It might have been a freezing January, but some of K-pop’s top girl groups were hotter than ever. In fact, a little too hot for some standards in the typically conservative South Korea. Last month, four female troupes toned the titillation down a few notches after being asked by TV broadcasters or in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.
Take a look at the before and after choreography. While it’s fun to see K-pop groups get continually more comfortable with their sexuality — 2013 was its sexiest yet — there still appears to be overwhelming pressure to tone things down if a butt shake or chest rub, er, rubs someone the wrong way. Was it too hot for TV or were the changes unwarranted?
1. Girl’s Day, “Something”: The quartet is likely the reason for the influx of sex appeal this January. Girl’s Day found a new surge of interest and popularity after trading their cutesy image in for a tantalizing, sexed-up look. The change sent 2013 singles “Expectation” and “Female President” to the K-Pop Hot 100 Top 10 and their latest release, “Something” dropped on Jan. 2, has become their biggest success yet, peaking at No. 2.
To bring “Something” to life, the quartet crawl on the ground (at 0:18 in the original dance video below) and seductively stare down the camera as they move their hips side to side. Later, the ladies give peeps of the shorts they’re wearing under their slit dresses on the pre-chorus section (0:52).
Altered: After changing the moves, the girls awkwardly try to recreate the sexy crawl by just sitting on their knees (0:18). Their timing also appears to fall apart when trying to change the leg peeps to belly touches on the pre-chorus (0:53).
2. AOA, “Miniskirt”: Relatively new to the scene, AOA must have hoped an eye-catching, mature routine would send them to the upper tier of the girl group rankings. For the sexy “Miniskirt” stages, members were writhing on the ground while singing their verses (0:25) and accentuating their bums in tight skirts (0:55). On the chorus, AOA unzip their garments for the camera (0:59), got touchy with each other’s rear ends (1:16) and spend the hook simply shaking what their mamas gave them (1:14).
Altered: There’s no more singing on the ground (0:16) and the girls’ skirts seem to be partially unzipped already. But the butt shaking isn’t entirely gone: The chorus still sees AOA shaking for the camrea, albeit much more subdued than earlier performances.
3. Dal*Shabet, “B.B.B (Big Baby Baby)”: The sextet found issues over just one move. On the chorus, the girls rub their chest just over their heart (1:24), in what they called the “distressed dance,” to reflect the lyric, “you making my mind painful.” The aggressive rubbing signifying heartache.
Altered: If one wasn’t looking closely, the dancing would hardly seem altered. But the group’s record label has said the distressed dance could be perceived as too racy and now the girls keep their hands in the middle of their chest — away from the breasts — with some members seeming to not even rub themselves, likely to ensure nothing is misinterpreted (1:04).
4. Rainbow Black, “Cha Cha”: In their premiere showcase, the quartet Rainbow Black — a sexy splinter group of Rainbow — performed their debut single with sensuous leg spreads (0:52) on the ground.
Censored: Soon after their first performances, Rainbow Black announced that the spreading would be slightly toned down. While there’s still lots of playful bouncing on the song’s intro (0:15) the racy leg spread on the ground has transformed into a crossed-leg move to sit on the ground (1:01).
But either way you slice it, all four groups did respectably on the K-Pop Hot 100. Their peaks, so far, are as follows:
-Girl’s Day’s “Something” at No. 2 after five weeks on the chart.
-AOA’s “Miniskirt” at No. 14 after two weeks.
-Dal*Shabet’s “B.B.B (Big Baby Baby)” at No. 15 after three weeks.
-Rainbow Black, “Cha Cha” at No. 27 after two weeks.