When BTS arrived in Singapore a year after its 2013 debut, the septet barely made a blip outside of its fan meet in 2014.
Today, BTS, or Bangtan Boys, has an army of fans worldwide so powerful that it beat American rapper Kayne West’s fanbase to make BTS the most retweeted artiste in a month last year.
Even without the backing of any of the big three agencies (YG, SM or JYP), the Big Hit Entertainment artistes have made their mark with the songs Fire and Dope, which are so addictive that they need to be put on loop.
Are Twice the next Girls’ Generation? Both of them feature leggy beauties and both also started out with nine members.
Little wonder K-pop pundits think the new group will reach the dizzying heights of fame attained by their mega-group predecessor.
Since appearing on survival reality show Sixteen in 2015, Twice has seized the attention of K-pop listeners and dominated music charts with infectious dance tunes Like Ooh-Ahh and Cheer Up.
As part of their media onslaught, the good-lookers are all over the news, appearing on magazine spreads and even on political pages, when its Taiwanese member, Tzuyu, was slammed for waving a Taiwanese flag on a South Korean television show last year.
The girls from rookie girl group Blackpink are out to run the K-pop world. Photo: YG Entertainment
Followers of YG Entertainment had waited with bated breath for Blackpink’s arrival last year.
The multinational quartet is YG’s first female outfit in seven years since 2NE1’s debut and include the agency’s first non-Korean artiste, Lisa, from Thailand.
It is also the first YG Entertainment act to be marketed for its members’ looks as well as abilities. Previously, the company said it focused on only “skills and charisma”.
“This time, we wanted to give equal weight to talent and appearance,” says YG’s executive director Yang Hyun-suk at the group’s launch last year.
GFriend had to endure a few hard knocks en route to fame – it literally had to pick itself up after a couple of its members fell heavily a few times on a slippery stage in a rain-soaked performance that went viral worldwide.
International media, including Time magazine and Billboard, applauded the group’s spirit as it continued to perform the upbeat song, Me Gustas Tu, in 2015, the year of its debut, in the face of disaster.
K-pop aficionados soon fell in love with the tenacious teens, who are known for their innocent schoolgirl looks and for executing synchronised dance moves with clockwork precision.
Hailing from a little-known agency, Source Music, GFriend beat the odds to become a chart-topping sensation on South Korean music shows, such as Inkigayo and Music Bank. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
GFriend’s hit singles are fast topping music charts in South Korea. Photo: Source Music