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, 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 the Seoulbeats Roundtable, we ask our writers: How are your bias lists looking? Who is getting the cut, and who have you added?
Pat: I’m adding one person to my list and it is Mbitious leader, 5000 (otherwise known as Ocheon).
Stick with me as I explain. This all began when I was watching Boys Planet and noticed certified DILF Baek Kooyoung or Mihawk Baek. The dancer is most known for the choreography of Exo’s “Love Shot” and Kai’s “Mmmhh”—thank you, sir, for your service. From Boys Planet, I ended up watching the show that I promised I would not watch: Street Man Fighter.
Now, I loved Street Woman Fighter, especially since it made me fall in love with La Chica even more and introduced Monika and Honey J into my life… but Street Man Fighter just did not appeal to me. Until now, because of a hot guy. But while watching, I ended up, somehow, inexplicably, paying attention to Mbitious. Which led me to the show that created Mbitious—Be Mbitious–because I was wondering what ex-Infinite member Hoya and Roh Taehyun–of Hot Shot and Produce 101 Season 2 fame–were doing in this street dance crew. After a series of cute reactions from the man, here I am, obsessed with the prince of hip hop dance himself, 5000.
Aside from this addition, everything remains the same. On the boy’s side, we have Seventeen‘s Jeonghan as my favorite emotional support bias. On the girls’ side, Krystal, IU, and Red Velvet’s Seulgi are my top three.
Siena: Looking back at my last response to this roundtable in 2021, it’s fascinating to see what has changed versus what has remained stalwart. King Taemin and Queen Sunmi haven’t budged an inch from the top of my favorites list, but while I still adore HyunA, Baek Yerin, Bibi, and Heize, I wouldn’t call them biases precisely anymore. I think this is because my music repertoire has expanded a lot recently, so I’m spending less time listening to K-pop and K-indie. Less time means less attention, so my bias list has contracted as a natural result.
I would also add Loona‘s Yves to the roster of no-longer biases, though I still love Loona and Yves as a performer. However, the backstage fiasco has really impacted the quality of their recent releases, so while I’m rooting for all the Loona members to land on their feet far, far away from Blockberry, it’s as a casual fan.
On the addition side, Ateez‘s Seonghwa is now firmly my Ateez bias. Ateez are definitely one of my top active groups, but it took me some time to nail down if I had a specific bias among the members. Then Seonghwa’s quirky and painfully relatable personality caught my attention during Kingdom, and the rest is history. It also did not hurt that he was spectacular when I had the chance to see Ateez live this fall.
Finally, NCT, and especially NCT 127, are the biggest addition to my favorites in the past two years, and Taeyong is my pretty undisputed bias for his phenomenal performance skills. I’m also very fond of WayV‘s Xiaojun and StayC‘s Sieun and Sumin, but let’s call them mini-biases for now and circle back next year!
Gina: Reflecting on this roundtable, I realized I don’t have many new additions, as I’ve mostly stayed out of the loop of up-and-coming faces. But with that said, those who are still living rent-free on my list include (G)I-dle, Red Velvet, DPR Ian, Giriboy, and Meloh. Sik-k is also more than welcome to reach the top of my list once he releases a banger album post-army, and pH-1 has been played on my Spotify daily with his 2022 album BUT FOR NOW, LEAVE ME ALONE.
Besides these mainstream artists, however, the rest of my playlist has been repeating underground artists that I hope will someday gain the leverage to make more prominent collaborations (or they can just remain my secret gems, either one).
Nonetheless, March and April are looking to be bursting with comebacks from older and newer groups, and the competition will be fire. Perhaps the upcoming releases will shake up my bias list, but for now, they haven’t changed much from last year… which is probably a sign to start exploring more from now on.
(YouTube    . Images via Abyss Company, Pledis Entertainment, SM Entertainment.)