I have a confession to make. As much as I was familiar with all the artists at the recently concluded MBC Show Champion in Manila 2018 — other than EXO — I only knew by name and face the members who participated in survival shows like Produce 101 and The Unit. Otherwise, I had to familiarize myself with who’s who in a span of a few days.
As the MC of the show, comedian Kim Shinyoung expressed delight over how more international fans are getting to know and appreciating K-Pop compared to when she was in the country for Show Champion’s 200th episode two years ago. In fact, she admitted that she was genuinely surprised that Filipino fans recognized her because wasn’t sure whether people here would know who she is.
The concert opened with XENO-T’s energetic performances of “Oasis,” “Forever,” and “Perfume” set the tone for the rest of the night. Earlier, they said that because it’s their first time in the Philippines, they hoped that the Filipino fans enjoy their performances despite the language barrier. Based on how hyped everyone was while they were onstage, it would be safe to conclude they got their wish.
If XENO-T’s sharp performances got the audience excited, Hyeongseop X Euiwoong showcased more youthful, refreshing stages. They also prepared a special video for their fans before they performed their debut single “It Will Be Good.” Hyeongseop also said that he’s always wanted to perform for their Filipino fans, while Euiwoong revealed that he hadn’t been able to sleep the night before the concert. This is also the first time they ever performed “Spring Rain,” complete with bright yellow umbrellas. Before their final song “Love Tint,” Euiwoong said that he had fallen 500 percent for the fans, while Hyeongseop outdid him by saying he had fallen for the fans by 501 percent. I could have sworn I heard a few audience members squealing about how they wanted to adopt these two after their performances.
Before anything else, I would like to get this out of my system: all members of the The Boyz have good visuals and impressive stage presence. With so many attractive boys performing, it was difficult to just keep an eye on one member. Leader Sangyeon said that this is the first time all of them performed in the Philippines, and that they hope to be able to hold a solo concert here in the future. During their time onstage, it definitely felt like it was their solo concert with how loudly the audience was cheering for them as they performed “Boy,” “Keeper,” “Giddy Up,” and their latest single “Right Here.”
The lovely and talented ladies of Weki Meki were up next. In case you were wondering how they got their name, Doyeon has an answer for you. She revealed that among the many names they had for the group, their CEO chose Weki Meki because it was what fit their image best. Say what you want about their name, but they have proven that they are a girl group to watch as they served vocals, dance, charisma, and visuals. They also promised that they’ll keep on doing the girl crush concept for as long as their fans like it.
Confession hour: I had wanted to cover the event for MXM almost as much as I wanted to see EXO again. True enough Youngmin and Donghyun did not disappoint as they opened their stage with the fun “Diamond Girl.” Based on how the other people standing close to me in the audience kept gushing over how attractive the boys looked and how much they were singing along to “Gone Cold,” “Checkmate”, and “Ya Ya Ya,” it is safe to assume that the duo has charmed more fans into checking them out. This is perfect timing too, as they also asked fans to anticipate and support their latest single album “One More,” which is out now. (Check out the music video of one of their title tracks, “Knock Knock” here!)
Finally, it was the artist majority of the audience was waiting for: EXO. The screams of “E-X-O” resonated all over the Mall of Asia Arena that I swore I couldn’t have been the only one who thought they were going deaf. EXO opened their performance with the 70th (and what most EXO-L have been joking as the final) performance of last year’s hit “Ko Ko Bop.” Some fans have joked that EXO wore black to mourn the death of “Ko Ko Bop.” They also performed “Boomerang” and “What U Do.” Although they were in the country last April for their solo concert ElyXiOn, Leader Suho said that they have missed their Filipino fans. Xiumin also told the fans to look out for the rest of their teasers, which at the time hadn’t been completely released yet. Fun fact: Lay’s teaser came out two hours after the concert ended. They also asked everyone to support their latest single, “Tempo,” which came out on November 2. Both Chanyeol and Kai spoiled a little bit of the songs and choreography. I’m not going to lie, “Power,” an anthem that’s all about becoming stronger through music that unites everyone into one, was the perfect way to end the show.
As the lights turned back on and the boys said their goodbyes, it almost felt as though those two hours were too short for the fans. For a few minutes, almost everyone was just silent, as though waiting for something else to happen. It took some people a while before they willingly left the venue, once they realized the show really was over. That, I think, is the basis of how great a show was. You don’t want it to end just yet.
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We’d like to thank All Access Production for allowing us to experience this moment with the artists, and we’d love to see EXO, XENO-T, The Boyz, Weki Meki, MXM, and Hyeongseop x Euiwoong again.
Photos by Larissa Lingad