I have complied a new and fuller version of the article ‘Top 3 Underrated Kpop Groups’. After doing more research, I have added more opinions to each group. Happy reading and please get involved. Comment on any groups you think should have been in the Top 5 or should get more attention for their talent as a whole.
The Kpop industry is dominated by many Kpop greats; with the likes of Super Junior, Big Bang, SNSD and 2ne1, it is extremely hard to find a gap in the kpop market and fill it with that particular image the audience, you guys out there, want. In the last few years, we have seen so many girl groups and boy groups debut one after the other to the point where the kpop industry is overflowing with rookie groups. Some may argue that rookie groups from the ‘Big 3’ are highly anticipated and already acknowledged by many fans. However, some groups who debut are not just that lucky. They are only popular with a small percentage of the Kpop fandom and having been hidden behind many of the industry’s rising newcomers, they are practically invisible.
So, I thought it was time to bring more attention to these artists who may be just as good-looking and maybe even more talented than your average popular idol group. These are the hidden gems who can actually sing live without going out of tune; the people who are actually funny and deserve to be recognised.
I came across this girl group from a show called ‘All the Kpop’ hosted by Boom. The programme involved inviting many kpop rookies onto the show to demonstrate their variety skills; some of the games included the ‘Tracing Paper Challenge’ and the ‘Pocky Chocolate Kiss’. One of the members in GLAM, Zinni, was a regular on it and often showcased her dancing skills, dare I say a little too often. But why wouldn’t you if had a body and dancing skills like that.
I chose their ‘I Like That’ dance video to showcase their dancing skills and also because their MV was so so painful to watch. This dance practice video definitely shows the fierce aura GLAM has which just needs to be showcased in a music video. They are so in sync with each other and also perform even the smallest moves with the power used in street dance.
Their recent song released in 2014 was called Give It 2 U. I was extremely shocked at the drastic image and song-style change. Nevertheless, I do admit it is extremely catchy, sweet with a simple pop rhythm. It is an image that would appeal to many male kpoppers but also an image taken up by many current successful girl groups like Apink.
My friend introduced this band to me and just said, “You’ll like them. At least, when they sing English lyrics, you don’t cringe” and thus I was sold. I did a bit of research and found that some were born in English speaking countries like Australia. The fact that they were nominated for the ‘Most Anticipated Super Rookies for 2012’ by Wave K shows at least there was some recognition for LEDApple but I guess their popularity didn’t really escalate to the height they, nor we, expected. One of the lead vocals called Hanbyul, seems to be doing most of the work and seems to be the front man of the band. The other members of the band are less known to the average kpop fan (unless they are a LEDApple maniac for which I don’t blame them). LEDApple are not your average idol group so maybe that is why they don’t as appeal as much to the majority of the kpop fandom; they do clever arrangements and covers of current pop songs which make up the awful packaging their company gives them. Check out their covers at Offical Ledapple on YouTube.
3. Royal Pirates
Having just discovered this band, I find it hard to believe that they have quite a small following. Girls-and guys- my mouth dropped open when I saw the members. Forgive my shallowness for the time being but Royal Pirates really have some talent not just in the composing and music area. James, Moon and Soo Yoon are extremely good looking but not in the classic ‘flower boy’ way which appeal to many Koreans. These guys would definitely appeal to many girls in the western countries like England, USA, Canada and so on with their much more manly and relaxed boy-next-door vibe. All members speak English without a Korean accent which, in my opinion, makes them even more attractive.
Their latest release which I listened to, ‘Drawing the Line’ was extremely catchy because it had a good rhythm and a simple yet effective melody. Hours later I found myself humming the song absent-mindedly. What’s more, the English version had some very cute lyrics which I found very endearing and sweet. I definitely can see people covering this song with a ukulele doing a cute, gentler version of ‘Drawing the Line’.
Although their music video to ‘Drawing the Line’ was lacking in many ways including the number of decent shots of ALL the members, these three guys have it all; I think they just need suitable packaging and then would shoot to the top instantly.
Check out Royal Pirate on After School Club (hosted by Eric Nam and Kevin from Ukiss)
Check out their English version of drawing the line.
This duo is so talented and have voices of angels. Park Jimin, one half of the duo, was the winner of Kpop Star the year where Lee Hi was the runner up. Lee Hi has caused a huge sensation on the music scene considering how young she actually was with ‘1,2,3,4’ and ‘Rose’. Her success is so different to the ‘success’- if you can even call it that- achieved by Jimin. Jimin is more talented than Lee Hi not just in her vocal abilities but also her comedic abilities too which makes it hard for me to come to the terms with the lack of chart hits and appreciation people have given 15&. Jimin has a very natural comedic timing and there is something that is very warm and likable about her; being very young,all the other comedians in Korean find her hilarious so I am confident that if all things fail she will be able to do something down the comedy route.
This is a video of Park Jimin (15&) and Lee Hi during their Kpop Star days
Yerin is the other member of 15&, although she is quiet and the complete opposite of Jimin, she has such a clear yet strong voice. I think her voice is much more polished than Jimin’s and has a larger range thus is much more comfortable to listen to. Although I am not too keen on her TV personality, her voice makes up for it. Considering she is 17 (18 Korean age), she has one precious voice. If Yerin can become more lively and can talk a bit more, these girls will be invited on endless variety shows.
I have seen many netizen comments saying that JYP Entertainment’s lack of new ideas and dull songs have caused the flop of this duo; I completely agree with what most of the netizens are saying. By comparing them to Akdong Musician, 15& are practically nothing when I looked at the number of fans and chart hits which is really disappointing. JYP entertainment need to step up their game!
This is their cover of the Alicia Keys song, ‘If I Ain’t Got You
This cover of Jessie J’s Domino is seriously impressive!
These girls are in the same company as the ‘Kpop Goddess’ – Lee Hyori. Without a doubt, these girls are so talented and I cannot emphasise how talented they are. They are gorgeous, amazing at singing and just ooze with raw emotion when performing.
I was seriously blown away when I saw this video. How can this group be so strong in their vocal ability? The leader, Kim Bo Ah, stood out for me the most; interestingly, she used to be Infinite’s vocal coach. Her voice is, undeniably, one of the best voices in the kpop industry. It is very husky and not the usual sweet, innocent voices heard in kpop girl groups. In fact, all of their voices, I think, would be more popular in countries like the UK or America.
Recently, they went on a variety show called ‘X-unnie’ which was hosted by Lee Hyori. The aim of the programme was to improve the variety skills of the members in SPICA. Looking at some of the videos of the shows, I think the girls did loosen up eventually. It is a shame they haven’t really found that ‘special something’ to catapult themselves amongst the rising rookies like EXO and Apink.
I do feel sympathetic towards the rookie groups who have trained so hard but have not made a huge impact in the kpop industry. Eventually, I hope their raw talent will be recognised but for the time being, the kpop music industry is just too full and too diverse that finding a special place in a fan’s heart is almost impossible