MAMA 2020 Recap: Predictable Awards, but Epic Performances


Unit: NCT U
Members: Taeil, Yuta, Kun, Doyoung, Renjun, Haechan, Chenle
Performed: “From Home” (Rearranged Version)

NCT opened their stage on an emotional note with their ballad “From Home.” This is a really sweet song that is very special to NCT and NCTzens because it features several of the members singing in their native languages (notably Chinese and Japanese). And as if this song wasn’t emotional enough, they started playing videos from their trainee days and brought out all of the other non-Korean members to sing the ending. Thankfully for me, the camera work didn’t really focus on those home videos… so I didn’t cry *too* much. The fixed NCT subunits tend to be very performance-based and dance-heavy, so it’s nice to see the vocalists shine and remember that they really are some fantastic singers.

Unit: WayV
Members: Kun, Ten, WinWin, Lucas, Xiao Jun, Hendery, YangYang
Performed: “Turn Back Time”
Award: Best Asian Artist

Unit: NCT Dream
Members: Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, Jisung
Performed: “Ridin'”

Unit: NCT 127
Members: Taeyong, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Mark, Haechan
Performed: “Kick It”

The three fixed units of NCT each got their turn in the spotlight, performing abridged versions of their 2020 hits. I have been hyping these songs all year, so I don’t really have anything new to add about them. Though I did enjoy how each stage had a special theme – WayV danced in water, NCT Dream doubled down on their motorcycle aesthetic, and NCT 127 had a spectacular light show. On a side note, I thought it was nice that they included Jisung in NCT Dream’s stage (he’s currently injured and can’t dance). I felt a little sad for him because the production staff just stuck him on some random motorcycle separated from the rest of the group, but at least he was there.

Special Stage
All members of NCT

“Resonance” is essentially a mashup of NCT 2020’s promoted singles (“Make a Wish,” “90s Love,” and “Work It”) mixed together with their B-side “Raise the Roof.” The full group parts of the choreography are anchored by most of NCT’s main and lead dancers – Taeyong, Jaemin, Johnny, Yuta, Mark, Ten, Jeno, and Jaehyun. NCT also released “Resonance” as a single itself, which I noticed a fair amount of people weren’t wild about. I kind of get that, because I think we were all expecting a separate new song featuring all the members (like NCT 2018’s “Black on Black”). But as a special stage, “Resonance” does just fine.

NCT’s music is not generally public friendly, and learning about a 23 member group is pretty daunting to a casual listener… but despite all that, they are gaining popularity and finally starting to get the recognition that they deserve. I’m biased as hell, but I’m so proud that they were considered senior enough to be the third to last group and that they had the longest runtime of the show. NCT has had a stellar year commercially and creatively, and this stage was basically their victory lap.

Next Page: The kings and queens of K-pop take the stage.

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