Is Girls’ Generation made up of nine Oprah Winfreys? According to Forbes, that may be true. The full list for Forbes Korea’s “2014 Power Celebrity 40” shows the nine-member girl group reclaiming the No. 1 slot from PSY, who topped last year. The “Gentleman” rapper falls to No. 13 this year.
The Forbes Korea list is created based on exposure, professionalism and domestic and overseas earnings. The ranking methodology is similar to the U.S. Forbes “Celebrity 100” list that Oprah topped last year with Lady Gaga in the runner-up position.
Girls’ Generation tops the chart after an exciting 2013 that saw its Korean-language album “I Got a Boy” released — with its title track earning a two-week K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1 — plus Japanese album “Love & Peace,” the group’s first Chinese-language single and a big international spotlight after winning the YouTube Music Awards’ maiden video of the year honor.
This is all combined with the band’s steady stream of endorsement deals, including one of with Japanese fashion company Samantha Thavasa. The girls modeled the the brand’s skinny jeans in their “Galaxy Supernova” video.
Meanwhile, boy band BIGBANG rises to the No. 2 slot, up from fifth place in 2013. Despite no group releases, BIGBANG members Seungri, G-Dragon, Taeyang and TOP all dropped new music in Korea. The group held several concerts, as did leader G-Dragon, who saw his latest solo release chart on the Billboard 200.
While BIGBANG was the top male act, the quickly-rising 12-member outfit EXO is not too far behind at No. 5, while veteran pop duo TVXQ! was No. 7 and quintet SHINee hit No. 8. Korean-rock quartet CNBLUE rises to No. 15 (from No. 21 last year) and boy band INFINITE moves up to No. 18 (from No. 20). Super Junior, 2PM, JYJ and Beast — all boy bands who made the top 40 last year — do not make this list.
For the girls, quintet Kara is at No. 19 (down from last year’s No. 13) while 2NE1 and Girl’s Day are new additions, placing Nos. 24 and 26, respectively. miss A, SISTAR and T-ara — who ranked last year — do not make the top 40, either.
And while miss A does not make the top 40, the girl group’s in-demand member Suzy slots in at No. 3, just behind GG and BB. The 19-year-old singer is also a popular actress and model. Other solo singers on the list include IU (No. 10), Lee Seung Gi (No. 14) and Baek Ji Young (No. 36).
Perhaps Korea’s most famous singer to the international audience, PSY drops 12 spots to a No. 13 ranking. While last year was surely a successful one — a No. 1 K-Pop Hot 100 single, a Top 5 Hot 100 hit and the year’s most-viewed video on YouTube again — he was relatively quiet in comparison to his monster 2012.
Still, the “Gangnam Style” phenom looks to be prepping a big comeback for this year, already snagging Snoop Dogg and G-Dragon for his new video.