Consider 2021 the year of Rosé. While Blinks were used to the BLACKPINK member sharing the stage with her fellow bandmates Jisoo, Lisa and Jennie, the singer launched her long-awaited debut solo project -R- in March.
Dual singles “On the Ground” and “Gone” rocketed up the charts — followed soon by Lisa’s own “Lalisa” and Money” — with “On the Ground” establishing itself at No. 70 as the highest charting song by a female K-pop singer in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Big-budget music videos and performances on everything from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to South Korea’s SBS Inkigayo and K-pop chart show M COUNTDOWN soon followed.
But the New Zealand native had even more in store. Throughout the rest of the spring and summer, she made regular appearances on South Korean variety program Sea of Hope to show off even more of her solo talent by performing live covers that ran the gamut from rock to pop-punk to R&B and more.
Billboard‘s rounded up Rosé’s five best cover performances of 2021. Watch them below.
“Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” John Mayer
Three months after going solo, the singer tackled John Mayer‘s Continuum-era fan favorite “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” backed by SHINee‘s Onew and Lee Su-hyun of AKMU on the final chorus. The performance eventually caught the eye of Mayer himself, who declared it “gorgeous” and gifted Rosé her very own PRS Silver Sky electric guitar in rose pink along with a hand-written note which read, “Rosé! I should be thanking YOU! (so thank you.)”
“The Only Exception,” Paramore
Three weeks later, Rosé returned to Sea of Hope to turn Paramore‘s 2009 single “The Only Exception” into a dreamy ballad, accompanying herself on the acoustic guitar while supported by a band for the performance. While the seaside number ramps up with an instrumental solo on electric guitar halfway through, the singer snatches the attention back by wailing on the track’s bridge, belting out, “I’ve got a tight grip on reality/ But I can’t let go of what’s in front of me here/ I know you’re leaving in the morning when you wake up/ Leave me with some kind of proof it’s not a dream” ahead of the final outro.
“If I Ain’t Got You,” Alicia Keys
For a nighttime performance, the K-pop idol proved she can handle R&B just as easily as pop-punk by joining Onew and Su-hyun on Alicia Keys‘ 2003 hit “If I Ain’t Got You.” Tackling the second verse, Rosé riffed her way through the song’s enviable high notes with a power and skill rarely highlighted as one of BLACKPINK’s main vocalists. Don’t believe us? Just wait until she reaches the run on “Some people need three dozen roses/ And that’s the only way to prove you love them.”
“Lucky,” Colbie Caillat & Jason Mraz
On the very same evening, Rosé channeled Colbie Caillat while Onew took on Jason Mraz‘s parts to duet on the pair’s 2008 love song “Lucky.” The pair of K-pop stars kept the song light, with Rosé owning the higher harmonies on the song’s cheerful chorus as the delighted crowd swayed to the beat on the beach. She didn’t even break when she stumbled over the lyrics in the final chorus, choosing to laugh off the mistake and keep steady with Onew. Later during the set, she also gamely played the shaker while the SHINee boy bander and Su-hyun performed Kyuhyun‘s 2014 track “Flying in the Deep Night.”
“Read My Mind,” The Killers
Proving she’s adept at crossing genre lines of all kinds, Rosé followed up the aforementioned covers with her take on The Killers‘ “Read My Mind” off the rockers’ 2006 sophomore album, Sam’s Town. “The teenage queen, the loaded gun/ The drop dead dream, the Chosen One/ A southern drawl, a world unseen/ A city wall and a trampoline/ Oh well, I don’t mind if you don’t mind/ ‘Cause I don’t shine if you don’t/ Before you go/ Can you read my mind?” she crooned from behind one of three keyboards as the waves crashed onto the beach in the background.