We all know that all idol group members are not just trained to sing. To survive in the K-pop jungle, one must be trained to be an all around entertainer. Acting, dancing, hosting, modeling, eating a ball flame in front of a live audience, are all part of the rigorous preparation these idol group members have to go through.
Just the past year alone, we saw a lot of our beloved (or hated, depending on where your loyalty lies) idol groups branch out from their usual sing and dance routine.
Daesung and Seungri made their acting debuts last year performing for musicals. Daesung played the naughty kitty kat Rum Tum Tugger in the Korean production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats”. While Glitter Balls made full use of his youthful charms in the musical “Sonagi”. Both members were given good reviews for their performances. In fact, Seungri impressed the hell out a lot of people that he got offered to do more acting jobs—for the big screen.
SS501 members also got bitten with the acting bug. Jungmin was last seen in the hit musical “Grease”. The play was given lukewarm reviews but everyone noted Jungmin’s dedication to lose 15 lbs. just to play the role of Danny.
And then there’s their leader, Kim Hyunjoong.
If there’s one good example of crossover success, Hyunjoong has got to be it. Call it a lucky break, his stint in that drama is the best thing that ever happened to his career. He has now carved his name in the annals of Asian pop culture; he is more popular than ever, oh and the CF endorsements…
Of course this does not mean that his acting was given glowing remarks. Initially, fans were a little skeptical how this rookie will fare as a full-pledged drama actor. And truth be told, many agreed that the first few episodes of “Boys Over Flowers” was painful to watch; mostly because of the obviously fake CGI’s and Goo Hye Sun’s over-the-top antics but also partly, of Hyunjoong’s I-am-dead-in-the-inside-acting.
But not all idols were as fortunate as Hyunjoong. There were quite a few who FAILED.
Case and point: Super Junior.
Instead of getting busy promoting in China or flouncing around in neon feather boas, Kibum spent most of the year in the 111-episode drama “Chunja’s Happy Events”. The drama wasn’t exactly a hit. And though Kibum got to pursue his acting which is a major priority for him, he unintentionally distanced himself from the fans.
If Kibum’s problem was “lack of visibility”, fellow members Kangin and Heechul suffered way too much from it.
Heechul and Kangin shared the role of Sonny for the 1980’s disco dancing musical “Xanadu”. This was their first stab into theater acting and tragically, the theater critics in Korea stabbed back. The production was met with bad reviews citing the bad singing, lousy acting, and lack of coordination among the actors.
Theirs could easily be dismissed by saying they are bad actors. But I am willing to argue that it’s not entirely their fault. Being the slave-driver that they are, SM Entertainment gave Heechul and Kangin more than what they can handle. Instead of focusing on “Xanadu” the boys were also busy with other activities such as filming and promoting movies, recovering from a knee surgery, hosting a radio show, pretending to be rockstars, pretending to be daddies, trotting in Japan, etc.
2009 will be no different when it comes to idols appearing in dramas. Hero Jaejoong will have “Heaven’s Postman” on May. TOP will be in the big budget spy series IRIS. FT Island’s Lee Hongki has “Lords of Study” and SNSD’s Yoona will be acting opposite hallyu actor Kwon Sang Woo for “Cinderella Man”.
Whether these idols are going to succeed or fail as actors remains to be seen.
Would you rather that idols just focus on mastering one skill alone as oppose to being a jack of all trades? Do you think that idols who try to do both (or as many as they can) at once run the risk of suffering from a Half-baked Syndrome (half-baked singers, half-baked actors)? Raise your hand if you think Sohee should just act and not sing.
News and Photos: Newsen, MyDaily, Cyworld