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It has been five years since SHINee's Jonghyun passed away. (Image via Twitter/ @v_ji_min)

Remembering SHINee’s Jonghyun: 5 best live performances of the K-pop powerhouse vocalist

A genius songwriter with a breathtaking voice and unparalleled stage presence, SHINee’s Jonghyun was a true all-rounder in the K-pop world. When he wasn't creating masterpieces such as View and Juliette for SHINee, he would write music for fellow artists and his solo works and even hold concerts by himself.

SHINee’s Jonghyun was also known to be a brilliant performer, capturing the audience's attention unlike any other. One of the few K-pop artists to have an enviable amount of control over his music, Jonghyun wrote about issues that affected young people, including mental health, loneliness, depression, etc. The Lonely singer has left behind a treasure trove of work that deserves a deep dive to understand the genius mind.


SHINee’s Jonghyun's Lonely duet with SHAWOLs and four other times when he set the stage on fire with his performances

1) Excuse Me Miss at the SHINee World Concert IV in 2015


Despite Excuse Me Miss being among SHINee's slower songs, the quintet still managed to deliver a unique performance bound to stay in the minds of viewers. Jonghyun, in particular, showed fluidity in his effortless dance moves, even when paired with Taemin, who is the group's main dancer. Dressed in similar white garments, the duo matched their light-colored hair and electrified the stage with their chemistry.


The by band then came together on the main stage, and SHINee’s Jonghyun took his position in the center, showing off multiple vocal techniques, including belting, growl singing, and falsetto in a single verse. The Deja Boo singer ended Excuse Me Miss by asking the audience to repeat each of the group members' names, creating an unforgettable moment for SHAWOLs who attended the concert.

2) The Sherlock comeback stage in 2012


Perhaps the best-known song of the group (outside of the earworm Ring Ding Dong), Sherlock (Clue+Note) had SHINee’s Jonghyun take centerstage with his incredible vocal prowess and powerful dancing to boot.

During the comeback stage, it was impossible to take eyes off Jonghyun, who was dressed in a sleeveless top, especially during the iconic chorus ("Oh, I'm curious, yeah...") where the group leaps forward as one. One interesting titbit about this performance is that there are very few backing tracks, and the SHINee member's voice truly dazzles in its unprocessed form.

3) The Korean cover of Y si fuera Ella with lyrics by SHINee’s Jonghyun


Always the experimentalist, Jonghyun wrote his own Korean lyrics while he covered the well-known Spanish-language Y, ¿Si Fuera Ella?, giving the already passionate song another dimension.

During their SHINee WORLD II concert in Seoul, the vocalist delivered a fantastic solo performance of the song (called Hye-ya), dressed in all-white and using red paint to enhance the melancholy. SHINee’s Jonghyun poured a bucketful of emotion into the song, ensuring that even those watching the recording of the live performance will be overcome by tears.

4) The vocalist's solo debut stage cementing his identity outside SHINee


Wanting to create an image beyond ballad songs, Jonghyun's debut EP featured Zion. T, Younha, and Iron, and consisted of several self-composed songs. Déjà-Boo (feat. Zion. T) is a stylish retro-funk song that allowed the SHINee vocalist to showcase a different version of himself, and the performance certainly demonstrates this as well.

On the other hand, the title song of the album, Crazy (feat. Iron), offers glimpses into the incredible showmanship that SHINee’s Jonghyun possessed. From unbelievable vocal trills to genuine exhilaration while performing, the songwriter gave his all for his debut showcase, which also made it enjoyable for viewers.

5) The Lonely duet with SHAWOLs


If there was a personification of comfort in a particular moment, it would undoubedtedly be Jonghyun's performance of Lonely. Released in 2017, the song features Girls' Generation's Taeyeon and is about the guilt and misery that comes from lonesomeness.

The song is special for many reasons, but this particular performance, which had SHAWOLs join with SHINee’s Jonghyun, tugs at heartstrings because of the pure love and intense emotions that the singer expresses towards fans. When performed on stage, Lonely was accompanied without bells and whistles, and the vocalist, dressed in a suit, was holding out the microphone so that SHAWOLs could sing with him as he silently wept.

Despite being more than five years since the untimely death of SHINee’s Jonghyun, his incredible music, vocal prowess, and unbeatable stage presence have made him immortal in fans' minds.

Edited by
Priya Majumdar
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