Let’s Discuss: Is Henry The Most Successful Chinese K-Pop Idol?

Yes. The answer, despite the fact that he may not be as popular as EXO-M or Han Geng, is a “yes.” Success and fame are completely different things. With Henry‘s upcoming comeback with Fantastic, it’s worth taking a moment to realize how successful he has become.

Canadian-born Henry Lau, who debuted in 2008 as a member of Super Junior-M, has become more and more popular throughout Korea throughout the past few years. Despite some rough times, when Super Junior fans resisted Henry and fellow SuJu-M member Zhou Mi (regardless of how Super Junior’s other members felt), Henry ended up coming out on top of just about every other artist of Chinese descent to pass through SM Entertainment’s doors.

Let’s look at where Henry is now:

Last year, he debuted as a solo artist, making him SM Entertainment’s first male solo artist in thirteen years. Since then, he promoted his first album Trap successfully, and ended up becoming a variety favorite by appearing on the military-variety show, Real Men. Even though he’s not Korean and doesn’t have to serve in the military, Henry’s shown Korean audiences that not only does he value their country’s military service, but he can learn from it. And do it with a smile on his face.

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When Henry joined Super Junior to promote as a Super Junior-M member with fellow Chinese singer Zhou Mi, Korean Super Junior fans protested. Super Junior was thirteen members, they claimed. Since then, Super Junior’s had a whole slew of changes to its line up, but fans still won’t accept Henry and Zhou Mi. Which, personally, I think is ridiculous. Not only is Henry talented, but the other Super Junior members have begged fans to accept Zhou Mi and Henry just like fans have accepted every other member.

But Super Junior’s fanclub, ELF (Everlasting Friends) claims that Henry and Zhou Mi are Super Junior, but only if they have M to their name. One would think that this would be an end of a career for the two of the idols, and for a long time, it seemed like both Zhou Mi and Henry would merely promote as members of Super Junior-M.

But Henry’s plunge into becoming a solo singer showed the K-Pop world that being a member of a subgroup isn’t a death sentence. While Zhou Mi’s pursued an acting career in China and is one of Super Junior’s resident composers, Henry’s done everything he can to make Korean and international fans recognize him as what he is, an extremely talented musician—he’s, in fact, an excellent musician, regardless of his training from SM Entertainment.

So he’s done well. Zhou Mi has also. Why do I say that Henry is the most successful of SM’s Chinese artists?

First, let’s look at other Chinese artists at SM. There are the three remaining Chinese members of EXO (EXO-M): Luhan, Lay, and Tao. They’re popular, because EXO is popular, and are each getting recognition, but as members of EXO rather than individuals. Kris, who has since left EXO, is trying to make a name for himself in China, but many fans think of him as a traitor and no longer favor him.

Then, in f(x), there’s Victoria and Amber. Again, popular, and they each have many, many fans, but because they’re members of f(x) and have done promotions representing not only themselves, but also the group. But Henry is generally just Henry, except when he’s Super Junior-M’s Henry.

Okay, so Zhou Mi. Zhou Mi is popular. But he hasn’t been able to gain the solo fame to compete with Henry, who is able to appear on Korean television and be recognized immediately.

Zhang Liyin was extremely popular in the late 2000’s, but her popularity waned due to a large period of inactivity- her last single was released in 2009, and her last album was released in 2008. She is a member of SM The Ballad and is rumored to be making a comeback soon, but it’s almost impossible for her to compete with younger idols like Henry.

And then there’s Han Geng. He is probably the most famous Chinese person to ever walk through the doors of SM Entertainment. He’s an icon in China, having been picked out of hundreds of other Chinese auditions to be the first Chinese trainee at SM Entertainment, and then when he left Super Junior, he became a star in China, both as a singer and as an actor.

Unlike Kris, who has evoked fans’ fury by immediately starting a career in China, Han Geng obviously was unable to work due to his contract with SM Entertainment. He’s now considered to be a world star, and recently appeared in the latest Transformers movie.

Okay, so he’s famous. And popular. But is that successful? Many would say yes. But is he as successful as Henry who, despite the hardships he faced for being an unwanted member of Super Junior, still waited patiently for his day to shine? Personally, as someone who values patience and loyalty, I don’t really think so.

Just to make this clear: I don’t think Han Geng should have stayed at SM. The company had no idea what they were doing with a Chinese idol. But, as awful as it sounds, Han Geng cleared the way for Henry, Zhou Mi, and all other of SM’s Chinese trainees.

Henry was a hated member of one of the most popular K-Pop groups ever. To this day, fans of Super Junior don’t accept Henry as a “true” member of the group, whatever that means. But rather than accept his place, Henry has overcome the rejection and started slowly. He accepted his own personal fans, known as Strings thanks to his violin skills, and never really spoke up about how much it must have hurt for ELF to reject him and Zhou Mi.

He worked hard, appeared on variety shows, promoted as a Super Junior-M member, and practically forced the world to recognize him as a hardworking, talented performer. Only then was he able to promote alone as a solo artist, Henry.

While SM Entertainment has struggled with Chinese members, Henry is the most successful one because he’s done the impossible- he’s practically convinced the Korean audience that he’s a Korean idol. Everyone knows that he’s not, and in fact that’s part of his charm. It’s because of this, the fact that Henry has been able to endure until he reached acceptance from the very audience that originally rejected him, why I think that Henry’s the most successful.

His name is 헨리 (Henry), and he appears on a show that emulates Korean army service and people accept it, he speaks Korean fluently. He is a Korean idol not only as a member of a group but in his own right.

He may not be the most popular, and he may not be the wealthiest, but he is the most accepted Chinese K-Pop idol. And because of that, Henry Lau is the most successful Chinese person in K-Pop today.

What do you think? Are other Chinese idols more successful? Share your opinion with us! Make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Why Hyomin’s ‘Nice Body’ is Offensive to Women

For the past few weeks, Core Contents Media hyped up T-ara member Hyomin’s solo debut with Nice Body like it would be the song of the summer. They said the music video would be rated 15+, while the dance version would be 19+, making fans and the general public’s anticipation grow. Articles on different news sites revealed teaser pictures of Hyomin in a fat suit with prosthetics on her face to look the part. With this, and the song’s title, the first red flag glared. However, everything was still pretty hush hush, so criticism couldn’t surface without knowing the music video’s plot and the song’s lyrics.

But then the video for Nice Body came out last Sunday, raising more red flags than anything else seen in K-Pop in a while. Realistically speaking, the only reason why Nice Body should be rated for people over 19, with its distasteful plot line to its objectifying costume and its absurd lyrics, is because no impressionable youngster should be sold such an offensive message towards women.

I know what you, as a fan, are thinking: You’re wrong, Hyomin unnie is singing about her nice body and not trying to impose hers as ideal. There’s nothing wrong with loving your body and being comfortable in it, as many can be seen doing so on adult content sites such as youngsexer.com. If it were a man singing about his body, this wouldn’t be a problem… No, Hyomin singing about her body being ideal nor being comfortable in her skin nor with her sexuality are not the issues in question.

The problem starts with the lyrics. While I may not know Korean, I know how to use Google, and Google found for me this English translation of Hyomin’s Nice Body. But where do I even start? The beginning seems to be the best choice:

All girls want to show some skin
All girls go on a diet at least once
All girls want to be loved
A prince of my dreams will appear for sure

Ok, ok. This is true. It’s because of the beauty standards and gender roles set by the patriarchal society we live in, but ok, it’s reality.

(Not eating what I want to)
I will be strong
(I will endure through the pain)
I will become pretty
I will fall in love, I will show everyone
I will change
You do deserve it
My body is a nice nice body
Long legs, sexy waist
(Give me love, give me love, give me love)

Obesity is a real problem — I get that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting and trying to be healthy. What’s wrong is when you bring beauty into the equation and say that if you’re skinny, you’ll be pretty and thus, deserving of love. Yes, because gender roles have long established that women’s sole purpose in life is to appeal to men, get married, and have babies. To make matters worse, people glorify these notions by making it news out of what Hyomin ate or didn’t in order to have that nice body.

While I may be getting ahead of myself with this one, it’s important to spot even the littlest references to these sexist gender roles to understand the larger picture. It’s never just about saying skinny is pretty or just about whichever example is the ideal body type, it’s about reinforcing destructive ideas that “put women in their place.”

All guys want a girl like this
All guys like pretty girls
All guys think dirty thoughts at least once
I want that to be me, I want that…
It was so hard for me
You have no idea how much I worked for you
Good style, feel good, smile
I am confident now

As previously stated, women’s purpose in life is not to serve men. It’s 2014, people! We work, and not just as teachers or secretaries; we go to school, where we pursue different sciences. We raise children, sometimes on our own. We lead countries like Argentina, Germany, and, yes, South Korea, for crying out loud! Women should not conform to be a certain way based on what men want.

And while women and men alike are shallow; again, that is only the surface of the problem. The deeper, more embedded issue is when you put it into context, which, up until now, is: “I need to be skinny so guys like me and that way I’ll be worth something.” Do I really need to go into detail about how a woman’s worth is measured? It’s certainly not over how many men fancy you or how small your waistline is.

Speaking of waistlines, let’s address Hyomin’s leotard with different numbers on it. These numbers (34 at the bust, 24 at the waist, and 36 at the hips) are actually inches representing her measurements. Furthermore, at the chorus, she uses a measuring tape as a prop for her little dance. Again, look at the bigger picture; this does not represent Hyomin being comfortable in her body and being proud about it. As if packaging women and selling them in the name of pop wasn’t enough, Hyomin is now reduced to three numbers –to an object — perpetuating the notion that women are sub-human and thus not equal to men.

Hyomin Nice Body MV

But things get worse with the music video. Hyomin has a nice body, we know that; she makes it very clear. What’s not so clear is her fat suit costume whose sole purpose is to body-shame. Girl, you can have the best, hottest body, have all the guys at your feet telling you you’re beautiful, but how will body-shaming and ridiculing someone who doesn’t look like you serve you?

The scenes were packaged as a joke, something cute and funny, imagine if Hyomin, who has a great body because her only job is to look hot all the time, were to look fat? Omo! That would be funny because she’s not really fat, and fat is funny… I feel like I’m reiterating myself over and over again, but here goes: Look at the bigger picture. A girl whose body meets the beauty standards set by society in a fat-suit singing about a woman’s worth depending on how good she looks like is offensive, to women and men alike.

Hyomin Nice Body MV Fat

And then we have this little gem. Does the girl in the top picture seem familiar to you? That’s because she starred in the music video for the rape culture appreciation anthem known as Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I would say this little tribute is the cherry on top of the sundae, one blatantly offensive music video and song to another.

Hyomin Nice Body Blurred Lines MV

In a world where idols are ostracized over who they date, how sexy their concept is, or if they left their company and bandmates hanging, it’s really fascinating how a song, music video, and concept that offends women and their struggle against sexism goes unnoticed. If netizens have proved something time and time again, it’s that they have the power of taking an idol down; even though I am not calling for this fate for Hyomin, I do wonder where the outcry is for something that actually matters.

Lastly, to take that sour taste out of your mouth, here’s a song by Sunny Hill with a message completely opposite to Hyomin’s. Please enjoy and pick better K-Pop songs.

What did you think about Hyomin’s Nice Body? Share your opinion with us! Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Let’s Discuss: f(x), Liked But Not Loved?

With f(x) about to release Red Light, I couldn’t help but think about the group. Just about every fan of K-Pop fan knows at least one of their songs, or at least knows the names of Krystal or Amber.

But, are you actually in love with f(x)?

Many K-Pop fans are devoted in their fan worship, often directing their love at the hottest idol group. More often than not, this means that male idol groups get a lot of love. But Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, Miss A, A Pink, After School… They all have a lot of fans, and yet f(x) seems to have people who enjoy its songs, and people who like individual members, but nobody really seems to be a fan of the group as a whole. f(x) doesn’t even have an official fanclub name. Although, to be fair, neither does EXO.

But let’s be honest. Did you pay attention to f(x) other than the fact that Amber is cool because of her tomboyish attitude, and the fact that she speaks both Mandarin and English? Were you a fan of Krystal before she was in The Heirs? How about f(x)’s debut song? (It’s LA chA Ta, by the way).

Many fans will answer, “Yes, I do know those things.” But many, many people don’t.

They don’t know that Victoria is a classical Chinese dancer, or the fact that Luna not only is a singer but also acts. Sulli, once considered the most popular member, is hardly making headlines other the fact that she is probably dating Dynamic Duo’s Choiza.

Does that mean that f(x) isn’t popular? Not really. Many fans are looking forward to Red Light, because SM Entertainment has built up an exciting set of teaser images preceding the release of the album and music video.

Because f(x) is a good group, but it’s not ever really endeared itself to the fans in a long-lasting way. The group gains popularity with each comeback, with each variety show, etc. Compared to other idols, especially SM Entertainment idol groups, f(x) is a bit lacking.

Internationally, f(x) made headlines for performing at SXSW in 2013, and filming a Funny or Die video with Anna Kendrick. But then the international interest died down a bit.

The group’s songs Electric Shock and Rum Pum Pum Pum became hits in Korea, and Krystal became a huge fan favorite thanks to her role in The Heirs. But in between promoting those things and beginning to promote Red Light, it’s not as if fans have looked out for news of their favorite idol, and been waiting impatiently for a variety show. (Except about Krystal and her sister, Girls’ Generation’s Jessica.)

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Sulli’s dating scandal hardly compares to those involving the members of Girls’ Generation; fans barely even reacted to the news. Most Korean netizens seemed to respond more to the fact that SM Entertainment seems to be relaxing dating rules for its idols, rather than the fact that Sulli, in specific, was dating someone.

People think a lot of f(x), its members, its songs, etc., but nobody really passionately, fervently loves f(x). It is obviously a popular idol group, but it’s the music and concepts that are popular rather than the members themselves. People know f(x), and people like f(x), but the group doesn’t have the appeal that groups like Girls’ Generation, Miss A, Wonder Girls, 2NE1, KARA, etc. have had before them.

CJ E & M Poll

Of course, this is just my perception. In fact, f(x) beat out all other idol groups for global popularity in a CJ E&M survey in 2013, raking in 16.4% overall throughout the world. Shinhwa, Kim Hyun Joong, EXO, and SHINee followed after.

What do you think? Is f(x) more popular and beloved by many as a whole? Or are f(x)’s members and songs individually more endearing than the group as a whole? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Idols & Personal Lives: There’s a Connection?

Privacy in South Korea for K-Pop idols has become a growing issue in the entertainment industry. Some argue that, as celebrities whose lives are always observed, idols shouldn’t be surprised at the attention; however, do they have a right to have personal lives?

Too many times have I seen and heard of horror stories about sasaeng fans stepping out of boundaries in order to pursue their unhealthy obsessions, but even some seemingly “normal” fans have developed an overbearing presence on their favorite idols. In comparison to the United States, in which privacy is a given to celebrities (and lawsuits be easily pursued against violators), it’s a shocker to international fans who find out about the lack of such an important human right in the South Korean entertainment business.

For those of you who see every “privacy infringement” case as sasaeng-exclusive, I have to disagree.

True, some instances of sasaeng activity seem a bit difficult to prevent, like fans getting ahold of idols’ private phone numbers and bombarding them with calls nonstop. Should celebrities have to face such harrassment? No. Is it still going to happen? Unfortunately, due to the high levels of fans paying large amounts of money to get such information, this practice will not disappear forever.

However, other problematic situations can and should be prevented. Last year, EXO’s Tao was recorded singing in the shower, in his private hotel room; the audio clip was then uploaded online and led to an angry Weibo response from the star. What’s worse? I witnessed so many international fans spreading around this audio clip on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media, attaching such comments like “his voice is so cute,” “this is so wrong but it’s too funny to ignore,” and other disturbing reactions to a creepy incident. We can spend all the time in the world talking about what could have been done, but that would never change the fact that this never should have happened.

What’s wrong with this scenario? Well, what isn’t wrong with it? If you were in Tao’s situation, how would you feel? Having a complete stranger somehow bugging your private hotel room is not only a scene from a horror movie, but it increases your anxiety and paranoia. If they managed to do this, what would stop them from doing something worse?

In the current society with unstable “fans,” the answer is simple: absolutely nothing. And that’s why this article exists. This unhealthy desire to control your bias needs to stop.

These situations are just once-in-a-while types, you say? Well, how about something that hits closer to home: the Baekhyun and Taeyeon dating “scandal.”

Is it immoral to ship your favorite idol with another? No. Is it strange to ship yourself with your favorite idol? No. What’s completely wrong is expecting that reality will follow through with a fantasy.

Fans frequently forget that their idols are manufactured, that they are trained to behave and look a certain way in order to bring about attention and build a fanbase. Outside of fame, idols have personal lives. Whether or not they choose to date someone should NOT be of any issue, because they are capable adults and have the right to seek companionship. It’s unreasonable to believe that they will maintain their single or “pure” status forever, and it’s also unreasonable to believe that they should only date someone that is approved by fans. If you were forced into such a box, you wouldn’t be happy; why would you force someone else to be unhappy, then?

What idols choose to do in their personal lives is their choice, not yours. Disapprove of their decisions, but do not set up petitions and rally to push them off a ladder that they’ve tried so hard to climb. Fans have no right to infringe on an idol’s private business, because that right belongs solely to that idol.

Should overzealous fans be the only ones to be blamed? Maybe not; many SM Entertainment artists have come across this obstacle, from Heechul‘s avoidance of public bathrooms because of fantaken pictures to a camera being installed in Luhan‘s room. This brings another complication to light: what exactly are the security measures being taken because of these instances?

Is it because SM artists are just too popular? Do they attract too many psychopaths? Or is the company choosing to stand by in order not to lose fans and, consequently, their income?

I can’t assume that it’s the company’s fault, but it’s a thought that comes into mind when I keep seeing such behavior. What remains imperative is that many fans need to keep their delusions in check.

Do you share the same opinion on this matter? Or do you disagree with some points brought up in this article? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

The English Club In K-Pop

Expats living abroad in the same country tend to bond with one another, and that’s definitely true about Korean idols who speak English. Whether because of similar work activities (like working at Arirang, Korea’s English language channel), or simply because they lived similar lives at one point, transitioning from Western society to becoming iconic Korean figures, English-speaking Korean idols are drawn to one another.

Even though these idols may not necessarily be the most popular ones in their group, fans from all over the world adore them and follow their SNS since English speaking idols are often more accessible than idols who only speak in Korean. With K-Pop growing popular around the globe, idols who speak English can play a real role in connecting directly with fans around the world. Imagine K-pop stars using the services of something like Effortless English Club to help improve their English! That would be so cool. There’s always that one member of K-pop groups that is fluent in English, so you see them speaking the most during interview.

And lately, many of them have been doing it in a very public way. English speaking idols have shown that they have friendships that cross company lines.

Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany and 2PM’s Nichkhun Dating

Do they speak English to each other when on dates? Not necessarily, but both idols lived in L.A. prior to becoming trainees at two of the biggest entertainment companies in Korea. Touted by their groups for their English language skills, both Tiffany and Nichkhun became some of the most popular idols abroad- they each have huge fan followings, partially due to their accessibility to international fans. At the time of their debut, a contact explained:

Since the two have known each other for a long time and are both from the States, it was natural for their friendship to go to another level.

Tiffany and Nichkhun

Eric Nam, Miss A’s Min, Ailee, U-KISS’s Kevin, BTOB’s Peniel, f(x)’s Amber, and Royal Pirates’ James Played On Twitter

Eric and Kevin were celebrating Kevin and the Royal Pirates’ Moon becoming MCs of the show After School Club, and some other people felt left out. Ailee and Amber joined in and convinced Kevin and Eric to get fat. Ailee invited the Miss A dancer along too.

Min only studied in the US for a short period of time, but her inclusion in the English club makes sense. Kevin faces James a shout out, and then James started correcting peoples grammar. After that, Amber initiated on shouting out Peniel and he was initiated into the group of English speaking idols.

(Credit: Soompi)

Eric Nam, U-KISS’s Eli, and NS Yoon-G Also Tweet Together

The two solo artists and U-KISS members have shown time and time again on Twitter that they are on very good terms. Kevin and Eric work together at Arirang, and Kevin had a cameo in Eric’s Ooh Ooh, and the two have promoted one anothers songs on social media. Eric, Eli, and NS Yoon-G gained attention earlier this year for a set of tweets that revolved around the boy’s commenting on Yoon-G’s sexy concept for Yasisi. They playful thread of Tweets showed how friendly they are.

Again, is it because they all lived in English speaking countries for a time? Not definitely, but the shared language and experience definitely seems to have a role there.

Celebrating Min’s Birthday

Several of the English-speaking group came together this weekend to celebrate Min’s birthday. Eric shared the pictures on Instagram, once again proving how language has bound the group together.

MIss A Min's Birthday

There are countless other idols who have lived in English speaking countries- Solo artist and Super Junior-M member Henry Lau, Girl’s Generation’s Jessica and her sister f(x)’s Krystal, Jay Park, 2PM’s Taecyeon, Nu’Est’s JR and Aron just to name a few.

What do you think, are English speaking idols more likely to get along? Are you more likely to like them because you understand their language better (I’m assuming you are reading this because you speak English just as well as they do)? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

Can History reach success with “Psycho”?

Loen Entertainment has made a name for itself by distributing music videos of famous Korean groups and artists. Aside from assisting with the distribution of new music, the company houses a few artists as well, under their artist label, Loen Tree. Sunny Hill and IU are under Loen Tree, along with label mate History.

Initially, in 2008, IU did not have much success when she debuted. It wasn’t until her follow-up album, Growing Up, that her name became known, and she became popular. Her third full-length album, Modern Times, was a hit from release, topping several music charts and programs. Although IU did not instantly become a huge sensation, she has developed into a great singer-songwriter; people absolutely adore her! Now it’s History’s time…

Let’s be honest, how many of you knew that History’s comeback will be their 3rd mini album? Anyone? I sincerely hope that this is the mini album that will make History popular among mainstream music. Granted, they are competing with BEAST‘s recent comeback and many other well-known artists, but people just need to give History a chance. I thought their debut song, Dreamer was a phenomenal piece, but, unfortunately, it did not receive much commercial success.

From their debut, it feels as if History is a group that was together for a while, based on how well their voices compliment each other and how mature they all sound. These boys slay all harmonies; they are just so amazing! Their voices all suit each other so well and sound so smooth together. Their sound isn’t really mainstream at the moment, but that’s part of what gives History their pop. Their music sounds familiar, yet modern and new. I can’t quite describe it, but I know that I love it.

    History is back again with their upcoming 3rd mini album Desire. It consists of five tracks and displays elements of funk, jazz, swing, and other genres that are appealing to listeners. Hopefully, this will be the album where people recognize History’s talent so that their popularity could grow

    Their title track, Psycho sounds like an ’80s anthem with the synths and bass. Let me tell you: I love me some ’80s anthems. There are only two teasers out, but I can already tell that this song is going to be on repeat for a while. As I mentioned before, History’s harmonies are impeccable, as are their high notes. There’s literally only 20 seconds of singing in each of their teasers, and the majority of the it is laced with harmonies. And that ending, with the creepy smile… This is going to be good.

    The second teaser gives us a little more insight into the choreography and setting of the music video. It’s clear that the boys are in an asylum, because their love has turned into an obsession. The choreography looks like it will be pretty good. There wasn’t much given away in terms of dance, but there is a lot of touching each other on the neck and head area, as well as pushing each other away. There were a lot of scenes done in black and white, which I love for its artistic value in any video. Sometimes the simplicity of black and white just adds so much more feel and emotion.

    History will release their Desire album on June 23rd, along with their title track, Psycho. Just like IU, I hope that History’s popularity will rise. There are a lot of talented artists out there, but there are some who are just under the radar. History is one of those groups. Psycho could be the catalyst that catapults them into mainstream popularity. No matter the outcome, I will always be a fan of History.Are you guys excited for History’s comeback? Do you think they’ll gain the following they need to make an impact in the mainstream Kpop scene? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Did SM Entertainment Treat Kris & EXO-M Unfairly?

    Unless you’ve been living in an underground bunker, you’ve probably been keeping up with all the drama surrounding SM Entertainment and EXO-M’s former member, Kris. Was Kris selfish, perhaps wanting to pursue a solo career in China? Did SM mistreat him, his health, and his career? Whether you’re #TeamKris or #TeamEXO, everyone seems to question what exactly made Kris leave the group and company. With recent news of Kris’ new movie deal in China, the former questions seem to arise anew.

    So, did SM Entertainment really treat Kris or any of the other EXO-M members unfairly compared to their Korean counterparts? Let’s take a look…

    EXO-M was destined from its inception to focus its promotions in China, while EXO-K promoted in Korea. Both groups debuted with Mama on the same day in their respective countries and had great success on various music charts. However, they promoted together as 12 members throughout 2013 with Wolf, Growl, and Miracles in December, but were mostly split again for Overdose this year.

    They were derp-ishly adorable!

    It is news to no one who follows K-Pop that EXO’s popularity is rarely matched. Fans loved them through the teaser videos to the pre-debut songs to Mama and beyond. Their drama, CF, music video appearances, movies, emcee, and radio and variety show gigs were distributed mostly evenly for EXO-M members in Korea. EXO-K solo member’s activities far outnumbered their Chinese members because, as I said before, they were the ones geared to promote in Korea, not EXO-M. SM Entertainment has more leverage within Korea, so it makes sense that EXO-K had better accessibility to activities.

    But in order to get a better picture of how EXO-M’s appearances were distributed between the members, take a look at these infographs:

     [Disclaimer: Some appearances might be missing]

    EXO-M Activities Chart

    … And more specifically:

    exo-m graphics

    exo-m graphic

    As you can see, Xiumin has the lead, but let’s not forget he has an upper hand on because of his fluency in Korean, due to the fact that he is, of course, one of EXO-M’s Korean member. On the other hand, the other Korean member, Chen, had more appearances than Kris, Lay, and Tao, but fell behind Luhan, a Chinese member. So, were these assigned fairly? Yes, considering lots of these were done with other M and K members in Korea.

    Since those were individual appearances, let’s now take a look at the ones they did together as EXO-M:

    exo-m appearances graph

    The news about Kris terminating his contract with SM and thus leaving EXO broke in mid-May, a month after SM announced that Luhan would be starring in a Chinese movie. Among his alleged grievances for leaving the company, there was some mention of the EXO-M rapper wanting to pursue acting in China, and this request being denied by the company. Coincidentally, news broke yesterday that Kris will be working with Chinese director Guo Jingming on a “mysterious project.” Furthermore, news about Tao starring in Zhang Li Yin’s new music video with f(x)’s Victoria also broke today.

    It seems the question about who’s really to blame – Kris being selfish or SM mistreating him– seem to confuse us more than clarify the issue. Was Kris jealous of Luhan for having acting roles? Is SM giving Tao minor acting roles to appease rumors of inequality among the members? Geez, this plot is better than any K-Drama I’m watching right now…

    Whether Kris is in the right and SM in the wrong, like with Super Junior’s Hangeng and JYJ, or vice versa, one thing’s for sure: SM was not treating EXO-M’s appearances unfairly. They all seem to have had around the same number of gigs. As to why they weren’t as involved in China, I do not know, but SM is definitely trying to get the EXO-M guys out there more.

    What’s your take on the whole SM vs. Kris debacle; who’s in the right? Share your thoughts with me, and let’s talk about it! Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Let’s Discuss: Why Does ZE:A Get So Little Love?

    ZE:A is one of the best, most consistent idol groups out there today. The group has several amazing songs, and some duds, but since their debut in 2010, ZE:A has struggled to place in charts to reach the fans.

    Even its recent song, Breathe, has gained little attention.

    The group has filmed over 20 music videos since debuting, featured in countless songs. Four of the nine members: Kwanghee, Hyungsik, Siwan, and Dongjun, are pretty well known for their acting and variety skills. They’ve appeared in popular shows and movies like The Heirs, Star King, The Moon That Embraces The Sun, Real Men, We Got Married, To The Beautiful You, and A Company Man.

    With individual members so popular and the group so prolific and talented, it’s always bothered me why ZE:A isn’t more well received. This past April, the group was ranked as having the 33rd largest fanclub in South Korea; that’s no small feat when there are so many idol groups. YG’s upcoming boy group, WINNER, ranked #26.

    This could be a simple matter of larger companies filling up the idol scene and promoting their members better than a smaller company like ZE:A’s, but that’s not the case. Star Empire Entertainment was founded in 2000 and produced not only ZE:A and Nine Muses, but also popular groups Jewelry and V.O.S.

    The group is popular enough to rank on the idol fanclub chart (it’s harder than it seems – JYJ, Secret, and SISTAR were at the bottom of the list, despite their popularity). People know the names of some of the members. Several of their albums ranked within the top ten charts, but the group has never won an award on one of the music shows like Inkigayo. They’ve debuted in Japan pretty successfully and have unit groups, but ZE:A still struggles.

    So what’s going on?


    I’ve also thought about it as the group doing too much, without being exceptional in any single way.

    The group’s debut song, Mazeltov, was okay. That’s me being extremely nice — I rewatched it and thought that it was a bit of a mess. But the group made up for it with the follow up track, All Day Long. Songs like Here I Am, Heart For 2, Aftereffect, Phoenix, Step By Step, and my personal favorite, The Ghost of the Wind, have proved that the group can create great, catchy songs.

    But not charttoppers.

    Popular, but never popular enough. That seems to be ZE:A’s “claim to fame.”

    The popular members are popular, but not popular enough to bring ZE:A into the spotlight as a group. The songs are good, but never can compete to be number one. The company is a good one, but doesn’t have the ability to promote ZE:A as much as a bigger company would be able to.

    The group tries extremely hard, but it’s like ZE:A is climbing a never-ending staircase. ZE:A’s almost reached the top, but when it pauses for a moment or two to catch it’s breath, another idol group comes out with something that slips ZE:A up.

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be changing. Every time a new ZE:A song comes out, I, and other ZE:A fans, get excited. Ghost of the Wind really should have been “the” song for ZE:A. But it wasn’t, primarily thanks to too much competition – EXO, B.A.P, f(X), and BEAST were all promoting at the time of Ghost Of The Wind’s release.

    Based on the fact that it hasn’t happened in four years, it’s unlikely that ZE:A will produce a song that gains enough attention. The songs are catchy, the vocals are good, but they seem to be missing that special thing that makes certain releases from less popular idol groups shoot to popularity.

    Considering this, it’s sad that ZE:A’s debut song wasn’t all that great – some groups debut with such a great concept that fans can’t help but pay attention, like B.A.P. Groups like VIXX and INFINITE debuted with strong songs, and then gained momentum to propel them to become current front-runners of K-POP.

    But ZE:A’s first song was, as I said, less than exciting, and the group has been around for so long that people know that they’re there, but just don’t really care.

    It must be incredibly hard for ZE:A to work so hard day after day, knowing that there will always be more groups to compete with. ZE:A lost it’s chance for a solid debut back in 2010, and it seems that no matter how hard the group tries, it all seems futile.

    Rather than saying the flooded idol market or something like lack of talent or a small company is to blame for ZE:A’s failure to gain attention, I think that apathy is ZE:A’s biggest enemy.

    We know it, but we don’t love ZE:A. We listen to the songs, watch them entertain us, but there’s no real connection. Something’s missing in the relationship between ZE:A and fans, and until the group does something to change that, it will always lag behind other, newer, K-Pop acts.

    Hopefully something will happen that will propel ZE:A into the spotlight that they deserve, or at least allow people to acknowledge the talented, hard-working  group.

    What are your thoughts on ZE:A’s lack of popularity? Subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Will WINNER Live Up to the Hype With its Debut?

    YG Entertainment is gearing up for WINNER’s debut. The hype has recently started again, and fans are really excited. WINNER will be YG’s newest idol boy band after eight years of debuting BIGBANG. The members consist of leader Kang Seung Yoon, Kim Jinwoo, Lee Seung Hoon, Song Minho, and Nam Tae Hyun.


    WINNER has had quite a journey. Competing as Team A, they battled Team B and won the reality competition, WIN: WHO IS NEXT?. They were scheduled to debut back in February of this year, but YG pushed back the date, to much disappointment from fans.

    After the show, the band started their ten-episode YouTube series, WINNER TV. The members made different missions and opened BIGBANG’s Japan dome concerts, along with writing and producing their own songs for their debut album. They also opened concerts for 2NE1’s ALL OR NOTHING World Tour and were part of the YG Family concert.

    Check out these cool articles around the web

    WINNER showcases their self-written and produced songs to Yang Hyun Suk on WINNER TV:

    YG really wants to make sure that their newest boy band will be successful. They created a lot of excitement (they already even have CFs with Niikorea! and Fanta) prior to their debut. But with talented members, perhaps that wasn’t necessary. Given their popularity, the band would had been successful at any rate. They have the looks and talents that are needed to be standout in the K-Pop industry.

    The group’s pre-debut popularity ultimately may or may have not inspired SM Entertainment to jump on the band wagon by creating a brand for their SM Rookies. And who could forget EXO prior to debut, releasing individual video teasers of each member, making them one of the most successful rookie bands in Korea? Creating a fan base before the debut of a group is slowly turning into a marketing strategy for more entertainment companies.


    WINNER’s debut seems imminent now that YG has started teasing us. They released their first teaser video named The Visitor, an artsy piece that reminds me of a video fashion editorial. We are not sure if that’s a teaser for a song, or a compilation of different ones, but it sounds very interesting.

    Being a fashion lover myself, I recognized a few terms in the video, like S/S (spring/summer). Designers release collections every two seasons, so this got me a little confused: are they releasing a fashion line or their debut album?

    When their Facebook page uploaded the launching promotion photo, which was the final piece of the puzzle:

    winner launching plan

    Once again, fashion seems to be taking big part in their debut album. They are making it seem like a fashion collection launch, following a Test Week, New York Week, and Winner Week and resembling the different Fashion Weeks all over the world.

    But what does that mean? These may be just my personal predictions, but I think that, during Test Week, they might start promoting a song, or preview their songs for the album to garner reactions.

    WINNER went to New York in May and were spotted filming something. So that would lead to New York Week, in which they might continue to release teasers, photos, or a video of their journey in New York.

    Then Winner Week would follow, during which I can clearly assume that they will release their first official single and music video. At this point, fans are really excited for the group to debut after so many teasers; their hard work will finally be compensated! We are really intrigued to know what their music and visuals will be like.

    Are you excited for WINNER’s release? What sound would you like WINNER to have? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

    Sexualization in K-Pop: The Bare Truth

    When asked about why they prefer K-Pop over Western music, many fans say that the former is less sexualized than the latter. But is that really true? For newer fans, they may be pulled in by bubble-gum pop groups; however, they don’t realize that there are many idols that show off their bodies and croon about sex in their songs.

    Am I saying that it’s wrong? Absolutely not! This just goes to show that sex sells. You can see plenty of examples of sex being sold at websites such as fuckedgay, they have sexual content that shows off the sexual prowess of many. So there isn’t anything wrong with this! And it’s not just limited to Western music. Furthermore, it’s not like our favorite idols are an eyesore to look at!

    Some people feel as though female idols are more sexualized than their male counterparts, to which I respond:

    I’ve always had the unfortunate opportunity of coming across hostile comments towards girl groups about their skirts being too small, their cleavage being too exposed, or their dances being too risqué. But very few times have I seen a complaint about a guy taking off his shirt too many times, humping the ground too many times, or thrusting in their hands instead of keeping their legs closed. Are you getting what I mean? Like I said before, being sexy is not a crime. Sexualization in K-Pop should not be a crime, either, unless minors are involved (and I’ll talk about this in a bit).

    For a few large examples, let’s start off with Rain‘s Love Song. A classic, and the perfect beginning to this article.

    Okay, so everything looks fine for the first half of the music video, right? He’s got his fancy eyelashes on, trying to touch the memories of his ex-girlfriend. It’s actually pretty innocent and kind of touches your heart, as you can see how torn up he is about the failed relationship. And then, all of a sudden, BAM!

    There they are, shiny studded shoes (shiny studded everything, to be more precise), and whoa, look at those body rolls! Just when you think it’s going to stay at that level… Nope! The jacket gets off, the shirt gets off (most of it), and now he’s flaunting his refined pecs and abs. He definitely would fit in at websites similar to cartoonporno. With such a hot body all the women on that site would be dying to shoot videos with him.

    Let’s take a step back, shall we? What’s this song exactly about? He’s basically calling upon a deaf ear, as he tries to ask his former lover to come back to him. He believes that this song would convince her to return, so that they could be together again.

    Hm… Is there any reason why he should be stripping? Any reason for the seemingly suggestive body rolls? Of course, there’s always going to be people like me trying to find meaning in everything, but when you get down to the dirty business… You can’t really argue that his body is a large selling point of this, can you?

    Just to remind everyone: I find no issue with that. What. So. Ever. Just look at him!

    bi rain

    But moving on: the highly popular duo of HyunA and Hyunseung in Trouble Maker, formed in 2011, has been quite a spicy pair. With their sexually suggestive choreography for their debut, Trouble Maker, they are not shy in the field of sexiness. Their latest hit, Now (There Is No Tomorrow), showcases both of these idols’ looks and vocals.

    A personal favorite of mine, this music video hits you immediately with the act of love (or is it really love?), as Hyunseung wakes up with women strewn about him. Meanwhile, HyunA is avoiding unwanted attention at a club, gyrating by a wall, seemingly in deep thought and longing. From the closeups of their bodies to an intense lovemaking scene, it’s pretty obvious what their relationship is about. But there’s more, as fights break out, and Hyunseung seems to have issues with his own deranged sociopath. I ended up thinking, “Well… I’m glad I’m not a people person.”

    In addition to the video’s plotline, the choreography reflects the chemistry between the two. But, more importantly, let’s look closer at the meaning of the song.

    This couple has problems that they can only deal with together, so, despite a caustic, bipolar relationship, their only way of surviving is to stay with each other. Does the video represent that? Yes. Is the sexualization of the pair necessary? I’d like to think it sticks to the truth of many relationships in real life, so yeah, having them actually dealing with sexual needs, drug use, alcohol use, and physical abuse does help remind the viewers that life isn’t just bubble-gum pop.

    Last but definitely not least, I present you with Rania‘s Dr. Feel Good.

    Do I really need to say much about this? I’m actually a fan of this song and the intense choreography, albeit the lyrics being a bit cheesy at some points. Now, you might criticize me and say, “I don’t think it’s that hard to wiggle your butt around and hump the air, Thuc!”

    In a normal situation, I’d agree. What makes this different is that the movements go along with the beat of the song, and they are synchronized. I don’t know if many of you have tried learning this choreography, but it is difficult. Being sexy takes a LOT of practice. Should I also add that the opening sequence looks like the awakening of sirens from the depths of… badness? In other words, it looks really cool.

    There’s not really much of a plot, as the music video focuses on their visual appeal. This is a song that reminds me of some kinky roleplay sequence that people usually try to keep behind closed doors. The meaning? Well, all that I get from this is that these “patients” would really like some pleasurable, alone time with their doctors. Once again, nothing wrong with that.

    Rania recieved some criticism for their racy attire and choreography, forcing them to change some aspects to be able to promote on music shows. I think it’s a bit unfair, considering that they’re showing just as much skin as many boy groups, and thrusting into their hands in a similar manner.

    Hey, if the guy groups can get away with singing about sex, why can’t the ladies? It’s a natural act, and, even if I may not be into the practice, it doesn’t mean that I should shun any type of sexiness in the media. Even U-KISS recently dropped quite the music video for Quit Playing, bringing up the topic of threesomes and showing off the members’ sculpted bodies.

    All in all, what I’m trying to say is that sexualization in K-Pop shouldn’t be seen as a rare occurrence or a sin. Why? Simply because it is not. As you can see, male and female groups, and even groups with both, use their bodies to the best of their abilities to provide a little boost to promotions.

    Sometimes it’s not very necessary, sometimes it helps develop a view on the world, or sometimes it’s just a straightforward message of “Hey, I’m into this kink, and I’m not ashamed of it.”

    Of course, putting minors into a sexualized role of being an idol does create issues not only for that minor, but for the public in general. Personally, I believe in giving the choice to people who are supposed to be mature enough to understand the workings of the industry, not forcing a role onto someone who may be too young to truly comprehend why they have to grind against their microphone stand.

    Do you have a different opinion on this matter? Should sexualization in K-Pop just not exist, or should it still remain in use? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.