A Quick Guide to Choosing Your K-pop Bias
New to K-pop? Wondering why people keep referring to their “bias”? With all the talk about love-rage and bias-list ruiners recently, it seems an appropriate time to help people new to K-pop (or people with decision-making trouble) choose a bias. There are a myriad of factors that go into choosing your bias in a group, and even more that go into choosing your ultimate bias (but that’s another story all together). Next time you discover a new group or find yourself torn between two members in the same group use this simple guide to help you decide.
So you’ve just discovered a new K-pop group, their most recent single really appealed to you and now you are interested in learning more, including learning enough to choose a bias. The first thing you are going to want to consider is which member you find the most physically attractive. This may sound shallow, but immediate attraction is the easiest jumping off point for bias selection.
For example, when I discovered SHINee I watched all the MVs they had released and chose the member I though was the most stylistically and physically attractive over all the concepts, which ended up being Onew. His hair and clothes were to most constantly appealing to me and his adorable smile is not to be ignored. You want attraction that is going to stick even if the person changes their hair or clothes, so keep that in mind; especially considering how often K-pop bands try “new” images.
When it comes to choosing a bias physically and stylistically, there are a number of archetypal categories to look out for in a group. This comes down to the standard question, “what is your type?” because the same types will show up over and over. There are the perfect visuals, whose looks are barely to be believed, and will appeal to you if you like perfection (such as SNSD’s Yoona & U-KISS‘s Kiseop). There are the cute members, sometimes sporting pudgy cheeks, and who despite their personality may be forced into aegyo behavior a lot (such as Jewelry’s Yewon).
There are the dashingly handsome men and classically beautiful women, who encompass the gender ideal, but who can also be more unique looking than the perfect visual (such as Super Junior’s Siwon). Maybe you like big teeth, or eye smiles, or strong noses, or tall people, or short people, but regardless by trusting your initial attraction you can take the first step in choosing a bias.
So you’ve chosen the member you think is the most attractive, but now that you are drawn to that idol you want to know more about them. The first thing to know is what role does your potential bias play in the group? Are they a vocalist, or a dancer, or a visual, or a rapper, or perhaps a support member? You may find that after a while you are drawn to a certain role in a group, not just a certain type of person. There are people who always prefer the rapper, probably because of the image that goes along with that role, and people who find a good singing voice attractive, no matter what the idol may physically look like. For example, both Taemin of SHINee and Kai of EXO weren’t appealing to me until I saw them dance, but once I recognized their prowess in their role I was much more drawn to them.
This can also be a bias breaker, because there are times when the most physically attractive member in a group may also be the least talented in other aspects. This may not deter you, you may stay true to your original instincts about an idol even if you find out their live singing voice is sub par, but it is always something to consider. There are also times when an idols seeming lack of talent may be what endears them to you.
T.O.P is known for his somewhat awkward dancing, but instead of fans liking him less because of it there are many people who think it adds to his unique charm. Perhaps the idol you like isn’t the most talented in their group’s musical activities, but is an excellent drama actor or comedian (Such as ZE:A‘s Kwanghee), both respected talents in the entertainment industry. When choosing a bias, be sure to keep your eye out for any talent that may arise.
So you’ve chosen an idol you are attracted to and that is talented in some way, so now you want to know about their personality off stage, who they really are (“really” being relative in the K-pop world). Reality shows and variety shows are the best places to start to get a feel for an idol’s personality. If the group has done an independent reality show, that only showcased them, then you are in luck because that will be sure to give each member at least a little screen time. However, if the group has only had time on already existing variety programs, such as Weekly Idol, the screen time may not be evenly distributed and it can be harder to find all the member’s personalities.
Once you do get a clear impression of your potential bias’s personality it may turn out that you don’t like them at all. Sometimes the most beautiful faces hide the worst attitude, and vice versa, you may find that you are suddenly attracted to an idol you never would have expected to be because of their awesome sense of humor or sweet nature.
Discovering member’s personalities can be especially difficult with new groups if they haven’t done a lot of promotional activities yet, but this can also be a benefit because the members haven’t been given the time to make any big social mistakes either. This is always something to look out for, because inevitably your bias will say or do something that will bring them under criticism, but at the end of the day we are all human so it is important to choose a bias with that in mind.
Like with talents, or lack thereof, personality traits, or personality flaws, are what are endearing about each idol. Jonghyun of SHINee is known for both having a big mouth and being a cry baby, but those traits can easily be taken either way, as a virtue or a flaw, and that is where your personal preferences come into judging idols’ personalities.
Do you prefer out-going people or shy, introverted people? Do you like a bit of attitude or do you prefer the sweet, polite type? No natural aegyo or lots of it? For example, I never found Minho of SHINee attractive until I saw him on Hello Baby and got a look into his sweet, responsible personality which hadn’t been conveyed through MVs alone. Watch as many shows as you can featuring the group you like and inevitably you will begin to see personality patterns that will give you insights into your potential bias’ nature.
So you’ve found an idol that you think is attractive, talented, and interesting, at this point it is pretty safe to say that that idol is bias material, so next time a fellow K-pop fan asks “who is your bias?” you will have an answer ready. Obviously, there are many other factors that may factor in to why you like a certain idol, and over time biases change so you may have to go through this process many times during your stint as a fan, but don’t let that discourage you, discovering a new bias is one of the greatest joys of K-pop.
What about you, readers? How did you choose your bias?