Rejoice, 1TYM fans, or just first generation connoiseurs, because Danny Im, also known as Taebin, is back in the spotlight.

I wondered some months ago in an article about Teddy, where on earth was Danny hiding; well, apparently, he wasn’t hiding, he was just working for YG behind the scenes in the department in charge of looking for new talents. He has been anyways away from the spotlight for a good seven years, but he has finally come back with a new program for Mnet America, Danny from LA.

Mnet America, subsidiary of Korean TV channel specialized in music Mnet, is probably the most developed branch of a Korean network in the US. Although national channels KBS, MBC and SBS all have channels available in the US, Mnet is the first one that broadcasts self-produced programs while the other ones are basically variations of the original Korean programs. Mnet America is arguably trying to appeal not only the Korean-American population but anyone interested in K-pop or Korean culture; this season they have for example released Jjang, an interviews program conducted by a white presenter, a clear indicative of their direction. And together with Jjang, they will also be broadcasting Danny from LA, presented by 1TYM’s Danny.

Raised in the US but living in Korea since he signed for YG in his late teens, Danny not only knows both American and Korean culture, but he knows the business as well. Along with comedian Kevin Shea and IAMMEDIC member Danny Park, they will be conducting a program that aims to cover all areas of Korean entertainment (although it seems that it may inevitably tend to be more about K-pop — and YG). But why does it make me so happy that Danny is back? Well, aside from the fact that I can see his face without having to look at pictures from 7 years ago whenever I feel nostalgic, I’m expecting the program to include a fair share of opinions and debate, and not only interviews and reviews. Danny does have really interesting things to say about Korean entertainment and K-pop going global — and why not, there being Kevin Shea of Korean origin but raised in a fully American environment, he can contrast Danny’s point of view with a more external opinion.

Just for starters, Danny shared his opinion about K-pop acts trying to make it in the US, such as SNSD and Wonder Girls, in a recent interview for Soompi:

Here’s the thing – to become a relevant artist in the US, you have to know the American pulse, the culture. Talent-wise, they’ve got what it takes, but they are not able to really grab the audience because they don’t understand what makes them tick. Another thing is that they are trying to do “American” music, which at the end of the day just makes them foreigners trying to emulate their music. In the case of Girls’ Generation, their sheer number is overwhelming. Let’s face it, to most Americans, they are 9 girls that look the same, so their individual talents get lost in the wash.

Yes, yes. Thank you Danny for saying what I (and lots of fans like me) have been thinking for a long time, now I can feel at ease that someone from the business thinks the same, it kind of gives some base to my argument.

Mnet also recently released in their YouTube channel a fragment of their first program, and he interestingly enough admitted that every company favors the group that brings more money — as if we didn’t know, but it does sound much better coming from him. That was in addition to recognizing that 1TYM was once a YG favorite but subsequently, as their popularity died down, they became less profitable to the company.

It’s hard to find such honest opinions within the realm of the Korean media, where every answer and opinion weighs heavily. In that context, Danny’s statements sound especially refreshing because he’s still close to the business and therefore, his words also carry little bitterness.

Danny from LA premiered on September 13th featuring 2NE1. This week’s guest was Psy, and just for a change, the YTF crew will be featuring the week after — did I say it will eventually become a K-pop program? Well, maybe not after all –, so be sure to catch up on Danny from LA in Mnet America. And don’t forget to share your thoughts about Danny’s comeback below!

(Soompi, Mnet America)