9:46 am - 11/27/2012

Can TV Make You a K-Pop Star?

lee_hi_666133

South Korea’s TV talent audition shows have been unearthing promising singers for a few years, but most of the performers find that their time in the spotlight is brief and commercial success elusive.

A 16-year-old female singer, Lee Hi, is being tipped to break the mold after sweeping to top spot in the music charts in South Korea for the past 23 days with her debut single “1,2,3,4.”

Ms. Lee was the runner-up on popular singing-audition show “K-Pop Star” in April and subsequently joined YG Entertainment, the home of Psy, Big Bang and 2NE1.

Her single has accumulated 1.3 million downloads, over half of which were in the week after its Oct. 29 launch, in the range normally set by established K-pop superstars. On Nov. 12 she became the first female debut act to hit top spot in Billboard’s K-Pop Hot 100 this year.
Ms. Lee’s strong, deep delivery has earned her the nickname “Korea’s Adele” and has set her apart from many other local artists.

Her powerful vocal skill is well-suited for the debut track’s modern take on 60’s Motown soul,” YG Chief Executive officer Yang Hyun-suk said.

South Korea’s first talent audition show, “Super Star K,” launched three years ago. Its second season peaked at a viewing rate above 20 percent (a rate of just over 2 percent is considered a hit in the domestic cable channel industry.)

In December last year “K-Pop Star” became the latest to jump on the bandwagon of audition shows. It features judges from the nation’s three top entertainment agencies – BoA, a singer and executive of SM Entertainment, YG’s Mr. Yang, and CEO/founder Park Jin-young of JYP Entertainment . The top three finalists in the show are given the freedom to choose one of the three as their agency.

The success so far of Ms. Lee and of folk band Busker Busker, which topped the music charts for 12 weeks in the summer after breaking through on “Super Star K” last year, has rekindled the idea that reality audition shows can be a gateway to stardom. For most K-pop hopefuls, it takes years of tough training at entertainment agencies with vague hopes of their dreams coming true.

Ms. Lee has had help honing her raw talent since grabbing attention on the small screen.

Kim Gogeum-pyung, a music critic, credits YG for nurturing Ms. Lee during the six-month preparation ahead of her debut. “Far from a Barbie-doll character, she made a smart choice. If she went to a different agency, she may have ended up a banal K-pop product.

Her first studio album is set for release in December.

WSJ
fallingstarryuu 27th-Nov-2012 03:06 pm (UTC)
YG will promote her well right now since she's getting some buzz but I foresee her ending up like Gummy after a year or two once he shells out the new girl group, very random releases with almost no promotion.
miwa201 27th-Nov-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
mte
liniang 27th-Nov-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
Agree.
21banged 27th-Nov-2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
Ain't that the truth.
mizzyoung 27th-Nov-2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
tru
in_noctem 27th-Nov-2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
"If she went to a different agency, she may have ended up a banal K-pop product."

While I agree that 1234 was indeed a good, non-generic song (I don't like her live performances though), why do people always act like YG's so ~hip and different?
asnindie 27th-Nov-2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
I give YG kudos here that he didn't stick with something generic but their fans are alittle delusional.
liniang 27th-Nov-2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
MTE.

1234 is the only different and non-generic song YG did this year.
21banged 27th-Nov-2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
ugh this guy sounds like a delusional YG stan :\

But I'm glad YG decided to debut Hayi with 1,2,3,4 as opposed to a ballad or generic pop song.
lobotronic 28th-Nov-2012 12:45 am (UTC)
he's a liiiittle different, but I agree with you--it's not to the extent that Yg fans seem to insist. Kpop is kpop, no matter how many slanted hats and moonwalks you throw in.
asnindie 27th-Nov-2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
"For most K-pop hopefuls, it takes years of tough training at entertainment agencies with vague hopes of their dreams coming true."

Only if you're an idol though. In the end if you can sing it shouldn't matter.
chunsakuma 28th-Nov-2012 12:07 am (UTC)
She's only 16?!? Jesus, I thought she was 5 or 10 years older than that... o_O
This page was loaded Sep 22nd 2014, 4:19 pm GMT.