Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and welcome to a special Seoulbeats Roundtable!

Thanksgiving is celebrated by different countries, but celebrations by the United States of America are the most well known. Starting with the shared Autumnal feast between the Wampanoag Indians and the Plymouth settlers in 1621, today Thanksgiving involves a hearty dinner shared with one’s family and being thankful for all the good things that have happened in the past year. For this holiday, our writers have shared which K-pop happenings in 2012 for they are thankful.
Jasper 
2012 was a pretty good year for K-pop in my opinion, so I have a lot to be thankful for.
  • Firstly, SM Entertainment for finally upping the ante with their artists. Last year was definitely not the best,but this year SM artists saw improvement for the first time in quite a while. SHINee came back grandly after a long break, f(x) was finally able to claim some sort of relevancy in the company, Super Junior came out with a song that wasn’t a “Sorry Sorry” rehash, and TVXQ showed they were still forces to be reckoned with. Moreover, there’s BoA, whose “Only One” and its choreography managed to be one of my absolute favorite releases this year. And Exo. What to say about Exo. While polarizing, I surely can’t imagine K-pop without them now. I only wish my all time favorite SNSD were included in this lucky roll, but hey, we can’t be too greedy now.
  • The rookies this year. 2012 was full of great rookie bands as well that gave me hope that the industry would be in somewhat safe hands. Since I’m fairly certain Exo and B.A.P. will turn up somewhere later in this conversation, I’m gonna forego them for now and say I’m thankful for my new biases Juniel, Ailee, and Spica for representing the females in this year’s roster. And talking about new blood in K-pop, I’m also thankful for K-Pop Star and its alumni for assuring me that talent could still exist in the genre that is K-pop.
  • And lastly, my all-time love in K-pop: K-variety. I’m thankful that Running Man is still going strong (featuring some pretty high profile guests no less) and free of any member losses. Oh, and since it’s obligatory for me to mention Answer Me 1997 in every opportunity I get, I’m thankful for that emotional roller coaster ride, as well.

Fatouma

Hmm, 2012 has been a great year for K-pop and reinvigorated my intrigue for the genre and the idols. So many choices but what I’m thankful for this year is:

  • Getting introduced to Seo In-guk, by watching Answer Me 1997. God, his voice is the voice I’ve craved in K-pop and I can’t get enough of it. Perfect Fit is definitely one of my favourite mini albums of the year. His general existence is pretty great too.
  • That the rookies did not stink this year and actually might have added more competition for the more established groups. It’s a sign that the next generation (5 more years of K-pop) might actually exist and be in good hands. Downside, I’m left with more biases to obsess over than I had in the beginning of the year and far too many that are younger than me than I would like. Yup, my life is definitely a tragic one.
  • That Kai, JR, Sung-jae and Lu Han debuted and entered my life.
  • That I watched and finished at least five dramas this year. A new record. And most of them I really liked.
  • TvN‘s existence.
  • Answer Me 1997 and Shut Up Flower Boy Band for having roller coaster rides with my heart because of beautiful character chemistry and development
  • Song Joong-ki‘s acting in Nice Guy (and finding out he’s friends with Jaejoong.)
  • JYJ and DBSK both being active this year, and that DBSK actually released a solid album this year. Still waiting on a new JYJ album, but I can’t be too greedy.
  • Jackal is Coming and the future demise of my fangirl heart (even though Jaejoong’s acting will probably suck royally)

Johnelle

The year that was 2012 has been a really enjoyable year in K-pop for me, so I guess I have much to be thankful for.

  • 2012 seemed to be the return of the boy band and hey, we’re not complaining right ladies?  Some of the best in my opinion included EXO, NU’EST, Lunafly, BtoB, and probably my fave rookies of the year B.A.P.  The girls had some solid debuts too in SPICA, AOA, and 15&, and with soloists like Baek Ah-yeon and Lee Hi–hey I’m a K-variety junkie what can I say?
  • As far as varieties go, it was a good year with shows like Shinhwa Broadcast debuting and letting newer K-pop fans get to know the greatness that was/is Shinhwa in variety.  I’m glad that K-varieties like Running Man, 1N2D, and Infinte Challenge are still going strong and bring lots of laughs and fun to my viewing pleasure.  I’m also really thankful that Kang Ho-dong was finally able to return to variety.
  • It was a great year in K-drama for me with awesome K-dramas like The Moon that Embraces the Sun, The King 2 Hearts, Big, Rooftop Prince, and A Gentleman’s Dignity among my faves.
  • I agree that all K-drama fans must be thankful for one specific thing this year–the emergence of tvN.  The cable channel has brought a breath of fresh air to the K-drama scene with shows like Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Queen In-hyun’s Man, and Answer Me 1997.  All the shows brought something new to the K-drama scene with great writing unlike your standard K-drama fare, awesome performances from actors new and old, and I think a renewed interest and excitement in K-dramas in general.  They also brought Saturday Night Live to Korea–a ballsy move for such a conservative society.
  • I’m thankful for discovering the awesome that is Jo Jung-suk through the K-dramas What’s Up (which began in 2011, but most of it was in 2012) and The King 2 Hearts.  He is definitely now one of my fave actors and I can’t wait until his next project is released.
  • Lastly, I am most thankful for having the opportunity to see some of my favorite K-pop artists live in concert.  I was able to attend the concerts of C.N. Blue & F.T. Island, 2NE1, KCON 2012 and Big Bang this year and each concert was definitely an experience to remember.

Nicholas

Where do I begin? Things to be glad for:

  • Glad that groups that have managed to shake off marginal concepts of days past to impress me recently (B1A4, Boyfriend, Girls’ Day)
  • Happy for the recent increase in girl groups’ music quality. From groups that sell on their vocal skills and higher musical caliber (GLAM & SPICA) to f(x) & SISTAR doing better this year, 2012 will not be a year my girl group support will be in vain.
  • That SNSD-TTS‘ success means that there is life beyond the OT9, and that segmenting talents might pay off.
  • That Beast delivered once again in terms of competence. What Midnight Sun lacked in imagination, it more than made up for in musical polish and development.
  • And with both imagination and musical sophistication, Jo Kwon‘s I’m Da One album. Granted it might have been a bit too much at times, but such bravery is to be saluted in pop, and eventually every good idea will get appropriated elsewhere.
  • Clazzi‘s Infant for taking his brand of electronica back to its roots and getting me interested in the next Clazziquai album. Amazing how being free of musical demands can liberate an artiste’s creative powers.
  • And for all the mediocre concepts/songs/performances I had to see to enjoy the good stuff. Seriously it’s the dreadful stuff at times that makes K-pop so fun to comment on, as well as make genius so valued.
  • Glad I picked up the habit of K-drama. More stuff to take away my time oh so subtly and enjoyably.
  • That most of the reality singing show contestants debuted smoothly, and that my favorites sustained their fame even post-show. Nice to know that good guys do finish first, in the end.
  • And finally, all the K-acts’ concerts I went to. Renewed perspectives on performers and songs after seeing them live, as well as a whole lot of fun.
Bethany
  • The wonderfulness that is B.A.P
  • Successful comebacks from Infinite, Beast, and B1A4
  • Big Bang‘s international tour stops (one of the most memorable nights ever!)
  • Juniel’s debut
  • BoA’s couple dances with all the yummiest guys in SM Ent.
  • Exo-M‘s Kris

Young-Ji:

  • I second Fatouma and Johnelle on tvN’s existence — after receiving flak for not including Shut Up Flower Boy Band and Queen In Hyun’s Man in my mid-year drama review, I gave the cable channel a real chance and I’m really glad that I did because I’m now a Seo In-guk fan.
  • B.A.P and Block B.  No explanation needed.
  • Seeing Big Bang and Exo live.  I’m neither a “VIP” or an “Exotic,” but I see why these fandoms exist.

Nabeela

Oh my gosh, so much progress this year! Okay, things I’ve thankful for:

  • B.A.P.
  • the Block B comeback
  • Rookie talent and eye candy
  • Zelo
  • MBC-Google Hallyu Concert (first time seeing B2ST live, my eyeballs almost exploded)
  • Orange Caramel
  • MBLAQ Hello Baby
  • GD‘s solo album
  • C.N. Blue‘s Ear Fun album

 Ambika

I’m with the rest about the increased music quality, B.A.P, B1A4, and Block B. This year put out a lot of music, and quite a bit of it was good and not just noise. Other things I’m thankful for:

  • Gary not leaving Running Man
  • SHINee making a comeback, even if it was for a short time
  • Kangin returning to Super Junior fairly smoothly
  • Henry getting to do something outside of Super Junior-M
  • Kim Jong-kook making a comeback in music
  • Haha and Byul getting married, just because they’re both adorable together
  • Immortal Song 2‘s incorporation of rookie talents
  • Yoo Jae-suk, for no reason in particular

Natalie

Things I’m grateful for this year…

  • Exo
  • B.A.P
  • Block B’s comeback
  • B1A4’s comeback
  • Going to K-con and seeing B.A.P and Exo-M in person
Fannie
Some of these are repeats of what has already been said, but I’m thankful that:
  • The rookies are a lot stronger this year
  • Soloists and other genres are starting to slowly make their way back into the mainstream
  • Epik High is back together and making music again
  • Running Man is still going strong with its main cast more or less intact
  • Hyoyeon is finally put in the limelight this year
  • A genuine artist such as Psy was able to enjoy such worldwide success.
Gaya
Most have already been mentioned (including Hyoyeon!), but there are a few things for which I am very thankful:
  • EMI Japan finally getting their act together and giving SHINee original Japanese music to actively promote; I especially love “1000 Years, Always By Your Side.”
  • Kyuhyun releasing an OST that was NOT a ballad; the fact that it was a duet only makes it better. To the person who succeeded where Changmin failed, I salute you.
  • Also, J-min breaking out of SM’s dungeon in a very impressive manner.
  • And finally, Sunny Hill‘s constant twitter updates. It’s always nice to see what they are up to outside of promotions, as well the ladies’ visits to  see Jang-hyun (who’s currently completing his military service)–those tweets are always my favourites.
(Images via JYP Co., Ceci)

Gaya

Student of the sciences, disciple of K-pop. SHINee are the Pandavas to my Draupadi.

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