It’s not that I’m old, but the spectacular star-studded AAA 2023 event has propelled my inner child to dance the night away, sing with my heart’s content, and scream like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, they’re nothing but cliches, but it’s no understatement that I truly enjoyed the first-ever Korean and Asian awards show that was held in my homeland, the Philippines, last December 14, 2023, at the Philippine Arena.
Besides the fueled performance of SB19 and &TEAM, the AAA started slow, awarding a number of artists that were chosen beforehand. I thought it was boring until a few performances where idols shone through. As I reminisce about the enchanting AAA 2023 that made me deviate from my mundane life and feel young (apart from the fact that there were a lot of youngsters in the audience), I’ll highlight the best performances and happenings of the show.
Before anything else, let me thank Smart Communications PH and VIU Philippines for the powerful connection during the AAA 2023 and for upgrading my ticket from LBB Premium Section 219 to LBA Section 107, with a majestic view.
Making Pinoys Proud: SB19 x &TEAM and HORI7ON
The AAA started strong with the Philippines’ very own SB19 rocking the stage, performing three songs, the last one being their chart-topping hit “Gento,” backed up by the Korean-Japanese boy group &TEAM on the dance floor. It was such an empowering gesture, especially since I’m a huge fan of both artists.
It was the first time I saw HORI7ON live, and I was mesmerized by the boys. Like SB19, the synergy among the HORI7on members was palpable, which enhanced the overall impact of their stage presence. They were both cute and fierce, making a great and balanced recipe for every K-pop and P-pop group.
AAA 2023: Powerful Performances of Girl Groups
I’ll be honest in this part. Several girl groups have performed on stage, but the ones that truly stood out by means of performance were LE SSERAFIM, NMIXX, ITZY, and Kep1er.
It isn’t a wonder why LE SSERAFIM won the Best Performance Award, as they have been consistent in delivering top-notch, sexy, fierce, and charismatic performances every time, in whatever stage it might be. The Philippines wasn’t included in the girl group’s world tour, and Pinoy fearnots did not miss a chance to see the girls, at least in the AAA 2023.
Kep1er was a revelation. I wasn’t keen on checking them out, but they offered a fiery performance on stage, balancing both feminine and masculine energies in their invigorating performance.
JYP Babies ITZY and NMIXX were a given. Since I have watched Twice live in concert, I have been looking forward to JYP artists’ stages, and unsurprisingly, ITZY and NMIXX did great.
AAA 2023: Enchanting Performances by Boy Groups
Amongst all the boy groups that performed in AAA 2023, &TEAM, BOYNEXTDOOR, ONEUS, TEMPEST, and ZEROBASEONE were my favorite stages.
One of my most favorite boy groups in the line-up, &TEAM, has always been consistent in delivering a superior performance, and one of my favorite members, K, stands out as a sexy and bracing presence, which made me scream giddily at every move.
K-pop newbies BOYNEXTDOOR, TEMPEST, AND ZEROBASEONE each displayed a mesmerizing talent and charisma that made everyone spellbound.
Finally, ONEUS was an early Christmas present to all the women in the venue. They offered us a sexy and beguiled performance, especially with the center member giving his all and a peek at his awesome structure.
Kim Jaejoong’s Magnetic Rock n’ Roll Set
Kim Jaejoong opened the second part of the awards show with a magnificent rock set, reminiscent of J-rock favorites Gackt and Hyde. Jaejoong has reintroduced me to his vocal prowess as he embarked on a more alternative music journey after going solo and embracing his passion and identity.
To my delight, Jaejoong was awarded the Top of K-Pop Record Award for his 20 years of supreme tenure as a K-pop idol and solo performer, which many younger and new-generation idols admire and look up.
Appearances by my Actor Crushes Lee Dong Hwi, Kim Young-Dae, Lee Junho, Kim Seonho, Lee Joon Hyuk, and Sakaguchi Kentaro
One of the mightiest reasons why I bought tickets to the AAA 2023 is that it’s an awards show with several top actors attending and accepting awards.
This time, I’m mostly writing about my favorite actors penned above. If I could, I would request some of them to perform, like Lee Dong Hwi, Lee Junho, and EXO’s Suho, as they have been or are in K-pop groups (Lee Dong Hwi in MSG Wannabe, a parody boy group of popular Korean group SG Wannabe). I was giddy and happy upon seeing them on stage and the huge monitors. It was indeed an experience to behold!
Standout Stages by Kwon Eun Bi, KARD, and AKMU
There are several reasons why I love attending music festivals with different artists and awards shows like the AAA 2023. Apart from discovering new talent to stan, I get to witness several performance styles and strategies that entertain me.
AKMU’s Su-hyun and Chan-hyuk are both shy types, but they offered a unique set with cute and captivating visuals, partnered with their chic and dapper outfits and, of course, their exceptional singing voices.
Kwon Eun Bi is one of my favorite stages in AAA 2023, as Eun Bi decorated her performance with props that are relevant to her songs. Her captivating moves are complemented by her talented backup dancers, making the performance one of the most memorable in the AAA mix.
Finally, KARD, as I expected, would be a force to behold. KARD’s live stages on Korean weekly music shows have always been fascinating, as each partner of the co-ed group brings together true charisma and fiery energy. Not to mention each member’s exuding sex appeal, coupled with first-rate talent.
NewJean’s Cute and Ethereal Presence
Whether in a performance, award receipt, or just sitting or standing by themselves, all members of NewJeans bewitch me. Whoever conceptualized their branding did an amazing job. I’m mesmerized every time.
NewJeans turned out to be one of the most sought-after artists in AAA 2023 (yes, they’re one of the reasons why I bought a ticket). The crowd just went ballistic every time they went on stage or when they did something quirky off stage.
Melai Cantiveros-Francisco’s Natural Fun Tactics
Need I say more? Amongst all the artists that were in the AAA 2023, it was Melai who trended the most, with her charming and genuine sense of humor. As always, she was her true, funny self, and it shined on the celebrity floor and on stage.
Stray Kids’ Hot and Rakish Stage
Stray Kids had such an electric stage at the AAA 2023. All eight members enraptured me. Their performance is, in my case, the most unforgettable one. As of this writing, I still feel giddy and alive by just thinking about their stage. It was full of charisma; they really knew their way to people’s hearts. It was a mix of superb singing, rapping, and dancing skills and a knack for keeping the audiences dancing and jumping to their tracks; a complete K-pop stage experience.
Even though Stray Kids was the artist who performed the longest with five songs, I can’t get enough of them. I plan on going on their next world tour. Now I can say that I’m officially a Stay.
AAA 2023: SEVENTEEN-BSS as the Finale Stage
One would never expect anything less from SEVENTEEN and their sub-unit BSS (Hoshi, Seungkwan, and DK). They started their performance with a skit on Kim Se-jeong’s and Lee Dong Hwi’s table.
At the finale stage, BSS entertained everyone, including celebrities. Everyone danced to an extended stage of their hit song “Fighting” and “Just do it,” featuring Lee Young Ji, and just about everyone in the Philippine arena cheered, stood up, and danced to BSS songs. BSS’ performance was a wonderful end to the AAA 2023.
With every awards show or music festival where several artists and fans gather to celebrate music that touches lives, one can always feel alive and young again.