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2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong
Written by Sanwei Tell a Friend
Having traveled to Macau and Singapore in previous years, the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), one of K-pop's biggest year-end music events, came to Hong Kong in 2012. PSY, Big Bang, Super Junior, JYP, SHINee, Epik High, Kara, f(x), EXO, B.A.P and many other K-pop artists all made the trip to Hong Kong, making this year one of the most star-studded editions of MAMA yet. Held at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre on November 30, the 2012 MAMA presented over 30 awards to artists and thrilled fans with an exciting rundown of special performances.
More than just an awards ceremony, MAMA is well known for its large-scale performances and headline-grabbing collaborations. Besides being a showcase of the hottest names in K-pop, the show notably provides a stage for artists outside the idol mainstream, like rock bands and hip-hop artists. MAMA also makes a point to invite different Asian and global artists – this year, US artists Adam Lambert and B.o.B, Taiwan singer-songwriter Leehom Wang, Thai idol Natthew and Chinese diva Chris Lee – creating an exciting platform for musical exchange. Thanks to the CJ Entertainment connection, the award presenter lineup was just as star-studded with a parade of A-list actors – Song Joong Ki, Jung Woo Sung, Song Seung Heon, Choi Ji Woo, Han Chae Young, Han Ye Seul, Han Ga In and Jackie Chan to name a few – handing out trophies. MAMA may be exhaustingly long at four hours, but it sure is worth every minute.
THE WINNERSSong of the Year: PSY - Gangnam Style
Album of the Year: Super Junior - Sexy, Free & Single
Artist of the Year: Big Bang
Best New Male Artist
Busker Busker (Cherry Blossom Ending)
Best New Female Artist
Best Male Solo
Best Female Solo
IU (You and I)
Best Male Group
Big Bang (Fantastic Baby)
Best Female Group
Best Global Group - Male
Super Junior (Sexy, Free & Single)
Best Global Group - Female
Best Dance Performance - Solo
PSY - Gangnam Style
Best Dance Performance - Male Group
SHINee - Sherlock
Best Dance Performance - Female Group
f(x) - Electric Shock
Best Collaboration Performance
Trouble Maker - Trouble Maker
Best Vocal Performance - Solo
K.Will - I Need You
Best Vocal Performance - Group
Davichi - "Will Think of You"
Best Band Performance
Busker Busker - Cherry Blossom Ending
Best Rap Performance
Epik High - Up
"All For You" (Answer Me 1997)
Seo In Guk & Jung Eun Ji
Best Music Video
PSY - Gangnam Style
Best Line Award
Mnet PD Award
Style In Music
International Favorite Artist
Guardian Angel Worldwide Performer
New Asian Artist Group
New Asian Artist Thailand
New Asian Artist China
Best Asian Artist
Best Asian Artist China
Best Asian Artist Indonesia
Best Asian Artist Japan
Best Asian Artist Philippines
Best Asian Artist Vietnam
Best Asian Artist Singapore
This is the Moment
The 2012 MAMA opened with a tribute to Leslie Cheung and his classic A Better Tomorrow song "Those Years." Actor Song Joong Ki and pianist Jung Jae Il offered a classic ballad rendition while Pia, Ailee and B.A.P's Bang Yong Guk raised the volume in a rock cover, with a G-Dragon rap interlude connecting the two.
Gain, Sistar and Trouble Maker heated things up with sexy performances of their hit songs Bloom, Alone and Trouble Maker. HyunA and Hyun Seung, who grabbed headlines with their onstage kiss at last year's MAMA, followed up this year with provocative dance moves that had the audience screaming.
Picture Your Song
The only accompaniment Leehom Wang needed was his own musical talent as the Taiwan superstar played the piano and guitar himself for his hit songs "Things You Don't Know" and "Beautiful."
HATE Mental Hospital
Hot-topic YG newcomer Lee Hi took center stage for "It's Cold," then Epik High surprised the audience by showing up as Batman villains Joker, Bane and Two-Face. Though Mithra's rapping was a bit muffled by the Bane mask, the villain costumes worked oddly well with their song Don't Hate Me and the fun and energy of the stage certainly came through loud and clear.
The Memorial of JYP
Singer-producer JYP commemorated, er, himself in a special stage with protege Jang Woo Young of 2PM. Woo Young represented the new generation with his solos Sexy Lady and DJ Got Me Going Crazy, but nothing beats the spectacle of JYP going from smooth jazz to shirt-ripping rock to old school club dance.
A mere seven days after winning Superstar K4, Korea's newest darling Roy Kim stepped onto the biggest debut stage any K-pop singer could ask for and assuredly performed his self-composed "Passing By" and a powerful cover of LeeSSang's "Who Are You Living For."
Time for Miracle
Roy Kim wasn't the only audition show graduate in the house. Fitting right into the K-pop lineup with his dark eyeliner, American Idol sensation Adam Lambert energized the crowd with his hits Whataya Want From Me and Trespassing.
Time Loop 2012
If there was one song that was meant to be performed at MAMA, it would have to be EXO's MAMA. SM Entertainment's newest boy band sang their debut single and performed H.O.T's "Warrior's Descendants" and TVXQ's Mirotic, which led the way into SHINee's Lucifer and Sherlock.
Super Junior Never Die
Super Junior entered the stage in impeccable style on wires and motorcycle for their James Bond-inspired "sexy spy" stage. Naturally, they performed their dance hit SPY, and capped everything off with a super impressive light dance.
China's top singer Chris Lee was cool and collected as always, though her dance song Hello Baby – which happens to share a name with a certain popular Korean variety program – was actually quite cute and uptempo.
She's Bad + Idol Hooray
Thai singer Natthew and rookie Chinese-Korean boy band TimeZ are two of this year's notable Asian crossovers into Korean music. Natthew made his K-pop debut recently with "She's Bad" while TimeZ adopted the unique strategy of debuting in Korea with a Chinese song.
Beats Rock the World
Some of Korea's best hip-hop artists – Block B's Zico, Double K, Loco and Dynamic Duo – joined forces onstage to rock Hong Kong with fast rhymes and beats. Davichi's flawless vocals added the final touch.
Monster in Me
Big Bang took the stage as five for what seemed like the first time in a long while and they even offered a group rendition of G-Dragon's Crayon along with the always entertaining (wow) Fantastic Baby.
The Tie Within Hong Kong
US rapper B.o.B teaming up with sexy diva Seo In Young and ballad singer K.Will for Airplane and Nothing on You is the kind of exciting and unexpected collaboration only possible at MAMA!
The Worldwide Phenomenon
The man who needs no introduction! The final performer of the night, PSY offered the ultimate Gangnam Style performance complete with a stage full of galloping dancers and a guest appearance from HyunA.
Photo credit: Official photos provided by event promoter ELF ASIA.
Visit YesAsia's Facebook page and YouTube Channel for photos and videos from the MAMA press conference and interviews.
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- One Night in L.A.: SMTOWN Live '10 World Tour
- SM Entertainment and the Korean Pop Wave
Published December 11, 2012