Wanna treat fans like royalty

K-pop group Wanna One's concert here had a stage design that let the members get up close and personal with fans and a long talk segment

Wanna One performed as an 11-man outfit and in smaller groups, showcasing their individual talents.
Wanna One performed as an 11-man outfit and in smaller groups, showcasing their individual talents.PHOTO: ONE PRODUCTION



Singapore Indoor Stadium

Last Friday

If there is one thing you can count on at a K-pop concert, it is the legions of screaming fans. And Wanna One's show was happy to place fan service front and centre.

The 11-man group comprised contestants who were still standing at the end of last year's gruelling idol-making reality competition Produce 101.

They kicked off their first show in Singapore with high-energy numbers like Burn It Up, the appropriately named Energetic and earworm number Boomerang.

Rookies they might be, but Wanna One certainly showcased their potential during the opening segment, ticking off a list of all things K-pop. Dangling earrings? Check. Complicated dance moves? Check. The inevitable rap portion in every song? Check.

They were good as a group, but it felt almost generic at times - as if their songs could belong to other acts. The individuality of the members and their talents were lost in the large size of the outfit.

Perhaps that was why the unit performances stood out.

Ha Sung-woon, for example, has a beautiful clear voice, but it shone only when he belted out a ballad beside Hwang Min-hyun and Yoon Ji-sung.

The four unit performances featured two to three members at a time. And they worked, given that fans started out rooting for specific contestants on the show.

The stage was kept simple and maximised for fan engagement. It extended into different corners of the mosh pit, allowing members to get up close and personal with fans.

The video clips played between song segments did not seem to provide an overarching storyline, but they did a good job of zooming in on the lovingly lit faces of the members.

And it was no surprise that the camera knew exactly when Kang Daniel, who finished first in the competition, would lift his shirt to show off his impressive abs.

There was also a long talk portion where members acted out different scenarios like how they would react after a delicious meal of chilli crab, which fans seemed to love.

And perhaps that is for the best. Wanna One, as per their agreement as Produce 101 finalists, will disband at the end of this year. Some will return to their pre-existing groups, some might find success as solo artists and some will return to their talent agencies and await plans.

Given that this is likely their last concert as a group in Singapore, is it not the best time to give the fans what they want?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2018, with the headline 'Wanna treat fans like royalty'. Print Edition | Subscribe