So I just finished watching WIN: Who Is Next finale RAW – I’ll rewatch tomorrow night with subs, but Rosie’s totally right that one could definitely watch this without subs and still understand – and well… that was depressing.
As usual my thoughts are everywhere with this and this is seriously more of a first impression/final outtake – I’m still very much processing what I feel based on what I just watched and… woah, talk about depressing.
I’ll say this – it’s definitely different watching this knowing the outcome. I don’t know if I would’ve survived the tension had I tune in live or jump into it, as I usually do, spoiler-free. This time around I’m actually really, really glad I watched it with hindsight because my goodness, all eleven boys were obviously nervous as hell throughout the show.
Honestly I thought the first hour and a half was okay, entertaining even – despite all that tension – but that last twenty to thirty minutes? That final stage? Why did it feel like they were announcing a death sentence instead of a chance to début?! I admit I didn’t tear up once – again, jumping into this with hindsight helped heaps – but my heart definitely softened and bled for everyone. The moment the teams entered the stage for the announcement and Song Minho entered with the rest of Team A already looking like a bawling mess – dude, he carried a crumpled tissue in his hand so clearly he was already a mess backstage – I thought, oh noes this isn’t going anywhere uphill.
And then quietly Kang Seung Yoon turned his back to the crowd, clearly trying to hide his tears. Damnit, I thought – this isn’t going anywhere pretty or happy, I’m now damn sure.
On the other side of the stage, B.I. was already being a boss – desperately attempting to hold back his tears… only failing with every minute of the ticking clock. One of the boys was a mess and honestly, it felt like they knew they lost their chance – they looked so somber and sad, nothing like the kind of swag and attitude we’ve seen them put on whenever they’re on stage. It was… depressing, because I was once again reminded, just how young they all are.
B.I. as always, gutted me. To me, he is someone with very clear visions of himself, his goals and his dreams. For someone so young, those dreams and visions are so clear to him and this in itself is impressive but it’s like… he keeps being robbed off these things he desperately, sincerely wants. In my heart of hearts and looking at this show from a realistic point of view, I know this is nowhere the end for him and his team members. If anything quite honestly – it’s only the beginning. Talking about B.I. specifically, he’s made his mark and the anticipation will now ensue. Plus, who’s to say what the future holds? If you were to ask me, my gut feeling honestly tells me that Team A will have a successful début but when B.I finally makes his long-awaited grand entrance – this dude, he will be explosive.
Some people are born for the limelight and B.I., in my humble eyes, is undoubtedly one of them.
The boy will do great things and be great, all in his own rights. He is in my opinion, the G-Dragon of his generation. So I’m not going to feel upset over this loss because it just means he’s delayed from his dreams and not that they’ve abandoned him, no way. Plus, let us all remind ourselves of other now-successful-idols like G-Dragon and Taeyang, both of whom spent SEVEN YEARS as trainees. SEVEN YEARS! My mind is blown. Then I read about Yoo In Na too, who apparently spent – get this – ELEVEN YEARS as a trainee. In the end she debuted as an actress and hit it big through Secret Garden a couple of years ago, but digest that: ELEVEN YEARS.
His three years and added years from here on – every sweat, tears, blood and frustration: they will be worth it.
From a sensible, realistic and humane point of view, I don’t necessarily agree with this system they have about the training years and the uncertainty that comes with it, namely that the future is bleak and worse, in the hands of a puppet master and not their own to decide upon and live through. But there is no point in making a case over an entire industry that I’m not even totally in-the-know about. Thus, I’ll just look at it from the point of view of a glass half-full and it’s this: this isn’t the end for they boys in Team B, period.
I love love love Team A, you all know that. From Day 1 I’ve been a hardcore fan of them but I’m sure like everyone else who have finally watched the finale – how the hell do you feel and be able to express the happiness and elation?!
I think this was exactly what the boys felt, hence the tears and tears and dear God, more bawling, red-eyed and sobbing tears at the supposedly winning stage. I agree with Rosie (and Caitlyn) – we had a kinda open-chat here which was very fun – that thank god Kang Seung Yoon is Team A‘s leader because he was the only one composed enough to speak whenever prompted. When Minho stepped on stage already a bawling mess, I knew this was going downhill – my emotions and conscience, at least. Then once the announcement was made and Lee Seung Hoon started to seriously on national TV, crouch down on stage and friggin’ BAWL HIS HEART OUT that no one could console him and make him stop – damn YG, what the hell did you just do?!
What I appreciated, in all that depressing and somber overall tone of the final stage – seriously, saddest winning stage ever by a long, long mile – was when the rest of the YG family members came up to the stage. I appreciated so much that Taeyang and Seungri hugged B.I. tightly and for an extended period, too. I’m sure they gave some advice when they held him close but honestly I’m just relieved and thankful they held him because that boy… Oh boy, let’s not go there again. I noted too that the Epik High guys (side note: what is it with these dudes watching the live stage with sunglasses indoors?!) came up to Minho and Seunghoon. What can I say, my heart really goes out to them both.
It was really, really hard to imagine Team A losing when I think of these two, the rappers. They have gone through SO MUCH that one more blow, this one, I actually sincerely thought would kill them. Whatever we feel, I think our emotions are incomparable to the emotions they felt – the near-opportunities they had which kept being taken away from them, or slipped just past their grasp. I’m feeling this way in my Real Life now, so I totally relate. It’s that feeling of having given your all but that light at the end of the tunnel remains bleak and nowhere in sight. It’s the kind of situation where don’t tell me to keep believing and to keep moving forward – this isn’t the first time, hardly. So for them to finally taste success – even at such an expense – which they totally deserved and earned, it is a long time coming. Their stars, I pray will remain bright and shine expansively from here on.
Regarding the final stage performances though… My takes:
- ROUND 1, i.e. Just Another Boy song – I enjoyed both arrangements and stage performances, but honestly thought Team B did slightly better. Slight – but yeah, a bit ahead of the game. Team A looked like they were still trying to shake off their nervousness while Team B, as usual, came out with a bang.
- ROUND 2, i.e. dance performances – hands down, Team A nailed it. Killed it. OWNED IT. Rosie was totally right – Lee Seung Hoon‘s choreography here was THE BOMB. It was so friggin’ good, homg I can’t even. Mindblown. Team B‘s dance was solid, but it was nothing new. They didn’t get out of their box, was what I thought and why for me, Team A totally took the trophy home for this round.
- ROUND 3, i.e. self-composed songs – honestly, I thought Go Up didn’t top (melodically, since I watched this the first time without any subtitles) Smile Again. The latter was just epic because it was so… surprising that it was so good. Go Up is I think (correct me if I’m wrong) mid-tempo? There’s nothing banging or climatic about the melodies overall – it’s very catchy with highly enjoyable sounds, but not as explosive as Smile Again. Right after though, I scoured and found the English translation and… woah. The lyrics breathed new life to the song, adding layers and layers of nuance that was initially absent in my heart. Minho‘s lyrics were especially profound and SO DAMN GOOD. They were not only poetic, but also sincere – definitely straight from the heart.
And then of course there was B.I. and his solo rap for CLIMAX – my god, this boy. Like I said, some people are born to be great in their respective craft and he is definitely, totally meant for great things ahead. I have absolutely no doubt about it; he totally killed, owned and broke everyone’s hearts with that solo rap performance. The song – I’d also backtracked and read the lyrics for this song – sounded great I thought and definitely way better than Winnin’. This last round was a tie for me, because both were lyrically strong.
Honestly, initially I had in mind to write an overall review of sorts once I got to the end, given that I’d written so much about this show. But I don’t think I can do so now because that final stage was raw, gut-wrenching and left a sour aftertaste. Not necessarily negatively, but … my conscience tells me to give this a pass.
Let’s not look back and instead, move forward – I am looking forward to Team A‘s début stage and will definitely keep track of them until that day comes. I have no doubt they will make a memorable debut given the kind of exposure they’ve received here and the talents they’ve shown us through the program, but the real battle is only beginning.
It’s whether they have the sticky, lasting factor to make an impact in the music industry among established peers and carve their own in the fickle, highly competitive and ever-changing KPop landscape. Will they be the next BIGBANG? Heck, top BIGBANG perhaps even? Will they be able to be a group that lasts for five, ten years down the line? Will they create history or fizzle in the flames?
Only time will tell.
Until then, I’m humbly bowing down in appreciation to the eleven boys who gave their all in the past six months or so, that last leg after years of hard work. I sincerely thank them for bringing such great, impacting stage performances and keeping their chin up throughout this challenging, stressful period.
I hope they remember and know this, which I expressed when I wrote my first thoughts entry about this show – I really believe this to be true and hope that one day it will pierce through their hearts:
In the pursuit of our dreams – everyone’s a winner.
Team A or Team B, in the end what does it matter? As Song Minho aptly puts it,
Nothing was lost, nothing was won. Let’s all go up together!
Disclaimer: All official photos are credited to YG Entertainment. The above screen cap is thanks to Rosalen Winchester @ onewomansubs thread. The English-translation of Go Up quoted above is thanks to hitoritabi @ tumblr.