With the Hallyu Wave riding high after the phenomenal success of PSY in the western music world, there is now a certain curiosity whenever a K-Pop act gets mentioned. The question will almost always be – will they emulate the success of the their fellow countrymen and carve out international success of their own?
With that in mind, the chance of covering K-Pop girl group Wonder Girls whilst I was in New York City was a chance most Hallyu wave journalist will not pass up. The occasion was local CBS radio station 92.3NOW FM arranged a birthday celebration for their DJ Ty Bentil, whose radio program Ty Loves New York is a popular pop radio program. The venue chosen was the iconic Hard Rock Café in Time Square. The question was could the Wonder Girls pull off a performance that 1. Satisfies its loyal fan base and 2. Create enough hype to capture new fans?
As with most pop acts, Wonder Girls fan base is loyal and it is even more so in the US where the chance of seeing their idols perform can be rare. So it was with no surprise that most of the fans in the front row of the show had been lining up for hours before the show. The usual banter regarding who was their favourite member and which song was their favourite came passionately.
So with the Hard Rock Café theatre almost sold out, we had Ty Bentil come on stage to rev the crowd up. And in a flash the Wonder Girls were on stage with their Korean language song Like This. The lineup consists of group leader Sun, Yubin, Yenny, Sohee and Lim. The girls came on stage in different coloured but matching short-legged outfits, which accentuated their long legs. As with most K-Pop girl groups, these girls are not afraid to show some leg. But they balance the cuteness/sexiness image quite well.
The show itself was a mixture of their Korean and English language songs. Their English release song The DJ Is Mine was showcased along with new tracks Stay Together and Heartbreak along with English versions of Nobody and Be My Baby. What is most refreshing and surprising is the choreography of the dance routines that go into each song. It is certainly not the calibre of say a Beyonce but for a group that has been around since 2007 it was a tight performance vocally as well as dance routine wise. The highlight of the show was during the English songs Stay Together and Heartbreak where the girls was sitting on a stool and we got to hear their vocal ranges. Each has their own strengths but it was a nice change from the usual song and dance routines. The night was capped off with their current single Like Money which is an English collaboration with R&B artist Akon. Unfortunately Akon did not make an appearance but the song capped off a solid show for the girls.
Would the Wonder Girls make it in the US then the western world? That is a hard question to answer. But judging by their live performance they definitely won’t have trouble obtaining and converting new fans to their cause.
Like This (Kor)
The DJ Is Mine (Eng)
New Shoes (Kor)
Stay Together (Eng)
Tell Me (Kor)
So Hot (Kor)
Be My Baby (Eng)
Like Money (Eng)