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SuperM is a K-pop supergroup that is reaching for the Hollywood stars. Fortunately, the Walk of Fame is located only a block away from the landmark Capitol Records Building, where the group staged their debut performance on Saturday (Oct. 5).
They’re kind of a big deal. The seven members were culled from four of the biggest boy-bands out East: SHINee, EXO, NCT 127 and WayV. So the scale of their first-ever live show had to match their superstardom. Live-streamed on YouTube, the showcase amounted to a mini-concert with all the bells and whistles of a festival stage.
SuperM’s debut showcase was the first glimpse of the seven members coming together as one. “Today’s our first day as SuperM as a whole team in front of all of you guys,” NCT 127's Mark told the audience.
While the seven-piece makes Hallyu waves in the U.S., Billboard rounded up some of the best moments from SuperM's live premiere.
The SMP Was Strong at Capitol Records
We all know the trope. The A-Team assembles, every member bringing their own special talent to the table. The only thing is, SuperM’s distribution of talent is their unifying force. That is to say, dance is their collective specialty. Rather than accentuate each other’s differences, they managed to move as one unit Saturday night.
After all, SM architect Lee Soo-Man envisioned the new group as a “maximized SMP,” or SM Music Performance. K-pop has always been a bit of a gesamtkunstwerk, but SMP is a multimedia “genre” that has the stated goal of melding music with choreography. As Ten told the crowd, “Jopping” represents SM Performance because “it has a very powerful aspect to the performance.”
Which is why the rollout for SuperM’s first-ever live show had to be grandiose. Co-arranged by SMP point-man Yoo Young-jin, “Jopping” is the genre-bending soundtrack to an entire spectacle of high intensity dance moves. Or as leader Baekhyun previously joked about their latest single: “From beginning to end, it’s a dance break.”
They Jopped It Like It’s Hot
“Jopping” is what SM Entertainment does best: turning a gleefully silly phrase into a grandiose vision.
Billboard can confirm that audience members were jumping. (No word on whether anyone was popping.) As Mark put it, “jopping” is a neologism that means, “let’s party all together” -- and party the Super-Fandom did.
If SuperM are the “Avengers of K-pop,” then their lead single has all the big-budget oomph of a blockbuster score. The electro-pop banger opens on a descending metal riff before shifting gears to a booming bass beat. During a premiere event, the resident Canadian noted that horns were added to make the track sound more “massive.”
That grandiosity certainly translated to the live stage. When they jerked “left to the right,” they made it, made it bang. Their slow-mo floor work might have gotten the CGI treatment in the MV, but the IRL version had even more impact. No canned applause necessary.
SuperM Took Over Hollywood's Vine Street
Ahead of SuperM’s U.S. arena tour, they constructed their own stage outside of the Capitol Records Building. In a setup reminiscent of KCON, the middle of the stage featured rising video panels that transformed to suit the concept of each performance.
When it came time to play the lead single, the stage itself morphed into a structure that rivaled the iconic awnings of the adjacent Capitol Records Building. The video screens projected stone arches and columns as the panels shape shifted into three tiers. For a moment, the stage had all the boxy charm of a Minecraft colosseum. As Mark said during a press conference: “It kind of represents us being gladiators, warriors on stage, performing ‘Jopping’ in front of the world.”
But that’s not the only place they left their mark. The supergroup shut down Vine Street to host the SuperM Village, complete with merch booths, food trucks, and a giant mural of the team. Not to mention, “SuperM” has been blinking in Morse code atop the historic label headquarters for a few days.
They Rode the “Super Car”
Ten wants “Super Car” listeners to imagine they’re going for a ride with SuperM. Which might pose a safety risk as the members hit the woah while grabbing the wheel.
Still, this stage felt dynamic, as each member danced for a certain standing area at one point. Naturally, Taemin hammed up the VIP section by dramatically popping his jacket sleeves off his shoulders.
Mark mentioned that the live show included unit song to showcase the “diversity” of their track list and the different formations of their group dynamic. While the track only features five members, both Lucas and Kai emerged onto the stage mid-song to finish out the choreo.
The Super-Fandom’s Divisions Faded Away
It’s no secret that the initial reaction to SuperM was not so super. Following the announcement of the group’s formation in August, the hashtag #SuperGroupDisbandParty took over Stan Twitter. Backlash was swift, as established fandoms fretted over the activities of the originating groups.
But those divisions were hardly felt at the world premiere of SuperM’s live stage. Stans could be spotted juggling multiple light sticks at once, while the cheers maintained a consistent decibel level when each member grabbed the spotlight. This effect created a twinkling ocean with a multi-hued glow -- blue for SHINee, green for NCT, white for EXO, and pink for SuperM. (The supergroup’s team handed out a limited supply of the latter light stick for free.)
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