With so many idols in the market dominating the music scene, many idols have expanded their horizons and have taken places in the musical industry. Idols have typically shown great ticket sales power, and over 20 idols have gone into musicals. However, while idols may be able to produce great ticket sales when they star in the musical, not all idols have necessarily been praised for their work.
As they land major roles in musicals, idols undergo close scrutiny from musical critics. Many critics have not been wholly impressed and have not highly praised the idols who came to be musical actors. There has been debate over the idols getting large roles in musicals despite their lack of proven skill. In the last month till March 13th, Kukinews had 11 musical critics and producers assess "musical idols" on their skills in a survey. The grading criteria would be based upon four main categories: singing, acting, marketability, and growing potential. Within each category, two names would be chosen, and the one that came in first would be given three points, and the second two points.
The idols that were chosen to be in the skill category were Kim Junsu, J, Kyuhyun, Onew, and Taeyeon. The idols chosen were taken based upon ranks. However, some of the respondents turned in a blank paper and flatly claimed that, "None of them has the skill that is worth evaluation."
JYJ's Kim Junsu managed to receive particularly good scores in the marketability and singing ability sector. Professor Jin Jeonghoon of the Chung Kang Culture Industry University said that "Kim Junsu has proven himself through his roles in 'Mozart!' and 'Tears of Heaven' to be a musical star. But, his vocal range is so limited that classic, traditional works will be difficult for him to perform." Besides the critique on the range Kim Junsu has, the professor continued, "His vocalization is also very peculiar, and he lacks in the ability to express the lyrics."
Despite the criticism on vocal range and expression of song, the professor from Dankook University Jin Yunho commented that, "While there are still things lacking at some parts, overall, Kim Junsu's natural talent to rivet the audience's attention to the stage is quite amazing."
Kim Junsu received the vote of six of the people who were surveyed as the idol who has the potential to become the next musical idol star. Wang Yongbeom of the Seoul College of Arts remarked that Kim Junsu "seems to have the potential to be loved by the public in the future, considering how he sold out both the performances of 'Mozart!' and 'Tears of Heaven.' However, as he currently is engaged in other activities, it would be wise for him to choose to do another solid musical performance later on."
A producer who wished to remain anonymous commented that, "Potential growth is all about practice. Even though an idol is an idol singing star, if there is no practice in context of a musical, then that would equivocate to a murky performance by them later on. The main issue that idols have in their way to becoming great musical stars is that the idols are already very busy with their main occupation to focus all that much on practicing for the musical."
While their talents may be in question by the critics of the musical industry, idols that participate in musicals are undoubtedly benefiting the popularity of musicals. More and more foreign tourists from China, Japan and other countries have increased in attendance at musicals where idols perform in.
The fans of the idols that star in musicals are given credit to being the source of the idol's "ticket power." For example, SNSD's Jessica and Taeyeon sold their respective musicals "Legally Blonde" and "Song of The Sun" well enough to break even in ticket sales. While musical idols are still technically labeled as rookies in the musical industry, they receive at least 1.5 times higher a fee than most musical veterans.
Professor Yuri from the Chung Kang Culture Industry University said, "Sometimes idols are appointed roles in musical performances on the basis of trying to get a larger audience rather than in consideration of a good performance of a high caliber, so this could possibly lead to a drop in musical quality that will result, perhaps, in the decline of audience numbers in the future."
Do you think the criticisms of idols starring in musicals is fair? Are idols merely just for show in musicals, or have they in fact earned their roles through their talent?
Source: Koreaboo, SharingYoochun, Kukinews