They’re currently being called the “BIG 3″ and were rated by Nate News in five categories including: catchiness, style, transformation, live performances, and response from the audience. Each artist(s) could get at most five stars for each category. Check out their scores and reviews below!
2PM (4 Stars): 2PM has returned with their highly anticipated album after 8 months. Their title song is “Hands Up”. With a strong beat and refreshing melody, it makes for some great club music. Seemingly aimed for clubs, the song’s catchiness is definitely the best out of the 3. The simple notes and repetitive lyrics of the chorus, which goes “Put your hands up, put your hands up, put p-p-p-put,” get stuck in your head after listening to it just once. The song never loses its stylish electronic sound.
2NE1 (3 Stars): 2NE1 has returned after 9 months with the title song “I Am the Best” from their single album. They created a unique song by combining various sounds and styles such as electronic, hip hop, and reggae. However, the melody isn’t that striking. They just make you remember the title by repeating “I am the best” four times during the chorus.
Kim Hyun Joong (3 Stars): Kim Hyun Joong has released his first solo album since his debut in the music industry. The title song is entitled “Break Down”. He created a strong sound using an E-brass and synthesizer. It’s a step away from being really addictive because it was created with only the performance in mind. The melody line is not difficult, but there is no point. In other words, the song is more for being seen than for being sung along or danced to.
2. Style – 2NE1 > 2PM > Kim Hyun Joong
2NE1 (4 Stars): You can’t tear your eyes away from them. Their hair is overwhelming. Sandara has her hair up like a comic character and Minzy is attention-grabbing with her gray hair. They wear leather vests and jackets with various patterns, prints, and studs that are matched with leggings. It’s worth seeing their chain-styled necklaces. However, one star was taken off because the style is far from the popular trend.
2PM (3 Stars): It’s fun to see them because this style is very different from their previous ones. Rather than wearing matching, uniformed outfits, they’re all dressed according to their individual personalities. They do this by wearing different jackets, like a red leather one, a denim one, and one with patches on it. It is even more fun because the LED lighting turns on when Taecyeon and Wooyoung are on the stage. However, it is a bit disappointing because there isn’t anything radical about their look.
Kim Hyun Joong (3 Stars): His concept highlights his masculine attractiveness. The clothes are generally good, but the detailing falls short. His strengths are the leather short-sleeved tops and pants. His pants are detailed with liquor designs and his top slightly reveals his chest. He also has the Mohican hairstyle and wears sunglasses. However, he wears only black from head to toe, which lacks something special. To our disappointment, it also hides the details.
3. Transformation – Kim Hyun Joong > 2PM > 2NE1
Kim Hyun Joong (4 Stars): His current concept was not what we expected. Kim Hyun Joong did a complete makeover 180 degree transformation. Although he played the innocent Ji Hoo in “Boys Over Flowers” with his soft SS501 flower boy image he has changed this perception tremendously. His new song, sound, and dances are completely manly. His beastly, strong concept is impressive, especially the part of his dance where he moves his hip and butt. He receives the highest score because he completely abandoned his pretty boy image. His mature charisma is simply great.
2PM (3 Stars): They’ve changed a bit from their standard image as “beastly idols”. Instead, they now seem like fun-loving clubbers. They’ve also rediscovered a part of their “10 Out of 10 Points” days. Instead of a unified group dance, they’ve turned to some fun and lighthearted choreography. Instead of ripping their shirts, they show that they’re enjoying themselves. They have cleverly softened the impact of this transformation by combining their past and new image into “fun-loving beastly idols”.
2NE1 (2 Stars): They’re basically showing the same image. They’ve chosen to stay as themselves instead of experimenting. “Fire,” “Clap Your Hands,” and “Can’t Nobody” have continuously portrayed their concept as tough and fun-loving girls. The lyrics for “I Am the Best” show their usual confidence and their visual appearances were always striking. However, their music, choreography, and image introduce nothing new, at it’s core it’s just basically the same thing.
4. Live Performance – 2PM > Kim Hyun Joong > 2NE1
2PM (3 Stars): Live performances are important for singers. Out of the “BIG 3,” 2PM is the most stable. Each singer is assigned to a part of the song that matches their vocal talents, so they manage to perform well live. Granted, with an easy melody line, there is no opportunity for them to showcase their singing abilities.
Kim Hyun Joong (2 Stars): Even in SS501, he wasn’t a main vocal. As a solo artist, he has revealed his limitations. He seems uneasy while singing because of his quiet voice and his weak pitch when hitting high notes. However, we gave him bonus points because he’s singing the whole song by himself.
2NE1 (2 Stars): CL’s rapping and Park Bom’s singing are decent. However, it was hard evaluating their live performances because the entire song was drowned out by the electronics and a whirring sound. It was impossible to even hear, let alone evaluate, their natural voices with all the whirring. We took off points because the song did not allow us to hear them singing live.
5. Audience Response – 2PM > Kim Hyun Joong > 2NE1
2PM (4 Stars): The stage becomes one with the audience. The members said, “I want to have fun,” creating a chance for them and the audience to do so together. During the chorus, the audience puts up their hands and sings along. 2PM goes off the stage to sing and hold their fans’ hands. The shouting and screaming was definitely the loudest
Kim Hyun Joong (3 Stars): Kim Hyun Joong knows what the audience wants. As he dances, he shows off sexy dance moves. He has many good points, such as shaking his butt and showing his muscles when he puts his hand to his chest. Whenever he does a sexy move, the audience cheers and screams a lot.
2NE1 (2 Stars): It’s hard to enjoy the performance together with the girls. For their comeback stage, they received a lot of cheers and applause. However, the performance was not meant for the audience to join in on the fun. The melody line for “I Am the Best” is totally hectic and complicated. It’s a bit hard for the fans to find a spot for them to cheer and cry out names or encouragements. So of course, it is inevitable that the response is pretty weak. Simply put, it’s a stage put on only for the 2NE1 members themselves.
Overall, Nate News rankings for the “BIG 3″ put 2PM on top with the best scores. Following them was Kim Hyun Joong and then 2NE1 in last place.
Source & Photos: Nate