20150417_seoulbeats_jyp_jessiWelcome to Comments of the Week!

This week in idols and music, we covered the OSTs of March, EXID‘s latest release, “Ah Yeah,” Rap Monster‘s RM and Park Jin-young‘s “Who’s Your Mama?” featuring Jessi.

In fashion and TV topics, we looked at the best performances of last week’s music shows, the first four episodes of Girl Who Can See Smells, photoshoots focusing on blue and white and the final episodes of Hyde, Jekyll, and I.

For socio-cultural topics, we discussed the Hallyu wave in terms of beauty, male idols and cosmetic endorsements and the fan conflict between Exo-L and Shinee World.

Our Roundtable covered our thoughts on idol survival shows and our SB Chat Box went in the K-drama direction, talking about Misaeng and Healer.

I’ve chosen a few of your comments to highlight:

Cynthia Marie on Roundtable: Idol Survival Shows

I have watched WIN, MIX&MATCH, and NO.MERCY, and for me personally, I rather enjoyed watching them. I like competition, I like seeing that drive and dedication in people because I think it’s something admirable to have in you.

From a company standpoint, and an idol standpoint, I can see how this would be a good move. The people watching the show get to know the idols and their talents through the journey, and this helps people to form attachments, which guarantees a fan following immediately at debut no matter who is in the winning group. It gives the trainees exposure to working in front of a camera, performing in front of audiences, and public criticism. It helps to show who handles what best under such pressure.

The down side is, well, it honestly takes a very obvious toll on these kids. Being pitted against their friends, people they’ve known and trained with for years…it’s hard on them – they’ve all said as much. So not only does it physically drain them, but it hits their emotional state as well. Plus, you always run the risk of a M&M situation where it splits the fandom so drastically (Chanwoo fans v. Jinhyung fans v. Hongseok fans) that it just causes more infighting than anything. Then, you get the people who start as fans, but instantly become anti once their fave is cut.

20141112_seoulbeats_nomercyFor me, NO.MERCY was the hardest to watch. That show really had NO mercy for those boys. At least with WIN and M&M all the boys got to be there from start to finish, you know? They all got to be voted by fans (M&M only the final battle, but still), so it wasn’t /just/ up to the company (although leaving it solely up to fans would, in my opinion, not be the best choice either), and there wasn’t a threat of elimination every challenge – you lose the challenge, you go back and work harder for the next one to redeem yourself/your group. NO.MERCY was getting rid of people from the FIRST challenge! We only got to see Yoosu and Kwangji for 3 episodes before they were gone. And the rankings were just brutal.

At the end of it, I think these shows /do/ strengthen the bond between the idols, as well as the idol-fan relationship, and bring in tons of attention for the idols and company. So, I’ll most likely be checking out the JYP show :)

Dia P on Counterpoint: Male Idols and Cosmetic Endorsements


Yes to all of this. I’ve always felt like the West seems to value “natural beauty” a lot while Korea seems to prefer an image of beauty, whether “natural” or not. Both have their pros and cons: while Korea’s mindset on the topic can cause insecurity caused by an impossible standard, the western mindset can lead to people who put effort into their appearances being labeled as “fake” and “try-hard”. As someone who enjoys makeup and skincare as a hobby, the western perception of it always confused me: yes, when I take off my makeup, I do not look the same, and many people will say that my makeup free face is my “real face”. But than what am I with makeup on? Is that face not “real”?

/back to the point of the article/

20140627_seoulbeats_kimsoohyunI think another thing to note when it comes to male makeup models is that Korean beauty standards apply to both genders while Western ones seem to be more separate between men and women. V-lines, pale skin, and high nose bridges apply to everyone. This makes the marketing process a bit easier, I suppose.

Also, I don’t know if this applies to wherever the author is from, but I’m in Canada and The Face Shop just started expanding here last year. Suzy is almost nowhere to be seen, but almost every location has a Kim Soo Hyun cardboard cutout. I don’t know why they chose him as an overseas endorsement model over Suzy, but yes, The Face Shop does have a male endorser.

yosafbridge on EXID Plays with Censorship in “Ah Yeah”

I don’t know if EXID’s situation is all that different from AOA. Moya, Miniskirt, Short Hair and Like A Cat are basically the same song and look how well AOA has done for themselves.

The difference I feel is that EXID is not as vocally limited as AOA who is basically Choa carrying the rest vocally while even the weakest EXID vocalist Junghwa can carry a tune and sing live. EXID has also demonstrated the ability to branch out with completely different styles and yet have each different style of song be a quality song eg Whoz That Girl, Every Night and Up and Down.

Therefore the type of songs and the range of notes that EXID can tackle are already broader than anything AOA or Crayon Pop would even dare to consider tackling.

20150220_seoulbeats_EXIDSo in a sense, EXID’s musical potential looks limitless with LE/S tiger steering the ship while AOA is more like Crayon Pop : doomed to basically rehashing one style to maintain popularity and being ruthlessly punished by the public if they dare deviate from their formula. The only difference AOA has over Crayon Pop is that AOA have some visuals that are considered widely good looking by the Korean public so that they can maintain a steady flow of CF’s/dramas to keep themselves in the public eye.

EXID is musically superior both in terms of past discography and future potential and so does not require that crutch even though Hani alone is currently putting the entire AOA in the shade in terms of public recognition.

Ah Yeah, I feel, is EXID throwing down their calling card and just getting started while AOA/Crayon Pop seems like they are bankrupted creatively and circling the drain.

Thank you for continuing to participate in our discussions and community!

(Images via Big Hit Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Starship Entertainment and Yedang Entertainment)