Nov 10, 2015

RECAP: The 2015 Melon Music Awards

I can't honestly remember why I didn't recap more award show ceremonies last year, or it's possible I was simply too angry with the MAMA's to even care about any other show. This year however I've decided to enjoy the award season from a more relaxed viewpoint and not let myself get as stressed and emotionally involved with the entire thing. I've come to realize more that I shouldn't take them too seriously, and once I've understood that I can watch them and find them enjoyable without going crazy about my favorites not winning.

The first award show this season is the MelOn Music Awards a.k.a MMA, which is quite an interesting one. MelOn is, as you know, an online music store which means the only sales of songs and albums counted in calculating the winners are digital. Additionally the voting that's allowed by the public (the percentage varies from category to category) is limited to South Koreans only, which means international fans have no say in the matter whatsoever. This is the reason I've always found this particular award show more realistic because the result is, in my opinion, more accurate. This year however I'm not too impressed with the outcome of the ceremony.

Let's start with the winners, shall we? There were very few surprises in terms of which acts went home victorious, at least if you have somewhat of an idea of what's been selling well versus which act has the more fans in South Korea. Apart from giving out grand awards to separate artists and groups for in various categories they also give out awards to the top 10 artists of the year, and these winners are decided by 80% digital sales and 20% voting. This means the outcome is generally fair and believable, and so it was even this year. The winners were:

A Pink
Big Bang
San E
Girls' Generation
Toy (Yoo Hee Yeol)

I don't really have any objections here because all the winners have been performing great on the charts and/or have plenty of fans to vote for them. The only group I see missing is (pun intended) Miss A who killed it earlier this year with "Only U", but unfortunately their fanbase is close to non-existent at this point thanks to terrible promotions by JYP, so I can't argue with the fact that they're still not on the list.

Apart from that I can't see any real flaws with the result outcome, and I must say I'm ecstatic to see Hyukoh win an award because they truly deserve it with the quality releases they've had this year.

"Artist of the Year" went, unexpectedly, to Big Bang. I think we all saw it coming the moment they announced their long-awaited comeback, because this group is on a completely other level compared to basically all other nominees (yes, even EXO). Not only do they have a huge fan following (both in South Korea and worldwide) but they're super popular among the general public as well. Everyone knows Big Bang and everyone loves them. I might not have wanted them to win because I don't stan them, but I can't say they were undeserving of the award.

Furthermore the award for "Song of the Year" also went to mentioned YG group for their hit single "Bang Bang Bang". I personally didn't like the song very much but I know it was played everywhere in Korea and that it charted really high, so I understand why it won. It does prove to me that these awards aren't about the quality of the music (which everyone should have realized by now) but about popularity. What fans and non-fans alike find enjoyable might not be what's musically good, if you understand what I mean. Again, it's an unexpected yet justified win.

"Album of the Year" was given to EXO for "Exodus", which is understandable yet irritating. For this category and the two ones previously mentioned and won by Big Bang, the result is based on 30% votes and 70% digital sales, which means the fans have a bigger say in the outcome. For this category's sake it means that Hyukoh was robbed of the victory because of EXO's enormous fanbase. Hyukoh's album "22" had way more downloads then "Exodus" but the barely had any votes, and the same goes for Big Bang whose mini album "M" had the most downloads of them all but not enough votes to make them win. It's also infuriating that if all of the sales of Big Bangs mini albums (that are to be made into one full album eventually) were counted together they would easily have won, but I do feel like YG's to blame in this situation for not actually releasing "Made" once and for all. I almost thought that EXO would not win this one just because they sell way better physically than digitally, but their fans are a force to be reckoned with.

iKON - Welcome BackThe final "big" category was of course "Newcomer of the Year" which is split into a male and female category. I'm personally very happy about this because otherwise GFriend probably wouldn't have won, but THEY DID! Now even if they won't win when MAMA comes around they still have this award, and well deserved as well. GFriend is without doubt my favorite rookie of 2015, and considering the fact that they've done so magnificently digitally makes it no surprise that they've won this category.

iKon won, also unexpectedly, the male category for pretty much the same reason. Their singles have sold in big numbers on the digital charts and their fanbase is no joke, so despite me not exactly rooting for them in that way I can't argue with their win.

The rest of the awards were the "smaller" awards if you may say so, but some of them were definitely of more interest, at least to me. The way the winners were decided here were, again 30% voting results but the remaining 70% being split up into 40% digital sales and 30% voting by a special judge panel. Some of the categories were "Best OST", "Best Trot" and "Best Indie" which all are areas I'm not the one to be making remarks about, so I won't.

There were a few more interesting ones though, as "Best Rock" which went to Infinite's Sunggyu for "The Answer" which I'm sure he's really happy about. "Best Ballad" went to Baek Ah Yeon for her single "Shouldn't Have" (featuring Day6's YoungK) and "Best Rap/Hip-Hop" to Mad Clown for "Fire" (featuring Jinsil). Both of these were quite expected considering their digital sales and popularity, but seeing Baek Ah Yeon win an award like this makes me genuinely proud because that girl deserves it so much.

"Best Dance" was also a category which I didn't really understand how it would work in an award show that's more or less based around digital sales, but I guess it's here the voting and judges panel truly matters. Either way the winners were Red Velvet and BTS, for "Ice Cream Cake" and "I Need U" respectively. Both of these winners felt truly deserving of the award, especially compared to the other nominees, and I'm always on board seeing BTS being praised for their dancing. The final awards that were up for fans to vote for were "Hot Trend Award" which focused on songs made popular on TV-shows (Infinity Challenge, Show Me The Money etc.) and "Netizen Popularity Award" which counted 60% votes and only 40% sales. The latter went to Big Bang as expected and the former to Infinity Challenge, more specifically to IU and Park Myung Soo's "Leon". Both of these were fair enough, but I honestly would have loved to see "Fear" by Song Mino and Taeyang win, as it's one of my favorite songs this year.

The very final awards presented were a bit strange and I don't know how they were decided, since the groups awarded with them seemed just as confused as the viewers. First there was "MBC Music Star Award" which was given to EXID, and although they were a bit surprised I do think they deserved some award at least so that was nice, and then there was the "1theK Performance Award". Monsta X received this award and were notably shocked and confused with it, as was I. It's probably because they and their company are involved with 1theK and Loen (who arrange the show), but it always makes me happy to see rookies win.

So although the winners were predictable and possibly a bit too much so the main irritation I have with the show was how sparse it felt. There were quite a lot of nominated groups and even winners absent, and for some winners only one or two of the members were there accepting. There were more rookie groups performing than anyone else, but Big Bang were for some reason given five freaking songs to perform and held a mini concert in the middle of the show. The distribution was definitely off, and considering how few acts there were performing it didn't quite feel like the award ceremony was as big and exciting as it could have been. 2015 has been quite a good year, but you definitely couldn't tell here. Still I had some favorite performances.

I love me some Hyukoh, and I love this song.

Red Velvet are always a joy to watch, and this performance is no exception. Seulgi sounded absolutely amazing and they all looked cuper cute in their outfits and hair bows.

GFriend are just amazing and this performance shows exactly how skilled they are.

Now my question is: what did you think about the show? Did you think the right acts won and what are some of your favorite performances?

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