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Top 10 Tuesdays: K-Pop Entertainers Who Are Having a Great Year

6 Dec

It’s December and that means that we are going to start our year-end lists of everything! Starting this week, our TOP 10 Tuesdays might extend to week long lists of favorites that range from favorite drama scenes to favorite albums. So look forward to it!

Kicking it off is my list for the top 10 Artists who are having a great year. K-pop entertainers are the people who take the least amount of breaks among all artists in the world. They release new material on a seasonal basis which gives us plenty of opportunities to love and cherish them but at the same time get sick of them too. This list represents the people that, in my opinion, only improved their standing in the K-pop world this year.

10. f(x)

f(x) had a big year earlier this spring with their first full-length album “Pinocchio” and their subsequent summer repackaged album “Hot Summer” both title tracks from the album did really well: “Pinocchio” topped several music charts and spawned an addictive dance move and eternally memorable chorus. In addition to their music endeavors, members of f(x) have had notable variety stints: Victoria ended her much adored fake marriage to Nickhun on We Got Married while Krystal won Kim Yuna’s Kiss and Cry celebrity ice skating competition. Furthermore, Krystal currently stars in High Kick 3. In October, Amber was cast in Invincible Youth while Luna will be appearing in her very first drama soon.

9. 2NE1

If there were a hierarchy of all the KPOP groups in the business, 2NE1 should be somewhere near the top. Ever since their explosive debut in 2009, they’ve garnered much critical success at home and abroad. Back in May, YG President wanted 2011 to be 2NE1’s big year and indeed they had a big year. They set a record during the earlier part of the summer for their five consecutive all-kills on the music charts, all from one album. Lonely, I Am the Best, and Ugly won prizes from various music shows and their concert NOLZA was very successful. They even had a very successful concert in the Philippines. In addition, they picked up MTV’s Best New Artist of the World last month and got to perform with Will.I.Am at the MAMA Awards. Their show 2NE1 Live is still as popular in Korea and abroad.

8. Leessang

Kang Gary’s time on Running Man gave him a healthy dose of exposure to new audiences and kept him in the public. When it came time for his hip-hop duo to come back after two years away from the game, their album became a massive critical and commercial success. “Asura Balbalta” topped the album charts, with 13 of the songs debuted on the Billboard K-pop 100. In addition, their single “Turn off the TV” garnered lots of notice for its creative music video as well as for the quality of the song.

7. Davichi

Davichi’s duo Minkyung and Haeri debuted in 2008 to glowing notices from audiences and critics alike and has garnered awards for Best New Artist from award bodies and music shows. However, this year, their star seemed to shine brighter than ever. Their album “Love Delight” was very successful on the charts, garnering #1 on the album chart. Meanwhile, their song “Don’t Say Goodbye” was an enormous hit: the song won Davichi some Music program awards while it earned #1 on the Billboard K-POP 100 for a few weeks. In addition, Minkyung’s performance on Immortal Song 2 was notable, eventually winning the coveted award for her searing performance of “With The Heart to Forget You”. Currently, Lee Haeri is on the show as a cast member.

6. T-ara

I’ve always thought that T-ara was just an average K-pop group with cute music but nothing really significant about them that’s entirely appealing. Then came “Roly Poly”, the summer smash hit that took T-ara to whole new level in terms of popularity. “Roly Poly” featured such an infectious instrumental aided by a fun and lovely music video that highlighted the girls’ best traits. In the fall, they released their most mature set yet, with “Cry Cry” –the lead single from the mini album–showing us the girls’ improved vocals.

5. Jay Park

When Jay Park was still part of 2PM, I kinda thought he was outshined by his members like Junsu and Nickhun in terms of talent and popularity, respectively. After his dramatic ousting from the group for remarks he made on Myspace, his return to the Korean entertainment industry is nothing short of miraculous. Jay Park’s album “Take a Deeper Look” revealed a full-fledged artist able to hold his ground against the other singers and artists in the industry. His song “Abandoned” was a great display of R&B flair, vocal talent, and dance skill. His song won awards from music shows as well. In addition, that summer, he took part in Immortal Song 2, where he won twice against bigger and (more skilled) names. Lastly, his film “Mr. Idol” premiered in Korea in November.

4. HyunA

Many people would argue that HyunA is the next Lee Hyori. The two have a lot in common: their stage presence naturally oozes sexy and playful and their vocals, although limited, can easily carry a song. HyunA attained massive success this summer for her hit song “Bubble Pop” that was partnered with a sexy dance and video that highlighted why the boys like HyunA. The video was a massive success on Youtube: the video hit 10 million viewers quicker than any K-pop song over the summer while HyunA was named as one of the top 21 under 21 by Billboard Magazine. In addition, international magazines took notice of HyunA and named her one of the next big things in the music industry.

3. Infinite

Infinite has consistently produced quality music that all share common instrumentation that you’d think they all come from one album. While that may sound a little boring, it rightly earned Infinite some good notice. With their comeback “Be Mine”, Infinite won awards from music shows and won them a new house from their agency. Woohyun’s presence in Immortal Song 2 was remarkable because he was the only idol singer left during his stint while he combated against heavy-hitters and giants of the music industry.

2. SISTAR

It’s funny but I sometimes think that I should have typed Hyorin instead of SISTAR. To be honest, SISTAR’s success and increased profile this year rested entirely on the immense likability and increasing public affection and respect for Hyorin. The group’s leader may not be classically beautiful according to Korean standards, but she is divine in my (and a lot of people’s) opinion. Her voice, however, is the true blessing. Her collaboration with Bora on “Ma Boy” made people take notice of Hyorin’s voice and sexy appeal but it was her appearance as the original cast member of Immortal Song 2 that sealed the deal. She was the shining star of the show, the one everyone wanted to beat, the one everyone compared themselves to. She rightly racked multiple victories on the show before her comeback to the stage with SISTAR. When their first album came out, more than ever, people seemed to take notice of Hyorin. “So Cool” won awards for SISTAR and earned them well-deserved notice from critics and public.

1. B2ST

B2ST has always been a group on the rise ever since their debut. They’ve never really reached a status that can be compared to BIG BANG or TVXQ until this year. “Fiction” won them rave reviews from critics who praised the improved vocals from the group as well as the artistic qualities of the song. In addition, Fiction spawned an alluring dance move that kept popping up everywhere. Yoseob’s appearance on Immortal Song 2 helped give more exposure to the group. However, that is all nothing to the success of their album. Fiction or Fact won B2ST Daesang prizes and the title track won them multiple prizes from various music charts. It’s apparent, more than ever, that B2ST is on top of the game.

–Clarence

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