The popularity of K-Pop comeback shows has increased tremendously over the last couple of years!
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There are many different things to get excited about when a K-Pop artist has a comeback. Oftentimes the music videos are what most fans look forward to, but the other songs on the album as well as the live shows and choreography videos have also become increasingly popular to watch and listen to over the years!
Comeback showcases, in particular, seem to have been getting a lot more attention recently compared to years past, with some reaching dozens or even over a hundred million views!
Here are the most-loved K-Pop comeback showcases of each year since 2015, based on cumulative likes on the YouTube videos (rather than, for example, the most-liked videos released each year)!
5. “Come Back Home” by 2NE1 (Inkigayo; March 16, 2014): 75.8k likes
4. “Nobody” by Wonder Girls (M Countdown; November 19, 2008): 78.4k likes
3. “Gangnam Style” by PSY (Inkigayo; July 15, 2012): 83.5k likes
2. “Gotta Be You” by 2NE1 (Inkigayo; March 16, 2014): 86.7k likes
1. “Like Ooh-Ahh” by TWICE (M Countdown; October 22, 2015): 90.5k likes
5. “Gangnam Style” by PSY (Inkigayo; July 15, 2012): 102.1k likes
4. “Dope” by BTS (Show Music Core; July 4, 2015): 112.1k likes
3. “Like Ooh-Ahh” by TWICE (M Countdown; October 22, 2015): 117.1k likes
2. “BOOMBAYAH” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; August 14, 2016): 145.0k likes
1. “BANG BANG BANG” by BIGBANG (M Countdown; June 4, 2015): 171.1k likes
5. “Whistle” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; August 14, 2016): 217.4k likes
4. “Blood Sweat & Tears” by BTS (Inkigayo; October 23, 2016): 249.6k likes
3. “BANG BANG BANG” by BIGBANG (M Countdown; June 4, 2015): 279.1k likes
2. “Blood Sweat & Tears” by BTS (M Countdown; October 13, 2016): 281.3k likes
1. “21st Century Girls” by BTS (M Countdown; October 13, 2016): 312.7k likes
5. “21st Century Girls” by BTS (M Countdown; October 13, 2016): 562.9k likes
4. “Anpanman” by BTS (M Countdown; May 24, 2018): 566.8k likes
3. “GoGo” by BTS (BTS Comeback Show; September 21, 2017): 588.6k likes
2. “GoGo” by BTS (M Countdown; September 28, 2017): 639.0k likes
1. “BOOMBAYAH” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; August 14, 2016): 841.1k likes
5. “GoGo” by BTS (BTS Comeback Show; September 21, 2017): 1.03 million likes
4. “GoGo” by BTS (M Countdown; September 28, 2017): 1.12 million likes
3. “BOOMBAYAH” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; August 14, 2016): 1.19 million likes
2. “Anpanman” by BTS (M Countdown; May 24, 2018): 1.42 million likes
1. “Boy With Luv” by BTS (M Countdown; April 18, 2019): 1.44 million likes
5. “Idol” by BTS (M Countdown; August 30, 2018): 1.71 million likes
4. “How You Like That” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; June 28, 2020): 1.73 million likes
3. “Anpanman” by BTS (M Countdown; May 24, 2018): 2.27 million likes
2. “Pretty Savage” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; October 11, 2020): 2.50 million likes
1. “Boy With Luv” by BTS (M Countdown; April 18, 2019): 2.56 million likes
5. “Idol” by BTS (M Countdown; August 30, 2018): 1.77 million likes
4. “How You Like That” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; June 28, 2020): 1.98 million likes
3. “Anpanman” by BTS (M Countdown; May 24, 2018): 2.34 million likes
2. “Boy With Luv” by BTS (M Countdown; April 18, 2019): 2.65 million likes
1. “Pretty Savage” by BLACKPINK (Inkigayo; October 11, 2020): 3.09 million likes
10 Of The Best - Most Influential K-pop Performances Of 2020
This year saw a ton of amazing K-pop performances, from (G)I-dle's staging of “Oh My God” at the KBS Song Festival, to Sunghoon's figure skating during Enhypen's MAMA appearance, to pretty much every stage on Road to Kingdom. Each K-pop stage demands idols give their all, thrilling fans with precisely coordinated choreography and enviable vocal performances, and they're constantly improving.
Still, some 2020 performances had a bigger impact on K-pop fandom than most. There were stages that went viral on TikTok, performances that helped groups break out, and clips that made everyone sit up and take notice regardless of the idols involved. K-pop internet is a loud and busy place, so when a performance rises above the noise it's usually for good reason.
In chronological order, here are some of the best and most influential K-pop performances that made a splash among K-pop fans this year.
BTS picks up fans with Carpool Karaoke
It’s impossible to pick a 2020 highlight for BTS. This entire year was a moment for the Bangtan Boys, who have only gone from strength to strength since “Boy with Luv” commanded the West’s attention last year. One might say their big moment was the debut performance of “Dynamite” at the MTV Video Music Awards, a single that went on to break numerous records. Others could easily argue it was when BTS secretly took over Grand Central Terminal to perform “On.”
However, if we're choosing just one, the moment that caused many to finally recognise BTS’ power was when they all piled into James Corden’s car to casually jam out to Bruno Mars. BTS’ Carpool Karaoke segment was less structured than the group’s usual music show stages, but it perfectly showcased their charismatic personalities and wry humour alongside their vocal capabilities.
There isn’t much dancing, and they don’t complete a single song. Yet BTS’ warm playfulness made their failed attempt at the Friends theme tune one of their most adorably memorable performances this year, with the video having over 60 million views at time of writing.
Lisa from BLACKPINK’s Youth With You dance makes it look easy
BLACKPINK also had a big year, with a Netflix documentary, their first studio album, and an upcoming live streamed concert. Yet the performance that gained significant attention outside the girl group’s fandom was when Lisa acted as dance mentor for Chinese reality show Youth With You, quickly making it clear she wouldn’t coddle anyone. Clips of her stern teaching style were rapidly disseminated and dissected throughout K-pop fandom in March, sparking discussion over whether the rapper was being overly harsh to the show’s young idol hopefuls.
Lisa’s strict approach was too much for some, but it reflected the tough work demanded of idols. Sternly guiding the girls to stop them forming bad habits, Lisa demonstrated just how much thought, precision, and practice goes into every K-pop dance, right down to minute details like learning to jump prettily.
The contestants’ visible struggle with the choreography for “Yes! OK!” therefore made Lisa’s seemingly effortless dance performance doubly impressive. The contrast of their version of Youth With You’s theme song with hers threw Lisa’s skill and professionalism into stark relief, illustrating the countless hours of hidden effort behind every perfect BLACKPINK stage.
Stray Kids breaks out with “God’s Menu” music video
2020 was a breakout year for Stray Kids, who finally started to gain wider recognition for their bold experimentation and unique sound. Yet while inviting banger “Back Door” scored the boy group their third and fourth music show wins, it was the bold flavours in June’s “God’s Menu” that brought them to attention and laid the table for their success.
The addictively assertive song grabbed listeners by the ear, providing healthy fodder for K-pop fan edits and TikTok transitions in both the percussive refrain and Felix’s “I’m a five-star Michelin” line. Meanwhile, the shockingly slick “God’s Menu” music video ended up winning Best Music Video at the Asia Artist Awards, showcasing striking choreography that incorporated Salt Bae’s moves yet somehow made sense. Basing a K-pop comeback on a cooking concept is unconventional to say the least, but Stray Kids served it.
00s’ sultry cover of Red Velvet’s “Psycho” entrances everyone
Was this article partially written because I needed everyone to see this absolutely irresistible performance? Maybe.
While rehearsing for their version of Red Velvet’s “Psycho,” 00s’ leader Bomin modestly proposed aiming for 1.5 million views on YouTube. As of writing, their magnetic girl group cover has racked up over 18 million — and with good reason.
Golden Child’s Bomin, Stray Kids’ Hyunjin, ASTRO’s Sanha, and AB6IX’s Daehwi had previously collaborated on a cover of GOT7’s “Just Right” last year, but it was this year's sultry performance of Red Velvet’s 2019 single that captivated K-pop Twitter in June. 00s’ alluring Music Bank stage had thousands of people spamming the replay button, and asking each other who that mysterious blonde guy is. (It's Hyunjin. You're welcome.)
Soobin and Arin’s cover of Oh My Girl’s “Dolphin” starts a cult
Oh My Girl’s seventh EP Non-Stop was released in April, but it was a July rendition of their cute single “Dolphin” by maknae Arin and TXT’s Soobin that caught the internet’s attention. Surrounded by aquatic blues, the two Music Bank MCs da-da-da-ed their way into TikTok dance lore with over 20 million YouTube views — almost 7 million more than Oh My Girl’s original music video.
Not only did the bubbly performance launch an enormous pod of TikToks, it was so catchy that it prompted the formation of the “dolphin cult” you may have seen swimming around online comment sections. This collective’s beliefs primarily consist of posting “da🐬 da🐬 da🐬 da” in comments with no explanation, and everyone is welcome to join.
Hwasa owns “Maria” choreography video with 1Million Dance Studio
Hwasa: Girls want to be her, girls also want to be with her. K-pop queens Mamamoo released one of the best songs inspired by the pandemic in “Dingga,” but it was their maknae’s solo track “Maria” that turned the most heads. Collaborating with 1Million Dance Studio, Hwasa’s choreography video alone gained over 47 million views in just five months, making it the popular YouTube channel’s most viewed clip released this year — and 15th most viewed of all time.
Though 1Million Dance Studio’s videos are always enthralling, the power of Hwasa combined with choreographers Lia Kim, Tina Boo, and Yeji Kim makes this video even more notable. Watching them body roll with enough raw confidence to kill a man never gets tiring.
“Maria” was also used in K-drama True Beauty for a deliberately embarrassing dance scene, if you want to see what this choreography looks like in less professionally capable hands.
TikTok falls for Wonho’s seductive “Open Mind” music video
Last year was rough on Wonho. The singer sadly departed Monsta X last October amidst rumours he had used marijuana in his younger years — allegations the police subsequently cleared him of in March. Fortunately, neither he nor TikTok would allow him to be forgotten.
Debuting as a solo artist in September, Wonho proved he can make it on his own with his seductive single “Open Mind,” and used his music video to show off his significant assets. The ridiculously jacked idol displayed both his dance ability and incredible abs in a tight, strategically unzipped top, ensuring fans would be viewing his performance multiple times.
Wonho’s gyration was mesmerising enough, but it was TikTok user h0rizon_3mbrace putting it to a slowed version of Saweetie & GALXARA’s “Sway With Me” that made it go viral. The hypnotic edit quickly inspired a flurry of flustered reactions — including from Arrow star Colton Haynes.
Refund Sisters destroy the patriarchy with “Don’t Touch Me”
The fact that Refund Sisters’ “Don’t Touch Me” briefly dethroned BTS’ “Dynamite” from the top of the Gaon Music Chart tells you just how big this October debut was. This collaborative project brought together four K-pop powerhouses to form the Avengers of girl groups with industry veterans Uhm Jung-hwa and Lee Hyori, American singer Jessi, and Mamamoo's Hwasa. They even adopted new stage names for the project, like superheroes with flimsy secret identities that everyone pretends are working.
This cross-generational group sent a pointed message regarding not only the K-pop scene, but society in general. Ranging in age from their mid-20s to nearly 50, the Refund Sisters rebel against notions of how women “should” dress and behave as they age. Performing “Don’t Touch Me” in their first official stage on Show! Music Core, the Refund Sisters declared that they are going to do exactly what they want, and anyone who has a problem will just have to deal with it.
Shinee reunite in delightful livestream
Okay, this one is definitely stretching the definition of “performance,” but it just felt wrong not to include boy group Shinee’s long-awaited reunion. The well-respected senior group sang a line of Twice’s “Can’t Stop Me” during their return livestream at least, so I’m counting it.
The past few years have been very difficult for Shinee, who have been together since 2008. Bravely soldiering on as four after losing beloved vocalist Jonghyun to apparent suicide in 2017, members Onew, Key, and Minho had to enlist for their mandatory military service soon after, leaving youngest member Taemin to focus on solo projects and join collaborative group SuperM.
But as of Minho’s discharge in November, Shinee is finally back together as nature intended. The reunited group celebrated their return with this joyful live stream, a lovely bright spot amid a trying year. It was a heartwarming event for everyone who knew of Shinee's struggles, regardless of whether they were fans.
MAMA's "Qui fert pondus coronae velit" stage sees The Boyz, Ateez, and Stray Kids fight to the death
The Mnet Asian Music Awards always inspire some unforgettable stages, and 2020 was no exception. This year’s ceremony saw The Boyz, Ateez, and Stray Kids perform one after the other in ancient Roman-themed collaboration “Qui fert pondus coronae velit,” storming the stage with swords, shields, and newly rearranged songs.
Roughly translating to "the one who wants to wear the crown must bear its weight," the boy group dégustation revealed the three will battle against each other in reality show Kingdom next year. And if this spectacular performance is anything to go by, it’s going to be dangerously competitive.
The Boyz shot off fireworks as they rammed set pieces together, dark Ateez channelled strong underworld energy, and Ares-inspired Stray Kids literally led an armed battalion, before one representative of each group took part in an aggressive three-way dance. In many ways, the real winner was the audience.