News / Features

5 Iconic MAMA Performances [POLL]

By Tamar Herman | December 01, 2015 09:20 AM EST

This year’s Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) are taking place on Wednesday, and there are a lot of great performers. Psy, CL, Big Bang, Red Velvet, EXO, BTS, Girls’ Generation TaeTiSeo… The list just goes on.

But while this year’s performance lineup is fabulous, let’s take a moment and look back at some of the best MAMA performances from previous years.

1. Lee Hyori & Big Bang (2008)
The star power of these two acts now is amazing, and back then we were just getting a true taste of it. The stage began with Taeyang and Lee Hyori singing “Look Only At Me,” and then turned into Hyori and G-Dragon singing an alternative version of the same song. Then T.O.P came on stage and the fangirls could be hearing for hours as we got a take on 2008’s hit “Lies.”

And then the kiss that broke a thousand hearts before going into “Lies.” The performance ended with Lee Hyori and Seungri singing “U-Go-Girl” before Daesung sang “Look At Me, Hyori,” a take on his solo song, “Look At Me, Gwisun.” And the finale? “Ten Minutes.”

2. TVXQ, Super Junior, & CSJH The Grace (2005)
 SM Entertainment’s founder Lee Soo Man produced this performance, dubbed “Reloaded.” The whole production was an over the top show dedicated to the company’s history. The three then-new idol groups performed a medley of hits made by SM Entertainment’s first generation of idols, like H.O.T (performed by TVXQ,) Shinhwa (performed by Super Junior,), and S.E.S. (performed by CSJH.) Back then, these groups were still relatively new in the K-pop scene, but are new seniors in the industry (and don’t exactly look the same way.)

About five minutes into the set, the groups began their own performances. Super Junior rocked their glam hair in “Knock Out (Twins)” before CSJH performed a mashup of “Boomerang” and “Rising Sun” before TVXQ joined in on the fun.

3. Epik High & Lee Hi (2012)

Epik High performed with Lee Hi while dressed as villains from “Batman.” Enough said.

The “HATE Mental Hospital” cut from 2012 began beautifully enough, with Lee Hi singing “Cold” and Epik High joining in on screens behind her. And then the “Don’t Hate Me” signs came out and Epik High ran around the stage like, well, patients let out of a mental hospital. Or The Joker, Bane, and Two-Face fro “Batman.”

4. BTS & Block B (2014)

The more recent MAMA shows feature a lot of battle-type performances, and 2014’s battle of the hip-hop K-pop groups was pretty fabulous. Zico brought his “Tough Cookie” against Rap Monster’s “RM.” And then the big guns came out when BTS began their partially shirtless performance of “Danger,” followed by Block B’s “Her.”

5. EXO (2013)

Most of the best MAMA performances have been collaborative stages. But EXO’s 2013 performance of “Growl” and “Wolf,” a take on “Beauty and the Beast” was an amazing dance performance all around. EXO’s never had a better live performance, and the 11 million views on YouTube agree. The desk dance, the popping, the camera angles, the choreographed fight between Luhan and Kai… This MAMA performance offered the audience a real spectacle.

And bonus points for D.O, who reportedly sprained his ankle as he jumped off of one of those desks.

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Tamar Herman is a multi-media journalist and the co-founder of KultScene. She is a freelance writer and copy editor, and has written for MTV Iggy, Noisey, and Paste Magazine.

Tagged :  MAMA, Mnet Asian Music Awards, TVXQ, Super Junior, EXO, Big Bang, Lee Hyori, Epik Hi, Lee Hi, Seo Taiji

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