While the landscape of Korean entertainment can be vast and wondrous, it’s often the little things that make us fall in love, inspire awe, evoke secondhand embarrassment, or sometimes… break our hearts. In this segment, we ask our writers: Among the many things vying for your attention this month, what won and made your heart beat?
[News, TV/Variety] Kim Yuna and Ko Woorim‘s Marriage, GIRL’S RE:VERSE
Back in July, when it was reported that figure skating legend Kim Yuna would be getting married to Ko Woorim from vocal quartet Forestella in October, I was really surprised since I had no idea the two were even dating and was soon overwhelmed with joy for my favorite figure skater. It’s an incredible feeling being able to follow the career of someone I greatly admire for years and now see her start a new chapter in life. Yuna and Woorim’s wedding photos look absolutely stunning and from the handful of clips and images that were posted on social media, their ceremony seemed just as gorgeous. I wish all the best for the happy couple~
On the K-pop side of things, news of Kakao’s upcoming survival show GIRL’S RE:VERSE also grabbed my attention this past month. The program aims to form a virtual girl group whose members will be decided by viewers’ votes. All of the contestants will have their own avatar created with VR technology with their real appearances remaining hidden unless they’re eliminated. Though, I feel like the program has already lost part of its purpose as fans quickly figured out the majority of the lineup from their teaser videos. Nevertheless, while I’m not the biggest fan of VTubers, I think it’ll be interesting to watch the show play out. I’m especially intrigued to see how the debuting group will be promoted and the approach they’ll take for performances in the metaverse.
[TV/Variety] Chuu Can Do It
Recently, I’ve been watching the YouTube channel of LOONA‘s Chuu, Chuu Can Do It, and finding a lot of inspiration to protect the earth by adopting simple, green practices in my life. Not only does Chuu introduce viewers to better ways of reducing, reusing, and recycling, but she also spreads positive energy with her charity efforts.
I particularly enjoyed the videos where she encourages celebrities to donate their used items instead of tossing them out in her segment, “Jiwoo Shop.”. Her explorations into future food and vegan food are always refreshing to watch as well, and they offer insight into the growing variety of options in Korea. Moreover, the efforts of Korean citizens to engage in green lifestyle habits also become clear in her video of a cafe that encourages customers to bring their own containers for takeout. Seeing someone come with an empty first aid kit sure was a startling and hilarious sight! Simple, fun, and educational, Chuu proves that vlogs and YouTube videos can be bite-sized and insightful at the same time.
[Idols/Music] NCT 127 in Concert
Earlier this October, I had the chance to see the one, the only, NCT 127 in person at their show in Newark. It should say something about the quality of the concert that a few weeks on, I feel like I’m still processing the whole thing. It also happened to be my first arena K-pop show, something that feels like a holy grail rite of passage in K-pop fandom, and let me tell you, it was not oversold. The whole vibe in the arena was a delight to soak in, from the incredible effort and energy coming from NCT 127 to the delightful comradery and engagement from the thousands-strong crowd.
The “tour” that NCT 127 is currently on has been lambasted for its logistical issues (here’s looking at you, SM Entertainment), and for good reason. Oddly scattered concert dates, poor ticket sale management, and most concerningly of all, scheduling that seems to take into account not one bit the high potential for overwork and exhaustion for the members: the tour is a mess. Despite all this chaos not-of-their-making, NCT 127 managed to put on an absolutely glorious live show, something I think is even a further credit to their skills. Particular highlights for me included a stunning rendition of “Back 2 U” and an appropriately high-octane stage of “2 Baddies.” It was 1000% worth every second I spent battling the bots on Ticketmaster for seats!
The final takeaway I’ll add is that in the weeks following the concert, I’ve been delighted to discover how seeing a song performed live changes how you listen to it in wonderful ways. Now, everytime Jaehyun goes “Show me, baby, what’s your style?” in “2 Baddies,” I hear 12,000 people shouting the line along with him. It’s the kind of thing that really puts a pep in your step, and a reminder of how powerful live performance can be.