Discovering Kingdom: Favorite Performances

Posted by Stephanie on June 8, 2021


As I mentioned in last week’s Khottie, I spent part of my weekend holed up in the infamous basement of SaraG sipping Coke Zero’s while watching all the performances of this season of Kingdom. Feel free to be jelly. As I’ve said, though I like a lot of the groups taking part in this challenge series, it was precisely for that reason why I couldn’t watch a show where actual groups compete against each other and there are real winners and losers. I love some of these guys so much, I don’t want to see their little faces all sad… you know how they get. So I skipped it. SaraG and Leila watched, Alix convinced me to watch one of the collab challenges, (I can’t resist some rapper Bobby), even my friend Jami started watching the performances. So the idea of watching what seemed to be some amazing performances had been humming in my brain for a while, despite all my misgivings.

So when SaraG threw out an impromptu invite to watch the performances, I said let me throw on some pants and I’ll be over. (Though, between you and me, when she invited me, I thought she was talking about the performances for that week, turns out the show had ended!) After some mushy face with the puppies, we headed down and SaraG queued up all the full performances for every week. (These would be the performances without the responses from the other teams.)

Let me just say, everyone wasn’t wrong, so many of these performances were amazing!

I don’t know much about the actual show, and after watching, I still don’t really want to, but from what I understand, each challenge performance had themes like, tying in a particular object throughout the song, reworking a previous work, swapping songs between groups, mixing the groups up into hybrid groups, where they’d all have to perform together. All of the performances were spectacular, over the top, theatrical, AND all were, for better or worse, were sung live. It just showcases the actual talent of these idols. I found myself rooting for groups I’d never really followed before.

I guess, ultimately, that’s the whole reason for these shows. Getting your name out there, hopefully reaching new fans. In that case, no losers here! (Waaaahhh goes my heart!)

Here are some of my favorite performances of the Kingdom series. While you are going to see some trends for groups on my list, I tried not to be too personal bias specific as, when I was watching, it wasn’t about biases. It was truly just a cool experience.

Episode 1

iKON, Rythm Ta

Loved it. As one of the non-theatrical groups here, you could tell that some of these challenges would be a bit of a stretch, but this is iKon just being cool, reminding you 1) that they are still here and 2) why you liked them in the first place. SHIVERS.

Episode 2

BtoB, 그리워하다

The costumes here are pretty cool but I’ll say, this performance is here by the power of Minhyuk’s sword work. At first, I was concerned, why are they giving an idol a sword? Then realized, oh wait, he’s KILLING it. And I was instantly mesmerized…. what up Minhyuk??


Episode 3

Ateez, From The Wonderland

Ummmm are there words to describe just how epic this was? I love that ATEEZ brought their pirate aesthetic to play, and it was awesome. The costuming, the attitude, the sets? I could sit there and watch this as a musical…and for me that’s saying a lot!


Episode 4

SF9, Stealer

I feel a little bad not choosing The Boys performing The Stealer, but the concept of SF9 as the underbelly mafia world? Well, that was just sexy.


The Boys, The Red Wedding

But I’m also not going to feel too bad about choosing SF9’s version of the Stealer because The Boys did an awesome job performing SF9’s O Sole Mio. With the Moulin Rouge/latin threads of the performance, this thing was just stellar. Plus boys dancing in a giant birdcage? How can you say no to that?


Episode 5

BtoB, Backdoor

While last time BtoB got on the list because of Minhyuk, man, this was great. Simple concept but they pulled it off beautifully. Just as we miss going to concerts, everyone involved in this show, they probably miss concerts too! Plus, turns out, Peniel sounds much better when sped up, moving more into actual rapping than singing.


ATEEZ, The Awakening of Summer

Couldn’t leave ATEEZ off the list, performing a hybrid iKON song. One of my favorite groups, performing one of my other favorite groups with a performance which reminded me of Block B’s Very Good? There was no way I wasn’t going to like this. I think we can all get together and say that ATEEZ has some of the best styling.

Episode 7

Team Mayfly, Love Poem

This is the one where they mixed up the groups and this is three members of three different groups belting their hearts out, showing that 1) you can be just as powerful and theatrical standing up on a riser for a whole performance and 2) that these guys have some voices on them. No auto-tune. No tricks. Just talent.

Full Dash

This video I’d actually seen previously with Alix as she is a huge iKON fan and I’m a HUGE Bobby fan, we really needed to see this. Hooooo man this is good. I just love watching Bobby perform, he always has that big smile on his face like he loves what he doing and loves that this is his life. That sort of attitude is infectious.


Episode 8

Stray Kids – God’s DDU-Du DDu-Du

It was actually funny, in this episode both Stray Kids and iKON did versions of BlackPink songs, and I said to SaraG, I think Stray Kids knocked this out of the part. This performance was huge and wrapping DDU-Du DDu-Du with their own song just fit so well. Plus, anything that features Felix’s Australian accented English is an automatic win in my book.


Episode 9

ATEEZ,  Answer: Ode to Joy

This is how I know I could never watch this show. How could ATEEZ have come out with this performance and landed in the BOTTOM? They bussed in for real opera singers for this. It hurts my soul. What an amazing way to end their tenure here.


What an amazing show! And by show I mean performances as, despite loving what came from it, I still don’t think I could ever watch it as a whole…not while keeping my heart whole. Did you watch? What performances were you’re favorites? Who would you love to see on another season?

1 Comment

  • Reply DBChen June 9, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I had your same mindset: That I didn’t want to see the competing and losing, especially when I like all the groups, esp ATEEZ, SF9, and Stray Kids who I’ve seen in concert. And I’m an iKon fan.

    I watched the full performances each week and just enjoyed them as stand-alone performances. The first one I saw was ATEEZ’s From the Wonderland and it was so over the top, it set the bar high for any other group for me.

    Eventually I watched the videos with the other groups’ reactions and finally just watched the whole episode to see how each song was chosen, rearranged, choreographed, practiced, and then performed. I love seeing the behind the scenes stuff. And the intergroup interactions were fun and cute. So I just skipped over the scoring and ranking.

    And as a result of this show, specifically BtoB’s “Back Door” I became a Melody. I knew who Peniel was because of his hair loss and then the podcast he does with BM and Ashley of Ladies Code. But this show really made me a fan of BTOB. In looking through their discography, I realized that I had seen some of their MVs before but they just didn’t grab me at the time. And digging way back to their beginning, they were a lot more pop and New Jack Swing than the balladeer image they have now.

    So all in all, it’s been a fun show to follow along with and I’m contemplating watching Queendom

    Favorite performances on Kingdom: ATEEZ From the Wonderland, SF9’s cover of Move, BTOB’s cover of Back Door, Stray Kids’ God’s DDu Du Du, Ikon’s Rhythm Ta, and Mayfly’s Love Poem, which I was just listening to this morning.

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