Five years is a tough time to remain relevant in pop music — particularly in K-pop, where five years is considered the expiration date for idols. But Korean girl group After School has not only been able to prosper through its first half-decade — latest single “First Love” was the group’s highest-charting entry on the K-Pop Hot 100 yet — but also continues to show increasingly stronger stage performances with each single.
Since debuting as a quintet in late January 2009 to the current lineup of eight members — the group has K-pop’s only admission/graduation concept — the After School girls have increasingly placed more emphasis on stage performance, looking to hypnotize audiences with catchy tracks paired with dazzling onstage showmanship. It’s hard to imagine most — if any — Western pop star dedicating themselves to such extreme live shows. And don’t forget: Lip synching is a bigtime “no-no” in the band’s native South Korea.
To celebrate After School’s anniversary, K-Town has selected five must-see performances from the hardest-working performers in K-pop. From their Pussycat Doll-esque debut to a seven-woman pole dance routine, these are the K-pop hotties’ most impressive stages.