SBS’s year-end music festival drops the ball on music

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EXO performs at SBS’ “Gayo Daejeon” (SBS screenshot)

Broadcaster SBS’ long-awaited year-end music festival “Gayo Daejeon” was a huge disappointment for fans after sound, camera work, and captioning mishaps put a damper on the all-star performances.

The most noticeable mistakes were in sound coordination. The sound volume of the artists’ tracks and microphones continued to fluctuate, with the recorded track frequently drowning out the artists’ voices. At times, the microphones did not function at all, cutting out the vocals during EXO’s performance of “Call Me Baby,” for instance. Some conversations could also be heard during another artist’s performance.

Viewers also took issue with the visuals, commenting on the excessive use of laser lighting and the dizzying music-show-style camerawork that made it difficult to focus on the performances. Many of the artists, mostly girl groups, were given just a few minutes onstage, forcing them to perform abridged versions of their hit songs.

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Monsta X performs at SBS’ “Gayo Daejeon” (SBS screenshot)

Perhaps the most glaring mistake was the broadcaster’s decision to keep the “LIVE” caption up through Psy’s finale performance of the night. Psy did not actually perform at “Gayo Daejeon,” but instead provided video footage of his songs “Daddy,” “Napal Baji,” and “Gangnam Style” from his Dec. 24 concert. Ironically, his performance was the liveliest of the night, thanks to its flawless sound and camera quality.

“Gayo Daejeon” aired live for over 3 hours Sunday from Coex’s D Hall in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, starting at 9:40 p.m. With a lineup of this year’s top 27 artists including Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls, SHINee, EXO, VIXX, and Monsta X, it was slated to be one of the best K-pop events of the year. This year, SBS got rid of the awards segment, focusing on presenting more performances under the slogan of “Music Together.” Unfortunately, it was the music that fell short.

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Psy’s recorded performance footage played at SBS’ “Gayo Daejeon” (SBS screenshot)

“Gayo Daejeon” is part of SBS’ year-end “SBS Awards Festival,” a weeklong festival with exhibitions, hands-on experiences, and awards ceremonies for music, entertainment and TV shows. The festival continues at Coex C Hall through Thursday.

Ho-jung Won
The Korea Herald