Many K-Pop idol groups have built their careers on solid songs, impeccable dancing, and a chic, stylish image. No self-respecting idol group, however, can claim total K-Pop success without resorting to that much-maligned yet much-beloved Korean phenomenon known as aegyo. Roughly translated, aegyo means "to act cute." Similar to the Japanese kawaii, aegyo basically involves the idol stars participating in activities that come across as child-like and adorable. I've found myself thinking about this in light of my recent blog post on "Tear-jerking K-Pop music videos". If there are dramatic videos, there are also super cute ones! Idol groups have resorted to aegyo as part of the nature of Korean "fan service" and it certainly revs up the fans (in a good way).
For instance, anyone who's been to a Super Junior concert know the Hallyu superstars always devote time to musical aegyo. For "Super Show 2," their concert tour, the boys dressed up in animal costumes and danced to " Pajama Party," the hit single from its Super Junior Happy sub-unit. The year after, "Super Show 3" upped the ante with the members donning vegetable costumes to "Cooking Cooking". In one memorable sequence, the " Super Show 3D" hilariously captured member Heechul's unsuccessful attempts to take off his chili pepper outfit to the delight of the crowd. But Super Junior isn't the only Korean idol group that can put up a good aegyo. Just take a look at these videos (some classic and some new) and see if you don't cringe with the "aegyo overload".
"Beautiful Target" by B1A4
Released in 2011, the "Beautiful Target" MV, as well as its sister MV, the "Zoom-Zoom Version," is basically an explosion of cuteness for B1A4's legions of teenage girl fans. It's the classic formula--take five beautiful boys, put them on a colorful set, dress them up in equally colorful outfits, including animal hoodies and costumes, and have them make cute faces at the camera. Oh, let's not forget the song, with its pseudo-Jamaican rap lines and incessant "I like it, like it, like it!" chorus. Who cares if the plot is incomprehensible? With the B1A4 members' cute smiles, how can any teen girl resist?
"A Song Calling for You (La La La)" by SS501
In 2009, SS501, the Korean idol group led by now Hallyu superstar Kim Hyun Joong, released "La La La," a whimsical MV that captures the boys' free spirits. In the MV, Hyun Joong, Youngsaeng, Hyung Jun, Kyu Jong, and Jung Min all try to woo a particular girl in their own respective rooms, turning on their individual charms. In the end, none of the boys get the girl (which is good for the fans!)
"Pajama Party" by Super Junior Happy
In 2008, Super Junior launched a sub-unit with 6 members including Leeteuk, Yesung, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Shindong, and Kangin. The theme of this sub-unit was feel good pop music. After enjoying success with their first single "Cooking Cooking", this silly yet satisfying MV of the boys enjoying a "Pajama Party" was launched. Inspired by a comic-book backdrop, the boys dance their aegyo moves and play with stuffed animals and other "cute" things in this cringe-worthy video. Prepare to smile as Super Junior Happy does their thing.
"Balloons" by TVXQ
Out of all the aegyo videos, this is my favorite. It is my favorite because the video is just sooo unlike TVXQ. That's right, I am talking about the very cool and manly TVXQ guys! If you became a loyal fan post-"Mirotic," well, you should know that SM Entertainment - the same geniuses behind Super Junior - put Yunho and Changmin, alongside former colleagues Junsu, Yoochun, and Jaejoong, into colorful animal costumes to dance with penguins and little boys dressed up as other animals. Do you think TVXQ needs to keep their heads down after reviewing this chapter in their careers? Regardless, it puts a smile on our faces! Go aegyo!
Catherine Deen blogs for Yahoo! Philippines OMG!. She lives, eats and breathes Korean music, cuisine, telenovelas, and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter @cathsdeen.