their artists are so well rounded, so creative, so aware of themselves as performers that they are so successful, and will continue to be. The YG stages were so dynamic and full of life that the other stages paled in comparison. While other stages just went through the motions and recited the songs, the YG stages were consistently upping the anti by being original, lively, and involving the audience. From Epik High’s ‘Don’t Hate Me’ DC themed stage, to Big Bang’s crazy costumes and ‘Crayon’ performance, which was totally rockin’, by the way, and Lee Hi’s obviously amazing vocal performance, YG was the gold nugget of the show.
From YG, the man of the hour without a doubt, was PSY. I actually teared up when Jackie Chan told the audience to never give up on their dreams, they might just come true just like PSY’s did. PSY won four awards at the MAMA, favorite international artist, the best solo dance performance, best music video, and one of the crown awards, the song of the year. It has been a year of achievements and new shores for PSY and YG, and as a Kpop fan, I am so proud that he was able to break barriers and take Kpop to a new level, to bring it into the spotlight and branch out beyond Korea. He is a pioneer of Kpop, I wish him luck with all of this post Gangnam Style projects.
MAMA will definitely be a pinnacle of every year for me, my experience with it was a long one, with more than enough laughs and screen shots to last me a lifetime. If you would like to stay up and watch the MAMA with me next year, I’m open for fellow Kpop fanatics! Did you watch the MAMA? What did you think?