I’ve always been a music fan…which means I like all music, of any genre. (Then again – who doesn’t like music?) You name it, I probably like it. Except Screamo. That’s where I draw a very sharp line. I stumbled across K-Pop, aka Korean Pop, when I happened upon BoA – Eat you up, and from there I fell down a rabbit hole into a very special wonderland. It was two of my very close friends however, who introduced me to the male side of K-Pop and dare I say, these guys are even more beautiful than the K-Pop ladies! K-Pop influence is spreading, thanks to the ‘Korean wave’, as Korean culture, music and fashion catches fire worldwide. With catchy tunes, endless fan service and men as amazing as these, you could say I am a bit of a K-Pop fanatic, but I am just one of many rabid fan girls. Here are my top 10 male Korean idols. I’ve added three photographs for each so we can languish on them a little longer! So…when are we heading to South Korea?
1. Jonghyun – SHINee
A Shinee girl, aka fanatical fan girl, will refer to herself as a Shawol. I can quite proudly say I am a Shawol, and the man that single-handedly converted me is the one, the only, Jonghyun aka ‘bling bling Jonghyun’. Jongy is the lead vocalist in SHINee and has somewhat of a paradoxical personality: he gives off a vibe of true badassery and yet he weeps his heart out at every turn. In fact, you will see him crying as often as you will see him smirking (which is a lot). He is the shortest member of SHINee and he explodes in a ball of energy on stage. He has true presence and panache. He is referred to as the ‘dinosaur’ or ‘puppy’ thanks to his delicious doe eyes and is also the person that his fellow members would really not want to introduce to their precious little sister! Let’s just take a minute to take in the awesomeness that is Jonghyun!
2. Key – SHINee
Now Key, otherwise known as the ‘Almighty Key’ was bestowed with this moniker due to his uncanny ability to solve any problem he is presented with. He is also known as the triple threat, thanks to his ability to dance, sing and rap in equal measure and with equal talent! He is known as the ‘nag’ and mother hen of the group keeping his fellow members in line, but he is also a huge diva who can pick up girl group dances in an instant and mimic them exactly – he also has a penchant for Kesha, and really knows how to rock the red eyeliner (and all the ladies out there will know that is a difficult look to pull off convincingly!). Any true K-Pop fan will know that fan service abounds and man on man love is always in the glare of the spotlight for hungry fan girls to lap up like starving puppies, but there is somewhat of a controversy surrounding Key, who gives off somewhat of a ‘gay vibe’ even by K-Pop standards. Nonetheless, if he is a gay dude, he is an expensive and flamboyant character who revels in his sexuality. He is frequently paired with his band member Jonghyun. If the fan girls can’t have him, they’d rather put him with Jonghyun than a female competitor! He also has a pretty good grasp of English and is an accomplished cook.
3. Jaejoong – DBSK / JYJ
Jaejoong divides opinions aesthetically. Some say he looks angelic, others that he looks like an alien. I agree with the latter camp. Prior to DBSK’s disbandment, Jaejoong and his fellow members were the hottest group out over in Asia, known as the Gods of the East, but a scandal involving a lawsuit over payment meant that the band went their seperate ways and Jaejoong and two other band mates assembled to become ‘JYJ’. Jae was the lead vocalist with a heavenly, husky voice, and despite being gorgeous, he is deeply self-conscious of his smile. Jaejoong was initially perceived as a cold person but he was actually being ordered to keep quiet by management as he had a tendency to put his foot in it! Jae is known for his love of cooking and for being incredibly clumsy. He also has possibly one of the most infectious laughs ever. For anyone thinking he looks somewhat girly, he does come from a family of eight sisters and so is used to being fawned over and feminised! He lists his favourite sport as ‘running away’ (probably from fan girls).
4. Yunho – DBSK
The tenacious, tender-hearted leader of DBSK before they disbanded (he now fronts the group with remaining member Changmin), Yunho is the solid, steadfast type, handsome, reserved and forward thinking, he is able to bring the best out of his team mates. Warm hearted, polite and well-mannered, Yunho is a true gentleman who took the reigns of DBSK when Jaejoong absconded from the leadership role. Behind the tough masculine exterior, Yunho is a very passionate and sensitive young man who likes to keep his emotions in check behind a cool, calm and collected veneer.
5. G-Dragon – Big Bang
I have only recently happened across G-Dragon and oh my lordy, it was like bumping into Jesus Christ in the woods. This cheeky chappy is literally on the verge of exploding with energy, hyperness and effervesence. Mere flesh and bone alone is not enough to contain this fireball. He is the leader of group ‘Big Bang’ and possesses an unnatural level of self-confidence. He knows how to smirk, smile, pout and prance his way through an interview and trust me ladies, when he smiles, you will melt. FLAT OUT MELT. With his slightly androgynous looks, he miraculously manages to pull off any fashion trend, much to my envy. It’s hard to keep track of him on stage because he is literally running to and fro before re-emerging somewhere far off out in your peripheral vision. G-Dragon is a very liberated and free thinking individual, but also a bit of a rebel – there was a controversy slightly earlier in the year surrounding supposed marijana use.
6. T.O.P – Big Bang
T.O.P….where to start? Some fans claim T.O.P stands for ‘the original pimp’ and it’s not hard to imagine that if he weren’t a K-Pop idol (and the idols have an almost God like status amongst fans) that he might very well be just that, chaperoning hookers from street corner to street corner like a gaggle of geese. T.O.P is the rapper of Big Bang and has a low, tiger like tone. He branched out with some solo material, the most memorable of which for me was ‘Turn it Up’. Check out the video and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve had it on continuous repeat for the last week. Help me.
7. Junsu – DBSK
Junsu was the first male idol I came across when my friend introduced me to DBSK. She asked me which one I liked and my eyes automatically went to Junsu. For that reason he will always hold a special place in my heart; kookie, cute and kiddish, Junsu is essentially a big child. Junsu knows how to raise low spirits being a constant source of light-heartedness and amusement. His naivity, innocence and general adorableness are all incredibly endearing. He is obsessed with soccer and sites his non-identical twin brother Junho as being his best friend. Despite his sweet appearance, Junsu metamorphosises on-screen and on stage, transforming into a slick and sexy dancer who is well aware of his sex appeal. He intended to debut much earlier but due to difficulties during puberty, his plans were put on ice. His voice still sounds unbroken but it has afforded him a beautifully melodious voice which sounds unusual and distinctive. He is also famed for his laugh, which is possibly the best I’ve ever heard.
8. Taeyang – Big Bang
I’ve always had a thing for the ‘strong and silent’ type and Taeyang fits the bill. He is referred to as a ‘practice bug’ because he will literally train and train AND train until he gets it exactly right. He is also known to possess ‘soft charisma’ *melts*. Perhaps what makes him even more attractive is that despite his drop dead gorgeous looks, he is shy as anything around the fairer sex. Before he made it big with Big Bang he wanted to be a pianist (he just gets sweeter and sweeter doesn’t he?). Its okay – he can play the piano at our wedding…
9. Yoochun – DBSK
Yoochun might be the member of DBSK you bypass in comparison with the others – he isn’t as much of a looker but there is something pretty winning about his dimpled smile, and he has a ‘knowing’ more experienced manner than some of his more innocent band mates. He loves rocking a hat and shades and used to be the best at speaking English (those skills seemed to degenerate before disapearing entirely almost overnight). He is probably the weakest singer of the group but he has a unique charisma that you can’t help but be spellbound by. Yoochun doesn’t have the highest self-esteem and has suffered bouts of depression. Despite his romantic compositions, Yoochun doesn’t want to get married (perhaps because his own parents divorced). He was scouted over in Virginia and brought to SM’s attention!
10. Changmin – DBSK
My friends ultimate bias – Changmin is the baby of DBSK, but actually the eldest in his own family. As such his personality has an interesting cynicism to it. He is known for his ‘chang-gasms’ (yes it’s exactly like it sounds). According to his fellow members, Changmin enjoys sitting in the park…drinking…alone (old man in the making). Changmin changed virtually over night into a suave Casonova so don’t be deceived by his baby-faced appearance.
Any fellow K-Pop fans out there?
Who are your biases?