In a previous Roundtable, we talked about the fact that in the K-pop universe, safe and scripted answers seem to be the way to go. However, as a result many of our burning questions are left unanswered and up in the air for the gossip mill to circulate. The K-pop universe may seem straightforward on the surface, but we all know that there are many secrets swimming below the surface that, for societal or personal reasons, will always be left untouched.
Let’s create a hypothetical situation:
You have been given the opportunity to interview on camera someone very high-profile in K-pop. You successfully complete the interview without a hitch. The director yells ‘cut’ and the cameras stop rolling. After the interview, as the guest gets ready to leave, a question that has been haunting you for a long time suddenly comes to mind. You politely ask the guest whether you can ask them one last question, off camera, promising them that whatever they answer will not bear any negative consequences because you will take their secret to your grave. The guest, after a brief moment of hesitation, decides to trust you, and agrees to give an honest answer your question.
What is the ultimate question in K-pop that holds your utmost curiosity? Who would you ask this question to, and why?
Salima: The question that continues to burn to the very core of my curious soul is the question of why Jay Park left 2PM. I’ve literally spent the equivalent of days coming up with theories and debating with my fellow fangirl friends about why, why, why! Believe me, I’ve come up with some pretty out of this world reasons of my own In fact, one of my favorite theories is that Nichkhun and Jo Kwon both fell in love with Jay, creating a love triangle so epic that he had to leave in order to save the group and to avoid breaking any hearts. Or something like that.
Unfortunately, all the theories I come up with never add up. Not the pregnancy theory. Not the drugs and alcohol theory. And not the sex scandal theory. So if I could, I’d ask the members of 2PM why Jay Park left, and then I’d ask Jay Park why he left. I know that’s two questions but I must have the truth!
Fannie: This is a bit of a sensitive topic, but I legitimately have always wondered about whether Jokwon is attracted to girls, or if he is attracted to guys. There are a lot of outward indications of the latter (the fussy and flamboyant personality — yeah, yeah, I know it’s bad to stereotype) but how much of it is chalked up to trying to play up a variety persona? At the same time, we get mixed messages about his identity on the opposite end of the spectrum: being a part of the Adam Couple, for example, or the recent incident where 2AM‘s dorm was invaded and he was discovered to be in possession of a rather racy mousepad and computer desktop background. Then again, those make me wonder, how much of that was scripted?
On variety shows, it always seems to be the harmless elephant in the room. It seems as though there isn’t an ideological conflict for Korean observers as long as Jokwon’s flamboyant persona is seen as an ‘image’ (the same way that they see no contradiction in the way that underage girl idols with an ‘innocent’ reputation can dance and dress provocatively and yet chalk it up to temporarily trying on a ‘sexy image’). But I wonder, what really is the truth? My personal suspicion? I think he’s straight. But I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if he gave me the opposite answer, either.
Gil: This question is for Bang Sung Joon of Shut Up! Flower Boy Band fame. Will you wait a couple weeks for me? I’ll be eighteen in two weeks, just hold in a little longer and we can get married (without the police running after us of course). Small wedding with the family and close friends, or if you really want, we can go to Vegas.
Thanks, I’ll see you at the altar. I’ll be the one in white *salacious winky face*
Bethany: My burning question is somewhat of a general one. It seems like a lot of popular idols nowadays have previously been JYP trainees, so I guess if I ever got the opportunity to meet JYP (highly unlikely), I’d ask him why he chose to reject auditionees such as IU and Hyorin, and accept ones with less talent.
On a side note, I’d also like to ask WM Entertainment where I can buy a Gongchan in a tiger costume (see Beautiful Target MV).
I would ask Minho to marry me. I would ask Lu Han how he feels about going all the way to Korea and spending so many years in a new country learning a new language, new customs, new everything, only to be pretty much shunted back to China.
Gil:: My guess is he would feel…sad? It’s okay though, you can be there to comfort him. *cue Bollywood track*
Dana: Oh, I LOVE this Roundtable. The problem is that there are just so many things that I want to know about so many idols; I couldn’t possibly limit myself to just one question. But so I must, and try I shall.
Obviously, my question is to Tiffany, and it is, “DO YOU WANT TO BE MY BFF??” ^___^;; No, I’m just kidding. And besides, I already know that the answer to that is a resounding “yes.” Natch!
But seriously, I think I’ll surprise nobody by proffering a question to SNSD — specifically, I’d like to ask a question to Taeyeon. I’ve long wondered if Taeyeon absolutely hates her existence; I know that she once commented that she wouldn’t want her children to become idols, and that she once attempted to abdicate her leadership title of the group. There’s also speculation amongst fans that something not-so-nice went down between Taeyeon and Jessica (my apologies to the TaengSic shippers), thereby destroying the syrupy sweet Power of Nine that binds SNSD together (and no, no matter how many times they say it and as much as I’d like to believe it, I absolutely do not buy the idea that all of them are super close and basically in love with each other). I don’t know what it is, but I’ve gotten the vibe for awhile now that Taeyeon is just not completely satisfied with her life as an idol. Could be total speculation, of course — but since our hypothetical scenario has enabled Taeyeon to trust me completely with her secrets, perhaps she’d be willing to blow off some steam and spill the beans?
To a certain extent, I also wonder if Taeyeon believes the hype about her own group. Would she be willing to admit that most of them are (to borrow Patricia’s fabulous terminology) black holes of talent? But I won’t push my luck here.
Young-ji: I was never an invested DBSK fan — in fact, I got to appreciate them after the break up, but every time I listen to DBSK’s “Before You Go” and “Keep Your Head Down”, I wonder if Yunho is thinking of the trio that left and is thinking of them when he performs these songs.
So if/when I have a one-on-one time with Yunho, without Subi finding out of course because she may murder me in my sleep, I want to ask Yunho what his initial thought was when he received those songs and if he did in fact think about the ex-members that left. Once he answers that, I’ll kindly break the news that he’s getting kidnapped by Subi.
Johnelle: I would like to ask Jaejoong (because he’s my favorite from JYJ) Why did they (Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu) sue SM Entertainment without Yunho and Changmin?
It was the event that shook the K-popverse to its core–the break up of the hottest and biggest K-pop boy band ever, the Rising Gods of the East, Dong Bang Shin Ki. I can understand why they did it: SM Entertainment was making tons of cash off of them and working them to the bone and they weren’t hardly seeing any of the profits, but why didn’t all five do it together? They would’ve brought a stronger front against SM Entertainment and a lot less heartache to fans. Was it that Yunho and Changmin would never have done it for various reasons? Was it that JYJ didn’t care for them? Was it because Yunho broke Jaejoong’s heart (did YunJae really exist)? Ah, if only I could know what all happened.
Also, as a die hard Sangchu Couple fan, I’d like to ask Hwang Bo if she ever did the deed with shillang?
What makes me curious is that while watching the show, at a certain point their relationship made like a 180 degree turn and went from hilariously awkward to hilariously cute and comfortable? Why all of a sudden did they get so comfortable with each other? Or was it just my delusional fan girl shipping clouding my judgement? I’d also want to know who the mysterious female idol was that Kim Hyun-joong went out with for 6 months…
Amy: I’d ask the million dollar question: SM, why didn’t you negotiate more with JYJ?!
Subi: The only thing I really care to ask is: Yunho, will you marry me? Oh and maybe, What the heck happened with DBSK?
Ree: This is a stupid question, but I think I’d ask the SHINee boys what they seriously think of Minho in terms of talent :x
If I knew he was going to answer honestly, I would ask Jaejoong if he ever had romantic feelings for Yunho. Because, I mean, come one, let’s be honest with each other here; at one point or another, shipper or non-shipper, most if not all DBSK fans wondered in the back of their minds if YunJae was legit or not, at least for a flickering moment.
And I know I’m not the only one who wonders about this. Oh no, there are good hundred thousand of us out there that would die to know!
Natalie: I would really like to talk to any idol, really, and have a serious conversation with them about how they really feel about their lives and the K-pop industry. I’d like to speak with Kevin from U-KISS (he’s my favorite) and ask him what it was like to be in that struggling group for four years. I’d like to speak with Tiffany or Seohyun or Taeyeon from SNSD and ask how they feel about being so objectified, sex in the idol industry, if they’ve ever been harassed, would they send an autograph to my friend Dana, and so on. I’d like to talk to JYJ and ask them why they left SM and TVXQ. I’d also like to find out if YunJae had been real. I’d like to speak with the foreign celebrities working in K-pop, to ask them what it was like moving to a new country and learning a new language and having to adapt to a new culture. I’d like to speak with EXO and ask how they felt about SM’s strategies, Kai‘s over-promotions, and having to promote the same thing in two different countries. I’d like to ask Myungsoo, Bang Yong-guk, Tao, Kris, and Woohyun to marry me. And I’d like to go to every idol group that I could and ask if they’re aware of the talentlessness of some members. And as mean as this sounds, I’d like to ask Dara and Yoona and everyone else like them if they’re aware that they can’t sing and are pretty much only there for their looks. But I probably wouldn’t ask this last one because I’d feel too bad about it if I did.