Music shows are a big part of the entertainment industry. In the West, singing competitions are a hit—shows like America's The Voice and Britain's Got Talent even spun various versions all across the globe. One of the biggest boy bands of this generation, One Direction, started out as contestants on The X Factor. In South Korea, particularly, Korean music shows play a special role in the booming K-pop industry.
Idol groups securing their first win and rookie idols getting to debut on music shows are special moments for both artists and fans. Boy group BTS debuted in South Korea with their song "No More Dream" on MNET's M! Countdown in 2013 and secured their first music show win on SBS MTV's The Show in 2015 with the song "I NEED U", both of which are considered special moments by the now-global artists.
Aside from music shows, competitions revolving around singing are gaining widespread popularity as well. In South Korea, music competitions have stepped up from the regular talent showcase style we often see. They have introduced newer and more creative formats that even other countries have started to secure franchises to these shows.
Below, we list down five of the most commonly known Korean music shows that are available for streaming on Viu.
1. King Of Mask Singer
The King Of Mask Singer has an American spinoff called The Masked Singer, but it's originally a South Korean program. It's a singing competition where contestants go on stage to perform a song wearing masks in order to hide their identities. Each week, a new winner, or king, is declared. The king is determined through three different rounds, and whoever makes it to the last round gets to challenge last week's king for the crown.
K-pop group members and solo artists have both participated in the singing competition, which is a refreshing way for fans to see their idols performing other artists' songs. Here's one popular idol singing BIGBANG's "If You". You'll have to watch the full episode if you want to know who he is!
Watch King Of Mask Singer here.
2. I Can See Your Voice
I Can See Your Voice is another interesting concept for a music competition. Originally from South Korea, it also has spinoffs in different countries like Bulgaria, China, the Netherlands, and even the Philippines (hosted by Luis Manzano and aired on ABS-CBN).
The concept is basically to have selected performers lip-sync a song on stage, complete with a production number, and panelists will have to use their expertise and skills in observation to guess whether they're actually ~good~ in singing or are just really good at faking it. After voicing out their opinions and deliberations, the participants will perform the same piece using their real voice to find out whether they're the real deal or not. If you were a fan of the local adaptation of this music game show, try watching the OG version, too!
Watch I Can See Your Voice here.
3. Music Bank
Music programs in South Korea are aired once a week. K-pop idols can go on various music shows to perform and promote their new songs and a winner is determined every week. The system for choosing winners varies per music show, however, so the song that won in one music show may not necessarily get the same result in another music program.
Music Bank is one such show where idols get to showcase their new tracks and concepts. It airs every Friday in South Korea and gets idols and actors alike for its changing set of hosts. One fan-favorite set of hosts was K-drama actor Park Bo Gum and K-pop idol Irene from Red Velvet.
According to Soompi, winners on Music Bank are determined by combining 65 percent of digital, five percent physical album sales, 20 percent broadcast points, and 10 percent viewer panel survey.
Watch Music Bank here.
Inkigayo is another music show where idols get to perform on stage, and it airs every Sunday. "Inkigayo" in Hangul literally translates to "popular music." It is also hosted by two to three idols for a period of time. One set of hosts that grew really popular among fans was the trio of GOT7's Park Jinyoung, BLACKPINK's Jisoo, and NCT 127's Doyoung, collectively called JinJiDo. The three ended up hosting the show for a full year before parting ways.
Winning on Inkigayo entails a combination of 50 percent from digital, 4.5 percent from physical album sales, 31.8 percent from social networking sites, 4.5 percent from pre-votes, and 9 percent from on-air plays in SBS programs.
Watch Inkigayo here.