MAMA, one of Kpop’s biggest award shows, is only about a week away. This means we are only a week from some of the best performances, comebacks, red carpet appearances, etc. that Korea’s top stars have to offer. After recently predicting winners in the Artist Category, which considers awards like Best New Male Artist and Best Female Group, we are now predicting awards in the Genre Category. As we said last time, keep in mind that these are only predictions based on past MAMAs and each artist's performance through the year.
Best Dance Performance Solo - J.Y. Park, “Who’s Your Mama?”
This category is an anomaly — in some years. the winner of this award had an innovative, exciting dance (Sunmi in 2014 with “Full Moon”), while in other years, it was simply the most popular (PSY in 2012 and G-Dragon in 2013). For this year, we can definitely see the latter happening, especially considering that none of the other nominees hit the top 10 with their nominated songs (with the exception of Niel at #6 with “Lovekiller”). None of these other dances were a trend, so the safest bet here is *whisper* JYP, simply because he dominated the other nominees in terms of public popularity and song performance this year.
Best Dance Performance Male Group - EXO, “Call Me Baby”
EXO shocked the Kpop world with their incredible dance when “Wolf” was released in 2013. Since then, their songs may or may not be your thing, but you can’t deny the precision and intensity of EXO’s choreography, which has consistently been some of the best in Kpop for the past few years. Not to mention they are incredibly popular; they are probably BIGBANG’s only rival in terms of sales and popularity among other boy groups at the moment. EXO’s win is a prediction we make with confidence, but we wouldn’t be surprised if INFINITE or SHINee took this award. On the other hand, we would be slightly disgusted by BIGBANG winning (“Bang Bang Bang” is a great song, but it is not worthy of an award for dance). All of this being said, we are still mad about BTS not being nominated, because they probably deserve this award more than anyone.
Best Dance Performance Female Group - Red Velvet, “Ice Cream Cake”
Red Velvet is definitely one of female Kpop’s biggest rising stars this year, with two #1 albums, two top 5 songs, and popular members to boot. Them winning this award simply makes sense — like “Electric Shock” for f(x) (the winner of this award in 2012), “Ice Cream Cake” shot Red Velvet to both domestic and international fame and made them a trend. While we can see EXID or 4minute possibly taking this award (we would also include AOA, but they’ve already announced that they aren’t attending, so Mnet probably isn’t too keen on giving them anything), Red Velvet has the strongest mix of popularity, fanbase power for voting on the polls (which they currently lead), and dancing talent to win this award.
Best Vocal Performance Male - Lim Chang Jung, “Love Again”
Who better to award than one of Korea’s veteran singers? This song performed explosively well; it is the only song that could contend with Taeyeon when her song “I” dominated the charts in October. Kyuhyun is a possible winner here, considering the explosive success of “At Gwanghwamun” last year, but we think MAMA will play it safe by rewarding one of the legends.
|Image Credit: Soompi|
Best Vocal Performance Female - MAMAMOO “Um Oh Ah Yeh”
This 4-member vocal powerhouse is definitely a group to watch next year. We see big things happening for MAMAMOO, starting with this award. Considering that Ailee won with “Singing Got Better” against IU’s massively successful “Friday” last year, we predict MAMAMOO will win this year, simply because of their incredible vocal talent and the fact that “Um Oh Ah Yeh” shot them to fame this year (their fancafe numbers currently exceed that of most groups, including other, seemingly more successful groups like AOA). We see Taeyeon as this year’s IU, but MAMAMOO as this year’s Ailee.
Best Rap Performance - Mad Clown, “Fire”
Mad Clown hit the jackpot this year with “Fire,” a hard-hitting piece of hip-hop that features Jinsil’s hypnotic vocals. The song is one of this year’s biggest hits — it was the 3rd most downloaded song of the first half of this year, only behind legends like Naul and BIGBANG. A win for Gary is also pretty likely, considering that his duo Leessang has won this award so many times in the past (2002, 2009 and 2011). But Mad Clown has a special appeal — he wears glasses, raps angrily about love, and even stays sitting during some of his performances. He isn’t a typical Korean rapper, and the public has proven to like it. MAMA most likely does, too.
Best Band Performance - Hyukoh, “Comes and Goes”
Considering that CNBLUE and FTISLAND are both (along with AOA) under FNC Entertainment, a label that has recently declared that its artists will not attend MAMA, we can pretty much rule those two out of the nominee list for this award. Despite the fact that both CN and FT are some of Kpop’s most iconic bands, Mnet simply doesn’t like awarding artists that don’t attend. So we’re left with three other nominees: Nell, JJY Band and Hyukoh. And which one immediately comes to mind as a band that performed incredibly well this year? Hyukoh. Despite plagiarism allegations, their songs “Comes and Goes” and “Hooka” seemed to “come” out of nowhere and take over the charts this past summer amongst heated competition. And for a band only one year old, that is an incredible feat. For that accomplishment, the award is theirs.
|Image Credit: Soompi|
Best Collaboration & Unit - Zion.T and Crush, “Just”
While Complex called Zion.T the “reigning king” of Korean R&B, it also called Crush the “emerging prince.” When you put those two together, you get a collaboration that is incredibly hard to beat, even by the likes of Soyou & Kwon Jeong Yeol who, compared to Soyou’s previous collaborative hits, didn’t make much of an impact. Crush and Zion.T led the charts upon the release of “Just,” a “melancholic, silky-smooth jam that somberly expresses a young man's delicate vulnerability, mixed emotions and forced indifference towards a breakup,” according to Billboard. It went on to be the 14th biggest hit of the first half of this year, and the 8th most downloaded (it was even streamed more times than BIGBANG’s “Loser” in the year’s first half). It follows with “Some” and “Troublemaker” winning in past years that MAMA bases this award simply on the most popular, successful unit among the nominees. While the three other nominees, Block B BASTARZ, INFINITE H, and VIXX LR, were all subunits of bigger groups and all very successful, the award this year will most likely go to two separate artists who used their collective talent to make an impact.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments! Stay tuned for Part 3!
Kushal Dev is an Indian-American writer based in New Jersey. He discovered K-Pop through friends and YouTube, and has been an avid follower of Korean entertainment for 4 years. He biases 2NE1, Girls' Generation, f(x), MAMAMOO and EXID.