10 Reasons to Get Excited About K-Pop in May
April was one exciting month for K-pop: Wonder Girls’ Sun revealed her pregnancy, the 2NE1/will.i.am collaboration was released worldwide, Lee Hi grabbed her 2nd No. 1 before turning 17, G-Dragon launched his world tour and, of course, PSY continued to make history with his new single "Gentleman."
But May looks like it’s set to be just as hot with tons of exciting K-pop releases, news and tours to look forward to. Just before the May Day, here's are the 10 things K-Town is anticpating the most. New fans will have all the background knowledge to start your K-pop-infused May on the right foot and longtime K-poppers can give their thoughts on what they're most excited about for May.
1. Can T-ara Return to the Top?
May will be the month to see if T-ara find a way back into the public's good graces via a new sub-unit, T-ara N4. After a still unconfirmed bullying scandal that surrounded member Hwayoung's contract termination, the group has struggled to retain their chart-topping success that led to two K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1s ("Cry Cry" and "Lovey Dovey"). Not to mention, the group has lost many of their endorsement deals. The splinter group's single "Countryside Life" has all the elements of a hit, but will it be enough?
2. 2PM Makes Their Comeback Twice As Nice
Hugely-popular boy band 2PM will make their return to K-pop after almost two years of focusing on Japan and other markets. Last time 2PM promoted in Korea, the K-Pop Hot 100 hadn't even existed! The group is bringing new full-length album "Grown" with two lead singles reportedly titled, "All Day I Think of You" and "Listen to This Song and Come Back." It's clear the group's label, JYP Entertainment, is not playing around with this comeback either. Although JYP found success with acts 2AM and 15&, the major label's recent hit history is lackluster when you compare it to the other two majors YG Entertainment (home to PSY, BIGBANG, Gummy & Lee Hi) and SM Entertainment (Girls' Generation, SHINee, f(x)).
3. Lee Hyori's Grand Return
K-Diva Lee Hyori will make her K-pop comeback after three years absent from the scene. Once a member of successful 90s and 00s girl group Fin.K.L, Lee Hyori found major solo success (a la Beyonce or Justin Timberlake) since the group disbanded for solo activities in 2003. It was recently it was announced that she will return with three music videos. One will be for a pre-release track and another for her lead dance single featuring rapper Beenzino.
4. SHINee Promoting With Jonghyun
SHINee is promoting their new single and album without member Jonhyun. The prominent vocalist, who's still recovering from a car accident that injured his nose, makes his return in early April, though. SHINee fans(TK) will be making to see the longlasting K-pop boy band back as a quintet. Plus Jonghyun plays a major vocal--not to mention--visual--role in SHINee that Shawols undoubtedly are missing at the moment.
5. Hello Venus Sets the Stage for Success
Rising six-member girl group Hello Venus will release their fouth single in almost a year's time with "Do You Want Some Tea?" Late April marked the idol group's one-year anniversary with their notoriety rising. The sextet are pulling out all the stops for this comeback too. In various teasers for "Do You Want Some Tea?" we've seen Hello Venus show off a twin-like stylings as well as a cute 50s romantic theme. Not to mention, it looks like some members may get kissed on camera in the music video--a rarity in K-pop. Hello Venus may end up seeing their biggest hit to date with their new single.
NEXT PAGE: PSY, B.A.P and B1A4
6. PSY Begins Promoting "Gentleman" Overseas
K-pop's king already performed his new single in front of 50,000 fans in native South Korea and now it is time for him to bring "Gentleman," and its new dance, overseas. The promo PSY lands may be a major factor as to whether "Gentleman" can be an equally iconic single as "Gangnam Style." Who could forget classic moments like PSY teaching Ellen DeGeneres and Britney Spears the horsey dance, his SNL skit or closing the American Music Awards with MC Hammer? Promotion past YouTube will be important for PSY to land another longstanding hit.
7. After School’s Special Performance Stages
Popular girl group After School has teased their upcoming comeback for a few months now with all signs pointing toward a May release. With the little info fans have gotten, there has been confirmation the girls are working on a special stage. This is undoubtedly something to look forward as this is the girl group who have brought out a cane dance routine in 2012 (below), tap dance in 2011 and drum line in 2010. What will they pull out for 2013?
8. B.A.P Spreads K-Pop in U.S.
Rising boy band B.A.P isn't the first K-pop act to tour the U.S., but they are one of the few to hit places other than New York and Los Angeles. While major K-pop live shows like KCON 2012, SMTown Live, BIGBANG and 2NE1 all took place in the surrounding NY and LA areas, B.A.P is hitting San Francisco and Washington D.C. much to the delight of K-pop fans elsewhere. The group's theater tour marks a major move for a longer tour past one-off shows and could act as a template to make K-pop tours in the U.S. viable options for Korean entertainment companies.
9. SECRET Makes Full-Fledged Comeback
After returning after almost a year away from the K-pop market, SECRET was met with much love when they returned with their old school-inspired R&B/pop sound on "Poison" in September. It was another K-Pop Hot 100 hit for the girls and they hoped to continue their success with winter single "Talk That" a melancholy-soaked, electro-tinged mid-tempo. The single rose to the Top 10, but promotions were spoiled when the group was in a van accident on December 10. All activities were on hiatus until late December with member Zinger needing additional hospital care. Now, refreshed and healthy, SECRET will have their full lineup for their just-premiered single "YooHoo." The song has a fun summer vibe and could be a huge hit in their four-year discography.
10. B1A4 Gets Major Soundtrack Single Before Comeback
Rising male idol group B1A4 is getting a major TV boost before they release their comeback track "What's Going On?" May 6. Popular reality show “We Got Married,” that features K-pop stars experiencing what it would be like to be married, returns with a “global” season that will have its episodes air in countries around the world including major markets like Japan and Australia. B1A4 landed a soundtrack contribution with the easy, breezy “Sunshine” track. With the popularity of “We Got Married” along with their rising star, which included hits on both the K-Pop and Japan Hot 100 charts, the boys have the potential for a major-sized hit.
Who are you looking forward to most in K-pop this May?