The multi-talented Lee Seung Gi's drive to reach the top has been relentless. Even before the release of his fifth full album, his single, "Era Of Love," has landed at the No. 1 spot on this week's Billboard K-Pop Hot 100. "Era of Love" is a medium tempo ballad about a timid man who finally finds the courage to confess his feelings to a woman he has been longing for. Lee's co-star, Han Hyo-Joo, from their highly acclaimed drama, "Brilliant Legacy," and Ra-D, the winner of the 7th annual Korean Music Award's "Best R&B Album," both contributed their voices to this track -- creating a dynamic yet enjoyable song.
The key to Lee Seung Gi's popularity is his persistent willingness to challenge his own abilities. He first reached stardom with his debut song, "Because You Are My Girl" (2004), showcasing his powerful voice and boy-next-door good looks. In that same year, he successfully transformed himself into an actor, by taking up a role in a popular Korean sitcom series, "Nonstop 5." Thereafter, he landed leading roles in several leading dramas including, "The Famous Seven Princesses" (KBS) and "My Foxy Girlfriend" (SBS), which earned him the title: the new Korean "box office star."
Elsewhere on the chart, Ulala Session, the boy bander from "Superstar K" -- who attained the No. 6 ranking last week with its remake of "The Moon's Scheme" -- jumped to the No. 2 spot this week with the band's emotional "Open Arms." Epik High's Tablo, finally debuted his solo single, "Air Bag," at the No. 6 spot, even after a two-year hiatus (due to controversies regarding his academic background), proving his undying popularity. Orange Caramel, a unit group of, 'After School' made it to the No. 7 rank this week with the girls' new single, "Shanghai Love." Last week's topper, Huh Gak's "Hello," falls to No. 5.
One way these artists boost their popularity is having a strong presence on social media. This week, let's take a quick look at the most popular K-Pop stars on Twitter and Facebook.
Social networking sites Twitter and Facebook allow artists the leisure of interacting with their beloved fans anytime, anywhere and is considered a new key barometer by which an artist's popularity is measured. According to Korea's Twitter ranking system, "Korea Twitter," Super Junior's Choi Si Won has accumulated the most followers of 765,967 fans. With his popularity firmly established, he is now broadening his fan base by entering the acting world. Alongside Choi Si Won, Super Junior members, Dong Hae (No. 2), Hee Chul (No. 4), Lee Tuek(No. 5), Eh-Sung(No. 6), Eun Hyuk (No. 7), Shin Dong (No. 8), Ryu Wook (No. 9), Kyu Hyun (No. 11) all appeared in the upper tier of the Twitter popularity list.
Super Junior also has a considerable amount of fans on Facebook, with a staggering 3,456,015 "likes" on their fan page -- exceeding the figure-skating queen, Kim Yuna. She currently has 64,717 "likes." Both "Mr. Simple" and "Ah-Cha" are ranked on Billboard K-Pop Hot chart this week at No. 74 and No. 91, respectively.
Beast is right behind their predecessor, Super Junior, as one of the most followed and loved boy-band on Twitter. Yoon Du Joon, the leader of the group, has 414, 612 followers- ranking him at No. 12 and Lee Ki Gwang at No. 14 with 366,416 followers. Yang Yo Sup is at No. 15 with 359,916 followers whereas rapper, Yong Joon Hyung has 354,729 followers. Song Dong Yon also has 282, 378 followers. The amount of Beast followers is testament to this boy band's meteoric rise to fame. Revved up by their ardent fans and Twitter followers, Beast will perform at Billboard's Korea's upcoming event, the Billboard K-POP Masters concert at the legendary MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 25th & 26th!
Kara, the front face of the Korea (a.k.a. Hallyu) Wave, is also on the top of the Twitter popularity list. Koo Ha Ra has the most followers amongst her team members with 351,328 followers, ranking her at No. 17 and Nicole Chung at No. 18 has 294,568 followers, both confirming their popularity. Kara latest hit single, "STEP", is No. 20 this week on Billboard's K-Pop Hot 100.