Winter has come and past and Spring approaches for us folks in the Northern Hemisphere. In K-pop, there are certainties that come when Spring arrives: the return of pastel colors, an uptick in comebacks from the more popular groups, and multiple songs revolving around Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms (or not).
Along with Spring comes fresh beginnings. Thus, it’s time for us to prepare by cleaning one of the more personal aspects of being a K-pop fan… our bias lists. For this edition of Seoulbeats’ Roundtable, we ask our writers:
How are your bias lists looking? Who will be cut, and who will be added?
Rimi: My favorite roundtable of the year is back! Can’t wait to read everyone’s bias lists.
I have to say I’ve been struggling. BTS’s Suga has been my ultimate bias since I discovered K-pop in 2017. But over the last two years, BTS’s music hasn’t been working for me, they’ve mostly been on American shows which aren’t half as fun as Korean variety shows, and K-pop is filled with other groups to steal one’s attention away. At the same time, my heart refuses to let go of this old love.
Day6’s Jae, actors Lee Je-hoon, Song Kang, Shin Hye-sun, Cho Yeo-jeong and Nana flitted in and out of my bias list this year, but the biggest, most long-lasting new entrants are Golden Child. All 10 of them, I insist — as if music wasn’t enough, their antics on variety completely won me over. But if I had to pick, it’d be Joochan and Jibeom. Joochan simply because I love his voice and brand of humor, and Jibeom because he seems genuinely kind (or at least, is able to tolerate being the butt of their jokes with good cheer), is very funny, and absolutely gorgeous. Also, this cover. However, they’re ’99 liners. Kids (for me).
My other, latest bias is age appropriate and so I swoon freely. BtoB’s Lee Minhyuk. I discovered him on Kingdom (very late, yes), and I’m absolutely smitten. The guy can rap, sing, dance, be funny on variety – all while looking so damn good? It’s criminal how unequal the distribution of talent is in this world.
Siena: For my first couple of years as a K-pop fan, my bias list was an unshifting quartet made up of Shinee’s Taemin, Sunmi, HyunA, and Big Bang’s T.O.P. But recently, my horizons have been massively expanded, most notably into the indie universe, and my K-pop preferences have shifted accordingly.
Some of my veteran favorites have thrived in this brave new world. Taemin has shot to the undisputed top of my biases and Sunmi has stayed steady. My love for HyunA has waned artistically (“I’m Not Cool” was indeed not cool), but not personally, so she stays on the list, if at a slightly lower tier.
The bias who sadly won’t survive this spring cleaning is my very first K-pop favorite, T.O.P. I still enjoy Big Bang’s music, and I don’t have any ill will towards the FOUR remaining members, but ever since Burning Sun, Big Bang content mostly makes me sad and slightly nauseous. If they come back as a quartet, I’ll be intrigued to see what they do. But for now, I’m stepping away from the group, and consequently, T.O.P. I wish him a very happy retirement from my bias list in the company of his art collection and his bonkers Instagram.
Now to the fun part: fresh bias additions. Baek Yerin, Bibi, and Heize have become my trio of indie queens. After much deliberation, Ateez’s Yunho and Loona’s Yves are the chosen bias representatives of my two favorite newer groups. I also have a handful of biases in the making, favorites that haven’t quite jumped up to the official bias level. But in the last year, my bias list has doubled, so expect a 2022 list of at least 16!
Aastha: I’m a rare participant of this roundtable, because there are hardly any changes to my bias list. While I have resigned to the fact that TVXQ’s Changmin will always reign at the top, I am very excited to say that my bias list has expanded with Red Velvet’s Seulgi.
Ever since “Peek-A-Boo”, I was enthralled by Seulgi’s charisma, talent and cuteness. Watching her performances during SMTown stages and other occasions in the past year, I had to accept that she was a woman after my heart. I couldn’t take my eyes off her when “Monster” dropped. Other than that, I am always looking out for my industry favourites: Taemin, BoA, and Sunmi. Their artistry is exciting to witness every time.
Like Rimi, I have strayed away from BTS, and as such have dropped Suga from my list. I have a soft spot for V, however, so he stays on the list. (On a slightly unrelated note, I am penning down Song Joong-ki as an official bias after being in denial for more than ten years.)
Sara: I’ve been looking forward to this Seoulbeats roundtable since last year, so I’m excited that it’s finally here! On that note, it’s no surprise that RM remains at the top of my bias list. I could probably write essays about him, if given the chance (one day). I thoroughly doubt another will come close to challenging his position anytime soon.
However, since Youth With You 3 started two months ago, I have been a little preoccupied with the trainees on that show. Figuring out my bias list was difficult because I haven’t been listening to/watching content by any of my K-pop ult groups — BTS, Seventeen, NCT, and Stray Kids. Although The8′s recent single “Side By Side” is so much fun; Xu Minghao, you’ll always have a place on my bias list (and in my heart).
As for new additions: per usual, I’m so late to the game, but I couldn’t stop listening to (and watching) Wendy’s “Like Water,” so she’s creeping up, and the same goes for Whee In, who just released Redd, her first mini album. Obviously, their voices are incredible, and I love the concepts they pulled off, so just all around heart eyes.
Lastly, earlier this year, I fell back in love with Shinee — and Onew. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the vocalists. Plus, I love his smile and his laugh; that video of him making 붕어빵 (bungeo-ppang) is too precious. Basically, I love people who have a great sense of humor, have some really deep and relatable moments, and are kind of chaotic. So, of course, Kevin from The Boyz has a definite place on my bias list. Also, I recently added Stray Kids’ Changbin because his clips from Kingdom are pure gold. His rapping ability is a given.
Elif: I will start off with f(x)’s Krystal, who will always be on my bias list because I love her awkward nature and her talent. Similarly, I have been a loyal stan of SNSD‘s Taeyeon for years. I love her openness about her fame’s hardships and her flawless discography. Recently, (G)I-dle‘s Soojin left my list after the bullying allegations, but I might have found a replacement in StayC‘s Isa, who gives me similar vibes and caught my eye right away. Loona’s Yves, who is collecting female fans left and right, is also on my list. She is beautiful and blows me away with her amazing singing and dancing. Last but not least, my first and favorite bias, Hyuna. I could write a book about why I love her, but this year I was just in awe to see her promoting again.
When it comes to boy groups, EXO (especially Kai and Sehun) will always be on my bias list and I am looking forward to their comeback this year! Taemin also continuously rules due to his flawless releases and artistry. And though I don’t stan NCT (their music is just not my taste), Jaehyun has been one of my favorite idols since debut. I love his baritone voice and his princely visuals will forever blow me away. While I understand that many strayed away from BTS, I love the boys and I love that we always get unlimited content. V and Jungkook are my biases (yes, I have a thing for maknae lines), but I love each member. Completing my list is Ateez’s San, who transforms into Satan on stage. I am really in awe that he has obtained his skills in a short time and I am genuinely looking forward to Ateez’s success in the future.
Gaya: Have you ever found yourself just absolutely stymied by an item while spring cleaning? It’s part of your favourite set, but never something you considered having on its own because it wasn’t exactly your style and, honestly, maybe a little young for you? But now you are seeing it in a whole new light and it looks… good? It’s sexier than you remembered it, but also more adorable than ever? So now your entire worldview is tilted and nothing makes sense anymore?
That’s me with Lee Taemin right now.
I honestly do not understand. How did I go from trolling Taemin to becoming his fan? I watch that Dream Concert fancam at least once a day now. I’m about to buy a ticket to his solo Beyond Live in a few hours! I can say that it’s the only way for me to get my hands on a Shating Star until I’m pearlescent sky blue in the face, but there is no hiding from the truth.
There is no more Bias List Spring Cleaning for me. I no longer know what a bias even is anymore. I know only the spinning whirlwind of chaos that is Lee Taemin.
Rimi: Gaya, do you really not have Minho on this list? After all the comments and votes in support of him during March Madness because of you?
Gaya: Minho? Isn’t he the one always telling Taemin off?
But really, there isn’t a proper list right now because I’m still grappling with the idea that I am now possibly a Taemint.
He doesn’t rank higher than Minho — no one does. But the very fact that Taemin is on this list in his own right and not as part of Shinee overall has been sending me into a bit of a tailspin, not going to lie. I mean I pretty much forgot that I added Johnny to the bias list alongside Mithra Jin, Kang Haneul, Chen and Kai earlier this year, that’s how much shock I’m in right now.
If your biases have changed (or stayed constant), we’d love to hear who they are! Let us know in the comments.
(Images via Big Hit Music, P. Nation, Pledis Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Woolim Entertainment)